Geoffrey Chaucer:
The Electronic Canterbury Tales

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

Web Resources by Tale 

Electronic Canterbury Tales Home 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


Additional Pages in The Electronic Canterbury Tales


About This Website


Chaucer Metapage


Chaucer Syllabi and Course Web Pages


Language Helps


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


Chaucernet: 
An Academic Listserv (from Edwin Duncan, Towson U)


Other Academic Electronic Discussion Groups (from Edwin Duncan, Towson U)


When You Need Help Writing Essays, from Bartleby.com


The Scholar's Dozen
High Quality Web Resources

  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.
  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).

Daniel T. Kline's
 Legacy Web Pages at the U of Alaska Anchorage

Please be advised that I no longer update these pages, so many of the links are likely to be bad

So many schools now use courseware such as WebCT and Blackboard that the early experiments in individual web-based courses now appear quaint and outdated.

I am no longer actively updating these web pages but will keep them alive in the ongoing battle against "link rot."


 Use OpenOffice.org


  

 

Check out Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog, well, just because. And, no, it ain't me. And, no, I don't get a piece of this either, but I like it!


WHAT'S NEW?


About This Website

Though separated by six centuries' history, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and the World Wide Web actually share much in common.

Many of Chaucer's tales are joined by brief snippets of dialogue and action traditionally called "links"; on the WWW one "clicks" on a "hyperlink" to go to another "page" on the Web.

Chaucer's great work was constantly in revision and seems never to have found a final, definitive form.  Many of the groups of Tales, called "fragments," seem to have been "free-floating" with several possible arrangements.  By the same token, the WWW is constantly in flux.  One need never follow the same path to a subject, and new links are being added while others disappear. 

And in the same way the WWW is faced with issues of censorship, so Chaucer himself was aware that some might look critically upon a few of his tales, and so the Pilgrim-Narrator of the Canterbury Tales advised that if readers found a Tale offensive, they should turn the page and choose another tale.  He even went so far as to rethink the value of the Canterbury Tales in the Retraction.


What You'll Find

  • At this website, part of the Chaucer Metapage project, I hope to imitate at least in form the spirit of the Canterbury Tales while assembling and annotating useful links by Tale.  Each page features the same set of headings and criteria for inclusionUse the navigation bar in the left frame to take you to a webpage dedicated to that Canterbury Tale or Additional Pages dedicated issues related to the Canterbury Tales.
  • On this page, you will find a number of excellent general WWW sources related to late-medieval England in general and the Canterbury Tales in particular.

May the teacher, student, and interested reader find their own paths through the Electronic Canterbury Tales, and then add a link of their own!


New - as of Fall 2006

See Julia Bolton Holloway's original research, for as she says, "Poor Second Nun! Who thus becomes a true saint! Chaucer and his wife were honoured by the city of Norwich. Norwich and Lincoln shared in the blood libel tale Chaucer has the Prioress tell. Benedictine Carrow Priory, just outside Norwich walls, had just such a Prioress, who in Julian's time even harboured a murderer. I did a study of it, visited the remains, just the terribly grand Tudor house left that a later Prioress had built for herself there, and this research is on the web. What could help too is the essay on Julian and Judaism, as well as the essay on the Prioress and the Second Nun."

Gerard NeCastro (UMaine - Machias) has put together a wonderfully useful Chaucer Concordance: "To check on the occurrence of a specific word in Chaucer,
simply click on the name of the text you wish to search.You can search via the full texts or smaller divisions of them." A very valuable and easy to use tool.

The University of Glasgow has put together a splendid exhibit, The World of Chaucer: Medieval Books and Manuscripts (Julie Gardham and David Weston). It is the "Web version of the catalogue of an exhibition of manuscripts and early printed books from Glasgow University Library held at the Hunterian Museum 15 May to 28 August 2004." Some of the texts featured include:

  • The Canterbury Tales (England, 1476), MS Hunter 197 (U.1.1)
  • Thomas Godfrey (London, 1532), The workes of Geffray Chaucer newly printed, with dyuers workes whiche were never in print before (ed. Thynne), Hunterian Bs.2.17
  • Richard Pynson (London, 1492), The Canterbury Tales, Hunterian Bv.2.12
  • Richard Pynson (London, 1526), The Boke of Caunterbury Tales with The Boke of Fame and The Boke of Troylus and Creseyde, Hunterian Bv.2.6
  • An ABC (England, 15th Century), MS Hunter 239 (U.3.12)
  • The Romaunt of the Rose (England, c.1440), MS Hunter 409 (V.3.7)

