Literary and Historical Background

Understanding the text of the General Prologue still leaves many unanswered
questions about the narrative, its characters, its author, and the time in which
it was written. For a general introduction, see Larry Benson’s The
General Prologue, Brother Anthony’s The
General Prologue, or James L. Matterer’s Pilgrims
Passing To and Fro. For the life of Chaucer, see Benson,
R. M. Lumiansky’s Chaucer biography in, or the Chaucer
entry in Wikipedia. For historical events of the fourteenth century, begin
with Jane Zatta’s Some
Important Events of the Fourteenth Century (English) or Calgary University’s
The End of the Middle Ages (Europe).

Further Web Exploration

From there the possibilities for further study are numerous. Those wishing
to explore Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, and aspects of medieval life
and thought will find a wealth of available materials on the web–unfortunately,
not all of them accurate. Caveat lector–let the reader beware! Three
sites that serve as good starting points are these:

Extensive Research – Books and Articles

Despite the growing number of Chaucer-related materials available on the web,
with few exceptions, those wishing to do involved study of some aspect of the
General Prologue will want to consult the books and journal articles that deal
with their particular interest. To learn what is available, and there is a lot,
consult the excellent Chaucer
bibliographies listed on the Chaucer MetaPage, some of which provide summaries
of all articles and books listed.

For books and articles on general medieval topics (not specifically Chaucerian)
consult Jim Marchand’s WEMSK
bibliographies, compiled by Stephen Carey.

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