Geoffrey Chaucer: 
The Electronic Canterbury Tales

Daniel T. Kline | U of Alaska Anchorage | Dept of English | CV | Pedagogy  


"But now to yow, ye loveres that ben here,  Was Troilus nought in a kankedort?"

Troilus and Criseyde 
2: 1751-52


Electronic Canterbury Tales - Kankedort.Net Index Page

  1. The Canterbury Tales in Middle English

  2. The Canterbury Tales in Translation

  3. General Historical & Cultural Backgrounds

  4. Sources, Analogues, & Related Texts

  5. Online Notes & Commentary

  6. Online Articles & Books

  7. Student Projects & Essays

  8. Online Bibliography

  9. Syllabi & Course Descriptions

  10. Images & Multimedia

  11. Audio Files & Language Helps

  12. Potpourri

  13. Additional Resources

  14. Scholar's Dozen

  15. What's New? Recent Additions to the ECT

Web Resources by Tale 

Electronic Canterbury Tales - Kankedort.Net Index Page

Fragment I / Group A
The General Prologue
The Knight's Tale
The Miller's Prologue & Tale
The Reeve's Prologue & Tale
The Cook's Prologue & Tale

Fragment II / Group B1
The Man of Law's Introduction, Prologue, Tale, & Epilogue

Fragment III / Group D
The Wife of Bath's Prologue & Tale
The Friar's Prologue & Tale
The Summoner's Prologue & Tale

Fragment IV / Group E
The Clerk's Prologue & Tale
The Merchant's Prologue, Tale, & Epilogue
Fragment V / Group F
The Squire's Introduction & Tale
The Franklin's Prologue & Tale

Fragment VI / Group C
The Physician's Tale
The Pardoner's Introduction, Prologue, & Tale

Fragment VII / Group B2
The Shipman's Tale
The Prioress's Prologue & Tale
The Prologue & Tale of Sir Thopas
The Tale of Melibee
The Monk's Prologue & Tale
The Nun's Priest's Prologue,
Tale, & Epilogue

Fragment VIII / Group G
The Second Nun's Prologue & Tale
The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue & Tale

Fragment IX / Group H 
The Manciple's Prologue & Tale

Fragment X / Group I
The Parson's Prologue & Tale
The Retraction

The Electronic Canterbury Tales:

Troilus and Criseyde


An Online Compendium and Companion
to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales


Printed Editions, & E-Texts

Although not Chaucer related, the Archimedes Palimpsest, detailing the efforts of scientists and scholars to recover the earliest Greek text of Archimedes' The Method, Stomachion, and On Floating Bodies beneath the text of a 10th century prayer book, is a fascinating website describing state-of-the art conservation and recovery technologies applied to a medieval manuscript. Well worth a look.

1.  In Middle English

 The University of Virginia e-text collection has a searchable version of the Canterbury Tales (based upon Robinson, 1957), at the UVa main page.

Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse has a large number of important primary texts, often older Early English Text Society volumes. The new editions also boast an upgraded search engine (Paul Schaffner & Perry Willett, UMichigan). Most important for Chaucer studies are the Chaucer Society editions of important early  manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales (edited by the indefatigable Furnivall), including:

Arnie Sanders (Goucher College) has written a brief "explanation for how the manuscripts of CT were placed in "families," and how manuscripts get accidentally altered in production.  The errors actually turned out to help us discover the relationships among the MSS." See also his nice introduction to Canterbury Tale Orders

L. Kip Wheeler offers a very nice overview of manuscript issues in his Manuscript Talk (Carson-Newman College). Requires MS PowerPoint.

Read the General Prologue, Fragment I, Fragment III, and the Shipman and Pardoner's Tales in the famous Hengwrt manuscript (Hg, Nat. Lib. Wales Peniarth 392), one of the two most important early manuscripts, at the University of Toronto's Representative Poetry On-line site (e-text by Ian Lancashire). The Chaucer link will take you to the Hengwrt transcriptions. The Ellesmere ms (El) is the other important early manuscript.

