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The Riverside Chaucer

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  8,010 ratings  ·  170 reviews
The most authentic edition of Chaucer's Complete Works available.

- The fruit of years of scholarship by an international team of experts
- A new foreword by Christopher Cannon introduces students to recent developments in Chaucer Studies
- A detailed introduction covers Chaucer's life, works, language, and verse
- Includes on-the-page glosses, explanatory notes, textual notes
Hardcover, 1327 pages
Published December 12th 1987 by Houghton Mifflin (first published December 12th 1986)
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Sam This book is in late middle English with no modernisations except the removal of the thorn and the yogh. It's intended to be a complete collection of…moreThis book is in late middle English with no modernisations except the removal of the thorn and the yogh. It's intended to be a complete collection of Chaucer's work for students of medieval literature.

It is annotated in the footnotes on more difficult passages in order to make it easier to read, but you'll still be constantly searching for words online if you've never read any middle English before, since the annotations do not repeat themselves on words that have already been glossed.(less)

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Aug 21, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
The Franklin's Tale is the last of the thematically linked "Marriage Group" and apparently some critics think it is meant to be Chaucer's view on the subject; marital success comes from understanding, forgiveness and hard work. It's a "rash promise" story where-in some-one instead of making an outright refusal, instead promises something in case of meeting an apparently impossible set of conditions. This is always a mistake, since a magician or some such always comes along and achieves said goal ...more
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
English literature is downhill from Chaucer. Even as a Shakespeare scholar, I would argue this, since there are several characters in Chaucer who are as if live: The Wif of Bath, the Pardoner, the Host, the Canon's Yeoman,
and a half dozen others, at least. Shakespeare's characters, on the other hand, are all stagey, bigger than
life, infused with the stage. Or so it seems to me. Chaucer's Wif even makes colloquial grammar mistakes when she self-consciously describes what men like about women's bo
Olivia-Savannah  Roach
This was a read for university.

For what it is worth, Chaucer has a sense of humor! It wasn't what I was expecting at all. I could laugh at the stories, and I could also identify different moral tales from them all at the same time too. You've got to love books which are as cleverly constructed and well written as this. [Note: I haven't read ALL the stories. Some.]

However, I had to translate it myself as well as I was/am learning medieval English for university. At least, how to translate and re
Alex Merritt
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I may be a total nerd, but devoting a semester to reading Chaucer in middle English has been one of the best academic decisions I have ever made. One of Chaucer's short poems, The Book of the Duchess, written to condole Chaucer's patron John of Gaunt after he lost is beloved wife Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster, is among the most beautiful I have ever read. My class began to read it a year after the death of another angel, Eve Carson, UNC student body president. I'm finding it difficult to put in ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"The sore spark of peyne doth me spille;
This love hath [eek] me set in swich a place
That my desyr [he] never wol fulfille;
For neither pitee, mercy, neither grace
Can I not finde; and fro my sorwful herte,
For to be deed, I can hit nat arace.
The more I love, the more she doth me smerte;
Through which I see, with-oute remedye,
That from the deeth I may no wyse asterte;
For this day in hir servise shal I dye."
-"A Compleint to his Lady"

Geoffrey Chaucer is one of the most influential poets to ever liv
Everyone goes gooey for the Tales (not without reason). But Troilus and Criseyde is the connoisseur's Chaucer. Shorter texts are great too. Most interesting thing about the Tales is how the proto-bourgeois Hoost directs the entire thing to his own advantage.

Hoost's greatest hits include:

But by the croys which that Seint Eleyne fond,
I wolde I hadde thy coillons in myn hond
In stide of relikes or of seintuarie.
Lat kutte hem of, I wol thee helpe hem carie;
They shul be shryned in an hogges
Faith Bradham
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Chaucer is my love. Middle English is ridiculously hard for us Modern English-ers to read, but Chaucer is oh so worth it. I bought this for my Chaucer seminar, which focused on everything but the Canterbury Tales. Can I just say that everyone should read Troilus and Criseyde? No one knows about it but extreme English dorks (like myself :P ), but most scholars think it his greatest work. It's wonderful, and the characters will make you SO ANGRY! The men are so awful!
So, my conclusion. Read Chauc
Nick Gibson
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read just The Canterbury Tales from this edition. If you're interested, I recommend giving Chaucer a shot in the Middle English instead of going straight to a translation. The original language is melodious - and different enough from modern English to teach some etymology. Additionally, if you speak just one language and it's English, what other 600-year-old works of world literature do you have a shot at reading? Yes, it'll be slow going as you bounce between footnotes and some YouTube video ...more
Aaron Cance
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Holy Grail for Chaucerians. It pleased me to no end that this was on the list of required texts for my grad-level course in Chaucer because it gave me an excuse to add it to my library! There are very few works of literature in the English language as diverse as The Canterbury Tales - in turns deadly serious, baudy, unapologetically sexual, and meditative, this is arguably one of the greatest collection of stories ever written. I've read through The Canterbury Tales three times in their enti ...more
Adriano Bulla
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I remember when Professor Savoia told us this was, and I believe still is, the only complete collection of Chaucer's opus, I hurried to buy this tome, and did not think I would ever read it all, but, it looks, years on, many, to be honest, only a few 'minor' poems still elude me.

In terms of structure, there is as much as you can expect in a single volume collection of a pretty prolific poet; a general introduction, a rather detailed exposition of Chaucer's language, introductions to the major wo
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was the backbone to a Chaucer course I have recently completed. This collection contains all you'll need from Chaucer's poetry, to the ever-famous Canterbury Tales, and more. I found that although I loved the tales, Chaucer's poetry claimed a special place in my heart. His work is noble and honest. Critiquing of humanity and it's pitfalls, and it's beauty as well. He started something in his lifetime. As an educated and nobleman who was in relation with the aristocracy, he deliberately ...more
Lisa Feld
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bard
This is a massive doorstop of a book, but it's invaluable for a student or scholar: Chaucer's works in their original Middle English with definitions of words in the margins, allowing students to learn as they go and minimize disruptive flipping back and forth between the text and a dictionary.

