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This catalog accompanied the exhibit of materials from the University of South Carolina’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, which featured original material alongside modern high-quality reproductions of the most important of the Chaucer manuscripts and of the early printed editions of his work.


The Canterbury Tales, written more than six hundred years ago, remains one of the most influential poems in the English language. It was circulated in Chaucer's own time in beautifully illuminated manuscript copies, and it was among the first works of English poetry to reach printed form, in Caxton's edition of 1478 . Geoffrey Chaucer's (c. 1340- 1400) work provides a lively panorama of contemporary medieval society.