Geoffrey Chaucer was an English 14th Century diplomat and philosopher amongst other things, though is best known for being a Poet and writing the Canterbury Tales. The Canterbury Tales were written during the 100 years war and tell of a group of pilgrims on they way to Canterbury Cathedral to visit the shrine of Thomas Beckett, with the prize being a free meal at an inn.
"You say it's torture to endure her pride
And melancholy airs, and more besides.
And if she had a pretty face, old traitor,
You say she's game for any fornicator."
Each Pilgrim has their own prologue and tale, and this one belongs to the Wife of Bath. This Little Black Classic is different to the usual Chaucer books in that this one has been translated to modern-day English, making it the perfect starting point for anyone who is looking to read some Chaucer but hasn't either known where to start or has been put off by the Middle-English language.
"True poverty can find a song to sing.
Juvenal says a pleasant little thing:
"The poor can dance and sing in the relief
Of having nothing that will tempt a thief."
The Wife of Bath's Prologue, as all the pilgrim's prologue do, contains information about the Pilgrim themselves at first, giving you a taste of their countenance and backstory. Then their tale is told, which in this case is an Arthurian tale of a misogynistic knight who, in exchange for his life, must find out what women truly desire. It is a tale that could have been written in this day and age, and it reminds us just how mediaeval our gender equality and ideals really are.