Alison Stones (Pitt) Images of Medieval Art and Architecture has some lovely images, a terrific clickable map of pilgrimage sites in Engliand, and some especially nice maps:

"The Index of Medieval Medical Images project began in 1988 and aimed to describe and index the content of all medieval manuscript images (up to the year 1500) with medical components held in North American collections." Contains images and descriptions of each text. Search, or browse by subject, date, country of origin, and other factors. Includes a list of contributing collections. From the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi "is an international research project dedicated to the publication of medieval stained glass. Founded in 1949, the CVMA has committees in fourteen countries and over sixty-five volumes have been published so far." See their stunning (and free!) digital picture archive of over 13,000 images. You can search for images by County Index, County Map, Location Index, or a Search Form. Just as an example, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, is represented by 972 images, each identified by a Description, Window, and Panel (within the window). A valuable and well produced site.

The English Heritage website is the best single online portal to the remaining material culture of medieval England. A recent general search under "medieval" yielded 371 hits, including:

"The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) supports research, learning and teaching with high quality and dependable digital resources." The ADS site is a great portal to a variety of high quality, nationally supported web resources that often (though not exclusively) relate to medieval history and culture.The ADS houses a number of official reports, including digital images, of medieval archaeological sites around Great Britain, like

  • The Greater London Sites and Monuments Record (GLSMR), "a computerised record of information relating to historic buildings and archaeological sites in the Greater London area."
  • "The record of England's archaeological and architectural sites held by the National Monuments Record (NMR) contains over 400,000 records. It encompasses the historic environment in its widest sense and includes archaeological, architectural and historical sites from earliest times to the present day, covering England and its territorial waters."
  • "The York Archive Gazeteer contains records of nearly 1,000 excavations and watching briefs undertaken by the York Archaeological Trust since 1972. The gazeteer gives a brief description of the archaeology found at the sites and the type and period of the major archaeological features encountered."
  • Search the Archaeological Date Service by resource.

Recent Additions - Summer 2006

Manuscripts, Printed Editions, and e-Texts - A new page in the Electronic Canterbury Tales!

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.

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

I receive no royalties from billyandcharlie.com sales, unfortunately.

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. 

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.

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. See Manuscripts, Printed Editions, & e-Texts for deep linking to the CTProject site.


1.  The Canterbury Tales In Middle English

The Complete Tales in Middle English at UVa (1510 kb) or access the Tales individually by the Table of Contents.

  • Search the UVa Middle English Text Archive.

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.

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

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. 

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

2.  The Canterbury Tales In Translation

The Electronic Library Foundation's edition of the Canterbury Tales is available in a variety of format: in Middle English, Modern English, and facing page versions. Very good for student reading.

  • Unsuitable for formal academic research, the ELF edition is the best online version for younger readers and those unfamiliar with Middle English. Easily navigable, and the Middle English glosses are very helpful.

Michael Murphy (CUNY-Brooklyn) has released an expanded version of his project to "modernize" the Canterbury Tales in his Reader Friendly Edition of the General Prologue and Sixteen Tales (up from the four tales of the so called "Marriage Group"), including the General Prologue and the tales by the 

The collection of translations begins with a handsome Introduction and concludes with Endnotes. Each tale also features an introduction.  Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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

The Wiretap Canterbury Tales (from an unknown base text digitized by Ted and Florence Daniels) is incomplete and unnumbered. Not recommended.

The Canterbury Tales and other Poems of Geoffrey Chaucer (Ed. D. Laing Purves from an unknown base-text) offers an odd assortment of unnumbered texts and is probably more useful for the introductory essay than for the text and thin critical apparatus. The one advantage to this text is that it is available as an e-book download for a modest $1.75 for you digi-kiddies out there!

3.  General Historical & Cultural Backgrounds

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

Gallica, the website of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, has made available online page images of an invaluable source, the Acta Sanctorum (Deeds of the Saints), from the Bollandist Society:

Click "Periodiques" at the main page, and scroll down to "Religions chretiennes"

Index to the Rolls Series (99 volumes), with annotations (Steven H. Silver).  The Rolls Series is a vital collection of primary documents from medieval England, including chronicles, lives of kings and saints, legal records, and texts from other medieval institutions.

