The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story Resources
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Listen to medievalist Jane Zatta read lines 1-42 of the "General Prologue" in Middle English.
Resources to Help Students Learn 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.
This is a helpful glossary of Middle English terms often used in Chaucer. The 100 most common words are denoted by an asterisk.