A group of pilgrims amuse themselves by competing to tell the best story they know on the way to Canterbury. More than a score of stories are told by a diverse range of characters including the Knight, the Miller, the Prioress, the Monk, the Wife of Bath, the Friar, the Merchant, and the Franklin. Some tales are ribald, some moral and some fantastic.
Geoffrey Chaucer is one of the most competent and careful observers in English literature. In The Canterbury Tales, he provides a realistic picture of ordinary daily life in medieval England, fully displaying his genius for character portrayal. Thanks to his motley assortment of characters, they are as fresh and enjoyable as ever. The verse translation by David Wright is eminently readable.