L. Kip Wheeler offers a Heresy Handout: A Convenient Guide to Eternal Damnation (Carson-Newman College). A .pdf file.

Lynn H. Nelson, a respected University of Kansas historian, has generously provided a series of online lectures from his History 108 course at the ORB: Online Reference Book of Medieval Studies,. The Table of Contents includes:

  Steven Muhlberger (NipissingU) has crafted a very fine introduction to Medieval England at the ORB. The Table of Contents features: 

End of Europe's Middle Ages (UCalgary) provides in tutorial form "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." 

Yuri Koszarycz has put together a series of brief lectures at the ORB entitled Ecclesiology: A Short Course on the Medieval Church. The Table of Contents includes:

Medieval Britain (Brittania 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. See the Index and especially:

Exploring Ancient World Cultures (UEvansville) is an excellent, graphics rich website particularly useful to the younger student and undergraduates. Includes subpages on the ancient cultures of the Near East, India, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Islam, and Medieval Europe.

The New Advent Catholic Website hosts a number of important resources, especially the online Catholic Encyclopedia (1913 ed.) and its thousands of entries. Although the entries in the Catholic Encyclopedia are now dated in some areas and sometimes take a polemical or triumphalistic stance toward their subjects, they offer a helpful starting point, especially for matters of Catholic doctrine and practice.  See, for example:

From the Annenberg/CPB [Corporation for Public Broadcasting] Multimedia Collection comes The Middle Ages, a beautifully done set of links, images, and brief narratives that attempt to answer the question: "What was it really like to live in the Middle Ages?" Somewhat simplistic and stereotypical descriptions, but good for younger students as an introduction are its subpages on Feudal Life, Religion, Homes, Clothing, Health, Arts and Entertainment, & Town Life.

There are a number of websites devoted to different aspects of the Black Death (or Bubonic Plague) that reached England in the winter of 1347-48 and profoundly affected all aspects of English culture during Chaucer's time:

Steve Mulberger's lecture notes to his course, History 2425 -- Medieval England (1998-9) are available via ORB.

Bartleby.com offers a number (and great variety) of standard reference works  (online and searchable). You'll have to tolerate a pop up advertisement or two when using the site, but it's only a minor distraction.

The Internet Archive Collection at the University of Toronto offers several older historical works that are still valuable as references sources (but whose findings would need to be supplemented by more recent scholarship):

From the Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. II: The End of the Middle Ages (ed. A. W. Ward & and A. R. Walker), is an interesting chapter:

  • Ch. 15: Universities and Public Schools to the Time of Colet, by the Rev. T. A. Walker:
  1. Paris and Oxford
  2. Beginnings of Oxford and Cambridge
  3. Town and Gown
  4. University and Bishop
  5. The Coming of the Friars
  6. The Schoolmen
  7. The Fall of the Friars
  8. Poor Students
  9. Walter de Merton
  10. Hugo de Balsham
  11. The Beginnings of the Colleges; The Black Death
  12. William of Wykeham, Winchester and New College
  13. Henry VI, Eton and King’s College
  14. Queen Margaret
  15. Medieval Studies; The Grammer School
  16. University Studies; The Higher Faculties
  17. Peterhouse Library and Catalogue; The Library of the Medieval Student
  18. The Education of a Young Scholar in the Middle Ages
  19. The Hour before the Renascence
  20. St. Andrews University
  21. Glasgow and Aberdeen
  22. Scottish University Studies

Please note:  Although this older criticism is substantial and important, any serious student must take into account more contemporary research. Many of these findings have been supplanted.

Other Medieval Metapages, Search Engines, and Link Sites:

4.  Sources, Analogues, & Related Texts

  • Literary Sources & Other Medieval Authors
  • Mythology and Folklore
  • Bibles and Biblical Texts
  • Theological Sources
  • Websites Devoted to Other Medieval Authors

Literary Sources & Other Medieval Authors

Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse added a number of works in Middle English directly related Chaucer and other medieval authors, including Anglo-Saxon and Early Middle English (Paul Schaffner & Perry Willett, UMichigan). A generous and admirable example of online scholarship, now numbering 146 items (but without copyrighted critical apparatus). There are far too many titles to list completely, but a sampling includes the following treats:

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. 

