The Canterbury Tales

Written by Geoffrey Chaucer Peter Ackroyd
Review by Ann Oughton

Geoffrey Chaucer (c1343-1400) was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Best known for The Canterbury Tales he spent his life at court, first serving Edward III then his son, John of Gaunt, for whom Chaucer wrote poetry. From his house in Aldgate he was able to observe the multitude’s coming and going which undoubtedly provided a rich source of material for his writing.

Peter Ackroyd’s prose retelling of the tales brings to life all the wit, ribaldry and romance providing an insight into human nature and a glimpse of 14th-century London. The introduction explains the historical background to Chaucer, his life and times and Ackroyd’s reason for translating the work to make it accessible to the general reader. The attractive cover design is sure to attract the bookshop browser, and in truth, the entire work is nothing short of a masterpiece.