The Canterbury Tales Essay

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In the following essay, Lenaghan examines the "General Prologue" as a historical document, asserting that it offers "a richer sense of a civil servant's values than the usual documents afford."

The "General Prologue" is often called a picture of its age and, frequently in the next breath, a satire. In English Lit. this usually draws a stern lecture about confusing the distinction between literature and history, but in this essay, unobserved by my sophomores, I propose to talk about the "General Prologue" as a picture of its age and then, tentatively, about some uses such history might be put to by historians and literary students.

The "General Prologue" has an obvious historical interest as a series of discrete bits of information about dress, customs, etc.; but if it is to be considered as a more general historical formulation, there is a question of coherence. Is Chaucer's fictional society...

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This section contains 4,622 words
(approx. 12 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Canterbury Tales Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Canterbury Tales from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.