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:

The Middle English Compendium (UMichigan) includes many of the UVa texts, plus a few extra features--some limited to University of Michigan users.  One important initiative at Michigan is their digitizing of a number of volumes from the Early English Text Society:

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts (University College, Cork) houses cornucopia of material related to medieval Ireland, many in modern English translation, including:

  • The Annals of Ulster AD 431-1201 (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Annals of Ulster AD 1202-1378 (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Annals of Ulster AD 1379-1541(HTML and PLAIN)
  • Chronicon Scotorum (HTML & PLAIN)
  • St. Columba
    • On the Life of Saint Columba [Betha Choluim Chille] (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
    • The Life of Columba, written by Adamnan (W. Reeves)(HTML & PLAIN)
    • Monks' Rules of Columbanus (G. S. M. Walker) (HTML & PLAIN)
    • Sermons of Columbanus (G. S. M. Walker) (HTML & PLAIN)
    • Letters of Columbanus (G. S. M. Walker) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Irish Lives of Guy of Warwick & Bevis of Hampton (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Irish Version of the Historia Britonum of Nennius (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Kildare Poems Modern English by A. Lucas (HTML and PLAIN)
  • On the Life of Saint Patrick [Betha Phatraic] (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • On the Life of Saint Brigit [Betha Brigte] (W. Stokes)(HTML & PLAIN)
  • Tidings of Doomsday (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Tidings of the Resurrection (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The fifteen tokens of Doomsday (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The vision of Laisrén (HTML & PLAIN)

As of 31 July 2006, CELT offered 649 texts (many from later periods of literature, and also in SGML).

Ovid's Metamorphosis, an absolutely vital text to medieval authors, is available at the Internet Classics Archive.

See the Harvard Chaucer Page entries on Chaucer's classical and contemporary influences (Larry D. Benson):

Several web pages are dedicated to Chaucer's contemporary, William Langland, and the great poem, Piers Plowman:

  • An ambitious and astonishing project: The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive - "The long-range goal of the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive is the creation of a multi-level, hyper-textually linked electronic archive of the textual tradition of all three versions of the fourteenth-century allegorical dream vision Piers Plowman." Among the current gold standard examples of advanced humanities computing and digitization.
  • The Luminarium Langland Page is good starting place for web research.

The Online Classical and Medieval Library (Douglas B. Killings, Berkeley) "is a collection of some of the most important literary works of Classical and Medieval civilization," including:  

An online publishing venture on a par with The Cambridge History of English and American Literature (1907-21) is the appearance of the renowned Harvard Classics (New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909-17), which according to Bartleby.com is "The most comprehensive and well-researched anthology of all time comprises both the 50-volume '5-foot shelf of books' and the the 20-volume Shelf of Fiction. Together they cover every major literary figure, philosopher, religion, folklore and historical subject through the twentieth century." Indeed! Texts especially related to Chaucer and the medieval period include:

Harvard Classics (vol. 40), English Poetry I, From Chaucer to Gray reproduces a number of traditional (and some) medieval ballads, including Sir Patrick Spence, The Twa Corbie, The Three Ravens, Edward, The Twa Sisters, Hugh of Lincoln, and A Gest of Robyn Hode.

Bartleby.com continues to do a great service to the educational community by making available out-of-copyright editions of valuable older scholarly texts, including:

Mythology and Folklore

Although Chaucer drew from sources like Ovid for his mythology, Bob Fisher has done a very nice, easily accessible, and award winning online edition of Bulfinch's Mythology, in three parts:

A searchable edition (by keyword and table of contents) of Bulfinch's Mythology is also available online via Project Bartleby, in addition to Bulfinch's

Chaucer also drew upon common folktales for some of his material. See the following:
  • D. L. Ashliman's Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts (Pittsburg) provides a collection of folktales from the world over, both ancient and modern.
  • When you're stuck on a classical or mythological reference, Encyclopedia Mythica's 4300 definitions can probably help (M.F. Lindemans).
  • E. Cobham Brewer's, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (Rev. ed. 1898) comprises over 18,000 entries that reveal the etymologies, trace the origins and otherwise catalog “words with a tale to tell.”

For a real treat of 19th century anthropological thinking, you might also consider checking out the 1922 abridged edition of J.G. Frazer's classic, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (69 chapters!), for mythological themes, patterns in ancient religion, the dynamics of evil and taboos, and comparative ritual.  Frazer has been superceded by more recent research, but disciplines as diverse as anthropology, sociology, psychology, religion, and literature owe a debt to Frazer's pioneering work of synthesis.

Bibles and Biblical Texts

The Vulgate Bible, the Latin version in use in the Middle Ages, and a facing page translation of the Douay-Rheims Bible, the best translation to cite when you're working with medieval texts.

