Geoffrey Chaucer:
The Electronic Canterbury Tales

Daniel T. Kline | U of Alaska Anchorage | Dept of English | CV | Chaucer Pedagogy  

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  1. The Canterbury Tales in Middle English
  2. The Canterbury Tales in Translation
  3. General Historical & Cultural Backgrounds
  4. Sources, Analogues, & Related Texts
  5. Online Notes & Commentary
  6. Online Articles & Books
  7. Student Projects & Essays
  8. Online Bibliography
  9. Syllabi & Course Descriptions
  10. Images & Multimedia
  11. Audio Files & Language Helps
  12. Potpourri
  13. Additional Resources
  14. Scholar's Dozen

  15. What's New? Recent Additions to the ECT

Web Resources by Tale 

Electronic Canterbury Tales Home

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Fragment I / Group A

The General Prologue
The Knight's Tale
The Miller's Prologue & Tale
The Reeve's Prologue & Tale
The Cook's Prologue & Tale

Fragment II / Group B1
The Man of Law's Introduction, Prologue, Tale, & Epilogue

Fragment III / Group D
The Wife of Bath's Prologue & Tale
The Friar's Prologue & Tale
The Summoner's Prologue & Tale

Fragment IV / Group E
The Clerk's Prologue & Tale
The Merchant's Prologue, Tale, & Epilogue
Fragment V / Group F
The Squire's Introduction & Tale
The Franklin's Prologue & Tale

Fragment VI / Group C
The Physician's Tale
The Pardoner's Introduction, Prologue, & Tale

Fragment VII / Group B2
The Shipman's Tale
The Prioress's Prologue & Tale
The Prologue & Tale of Sir Thopas
The Tale of Melibee
The Monk's Prologue & Tale
The Nun's Priest's Prologue,
Tale, & Epilogue

Fragment VIII / Group G
The Second Nun's Prologue & Tale
The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue & Tale

Fragment IX / Group H 
The Manciple's Prologue & Tale

Fragment X / Group I
The Parson's Prologue & Tale
The Retraction

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Electronic Canterbury Tales Home

4.  Sources, Analogues, & Related Texts

This heading contains the following sections below:
  • Literary Sources & Other Medieval Authors
  • Mythology and Folklore
  • Bibles and Biblical Texts
  • Theological Sources
  • Websites Devoted to Other Medieval Authors

Literary Sources & Other Medieval Authors

Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse added a number of works in Middle English directly related Chaucer and other medieval authors, including Anglo-Saxon and Early Middle English (Paul Schaffner & Perry Willett, UMichigan). A generous and admirable example of online scholarship, now numbering 146 items (but without copyrighted critical apparatus). There are far too many titles to list completely, but a sampling includes the following treats:

TEAMS Middle English Text Series (Russell Peck, URochester) houses a number of lesser known and hard to find medieval texts in helpful student editions. A generous and fascinating selection not to be missed! Each selection includes a scholarly introduction and full notes. 

The Middle English Collection of the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center includes searchable editions of a number of important ME texts (generally from older editions without the critical apparatus), including:

The Middle English Compendium (UMichigan) includes many of the UVa texts, plus a few extra features--some limited to University of Michigan users.  One important initiative at Michigan is their digitizing of a number of volumes from the Early English Text Society:

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts (University College, Cork) houses cornucopia of material related to medieval Ireland, many in modern English translation, including:

  • The Annals of Ulster AD 431-1201 (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Annals of Ulster AD 1202-1378 (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Annals of Ulster AD 1379-1541(HTML and PLAIN)
  • Chronicon Scotorum (HTML & PLAIN)
  • St. Columba
    • On the Life of Saint Columba [Betha Choluim Chille] (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
    • The Life of Columba, written by Adamnan (W. Reeves)(HTML & PLAIN)
    • Monks' Rules of Columbanus (G. S. M. Walker) (HTML & PLAIN)
    • Sermons of Columbanus (G. S. M. Walker) (HTML & PLAIN)
    • Letters of Columbanus (G. S. M. Walker) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Irish Lives of Guy of Warwick & Bevis of Hampton (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Irish Version of the Historia Britonum of Nennius (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Kildare Poems Modern English by A. Lucas (HTML and PLAIN)
  • On the Life of Saint Patrick [Betha Phatraic] (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • On the Life of Saint Brigit [Betha Brigte] (W. Stokes)(HTML & PLAIN)
  • Tidings of Doomsday (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The Tidings of the Resurrection (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The fifteen tokens of Doomsday (W. Stokes) (HTML & PLAIN)
  • The vision of Laisrén (HTML & PLAIN)

As of 31 July 2006, CELT offered 649 texts (many from later periods of literature, and also in SGML).

Ovid's Metamorphosis, an absolutely vital text to medieval authors, is available at the Internet Classics Archive.

