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The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story

The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story Resources


Full Text of the Tales

Handy online version of the Tales, with facing-page modern English "translation" next to the original Middle English. Within the text itself, you can click on many of the words to be taken directly to the word's definition.

Searchable Full Text

The Electronic Literature Foundation (ELF)'s version of the Tales are fully searchable, available in facing page Middle English – modern English "translation," and illustrated with pictures from the Ellesmere manuscript.

Tales Background Info

The late, great Professor Jane Zatta's website compiles helpful background information on many of the tales, including current scholarly opinions and probable sources for the tales.

Movie or TV Productions

2003 BBC Miniseries

This is a modern adaptation of some of the tales. In the first episode, "The Miller's Tale," a tenant tries to seduce his landlord's wife.

A Knight's Tale, 2001

No, it doesn't actually have anything to do with the Knight's tale we find in the Canterbury Tales. But Paul Bettany delightfully plays the character Chaucer, who's funny, self-deprecating, and kind of like we've always imagined he would be if he showed up at a dinner party.

Historical Documents

The Hengwrt Chaucer

You have to pay if you want the full digital edition of the Hengwrt manuscript, but the demonstration lets you view a few pages for free! The coolest feature is the part that lets you view the Hengwrt manuscript side by side with the Ellesmere.

Blake Painting Fights Old Battle

News blurb about the Tate Britain obtaining William Blake's engraving The Canterbury Pilgrims to hang next to rival Thomas Stothard's composition of the same theme. Story accompanied by images of both compositions.


"The Criyng and the Soun"
This page collects audio files of Chaucer read aloud from all over the web. Most of the recordings are meant as resources to help students learn the pronunciation of Middle English.
The Canterbury Road to Modern England

NPR reporting follows the road from London to Canterbury – the same route followed by the Canterbury pilgrims – to have a look at English society as it has evolved over the last six centuries. Some surprising parallels between medieval and modern characters are revealed.

Out Loud

Listen to medievalist Jane Zatta read lines 1-42 of the "General Prologue" in Middle English.

Resources to Help Students Learn Middle English

Teach Yourself to Read Middle English

This page, provided by Harvard, offers ten lessons that start with a general explanation of the principles of Middle English pronunciation and move on to actual practice with the tales themselves.

A Basic Chaucer Glossary

This is a helpful glossary of Middle English terms often used in Chaucer. The 100 most common words are denoted by an asterisk.

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