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Ch 1: The Canterbury Tales Literary Context

About This Chapter

Work through this convenient study guide chapter to review the literary context of Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales.'' These bite-sized lessons and quizzes offer a fast and easy way to prepare for exams, boost your grades or simply improve your understanding of this famous collection of stories.

Who's It For?

Anyone who needs help understanding the literary context of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales will benefit from the lessons in this chapter. There is no faster or easier way to study information about the stories' historical background, setting and literary significance. Among those who would benefit are:

  • Students who want to learn a broad topic in a short amount of time
  • Students who are looking for easy ways to identify the most important information on the topic
  • Students who have fallen behind in understanding the purpose and main frame of The Canterbury Tales
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning about literature (visual or auditory)
  • Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
  • Students who have limited time to study for an upcoming exam

How It Works:

  • Complete each lesson in the chapter to review all key topics.
  • Refer to the lesson to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with a short quiz.
  • Complete your review with the The Canterbury Tales Literary Context chapter exam.

Why It Works:

  • Study Efficiently: The lessons in this chapter cover only information you need to know.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging instruction and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Take the The Canterbury Tales Literary Context chapter exam to make sure you're prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any literature question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: View lessons on any web-ready device.

Students Will Review:

This chapter summarizes the material students need to know about the literary context of The Canterbury Tales for a standard literature course. Topics covered include:

  • Middle English and Geoffrey Chaucer
  • The historical background, significance and completion of The Canterbury Tales
  • Examples of fabilaus
  • The stories' genre, purpose, setting and time period
  • The plot, main frame story and order of the tales
  • Differentiating between poems and prose
  • Vocabulary from The Canterbury Tales

15 Lessons in Chapter 1: The Canterbury Tales Literary Context
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Introduction to Chaucer: Middle English and the Canterbury Tales

1. Introduction to Chaucer: Middle English and the Canterbury Tales

In this lesson, we'll introduce medieval writer Geoffrey Chaucer. We'll take a look at his life, his most famous works, including 'The Canterbury Tales,' and we'll spend some time learning how to read Middle English.

The Canterbury Tales: Background & History

2. The Canterbury Tales: Background & History

To provide context for 'The Canterbury Tales,' this lesson delves into important aspects of medieval English society. We will discover how the stories reflect a culture in transition and learn a bit about the language in which they were written.

The Canterbury Tales Genre

3. The Canterbury Tales Genre

''The Canterbury Tales'' by Geoffrey Chaucer creates a unique dialogue when it comes to determining the genre. In this lesson, we will examine the levels of depth created when the author crafts this story and its effect on determining the genre.

Fabliau: Definition & Examples from Chaucer

4. Fabliau: Definition & Examples from Chaucer

Who knew the French could be so lewd? In this lesson, we'll learn about the fabliau - those vulgar, funny, and oftentimes obscene stories which were popular in France during the Middle Ages. We'll look to 'The Canterbury Tales' for three great examples.

For What Purpose Did Chaucer Write The Canterbury Tales?

5. For What Purpose Did Chaucer Write The Canterbury Tales?

In this lesson, we'll learn about Chaucer's life and experiences that prepared him to write ''The Canterbury Tales.'' We'll also explore how he blends social realism and estates satire together to create a vivid portrait of life in medieval England.

The Canterbury Tales: Setting & Time Period

6. The Canterbury Tales: Setting & Time Period

''The Canterbury Tales,'' written by Geoffrey Chaucer, is a story about a group of people making a pilgrimage to see the shrine of a martyr. During the time of this story, it was the late 14th century, and England was in the midst of turmoil.

What is the Main Frame Story of The Canterbury Tales?

7. What is the Main Frame Story of The Canterbury Tales?

This lesson describes the main framing narrative that encompasses the 24 stories that comprise 'The Canterbury Tales' and also explains the general function of framing devices in 'The Canterbury Tales.'

Order of the Canterbury Tales

8. Order of the Canterbury Tales

In this lesson, you will learn more about the order of the tales in Geoffrey Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales,'' as well as some of the debates surrounding this topic.

Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

9. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

This lesson analyzes Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, an early classic of English literature. In it we will highlight Chaucer's criticism of social rank, the position of women, and Church corruption.

The Canterbury Tales: Summary & Plot

10. The Canterbury Tales: Summary & Plot

'The Canterbury Tales' is a collection of moral and humorous stories told by a diverse group of people. Tensions run high as this group of strangers travels to Canterbury, sharing their best stories along the way.

The Canterbury Tales: Poem or Prose?

11. The Canterbury Tales: Poem or Prose?

This lesson will explore whether Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales' is considered poetry, prose, or a bit of both. The reasons behind why Chaucer chose to write in the style he did are also discussed.

Did Chaucer Finish The Canterbury Tales?

12. Did Chaucer Finish The Canterbury Tales?

This lesson explains why Geoffrey Chaucer did not finish his great work The Canterbury Tales and describes the various versions that exist because of others trying to edit and add to the Tales after Chaucer's death.

Significance of the Canterbury Tales

13. Significance of the Canterbury Tales

This lesson explains several reasons why Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century poem, The Canterbury Tales, is considered so important and significant in the canon of English literature.

The Canterbury Tales Vocabulary

14. The Canterbury Tales Vocabulary

The 'Canterbury Tales' by Geoffrey Chaucer is a classic poem in English literature. In this lesson, we will discuss ten prominent vocabulary words that are popular in Middle English and Modern English.

The Canterbury Tales Vocabulary Flashcards

The Canterbury Tales Vocabulary Flashcards

These flashcards contain information on vocabulary used within the novel 'The Canterbury Tales'. If you need to work on memorizing medieval vocabulary pertaining to this novel and how it was used, this flashcard set is for you!

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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