Geoffrey Chaucer Online:
The Electronic Canterbury Tales

Daniel T. Kline | U of Alaska Anchorage | Chaucer Pedagogy | CV | What's New? Revision History

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

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

If you need just one book
 about the Canterbury Tales, this is it!

Helen Cooper's
 Oxford Guide to the Canterbury Tales

 The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

A Guide to the Criticism -
Takes a chronological approach to critical disputes over the General Prologue from the 1880's to present


Related Schools, Programs, and Local & Regional Organizations

The Single Best Site for Online Term Paper & College Essay

See especially the Purdue OWL publications:

Related Medieval Studies Course and Web Pages

Societies & Organizations 

Websites for Calls for Papers

Call for Papers database from the University of Pennsylvania CFP listserv

Major Medieval Conferences Websites

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

International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds

Schools, Programs, and Local & Regional Organizations

  Journal & Newsletter Homepages

An Academic Listserv (from Edwin Duncan, Towson U)


An Online Compendium and Companion 
to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

The General Prologue

Edwin Duncan (Towson U) has developed a sophisticated Electronic Edition of the General Prologue to Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Mouse-overs supply definitions of difficult terms.

1.  In Middle English

The General Prologue at the University of Virginia's Electronic Text Center (from Robinson 1957).

Read the General Prologue in the context of Fragment I - Group A.

Read the General Prologue according to the Hengwrt ms (Hg), one of the two most important early manuscripts, at the University of Toronto's Representative Poetry On-line site. The Ellesmere ms (El) is the other important early edition.

The General Prologue at the University of Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Verse and Prose (from Robinson 1957).

The General Prologue in Sinan Kökbugur's hypertext edition at the Librarius homepage.  Helpful glosses of Middle English terms and phrases (frames; from unknown base text).

  • Although The Riverside Chaucer is the current standard academic text, Robinson's 1957 edition is still serviceable for critical study.

2.  In Modern English Translation

The General Prologue in facing page translation (Paul Halsall, IMSB).

A Reader-Friendly Edition of the General Prologue by Michael Murphy (CUNY-Brooklyn), each tale featuring a handsome introduction. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The Electronic Library Foundation's edition of the Canterbury Tales, 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.

From John Dahle's MA thesis (on the possibilities for a hypertext Canterbury Tales), An Annotated Hypertext Version of the General Prologue and An Example of Hypertext Versioning and the General Prologue (Iowa State U.)

3.  Historical & Cultural Backgrounds

Although a commercial site,, specialists in pewter, has affordable and lovely modern reproductions of pilgrim badges and ampullae from medieval Canterbury, including:

I receive no royalties from sales, unfortunately.

The Canterbury Pilgrims would have encountered both these places as part of their pilgrimage to Thomas a Becket's shrine at Canterbury:

The Canterbury Pilgrims are on their way to Canterbury Cathedral, where the "holy blissful martyr" Thomas Becket was murdered.  Read the accounts of his life and death and about his controversy with Henry II at the excellent Thomas Becket page (Scott McLetchie, Loyola - New Orleans), especially the primary texts recounting Becket and the murder (from McLetchie's page):

The Wife of Bath made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem, quite an achievement for the time. The University of Southern Colorado, Department of History has put together a very fine Traveling to Jerusalem website, detailing pilgrim accounts from the 3rd century to the present day.  See, for example, the accounts by 

Jessica A. Browner's article, though a little after Chaucer's period, catches some of the flavor of Southwerk, the Tabard, and the pilgrimage party in  "Wrong Side of the River: London's Disreputable South Bank in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Essays in History 36 (1994): 34-72.

See also McLetchie's excellent Pictorial Tour of Canterbury Cathedral

The "Calamitous" Fourteenth Century (Paul Hallsall, IMSB), a web page of primary sources on this pivotal century, provides important background to Chaucer's era, including the Black Death, the Great Schism, the Hundred Years War, and the "Peasant's Revolt" of 1381.

Here is a representative sample of Halsall's excellent work (lightly edited):

The "Calamitous" 14th Century

Ecclesiastical Disarray

Late Medieval Governments

End of Europe's Middle Ages (UCalgary) provides "a brief overview of the conditions at the end of Europe's Middle Ages, the tutorial is presented in a series of chapters that summarize the economic, political, religious and intellectual environment of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries."

