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Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is one of the oldest and most widely studied works of English literature. The tales provide a glimpse of medieval life, and the professions of the pilgrims figure prominently in the poetry. To have a clear understanding of Chaucer's work, the reader needs to know about the vocations of the pilgrims. For some 600 years, this information has been difficult to locate. This reference work conveniently synthesizes and discusses information about the occupation of each of Chaucer's pilgrims and provides an historical context.
The volume contains individual entries for each of Chaucer's pilgrims, and the entries share a similar format to foster comparison. Each entry includes three parts. First, the pilgrim's profession is discussed in terms of the daily routine of the medieval occupation. Second, the vocation is examined in terms of its reflection in the tale told by the pilgrim. Third, the vocation and the tale are discussed, when possible, in relation to the descriptions of the characters provided in the General Prologue. Each entry includes a bibliography, and the volume concludes with a list of works for further reading.