The Canterbury Tales

Peter Ackroyd
The Cantebury Tales

The cook, the trickster, the priest, the wronged woman, the lawyer, the hero, the villain. Tales of love, sex, infidelity, villainy, drunkenness, murder.

A motley group of travellers meet at a London inn on their way to Canterbury, where they agree to take part in a storytelling competition. As they make their way on the road, they drink, laugh, flirt, argue, interrupt and try to outdo each other with their tales.

Funny, moving, outrageous and life-affirming, the twenty-four stories here blend comedy and tragedy, heroic adventure, high romance and salacious humour. Peter Ackroyd’s fresh, modern retelling infuses The Canterbury Tales with new and vigorous life.

Peter Ackroyd also provides an introduction, detailing some of the historical background to Chaucer and the Tales, and why he has been inspired to translate them for new generations of readers.

‘The welcome appearance of Peter Ackroyd’s new prose version of The Canterbury Tales is compulsive, bold and rare and will surely become a vital crib for generations of students to come.’ Robert McCrum, Observer

‘The pivotal nature of Chaucer’s masterpiece is certainly not lost on Ackroyd, who treats the text with sensitivity and humour. The work exists as groups of manuscripts put together later by various editors, and it is this aspect of the book that makes Ackroyd’s take on the work even more intriguing, as he has focused his attention before on London poets, bards and authors. Ackroyd’s accessible writing style and obvious passion for the subject is evident in this enthusiastic interpretation.’ Times Online


  • Penguin Classics UK & USA
  • Achuzat Bayit Israel
  • Corpus Books Russia
  • CAN Turkey

Material: finished copies (436pp)