Medieval Britain (Britannia Online) boasts an impressive array of online vignettes for all aspects of medieval British topics, including famous events, persons, places.  Highly recommended, especially for those who would like to review their British history.

Feudal Terms of England (Michael Adams, NetSERF) provides a handy glossary of technical terms familiar in the Middle Ages.

The New Advent Catholic Website hosts a number of important resources, especially the online Catholic Encyclopedia (1913 ed.) and its thousands of entries. Although reflecting an earlier ero os scholarship, entries relevant to the General Prologue include:

  Although focused on a slightly later date than Chaucer's age, Jessica A. Browner, Wrong Side of the River: London's Disreputable South Bank in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth CenturyEssays in History 36.2 (1994) is a helpful glance into the sociopolitical life of the Southwark area in the 16th and 17th centuries.  Essays in History is an annual volume published by the graduate students at the University of Virginia's Corcoran Department of History.

4.  Sources, Analogues, & Related Texts

  In the late 12th century, Marie de France composed a series of wonderful lais, short narrative poems involving courtly figures, marvelous plots, and celtic influences, and set them in a frame with a prologue.  Judith P. Shoaf (U of Florida) has generously provided verse translations of most of Marie's Lais:

Marie's Lais and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales can profitably be read in tandem, to the mutual enhancement of both!

Compare the opening of the General Prologue to the Prologue of Langland's Piers Plowman (Harvard).

The Decameron Web, dedicated to Boccaccio's frame tale series, which served as both source and inspiration for the Canterbury Tales (Brown U.)  The Decameron is set during the onset of the Bubonic Plague.

John Lydgate, a fifteenth century follower of Chaucer, imagined his Siege of Thebes to be an extension of the Canterbury Tales, the first tale on the trip home from Canterbury.  In fact, Lydgate writes himself into the Prologue to the Siege of Thebes, which is modeled upon the General Prologue.

The University of Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse has digitized two important late-medieval tale collections:

For a different kind of travel narrative, an edition of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville is available via ftp from Project Gutenberg (tosjm.txt, 433 kb &, 152 kb) 

5.  Online Notes & Commentary

  L. Kip Wheeler offers a handout on Medieval Numerology (Carson-Newman College)

Discussion and links concerning the General Prologue on Larry D. Benson's superlative Harvard Chaucer Page (Harvard U).  Some of the items related to the General Prologue include:

Scott McLetchie (Loyola - New Orleans) offers a splendid virtual tour of Canterbury Cathedral in his A Pilgrimage to Canterbury to the Shrine of St. Thomas.

Summaries and lecture notes concerning the genre, structure, and pilgrim portraits in the General Prologue (Daniel T. Kline, U. of Alaska Anchorage).

6.  Online Books & Articles

A generous new online publishing venture: The University of California E-Scholarship Editions. "University of California Press now offers electronic versions of almost all of its journal titles and over 1400 books online, many of them out of print." E-journals are available to subscriber institutions; 400 full texts, many covering medieval topics, are available to the general public; the rest to members of the UC community.

A selection of Chaucer-related and medieval studies titles available to the general public include:

Chaucer Sourcebook, from the Harvard Chaucer Page, offers a number of classic and professional essays from noted Chaucerians, including:

  • E. Talbot Donaldson, "Chaucer the Pilgrim." PMLA 69 (1954): 928-37. A classic article.
  • All articles on the Harvard Chaucer Page reprinted by permission.

Essays in Medieval Studies features full-text articles from the proceedings of the Illinois Medieval Association, online version edited by Allen J. Frantzen (Loyola - Chicago), including:

Anniina Jokinen's Luminarium features Essays and Articles on Chaucer.  

From the Teaching Chaucer in the 90s  post-print from Exemplaria (ed. Christine Rose, Portland State): Cathalin Folks's Of Sondry Folk: The Canterbury Pilgrimage as Metaphor for Teaching Chaucer at the Community College

The Chronotope of Real-Time and Real-Space in Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrimage; Sociological Poetics and the Canterbury Tales; and Pilgrimage in the Age of Schism (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.

Sam Schuman (UMinnesota-Morris) offers interesting fare in an essay entitled "On the Road to Canterbury, Liliput and Elphinstone - The Rough Guide: Satiric Travel Narratives in Chaucer, Swift and Nabokov" from the e-journal Zembla, an online journal devoted to Nabokov.