2.  In Modern English Translation

Scott Gettman's edition of the Canterbury Tales (Electronic Literature Foundation) is accessible by individual tale & available in a variety of formats:  Middle English, Modern English, Facing Page, & Interpolated - Glossed (frames; from unknown base text).

  • Although unsuitable for formal research or college work, the ELF is the best online version for younger readers and those unfamiliar with Middle English. Easily navigable, and the Middle English glosses are very helpful.

The Litrix Reading Room translation of the Canterbury Tales features rhyming couplets.

Sinan Kökbugur's helpfully glossed hypertext Middle English rendition of the complete Canterbury Tales is available at the Librarius page. Use the Table of Contents in the left frame to click on a specific Tale, and difficult terms and phrases are glossed in the lower frame. 

Skip Knox's selection of Canterbury Tales in Modern English (Boise State) includes the Prologue to the Second Nun's Tale and the Second Nun's Tale (from an unknown base text).

3.  Historical & Cultural Backgrounds

The Studio for Digital Projects and Research (NYU) has put together a helpful page detailing aspects of the Canterbury Tales Project (DeMontfort U), including the 88 known pre-1500 witnesses to the text of the Canterbury Tales.

See the Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University, Budapest's Medieval Manuscript Manual for a detailed overview of medieval manuscript production techniques, examples, and cultural context. The Table of Contents follows:

4.  Sources, Analogues, & Related Texts

5.   Online Notes & Commentary

David Scott Wilson-Okamura (East Carolina U) has developed a fine classroom exercise, with bibliography, illustrating Examples of Chaucerian Revision and "describing examples of authorial revision in the Canterbury Tales. Probably best used in conjunction with a facsimile of the Hengwrt manuscript." In Wilson-Okamura's own words, "Note: author buys Ralph Hanna's booklet theory of Hengwrt MS without reservation, ignores N. F. Blake at his peril." Also available as a .pdf file. 

L. Kip Wheeler offers a very nice overview of manuscript issues in his Manuscript Talk (Carson-Newman College). Requires MS PowerPoint.

Arnie Saunders (Goucher College) has written a brief "explanation for how the manuscripts of CT were placed in "families," and how manuscripts get accidentally altered in production.  The errors actually turned out to help us discover the relationships among the MSS." See also his nice introduction to Canterbury Tale Orders

From Barbara Bordalejo (Canterbury Tales Project - DeMontfort U), a fully searchable online edition of Caxton's two printed editions of the Canterbury Tales: Caxton's Canterbury Tales: The British Library Copies. Search the page by page comparison of Caxton's two editions.

The Canterbury Tales Project (Peter Robinson, U of Birmingham) has generously made available a series of articles and working papers describing the CTProject in detail, including the following:

  • From The Canterbury Tales Project: Occasional Papers, Volume 1, ed. Norman Blake and Peter Robinson (Oxford: Office for Humanities Communication, 1993):
    • Norman Blake & Peter Robinson, "Preface" (pp. 1-4)

    • Norman Blake, "Editing the Canterbury Tales: An Overview" (pp. 5-18)

    • Peter Robinson & Elizabeth Solopova, "Guidelines for Transcription of the Manuscripts of the Wife of Bath's Prologue" (pp. 19-52)

    • Robert O'Hara & Peter Robinson, "Computer-assisted Methods of Stemmatic Analysis" (pp. 53-74)

    • Daniel Mosser, "A New Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales" (pp. 75-84)

    • Stephen Partridge, "The Canterbury Tales Glosses and the Manuscript Groups" (pp. 85-94)

  • From The Canterbury Tales Project: Occasional Papers, Volume 2, ed. Norman Blake and Peter Robinson (Oxford: Office for Humanities Communication, 1997):