Here's another really nice facing page translation of the Latin Vulgate. You can also compare the Douah-Rheims against the King James (Authorized) Version at this site.

  The Challoner Revision of the Douay-Rheims Bible.   According to CCEL, "The Old Testament was first published by the English College at Douay A.D. 1609 & 1610.  The New Testament was first published by the English College at Rheims A.D. 1582.  The whole translation was revised and diligently compared with the Latin Vulgate by Bishop Richard Challoner A.D. 1749-1752.  He is also credited with the annotations included in this revision."

  The CCEL also has compiled Bible reference works in the World Wide Study Bible, accessible by book of the Bible.

    Just in case you get a hankering, here's H. B. Sweete's edition of The Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, in three volumes (in Greek) plus an introduction in English. Or The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament with an English Translation with facing page in Greek, by Lancelot Brenton. Both of these are digital facsimiles.

Theological Sources

St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica, the pinnacle of high medieval systematic theology, is certainly worth investigating both for the rigorous form as well as the systematic content!

The St. Pachomius Library strives "to make the literature of the early Christian Church available to all in electronic form -- for free!"  Specializes in Orthodox sources.

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) offers an unsurpassed wealth of primary sources in a variety of formats (although the digitization quality varies from text to text).  Like the online edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia, many of older secondary sources in the CCEL take polemical or apologetic stances toward their material.  Nonetheless, some of the goodies include:

Deserving its own listing, the complete 38 volume set of the Writings of the Early Church Fathers, ver. 2.0 (the Ante-, Nicene, and Post-Nicene Fathers series) is available online and searchable from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL)  at Wheaton College. Try not to get lost in the treasures here!

Evelyn Underhill's influential text Mysticism is now available online through CCEL.

Other Medieval Authors

Several of the most important influences on Chaucer have marvelous websites devoted to them and their works:

5.  Online Notes & Commentary

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, editor of The Riverside Chaucer. Check the Index for easy access to the wealth of primary and secondary material there.

Douglas Grey's little gem of an essay, "Chaucer and the growth of vernacular literature, c.1350–c.1500."

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." The Table of Contents includes:

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).

An excellent online resource for Chaucerian is David Wilson Okamura's stylish and sophisticated Geoffrey Chaucer:  Annotated Guide to Online Resources (Macalaster U).

Arnie Sanders has written a number of brief but thorough introductory essays on a variety of Chaucerian topics as part of his English 330: Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales website:

Michael Delahoyde has posted an eminently readable series of notes to the General Prologue and each of the Canterbury Tales at his Washington State U website:

Still in its beginning stages but promising to be a major academic enterprise, Chaucertext:  An On-Line Archive for Electronic Chaucer Scholarship, promises to be a major and important international scholarly enterprise (Josephine Tarvers, Winthrop U).

Highly regarded, The Canterbury Tales Project: An Electronic Chaucer for Scholars and Teachers (DeMontfort U), is offering a series of CDs with comprehensive manuscript coverage of each of the Tales, beginning with the Wife of Bath. Also offers a number of technical essays on Chaucerian manuscripts. The General Prologue has just become available.

John M. Hill's Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: The Idea! is a cursory review of the state of the question as of 1985.

An introductory lecture by Lee Patterson (Yale) entitled Chaucer illustrates a New Historicist perspective in medieval and Chaucer studies.

Jesús Luis Serrano Reyes fascinating website Chaucer and Spain and its many subpages present a comprehensive view of Chaucer from a unique angle:  Chaucer's relationship to the Iberian Peninsula. Professor Reyes' articles include:

An electronic post-print from Exemplaria, Teaching Chaucer in the 90s (ed. by Christine Rose, Portland State) contains ten essays from leading Chaucerians and medievalists.  An excellent pedagogical resource for a wide variety of teaching situations.

Robert Stein (SUNY - Purchase) addresses the theoretically complex question, Medieval, Modern, Post-Modern:  Medieval Studies in a Post Modern Perspective in this essay from Georgetown U's 1995 "Cultural Frictions" conference.

Susan Yager's (Iowa State) modest essay answers the nay-sayers who ask, Why Study Chaucer?

