Unediting The Canterbury Tales

Unediting The Canterbury Tales

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The following pages present a virtual exhibit showcasing manuscript and printed versions of The Canterbury Tales, from the Hengwrt and Ellesmere manuscripts to the 1896 Kelmscott edition. The physical book copies represented in these photographs are held by the British Library, National Library of Wales, Glasgow University Library, Huntington Library, and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, a rare book and manuscript library owned by UCLA and located off-campus in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles. To begin navigating through the exhibit, click on the “Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales” button below. You may also navigate the exhibit through the table of contents located in both the top left-hand corner or your screen.

Underneath each image you will find a series of clickable buttons. “Description” simply gives you the name of the image, while “Annotations” will reveal any explanatory annotations (mapped onto specific “zones” of the image) you will need to understand what you are looking at. “Source” will take you to a zoomable/downloadable version of the image. You can safely ignore “Details” and “Citations.”
Finally, since digitized page images are very different from the experience of handling a physical book, you will find a video of one of these books—the 1532 edition of Chaucer’s Works (ed. Thynne)—being handled/its pages turned by a staff member at the Clark Library; this video is accessible via the link below. If you would like to see this book in person please contact Philip Palmer at the Clark Library
Users of this site may also be interested to know about the UCLA English Department’s portrait of Geoffrey Chaucer, which hangs in the English Reading Room (Humanities Building) and may be the earliest known depiction of the poet.

Proceed to “Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales” (1/2)

​1532 Chaucer video