Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde

Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde

Geoffrey Chaucer

late 15th century

Scotland

Manuscript

Chaucer included several romances in his Canterbury Tales, but his greatest single work is Troilus and Criseyde, whose rich narrative weaves together romance, history, tragedy and comedy. One page here shows the opening of the poem, with an illustration of the lovers in the initial letter. They are labelled in tiny writing on their waists, and above them the God of Love looms with an arrow to pierce Troilus's heart. The other page comes from much later in the story, after Criseyde has left Troy as part of a prisoner exchange with the Greeks. It includes the end of Troilus’s pleading letter to Criseyde, signed ‘Le vostre Troilus’ (your own Troilus), and the report of her equivocal reply. This fine manuscript was written for Henry, Lord Sinclair, a Scottish aristocrat who died fighting the English at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Its pages are now preserved separately after becoming damaged.

Comments

The first book printed in English
The first book printed in English
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