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

6.  Online Articles and Books

This heading includes the following sections:

  • Peer reviewed articles
  • Academic books
  • Other studies
  • Book reviews

Peer Reviewed Articles

Gallica, the website of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF), has also made available online page images of a number of older, out of copyright journals related to Chaucer and medieval studies, like:

Some of the absolutely classic Chaucer-related articles from these journals include:

Click on Périodiques to go to a full listing of BNF online journals (most of which are in French). These are large, generally slow loading graphical images, but are valuable nonetheless.

A "special web cluster" on Medieval Noise from Exemplaria 16.2 (2004), edited by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen:

Grover Wonderbrook has assembled a collection of peer reviewed essays on his geocities.com website. I am not sure of their copyright status, however:

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

Teaching Chaucer in the 90s (From Exemplaria, ed. Christine Rose, Portland State). Don't let the date in the title fool you. Good teaching never goes out of style.

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: 

I found another geocities.com website that houses a number of Chaucer essays:

Academic Books

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:

  • Bloch, R. Howard, and Frances Ferguson, eds. Misogyny, Misandry, and Misanthropy. (Berkeley: U of California P, 1989.)
  • Delaney, Sheila. The Naked Text: Chaucer and the Legend of Good Women (Berkeley: U of California P, 1994). 
  • Hall, Edwin. Medieval Marriage and the Enigma of Van Eyck's Double Portrait. (Berkeley: U of California P, 1997). 
  • Hanson, Elaine Tuttle. Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender (Berkeley: U of California P, 1992).  
  • Justice, Steven V. Writing and Rebellion: England in 1381 (Berkeley: U of California P, 1994). 
  • Kendrick, Laura. Chaucerian Play: Comedy and Control in the Canterbury Tales (Berkeley: U of California P, 1988). 
  • Leicester, H. Marshall. The Disenchanted Self: Representing the Subject in the Canterbury Tales (Berkeley: U of California P, 1990).
  • Neuse, Richard. Chaucer's Dante: Allegory and Epic Theater in The Canterbury Tales. (Berkeley: U of California P, 1991). 

Use the Search function on the UCalifornia E-Editions main page to access the Chaucer-related texts.

R. A. Shoaf, editor of Exemplaria and pioneer in making scholarly articles on medieval studies available online, has issued an e-print of his book Dante, Chaucer, and the Currency of the Word: Money, Images, and Reference in Late Medieval Poetry (Norman, OK: Pilgrim Books, 1983). Exemplaria also issues electronic "pre-prints" of select articles, so be sure to check regularly.

Frederick Martin's e-dissertation in progress, Pilgrimage in the Age of Schism: Chaucer, Sociological Poetics, and the Canterbury Tales (Tulane).

A major e-publishing venture, the 18 volume Cambridge History of English and American Literature (1907-21) is now online at Bartleby.com and offers substantive articles on all aspects of medieval literature.  In probably every case the opinions and findings of these older scholars has been superceded by recent investigations, but the CHMAL is still a grand resource and an important critical milestone (11,000 pages & 303 chapters)  featuring essays by important figures in medieval literary criticism.  See particularly 

Please note:  Although this older criticism is substantial and important, any serious student must take into account more contemporary research. Many of these findings have been supplanted.

Other Studies

Michael Delahoyde considers "The Plan of the Canterbury Tales" (Washington State U).

Housed at the ORB, Peter G. Beidler's (Lehigh U) Backgrounds to Chaucer includes the following lectures:

1. Chaucer's Life
2. Thomas Becket (1118-1170)
3. The Black Prince (1330-1376)
4. Richard II (1367-1400)
5. The English Rising (1381)
6. Boethius (480-524)
7. Rape and Prostitution
8. Corrupt Clerics
9. John Wyclif (1324-1384)
10. The Art of Courtly Love (Twelfth Century)
11. The Plague (1348-1349)

Medieval Misconceptions (Stephen J. Harris, UMass and Bryon Grigsby, Centenary College) offers succinct essays on several topics, addressing widely misunderstood aspects of medieval life and culture:

The articles from Cultural Frictions: Medieval Cultural Studies in Post-Modern Contexts Conference Proceedings (27-28 October 1995, ed. Martin Irvine and Deborah Everhart) are available online

Unfolding the Middle Ages

Bounding Culture

Queering Medieval Culture

The Circulation of Cultural Bodies

Harvard Classics (vol. 50) includes the following essay, now quite dated: What the Middle Ages Read, by Professor W. A. Neilson.