    • Norman Blake & Peter Robinson: "Preface" (pp. 1-4)

    • Norman Blake: "The Project's Lineation System" (pp. 5-14)

    • Simon Horobin: "Editorial Assumptions and the Manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales" (pp. 15-21)

    • Beverly Kennedy: "Contradictory Responses to the Wife of Bath as evidenced by Fifteenth-Century Manuscript Variants" (pp. 23-39)

    • Daniel W. Mosser: "The Language, Hands and Interaction of the Two Scribes of the Egerton 2726 Chaucer Manuscript (En1" (pp. 41-53)

    • Michael Pidd & Estelle Stubbs: "From Medieval Manuscripts to Electronic Text: A Transcriber's Tale" (pp. 55-59)

    • Michael Pidd, Estelle Stubbs & Claire E. Thomson: "The Hengwrt Canterbury Tales: Inadmissible Evidence?" (pp. 61-68)

    • Peter Robinson: "A Stemmatic Analysis of the Fifteenth-Century Witnesses to The Wife of Bath's Prologue" (pp. 69-132)

    • Elizabeth Solopova: "The Problem of Authorial Variants in The Wife of Bath's Prologue" (pp. 133-142)

    • Elizabeth Solopova: "Chaucer's Metre and Scribal Editing in the Early Manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales" (pp. 143-164)

    • Reviews: of the Variorum General Prologue; of The Canterbury Tales: Fifteenth-Century Continuations and Additions; of the Cowen/Kane edition of The Legend of Good Women (pp. 165-179)

  • From the Canterbury Tales Project CDs:

Barbara Bordalejo, current director of the Canterbury Tales Project, has also generously made her two dissertations available online (unrevised):

Bordalejo also states, "Although these versions are thought to be the same as those publically available through University of Michigan, as a textual critic I am aware that 'textual control' is never as strict as one thinks. I would appreciate if you could contact me if you intend to quote from these works."

6.  Online Articles & Books

  Timothy A. Shonk explicates the creation of an important early manuscript in B.L. Harley MS 7333: The "Publication" of Chaucer in the Rural Areas Essays in Medieval Studies 15 (1998): 81-90.  

  Paul G. Remley's An Electronic Reading-Text of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a fine (early) accounting of new forms of e-textuality and their application to the Tales.

7.  Student Projects & Essays

Anniina Jokkinen's Essays and Articles on Chaucer includes a number of sample student essays, of varying quality.  Like any other source, student essays must be evaluated rigorously, cited correctly, and  used responsibly.

8.  Online Bibliography

9.  Syllabi & Course Descriptions

See Steven Reimer's excellent online course, Manuscript Studies: Medieval and Early Modern (U of Alberta), for an excellent introduction and overview to the composition and development of medieval texts. The Table of Contents is as follows: 

10.  Images & Multimedia

The B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library at Long Island University has made available a number of images of the stunningly beautiful Ellesmere ms:

You can easily see difference in quality of the El ms as compared to most other pre-1500 Chaucer ms. 

The British Library has generously made available a stunning online resource, Treasures in Full: Caxton's Chaucer. You can examine the two Caxton editions of The Canterbury Tales (1476 and 1483) individually or compare them tale by tale. Transcriptions of these images can then be examined folio by folio in Barbara Bordalejo's online edition (Canterbury Tales Project, De Montfort University). See also at this site:

The University of Wisc - Milwaukee has put together a beautiful collection of important Canterbury Tales manuscripts and printed editions in the series Geoffrey Chaucer | The Canterbury Tales, The Classic Text: Traditions and Interpretations.   This guided tour through the history of Canterbury Tales editions includes images from the Ellesmere Chaucer (1400-05), Cambridge MS Gg.4.27 (1410-15), Caxton (1478), Wight (1561), Lintot (1721), Tyrwhitt (1786), Pickering (1852), Kelmscott (1896), through a number of rare modern editions.  A very handsome exhibit and case study in the history of the book.

