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Canterbury Tales Prologue

Chaucer, Geoffrey, 1340?-1400.
The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer in Three Volumes. London: Philip Lee Warner, 1913. 3 Volumes.
Call Number: (SPL) PR 1866 .F6 1913
Special Collections, Golda Meir Library

Image from the Miller's Tale

Limited to 500 copies, this edition is based on the text of Walter W. Skeat, who first published his edition at Oxford in 1894. Although many editions previous to Skeat's claimed to offer the "complete works" of Chaucer, they only contained poetic works. Skeat is credited with including Chaucer's prose works in his edition, and with his notes to the texts. These were notable because of his extensive research in medieval literature and etymology. As a result of this feature, this edition became very popular with students and those with little background in medieval literature. His edition contained revised versions of The Canterbury Tales and other poems which had been edited for school use.

Title page image, showing the characters from the Canterbury Tales

However, Skeat has been criticized for his liberal treatment of the text and his use of less-than-authoritative manuscripts. This shortcoming contrasts sharply with the earlier work of Tyrwhitt, whose exhaustive consultation of manuscripts set the standard for Chaucer texts.

The illustrator, Russell Flint was a painter and gift-book illustrator. Such editions included four-color reproductions of paintings printed on art paper and protected with tissues. These editions were aimed at a wider, less discriminating public.

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Prepared by Christopher Barth, Virginia Haas, and Sarah McDaniel