Book Reviews

See the academic book reviews at The Medieval Review, an online book review listserv from Western Michigan University. Because the links to specific reviews often change when the host server changes or is reorganized, I'm embedding the Search page into the individual titles below.  Reviewed books related to Chaucer include:

7.  Student Projects & Essays

Anniina Jokkinen's strikingly beautiful and highly useful Luminarium includes a substantial list of professional and student essays on a number of medieval authors, and individual pages on, Chaucer, the Gawain Poet, Langland, Margery Kempe, and Julian of Norwich. Her Essays and Articles on Chaucer contains both professional and student essays. As with any source, the quality of online materials must be closely assessed before being used for college level work.

Two Auburn students (Christopher Davis and Crystal Wilson) put together Chaucer and Death in Medieval England for a senior level Chaucer course with R. James Goldstein.

Goucher College Chaucer Seminars Annotated Bibliography of Chaucer Criticism, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2001 (Arnie Sanders, Goucher College) offers thorough, student generated summaries of a number of current articles, mostly from The Chaucer Review. A really nice example of critical classroom pedagogy.

8.  Online Bibliography

The Medieval Review (TMR) Reviews of Recent Books about Chaucer (Links to the books reviewed in The Medieval Review, compiled by Edwin Duncan, Towson U.)

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.

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.

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 or check a few of the entries here:

Canterbury Tales / General

Canterbury Tales / By Tale

Bibliography on Renaissance Chaucer (John F. Plummer, Vanderbilt U) is a helpful compilation of academic sources tracing Chaucer's "afterlife" in the Renaissance.

Michael Hanley's A Limited Canterbury Tales Bibliography (Washington State) is a straightforward listing of important studies and anthologies.  No annotations.

The same is true for Alan Baragona's always current Chaucer:  A Semi- Systematic, Serendipitous Bibliography (VMI), whose entries are "grouped according to their usefulness for undergraduate research."

Stephen R. Reimer's Chaucer / English 324 Bibliography (UAlberta) is organized by topic and includes a broad array of social and cultural sources. Some annotations.

David Wilson-Okamura offers an annotated list of bibliography links on his geoffreychaucer.org page.

Other Relevant Bibliographies:

9.  Syllabi & Course Descriptions

10.  Images & Multimedia

This section contains the following:
  • Chaucer Images
  • Images from the Canterbury Tales
  • Images from Other Medieval Texts
  • Images of Historical, Architectural, and Cultural Artifacts and Places
  • Collections of Medieval Images

Chaucer Images

Images from the Canterbury Tales

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.

Images from Other Medieval Texts

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

The Digital Scriptorium (Berkeley SUNSITE), still in its test stage, promises to be a significant project.

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University houses digital facsimiles of a number of beautiful ancient and medieval texts.

Images of Historical, Architectural, and Cultural Artifacts and Places

Joshua Merrill's From Gatehouse to Cathedral: A Photographic Pilgrimage to Chaucerian Landmarks is a lovely photo essay (with annotations) of the Canterbury route and the places and things the medieval pilgrims might have encountered. An excellent resource for visualizing the sites and sounds of medieval England.

Hanley's Image Archive (Michael Hanley, UWashington). Photos of Canterbury Cathedral, including a very fine image of the cathedral floor plan.

Monarchs and Monasteries: Knowledge and Power in Medieval France (late 8th -- late 15th centuries), from the Treasures from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, displays a number of wonderful images from the BNF's extensive holdings. Part of the exhibition, Creating French Culture: Treasuries from the Treasures from the Bibliothèque nationale de France

Epact is a beautiful electronic catalogue of 520 medieval and renaissance scientific instruments from four European museums: the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence , the British Museum, London, and the Museum Boerhaave, Leiden. With full cataloguing information and supporting scholarly apparatus. Beautiful images of "astrolabes, armillary spheres, sundials, quadrants, nocturnals, compendia, surveying instruments, and so on."

Collections of Medieval Images

A Hundred Highlights from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Dutch Royal Library) houses a number of glorious medieval (and post medieval) images:

Choix de miniatures des manuscrits de
l'Université de Liège
offers a number of high quality scans.

Bodleian Library (Images from Western European manuscripts from the 11th-17th centuries.) Really beautiful images.

Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (U of Chicago), one of the most beautiful of medieval books, is "a medieval book of hours. This was a collection of the text for each liturgical hour of the day - hence the name - which often included other, supplementary, texts. Calendars, prayers, psalms and masses for certain holy days were commonly included." Accessible by month of the year.

