The Cambridge Introduction to Chaucer

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Geoffrey Chaucer is the best-known and most widely read of all medieval British writers, famous for his scurrilous humour and biting satire against the vices and absurdities of his age. Yet he was also a poet of passionate love, sensitive to issues of gender and sexual difference, fascinated by the ideological differences between the pagan past and the Christian present, and a man of science, knowledgeable in astronomy, astrology and alchemy. This concise book is an ideal starting point for study of all his major poems, particularly The Canterbury Tales, to which two chapters are devoted. It offers close readings of individual texts, presenting various possibilities for interpretation, and includes discussion of Chaucer's life, career, historical context and literary influences. An account of the various ways in which he has been understood over the centuries leads into an up-to-date, annotated guide to further reading.