Excerpt from The Black and Gold, Vol. 15: December, 1925
Chaucer linked the tales of the pilgrims together, but individualized his characters so as to make them living portraits of' his time and at the same time included all types of narrative known to literature at'that period. 'chaucer touched upon all types of characters. 'there is a Knight, coming lately from foreign wars - high-minded, gentle, chivalrous; there is the knight's son, a real embodiment of the gifts and graces of. Bril liant youth; there is the knight's servant, the type of English yeomanry. In addition to these there is a whole group of ecclesiastical figures representing the many activities of the medieval church. Among these are the Monk, caring only for hunting and good cheer; the Friar, intimate with innkeepers and despising beggars; the 'summoner, a re pulsive person; the Pardonner, with his bag full of pardons, smooth and hypocritical. Chaucer's treatment of these evil churchmen is highly good-natured and tolerant. In addition he sets beside these a poor Parson, poor in the world's riches but rich in holy thought and work with loving and reverent touch. The latter represents the true type of churchman in that period. Chaucer not only attempted to make the characters real but accomplished it so well that the characters were instantly recognized as true to life and have become a permanent possession of our literature. Chaucer in this work has become the model for those who would want to put human life into their writing.
The Canterbury Tales represents the wide sweep of English life of the fourteenth century. It gives us a real picture of contemporary English life: its work and play; its deeds and dreams; its fun and sympathy, and hearty joy of living, such as no other single work of literature -has ever equalled. The tales consist of both stories and poems and have given the author his place not only among the first poets but one of the best, if not the best, short story writers of the English authors. This unrivalled collection of stories covers a wide scope - stories of love and chivalry, of saints and legends, travels, adventures, fables, satires, and coarse humor of the common people.
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