The Poet's Tale (Ebook)

Chaucer and the year that made The Canterbury Tales

Paul Strohm

How a single year turned Chaucer into a poet, and sparked the creation of The Canterbury Tales. Now available in paperback.

As the year 1386 began, Geoffrey Chaucer was a middle-aged bureaucrat and sometime poet, living in London and enjoying the perks that came with his close connections to its booming wool trade. When it ended, he was jobless, homeless, out of favour with his friends and living in exile.

Such a reversal might have spelled the end of his career; but instead, at the loneliest time of his life, Chaucer made the revolutionary decision to 'maken vertu of necessitee' and keep writing. The result - The Canterbury Tales - was a radically new form of poetry that would make his reputation, bring him to a national audience, and preserve his work for posterity.

In The Poet's Tale, Paul Strohm brings Chaucer's world to vivid life, from the streets and taverns of crowded medieval London to rural seclusion in Kent, and reveals this crucial year as a turning point in the fortunes of England's most important poet.

Publication date: 15/01/2015

£9.99

ISBN: 9781847658999

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B00MG5TBQQ

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

The Poet's Tale (Paperback)

Chaucer and the year that made The Canterbury Tales

Paul Strohm

How a single year turned Chaucer into a poet, and sparked the creation of The Canterbury Tales. Now available in paperback.

As the year 1386 began, Geoffrey Chaucer was a middle-aged bureaucrat and sometime poet, living in London and enjoying the perks that came with his close connections to its booming wool trade. When it ended, he was jobless, homeless, out of favour with his friends and living in exile.

Such a reversal might have spelled the end of his career; but instead, at the loneliest time of his life, Chaucer made the revolutionary decision to 'maken vertu of necessitee' and keep writing. The result - The Canterbury Tales - was a radically new form of poetry that would make his reputation, bring him to a national audience, and preserve his work for posterity.

In The Poet's Tale, Paul Strohm brings Chaucer's world to vivid life, from the streets and taverns of crowded medieval London to rural seclusion in Kent, and reveals this crucial year as a turning point in the fortunes of England's most important poet.

Publication date: 07/01/2016

£9.99

ISBN: 9781781250600

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Reviews for The Poet's Tale

'Strohm illuminates how 1386 marked a decisive year for Geoffrey Chaucer, one in which he went from accomplished coterie poet to the popular author of the work of genius: The Canterbury Tales. Strohm, one of the finest medievalists of our time, brings this turbulent moment in Chaucer's England to life.'

James Shapiro 

'In this thrilling book, Paul Strohm lets us in on little-known secrets of living life in London in the fourteenth Century ... an imaginative recreation of everything you ever wanted to know about Chaucer.'

Terry Jones 

'Simply a brilliant book, a superb combination of biography, social history and literary scholarship. It is a new model for literary biography, and I cannot recommend it highly enough'

Ian Mortimer 

'Strohm's book reignited my love for Chaucer, and is sure to do so for readers who've read him before and who've never read him at all.'

Stuart Kelly The Scotsman

'Paul Strohm has written a brilliant book.'

John Carey Sunday Times

'The rewards are plenty.'

Toby Lichtig Daily Telegraph

'The best of Paul Strohm's constantly involving, frequently funny and sometimes moving little book is that, just now and again, it feels like you can catch his [Chaucer's] eye.'

Sam Leith The Spectator

'Paul Strohm's superb biography of a year in Chaucer's life... The Poet's Tale shows the biographer as avid scholarly detective... one of the joys of The Poet's Tale is Strohm's imaginative reconstruction of Chaucer's London/'

Stevie Davies The Independent

'Strohm has produced what is certainly the most enlightening book about Chaucer that a general reader is likely to encounter: a wonderfully readable, unexpectedly thrilling story, illuminating the parts of Chaucer's life that seemed irrevocably dark,'

Nicola Shulman Evening Standard

'Strohm evokes Chaucer's world with scholarly rigour and in vivid detail, drawing parallels between the life and the literature.'

Orlando Bird Financial Times

'The greatest praise that can be offered is that it makes one want to revisit The Canterbury Tales.'

Alexander Larman The Observer

'This is an extremely good book.'

 The Economist

'Wonderfully readable... The Poet's Tale eloquently speaks of Strohm's immersion in both the sensibility of Chaucer's poetry and the London archives.'

Anthony Bale BBC History Magazine

Paul Strohm

Paul Strohm

Paul Strohm is Professor Emeritus of the Humanities at Columbia University, and has previously been J.R.R. Tolkien Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford.

The Poet's Tale: Chaucer and the year that made The Canterbury Tale sexplores a single year that made Chaucer into a poet, and sparked the creation of The Canterbury Tales.