The Canterbury Tales
By far Chaucer's most popular work, although he might have preferred to have been remembered by Troilus and Criseyde, the Canterbury Tales was unfinished at his death. No less than fifty-six surviving manuscripts contain, or once contained, the full text. More than twenty others contain some parts or an individual tale.
The work begins with a General Prologue in which the narrator arrives at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, and meets other
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offers a treatise on sin and salvation. Chaucer leads the reader to the point where the ability of any fictional tale to tell the truth is challenged, though not necessarily as radically denied as the Parson would wish. The Parson himself is a fictional character, after all, a part of a Tale.
The reader is at each moment invited to read the Tales in such a way as not to eliminate any of these dimensions.