See the Harvard Chaucer Page entries on Chaucer's classical and contemporary influences (Larry D. Benson):

Several webpages are dedicated to Chaucer's contemporary, William Langland, and the great poem, Piers Plowman:

  • An ambitious and astonishing project: The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive - "The long-range goal of the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive is the creation of a multi-level, hyper-textually linked electronic archive of the textual tradition of all three versions of the fourteenth-century allegorical dream vision Piers Plowman." Among the current gold standard examples of advanced humanities computing and digitization.
  • The Luminarium Langland Page is good starting place for web research.

The Online Classical and Medieval Library (Douglas B. Killings, Berkeley) "is a collection of some of the most important literary works of Classical and Medieval civilization," including:  

An online publishing venture on a par with The Cambridge History of English and American Literature (1907-21) is the appearance of the renowned Harvard Classics (New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909-17), which according to is "The most comprehensive and well-researched anthology of all time comprises both the 50-volume '5-foot shelf of books' and the the 20-volume Shelf of Fiction. Together they cover every major literary figure, philosopher, religion, folklore and historical subject through the twentieth century." Indeed! Texts especially related to Chaucer and the medieval period include:

Harvard Classics (vol. 40), English Poetry I, From Chaucer to Gray reproduces a number of traditional (and some) medieval ballads, including Sir Patrick Spence, The Twa Corbie, The Three Ravens, Edward, The Twa Sisters, Hugh of Lincoln, and A Gest of Robyn Hode. continues to do a great service to the educational community by making available out-of-copyright editions of valuable older scholarly texts, including:

Mythology and Folklore

Although Chaucer drew from sources like Ovid for his mythology, Bob Fisher has done a very nice, easily accessible, and award winning online edition of Bulfinch's Mythology, in three parts:

A searchable edition (by keyword and table of contents) of Bulfinch's Mythology is also available online via Project Bartleby, in addition to Bulfinch's

Chaucer also drew upon common folktales for some of his material. See the following:
  • D. L. Ashliman's Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts (Pittsburg) provides a collection of folktales from the world over, both ancient and modern.
  • When you're stuck on a classical or mythological reference, Encyclopedia Mythica's 4300 definitions can probably help (M.F. Lindemans).
  • E. Cobham Brewer's, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (Rev. ed. 1898) comprises over 18,000 entries that reveal the etymologies, trace the origins and otherwise catalog “words with a tale to tell.”

For a real treat of 19th century anthropological thinking, you might also consider checking out the 1922 abridged edition of J.G. Frazer's classic, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (69 chapters!), for mythological themes, patterns in ancient religion, the dynamics of evil and taboos, and comparative ritual.  Frazer has been superceded by more recent research, but disciplines as diverse as anthropology, sociology, psychology, religion, and literature owe a debt to Frazer's pioneering work of synthesis.

Bibles and Biblical Texts

The Vulgate Bible, the Latin version in use in the Middle Ages (gopher), and the Douay-Rheims Bible, an English translation of the Vulgate and the best translation to cite when you're working with medieval texts.

  The Challoner Revision of the Douay-Rheims Bible.   According to CCEL, "The Old Testament was first published by the English College at Douay A.D. 1609 & 1610.  The New Testament was first published by the English College at Rheims A.D. 1582.  The whole translation was revised and diligently compared with the Latin Vulgate by Bishop Richard Challoner A.D. 1749-1752.  He is also credited with the annotations included in this revision."

  The CCEL also has compiled Bible reference works in the World Wide Study Bible, accessible by book of the Bible.

    Just in case you get a hankering, here's H. B. Sweete's edition of The Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, in three volumes (in Greek) plus an introduction in English. Or The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament with an English Translation with facing page in Greek, by Lancelot Brenton. Both of these are digital facsimiles.

Theological Sources

St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica, the pinnacle of high medieval systematic theology, is certainly worth investigating both for the rigorous form as well as the systematic content!

The St. Pachomius Library strives "to make the literature of the early Christian Church available to all in electronic form -- for free!"  Specializes in Orthodox sources.

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) offers an unsurpassed wealth of primary sources in a variety of formats (although the digitization quality varies from text to text).  Like the online edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia, many of older secondary sources in the CCEL take polemical or apologetic stances toward their material.  Nonetheless, some of the goodies include:

Deserving its own listing, the complete 38 volume set of the Writings of the Early Church Fathers, ver. 2.0 (the Ante-, Nicene, and Post-Nicene Fathers series) is available online and searchable from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL)  at Wheaton College. Try not to get lost in the treasures here!

Evelyn Underhill's influential text Mysticism is now available online through CCEL.

Websites Devoted to Other Medieval Authors

Several of the most important influences on Chaucer have marvelous websites devoted to them and their works:

How to Document
Print & Electronic Sources:
The Chaucer Pedagogy
Documentation Primer

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