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The Canterbury Tales

The following collection of thematically related readings is available in The Canterbury Tales and Related Readings in McDougal Littell's Literature Connections series.

Excerpt from The Life and Times of Chaucer by John Gardner, © 1977
Summary: This biographical excerpt explores what Chaucer's world was like.

Excerpt from The Author's Introduction to The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, translated by Mark Musa and Peter E. Bondanella
(from The Decameron,translation © 1982)
Summary: Aristocratic ladies and lords flee from the Black Death ravaging 14th-century Florence.

Excerpt from The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus, translated by John Jay Parry, © 1990
Summary: This excerpt from a famous 12th-century work provides rules of conduct for lovers.

Laustic (The Nightingale) by Marie de France, translated by Robert Hanning and Joan Ferrante
(from The Lais of Marie de France, © 1978)
Summary: This narrative poem describes the pangs of illicit lovers.

Reynard and Isengrin in the Well anonymous fable, translated by D. D. R. Owen
(from The Romance of Reynard the Fox, © 1994)
Summary: The famous trickster is at his devious best in this medieval French fable.

The Second Shepherds' Play anonymous drama, edited by Martial Rose
(from The Wakefield Mystery Cycle, © 1961)
Summary: This medieval play blends social criticism with comic high jinks.

Excerpt from The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, with Alex Haley, © 1964
Summary: In this autobiographical excerpt, the civil-rights leader described his pilgrimage to Mecca.

Chaucer Aboard a Spaceship by Naoshi Koriyama
(from Collected Poems, © 1996)
Summary: In this lyric poem, Chaucer describes his impressions of a space travel.