Currently Offline Images of Oxford, Corpus Christi College, MS. 198, an important 15th century Canterbury Tales manuscript, is now available online (Oxford U). 

See images of the Hengwrt ms at the National Library of Wales website.

See the detailed images at Kevin Kiernan's webpage (UKentucky) of 

  • (Hg) National Library of Wales MS. Peniarth 392 D

  • (El) Henry E. Huntington Library MS. El.26C.9

  • (La) British Library MS. Lansdowne 851

The Huntington Library Press has released several images online in conjunction with their publication, The Ellesmere Manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, by Herbert C. Schulz.

The University of Chicago has issued a centennial celebration that includes profiles of noted faculty, like J.M. Manley and Edith Rickert:

  • "In 1924, John Matthews Manly proposed a systematic study of the complete works of Geoffrey Chaucer, anticipating that the work "would necessarily require several years." Although the "several years" were to become sixteen, Manly and his collaborator, Edith Rickert, produced the eight-volume edition of The Text of the Canterbury Tales (1940) that was immediately hailed as the defining work in the field of Chaucerian studies."
  • Their discoveries included University of Chicago Ms. 564, a "mid-fifteenth-century codex is one of fifty-seven relatively complete manuscript copies of the Tales and one of only two containing a passage from the 'Tale of Melibeus'."

11.  Language Helps & Audio Files

12. Potpourri

13.  The Next Step

Google Academic Resources

Google Scholar

Google Scholar

Google Book

Google Custom Search: 

  • The Kankedort Medieval Search Engine

I welcome your suggestions for suitable websites. Please be patient as I tune the search terms. 

The Poor Medieval Scholar's
Electronic Bookshelf


The Electronic Canterbury Tales

This subpage of the Electronic Canterbury Tales offers several features:

  • The Poor Scholar's Electronic Bookshelf: No cost books (generally older studies) available via the Google Books project and other public online projects. 

  • The ECT Bookshop: Scroll down to the Electronic Canterbury Tales Bookshop (with recommended titles) hosted by

  • Online Search Links will take you to major online booksellers and homepages to lesser-known but excellent specialty bookshops.

I'll cross-list the recommended Google Books on the appropriate webpage throughout the Electronic Canterbury Tales under Online Articles & Books (on the expanded Electronic Canterbury Tales - Kankedort.Net Index Page) and also detail them on the webpages devoted to specific Canterbury Tales or associated pages). 

This will be an ongoing project, so check back periodically for new finds!

note6326.gif (244 bytes)
How to Document
Print & Electronic Sources:
The Chaucer Pedagogy
Documentation Primer


The Poor Medieval Scholar's Electronic Bookshelf

(no cost, older academic books, in .pdf form from the 
Google Library Project)

The Electronic Canterbury Tales Bookshop

(recommended books for the study of Chaucer and Late-Medieval England, hosted by

The Kankedort
Gift Shoppe

(with many serious and some silly offerings for the medievalist in your life)

About This Website

ECT Revision History:
What's New?

Headings, Organization, &
Criteria for Inclusion


Additional Chaucer Pages in The Electronic Canterbury Tales

Chaucer the Pilgrim-Narrator & Author

Chaucer's "Orphan" Pilgrims - Those without a Tale

The Frame Tale, Later Continuations,
& Chaucerian Apocrypha

Manuscripts, Printed Editions, & Electronic Texts

Electronic Chaucer Texts:
What's Available Online?

Chaucer in / and Popular Culture

Troilus and Criseyde

Documentation Primer

Chaucer Pedagogy Page

Major Medieval Conferences Websites

International Congress on Medieval Studies (Western Michigan Univ. (Kalamazoo, MI)

International Medieval Congress, Univ. of Leed (Leeds England)


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The Electronic Canterbury Tales 

  © 1998-2007 Daniel T. Kline & All rights reserved

This page was last revised on 01.05.07.