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Troilus and Criseyde (Penguin Classics) Paperback


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Troilus and Criseyde (Penguin Classics) + Dream Visions and Other Poems (Norton Critical Editions) + The Canterbury Tales: Fifteen Tales and the General Prologue (Norton Critical Editions)
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (April 30, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140442391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140442397
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Tragic verse romance by Geoffrey Chaucer, composed in the 1380s and considered by some critics to be his finest work. The plot of this 8,239-line poem was taken largely from Giovanni Boccaccio's Il filostrato. It recounts the love story of Troilus, son of the Trojan king Priam, and Criseyde, widowed daughter of the deserter priest Calchas. The poem moves in leisurely fashion, with introspection and much of what would now be called psychological insight dominating many sections. Aided by Criseyde's uncle Pandarus, Troilus and Criseyde are united in love about halfway through the poem, but then she is sent to join her father in the Greek camp outside Troy. Despite her promise to return, she is loved by the Greek warrior Diomedes and comes to love him. Troilus, left in despair, is killed in the Trojan War. These events are interspersed with Boethian discussion of free will and determinism and the direct comments of the narrator. At the end of the poem, when Troilus' soul rises into the heavens, the folly of complete immersion in sexual love is viewed in relation to the eternal love of God. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Wanda B. Red VINE VOICE on June 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazon seems to be including all the reviews of different editions and translations of Chaucer's "Troilus and Criseyde" on the same page. If you read the reviews here you will be very confused. Some refer to an original language edition (either the one made by R. A. Shoaf or Stephen Barney's Norton Critical edition), and some refer to a translation, at least one to the translation done by Nevill Coghill. The reader needs to pay careful attention to what edition is actually on the screen when making a selection.

If you want to read the original text, I would recommend Stephen Barney's edition. Barney is the editor who made the critical edition for the Riverside Chaucer, and his Norton Critical edition includes ten excellent critical essays in addition to Chaucer's poem, Giovanni Boccaccio's "Il Filostrato" (Chaucer's source), and Robert Henryson's "Testament of Crisseid." Shoaf's edition is also good, but twice as expensive, and it does not have as much contextual material. Coghill is a fine translator of Chaucer, and for the reader who does not want to tackle the Middle English he will provide an adequate experience. But beware: His smooth couplets sound more like Alexander Pope than the vigorous medieval writer he is translating.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By tepi on July 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
CHAUCER : TROILUS AND CRISEYDE. Translated into Modern English by Nevill Coghill. 332 pp. New York : Viking Press, 1995 (Reissue). ISBN: 0140442391 (pbk.)
Nevill Coghill's brilliant modern English translation of Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales' has always been a bestseller and it's easy to understand why. Chaucer was an intensely human writer and a great comic artist, but besides the ribaldry and sheer good fun of 'The Canterbury Tales,' we also know he was capable of other things. His range was wide, and the striking thing about Coghill's translations are how amazingly faithful they are to the spirit of the originals - at times bawdy and hilariously funny, at other times more serious and moving when Chaucer shifts to a more poignant mode as in 'Troilus and Criseyde.'
But despite the brilliance of Coghill's translations, and despite the fact that they remain the best possible introduction to Chaucer for those who don't know Middle English, those who restrict themselves to Coghill are going to miss a lot - such readers are certainly going to get the stories, but they're going to lose much of the beauty those stories have in the original language. The difference is as great as that between a black-and-white movie and technicolor.
Chaucer's Middle English _looks_ difficult to many, and I think I know why. It _looks_ difficult because that in fact is what people are doing, they are _looking_ at it, they are reading silently and trying to take it in through the eye. This is a recipe for instant frustration and failure. But fortunately there is a quick and easy remedy.
So much of Chaucer's power is in the sheer music of his lines, and in their energy and thrust. He was writing when English was at its most masculine and vigorous.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
As usual, Chaucer has come through as the greatest poet of Middle English. This is by far the best expansion on Homer's epic poetry to appear since Publius Vergilius Maro's Ćneid, and I'm sure Augustus would have enjoyed it just as much! Shakespeare's adaptation, Troilus and Cressida, is an excellent play but does not give this poem justice. I would definitely recommend it to any serious fan of English literature!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Zero stars for "translations". If you enjoy Reader's Digest abridged books and the like then you might prefer a "translation" from English into English of Chaucer's epic. I read this for Chaucer's beautiful use of the English (well, okey, Middle English, but it's still English!) language. Modern writers are so superfluous! Now we write "Once you have come to possess something it is just as difficult to hold on to it as it was to get it in the first place", when once you could write, "As gret a craft is kep wel as wynne". How our language has deteriorated!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael on March 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm a lover of Shakespeare's works. I found a used copy of George Krapp's 'Troilus and Cressida' at a local book store. This Modern Library version is an reprint of his classic translation. If you love to read the sources for Shakespeare (Plutarch, Chaucer,Homer and Ovid) then I believe readers will enjoy this poem.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tifepiphany on September 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Please be careful! Everything on this page gives you the impression that this is a hardcover version of Shoaf's edition of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. IT IS NOT - IT DOES NOT EVEN CONTAIN THE POEM. This is a collection of essays about the poem that is really only suited to Chaucer scholars. Don't make the same mistake I made. It should be subtitled - ESSAYS - or have some other clear description of the nature of the book. I can not evaluate the essays, because I haven't yet read the poem because of this mis-identification of these Essays with the Superior Shoaf edition of Troilus and Criseyde by Chaucer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
Chaucer's mastery of English verse and the subtlety of his narrative make this poem a rare performance. The poem's evocation of the tragedy (and humor) inherent in a first, innocent love creates a mood or atmosphere difficult to describe but wonderful to enjoy. The closest analogue is Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but this is the more subtle work.
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