Compare Chaucer's self-presentation in the Canterbury Tales with his contemporary Thomas Usk in Andrew Galloway's web article, "Private Selves and the Intellectual Marketplace in Late 14th Century England: The Case of the Two Usks." Cite as a web document.

  • See R. A. Shoaf's e-text of Usk's Testament of Love and the ample ancillary materials.

7.  Student Projects & Essays

Dene Scoggins' English 316 site (UT Austin) explores "culture, ideology, and issues of canonicity" in the Canterbury Tales, including a student developed page devoted to the General Prologue and each of the pilgrim portraits.

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.

  Mr. Davis's senior English class at Troy High School has put together a fun web page comparing Chaucer's pilgrims to contemporary personalities.

8.  Online Bibliography

9.  Syllabi & Course Descriptions

10.  Images & Multimedia

The Costume Page - Medieval Era Costume (Julie Zetterberg) contains links that will give you some sense of the clothing worn by the Canterbury pilgrims.

11.  Language Helps & Audio Files

Sample audio files (.wav, .au, .aiff) from the General Prologue, recorded at Brigham Young University in 1990, are available from the Chaucer Studio (Paul Thomas, Brigham Young).

12. Potpourri

Map of Medieval England, c. 1399 (Paul Halsall, IMSB), from Muir's Historical Atlas (1911).

Map of Medieval London (Paul Halsall, IMSB), from Muir's Historical Atlas (1911).

13.  The Next Step

The Electronic Canterbury Tales
Scholar's Dozen

  1. The Online Chaucer Bibliography (Mark E. Allen, UT San Antonio) is from Studies in the Age of Chaucer and the New Chaucer Society. Another excellent project. Searchable by keyword and other Boolean terms.

  2. The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography, vols. 1-30  (Peter Beidler, Lehigh U. & Martha Kalnin, Baylor U). Originally published as the April 1997 issue of Chaucer Review and now put into html, this website provides a searchable list of all of the nearly 800 articles that have appeared in Chaucer Review, and, more important, a subject index to all of those articles. Excellent, and an invaluable resource.

  3. The Essential Chaucer (Mark E. Allen, UT San Antonio and John H. Fisher, UTennessee). This selective, annotated bibliography of Chaucer studies from 1900-1984 is divided into almost 90 topics, including themes, techniques, and individual works by Chaucer.  An invaluable starting point. See the Table of Contents

  4. The best single site devoted to the Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales, The Harvard Chaucer Page, is a tutorial in itself, brought to the WWW by Larry D. Benson, gen. ed. of The Riverside Chaucer. Check the Index for easy access to the wealth of primary and secondary material there.

  5. Paul Halsall's consummate Internet Medieval Sourcebook (Fordham U) offers a wealth of primary historical and cultural texts (from older print sources) and commentary on its numerous sub-pages. Comprehensive, and unsurpassed for medieval studies. See, for example, The 'Calamitous' Fourteenth Century.

  6. TEAMS Middle English Text Series (Russell Peck, URochester) houses a number of lesser known and hard to find medieval texts in helpful student editions. A generous and fascinating selection not to be missed! Each selection includes a scholarly introduction and full notes. 

  7. 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).

  8. The Middle English Collection of the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center includes searchable editions of a number of important ME texts (generally from older editions without the critical apparatus), including:

  9. The Middle English Dictionary is online at the UMichigan site. You have to access the individual password month by month. Note: The MED seems now to be temporarily offline, or perhaps inaccessible for the moment to individual users.

  10. A real boon for scholars, 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.

  11. 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.

  12. The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies (Kathryn Talarico, gen. ed.) "is an academic site, written and maintained by medieval scholars for the benefit of their fellow instructors and serious students. All articles have been judged by at least two peer reviewers. Authors are held to high standards of accuracy, currency, and relevance to the field of medieval studies."

  13. For a peer-reviewed, academically sound evaluation of online Chaucer resources, see the links and annotations at the Chaucer Metapage project (gen. eds. Joe Wittig, UNC & Edwin Duncan, Towson State U).

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How to Document

Print & Electronic Sources:
The Chaucer Pedagogy
Documentation Primer

Writing Resources (from


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