Saturday, 7 March 2009

Chess In Literature - Geoffrey Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is actually a collection of stories written between 1387 and 1400 by Geoffrey Chaucer. It is the story of a group of 30 pilgrims travelling to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all levels of society, tell stories to each other, as they travel to Canterbury. Chaucer never actually finished this ambitious project and we are still uncertain about the order of the tales in the work. The printing press had not even been invented when Chaucer was writing The Canterbury Tales. As a result the manuscript was only available in several handwritten copies.

The game of chess is mentioned on one occasion in The Canterbury Tales. It occurs in "The Franklin's Tale":
Her friends saw that it was no alleviation, but grief for her, to roam by the sea, and planned to disport themselves somewhere else. They led her by rivers and springs and eke in other delectable places; they danced and they played at tables and chess.

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