The Hill Monastic Manuscript Library is one of the largest medieval and Renaissance archives in the world whose aim is to microfilm all the premodern libraries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Literary texts were only one aspect of medieval culture and piety; literary texts can be profitably read alongside of visual texts.  Medieval Wall Painting in the Medieval Parish Church (Anne Marshall, Open University, UK) is an absolutely stunning collection of religious images from across England. From Prof. Marshall's page: "This site represents the continuing development of what may one day become a comprehensive catalogue. Vast quantities of Medieval Wall Painting have been lost forever, of course, but there is nevertheless more left on English church walls than is generally realised; paintings continue to be uncovered and more still are known to exist under layers of plaster. Some of these will come to light one day; in fact some are already doing so, . . . "

11.  Audio Files & Language Helps

This section contains the following:

  • Audio Files from the General Prologue
  • Audio Files from the Canterbury Tales
  • From the Dream Visions and Shorter Poems
  • Language Helps

From the unparalleled Geoffrey Chaucer page at Harvard: Teach Yourself to Read Chaucer's Middle English, which includes the following lessons:

See Music of the Fourteenth Century (Alan Baragona & Peter Schwob, VMI) for midi samples of common medieval musical forms.  Their page will also then refer you to Gary Rich's sublime Ars Subtilior. Music of the late Medieval period.

"The Crying and the Soun": The Chaucer Metapage Audio Files, compiled by Alan Baragona (VMI), offers a number of different web linked audio files of Chaucerian readings from the Canterbury Tales and other texts in Middle English. Requires RealPlayer 7, a free browser plug in. To date, Prof. Baragona has archived:

From the General Prologue:

From the Canterbury Tales:

From the Dream Visions and Shorter Poems:

The Chaucer Studio (Paul Thomas, Brigham Young U) offers a variety of reasonably priced cassette tapes of medieval texts in the original dialects, including most of the Canterbury Tales.  A great teaching tool; great for polishing your own pronunciation; and great for hearing the music of the Middle English. Find sample audio files of the Canterbury Tales.

Language Helps

The oft-noted but never fully explained phenomenon known as "The Great Vowel Shift" is described at the Harvard Chaucer Page.  Essential for understanding Chaucerian pronunciation.

Chaucer's Pronunciation, Grammar, and Vocabulary (Harvard Chaucer Page) is a fifteen part tutorial--thirteen on pronunciation and two on grammar and vocabulary. Highly recommended for students beginning their study of Middle English.

Middle English Pronunciation Guidelines (Teresa Reed, Jacksonville State U) provides an introductory overview of pronunciation rules.  Includes sound files illustrating correct pronunciation.

Edwin Duncan (Towson State) has put together a handy list of the most used Middle English words in his Basic Chaucer Glossary.

Glossarial DataBase of Middle English (Larry D. Benson, Harvard Chaucer Page) is a searchable index of Middle English grammatical forms in context.   See also the Middle English Glossarial Database at Harvard.  Recommended for advanced users.

Melinda J. Menzer (Furman U) has put together a whiz-bang multimedia demonstration and explanation of the Great Vowel Shift. Requires Quicktime.

An excellent introductory hyperlinked essay on The English Language in the Fourteenth Century (Harvard Chaucer Page).

12.  Potpourri

The Medieval Fiefdom Website (Thinkquest) is a graphics rich site that takes advantage of the latest web technologies (VRML, etc.) to help especially younger students visualize the material and social culture of the Middle Ages. Very nice.

Using a clickable map and 500 webpages, Peter Collinson's Canterbury Tour presents a virtual geography of Canterbury that places the viewer in the midst of town by offering both "front" and "back" views of the different locales.  Another excellent resource for making the place of Chaucer's Tales come alive.

Read about the most expensive book in the world:  Caxton's first edition of the Canterbury Tales (c. 1476-77) was auctioned at Sotheby's for $7.5 million in July 1998!

Geoffrey Chaucer & Co., an acting troupe, "is pioneering the staging of ALL 24 Canterbury Tales . . . fully enacted in modern English. Tailor fit original music underscores each theatrical piece by Bay Area award-winning composer John Geist."

See a page by page digitization of Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrims, retold by Katharine Lee Bates, illus. by Angus MacDonall (Chicago:  Rand McNally, 1914) at the Making of America site (UMichigan).

13.  The Next Step



How to Document
Print & Electronic Sources:
The Chaucer Pedagogy
Documentation Primer


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