All of the linguistic subtlety of Chaucer's original work is made clear here in a way that is lost in even the best translations. Chaucer's sense of structure and character are literary game-changers that
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
Okay, so this is THE book for Chaucer studies. However...and this is a big is NOT a reader-friendly edition. The way the footnotes are set up is completely asinine, in my opinion. This is a great edition for Chaucer scholars who have been reading Chaucer for decades and know the stories well and read Middle English just as easily as they read the newspaper. For people not in those categories, this is not the ideal edition. Look for an edition that gives definitional glosses out to t ...more
Ian Bennett
one of the Top three books on my shelves that I will grab on my way out if the house catches fire.
Apr 07, 2009 added it
Shelves: classics
If you're looking for some Chaucer, this is the best, most comprehensive collection of his work. If you're not looking for some Chaucer, well, then this book would just be a silly choice.
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Interested in English Literature
This massive tome, 1327 pages in length, was the text used in my college Chaucer class, and provides a wonderful introduction to the works of this brilliant, but frequently under-appreciated poet. It contains all of Chaucer's major works, presented in their original Middle English; and includes the famous The Canterbury Tales , The Book of the Duchess , The Parliament of Fowls , Troilus and Criseyde , and many other short pieces. The introduction and appendices provide some very useful backg ...more
Rachel Brand
Read for EN2003: Mediaeval and Renaissance Texts, 2010 - 2011

We had to read 'The Miller's Tale' and 'The Franklin's Tale' for our course. I have to admit, I wasn't exactly impressed by the former, although it was interesting to learn about the background of fabliaux, and our Old English department put on a wonderful dramatisation of it! But not really my style of humour. 'The Franklin's Tale' was much more interesting, especially with all of the unanswered questions and comparisons to romantic l
Stephanie Graves
Jan 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Completely edited with the attitude, 'Well, psh, if you don't know what 'scarpenfradish' means then too bad, NO GLOSS FOR YOU. However, we will happily tell you that 'wyf' is 'wife'. Neener Neener.'

Chaucer rocks, though.
Mark Adderley
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is the greatest edition of one of the greatest authors. Perhaps Shakespeare is greater. Perhaps.

Chaucer's ability to capture the variety and earthiness of human life is unparalleled. He is the poet of human nature.
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Full confession: I haven't read the entire thing. I have read most of it. Yes, it's in Middle English. Yes, it is awesome. Also, you totally feel accomplished once you've read a good chunk of it. Makes you feel all hardcore and stuff. Chaucer is the mad note.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recentlyread
Full disclosure: I skipped the longer translations from other writers.
Aug 10, 2009 rated it liked it
I've only read parts, but I love Chaucer. It's hard to read, but it's worth it. I love his characterizations!
Cassandra Kay Silva
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing edition, my father owns this copy and I am so jealous!
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant edition that really helped me get to grips with Chaucer.
Kerry & naomi
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper, given-away
The Riverside Chaucer is considered the definitive text for what scholars believe belong to the body of work written and/or translated by Geoffrey Chaucer, “the father of English literature.” The editors have reproduced the entire text in Middle English which does take some getting used to. Fortunately, the editors provide introductions, copious “translation to modern English” footnotes, a glossary of Middle English words, and lengthy anecdotal footnotes that discuss various interpretations, exp ...more
I was apprehensive about reading Chaucer due to what I thought was an incorrigible phobia - so unfortunately and tragically cultivated during high school - for everything that is Chaucer. "Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote..." What? What? What?

Well, having read, in Middle English, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, The Parliament of Fowls, The House of Fame, his translation of Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy (titled "Boece"), and Troilus and Crisseyde, I must say the phobia was noth
Dave Maddock
What follows is a review of this book itself, not its contents. Chaucer rules; this book sucks. Here's why:

Let me state at the outset that I am not an anti-capitalist. Quite the contrary. I think free markets are awesome, unfairly denigrated, and usually blamed for things that are actually the result of unfree markets. This book is a classic case.

This book is a chore in every sense: to buy, to carry, to read, to cite. No consumer would choose this book of their own free will. For the cost, you c
Reading Chaucer in the original Middle English is a monumental chore; I certainly don't recommend it to the faint of heart or the dictionary-phobic. There are, however, some moments that are worth the effort, and almost all of them are found in the Canterbury Tales rather than in the many other works included in this volume. The Parliament of Fowls is a good read too, and a good pair with the Tales (both address Chaucer's feelings about the hierarchy of social classes). The best of the Tales are ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
I won't lie and say that I read everything in here in the Middle English. The rating is partially due to the quality of the book (physically, it's one of the nicest looking books I have seen) and the critical material that is also contained within. The introductions and glossary and footnotes are outstanding. Reading the stories without context, I would likely rate them a 2 or 3, but Chaucer deserves some respect considering the time period of their composition. Very clever for him as somewhat o ...more
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Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343 – October 25, 1400?) was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Although he wrote many works, he is best remembered for his unfinished frame narrative The Canterbury Tales. Sometimes called the father of English literature, Chaucer is credited by some scholars as being the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacu ...more
“Ful wys is he that kan himselve knowe.” 28 likes
“He hath considered shortly, in a clause
The trespas of hem bothe, and eek the cause,
And althogh that his ire hir gilt accused,
Yet in his resoun he hem bothe excused,
As thus: he thoghte wel that every man
Wol helpe himself in love if that he kan,
And eek delivere himself out of prisoun;”
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