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


The "Frame Tale," Continuations, and Chaucerian Apocrypha

The "Frame Tale" is the term used to describe the story of the tale-telling contest between pilgrims and their interactions with the Host, Harry Bailly, and it details their interactions during the incomplete pilgrimage to Canterbury. Comprised of the "links" between tales (both prologues and endlinks), the Frame Tale contains some of the most famous moments in the Canterbury Tales, like the Miller's drunken intervention after the Knight's Tale and the Pardoner's interruption of the Wife of Bath.

After Chaucer's death and the compilation of the Canterbury Tales into manuscripts, later authors attempted to complete unfinished tales or add to the Canterbury collection. At the same time, other anonymous medieval tales were sometimes added to different segments of the Canterbury Tales and were then attributed to Chaucer. Those "continuations" or "additions" have been found by modern scholarship to be "apocryphal"--that is, attributed to Chaucer but likely not actually written by him.

Nonetheless, these tales, links, and fragments have exerted profound influence on the development of Chaucer studies and our understanding of Chaucer's work and its "reception"--that is, how subsequent readers have received and understood Chaucer and his work.

Manuscripts, Printed Editions, and e-Texts - A new page in the Electronic Canterbury Tales provides access to different manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, a topic closely related to the Frame Tale, Continuations, and Chaucerian Apocrypha.

New on this Web Page

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.

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. 

1.  The Logic of the "Fragment" (Joe Wittig, UNC)

2.  The Canterbury "Links" in Middle English

Fragment I / Group A

The General Prologue
The Miller's Prologue
The Reeve's Prologue
The Cook's Prologue
The Introduction to the Man of Law's Tale
The Man of Law's Prologue
The Man of Law's Epilogue

Fragment II / Group B1

Fragment III / Group D

The Wife of Bath's Prologue
(The Pardoner's Interruption of the Wife, lines 163-69)
The Friar's Prologue
The Summoner's Prologue
The Clerk's Prologue
The Merchant's Prologue
The Merchant's Epilogue

Fragment 4 / Group E

Fragment 5 / Group F

The Squire's Prologue
The Franklin's Words to the Squire
The Franklin's Prologue
The Introduction to the Pardoner's Tale
The Pardoner's Prologue

Fragment 6 / Group C

Fragment 7 / Group B2

The Words of the Host to the Prioress
The Prioress' Prologue
The Prologue to the Tale of Sir Thopas
The Host's Interruption of the Tale of Sir Thopas
The Monk's Prologue
The Knight's Interruption of the Monk's Tale
The Epilogue of the Nun's Priest's Tale
The Second Nun's Prologue
The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue

Fragment 8 / Group G

Fragment 9 / Group H

The Manciple's Prologue
The Parson's Prologue
Chaucer's Retraction

Fragment 10 / Group I


Spurious Links Many other links are preserved in early manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales.  However, in the opinion of many scholars, they probably were not written by Chaucer, though a few might indicate Chaucer's revisions.  Rather, often inserted by scribes, the "spurious links" usually represent:

  • (1) an attempt to create a rough anthology out of tales acquired separately or, perhaps, 

  • (2) early readers and editors' alternative ideas about how the Canterbury Tales could be ordered.

3.  Spurious Tales, Continuations, & Chaucerian Apocrypha

From the TEAMS Middle English Text volume, The Canterbury Tales: Fifteenth- Century Continuations and Additions, edited with an Introduction to the Links by John M. Bowers. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University for TEAMS, 1992.

  John Lydgate's Prologue to the Siege of Thebes

  • Lydgate, a younger contemporary and follower of Chaucer's, composed his Siege of Thebes to be the first tale on the pilgrims' return trip from Canterbury.  Through the Prologue to the Siege, written in imitation of the General Prologue, Lydgate inserts himself into the Canterbury troupe and becomes a tale-teller in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. 
  • From the TEAMS Middle English Text volume, The Canterbury Tales: Fifteenth- Century Continuations and Additions, edited with an Introduction to the Prologue by John M. Bowers. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University for TEAMS, 1992.

  The Tale of Beryn

  The Floure and the Leafe

  The Ploughman's Tale

  • An idealized figure, the Ploughman, brother to Chaucer's Parson, was associated with The Ploughman's Tale by some early editors. 
  • From the TEAMS Middle English Text volume, The Canterbury Tales: Fifteenth- Century Continuations and Additions, edited with an Introduction to the Ploughman's Tale by John M. Bowers. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University for TEAMS, 1992.
  • These tales are in the tradition of Piers Plowman, Langland's great dream vision, one of the most popular in later medieval England.  Entire B-Text (Schmidt, 1978; 500kb) or Table of Contents (by passus number).

  The Tale of Gamelyn

Long considered a "Scottish Chaucerian," Robert Henryson (c. 1430-c.1506) wrote two poems important to Chaucer's legacy:

The Fictitious "Rebel's Tale" comes to us courtesy of those cultural jokesters at the ALR Advocate.

The Printer's Tale: An Unknown Chaucerian Pilgrim (David Byram-Wigfield, Capella Archive) purports to be "a surviving galley proof of a page of the Kelmscott Chaucer, published by William Morris in 1896. This facsimile shows the text of an hitherto unpublished incomplete work by Chaucer entitled The Printeres Tale." continues to do a great service to the educational community by making available out-of-copyright editions of valuable older scholarly texts, like The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900, by Arthur Quiller-Couch (1919), which includes these by Chaucer's early followers and later successors:

4.  Historical & Cultural Backgrounds

5.  Online Notes & Commentary

David Wilson-Okamura (Macalester U) provides deft Examples of Chaucerian Revision

6.  Online Articles

Essays in Medieval Studies, full-text articles from the proceedings of the Illinois Medieval Association, edited by Allen J. Frantzen (Loyola - Chicago).  Some of the articles related to Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales include: 

From the Teaching Chaucer in the 90s  post-print from Exemplaria (ed. Christine Rose, Portland State): Daniel J. Pinti's Teaching Chaucer through the Fifteenth Century

Compositional Finalization in the Canterbury Tales (Frederick Martin, Tulane U), from an ongoing e-project melding critical and cultural theory & medieval studies. See Martin's e-dissertation in progress, Pilgrimage in the Age of Schism: Chaucer, Sociological Poetics, and the Canterbury Tales.

Chaotic Order in the Supertext of The Canterbury Tales (Zach Thundy, Northern Michigan U) applies chaos theory to the order of the Canterbury Tales.

Introduction to the Spurious Links by John M. Bowers

Introduction to the Prologue to the Siege of Thebes by John M. Bowers

Introduction to the Tale of Beryn by John M. Bowers

Introduction to the Floure and the Leafe by Derek Pearsall

Introduction to the Ploughman's Tale by John M. Bowers

Introduction to the Tale of Gamelyn by Stephen Knight and Thomas H. Ohlgren

7.  Student Projects & Essays

Dave Clark's MA thesis (Iowa State U) on Chaucer in the Renaissance is entitled, Reaping What Was Sown: Spenser, Chaucer, and the Plowman's Tale.

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

10.  Images & Multimedia

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)


If you're looking for it, Powell's probably has it!


And if Powell's doesn't have it, AbeBooks does!

The world's largest online marketplace for books

Barnes & Noble is Good for Current Offerings

The Electronic Canterbury Tales 

  1998-2007 Daniel T. Kline & All rights reserved

This page was last revised on 01.05.07.