These essays, written between 1937 and 1960, have remained classics of their kind. They include important discussions on irony--its native traditions and its occurrence in early English literature, an account of critics' appreciation of Chaucerian irony prior to this century, and a detailed examination of four of the Canterbury Tales
. The illuminating analysis of the complex use of various kinds of irony in the Miller's Tale,
the Friar's Tal
e, the Summoner's Tale
, and the Manciple's Tale
emphasizes aspects of Chaucer's art that are very acceptable to contemporary. As a result, these essays lead today's reader towards a fuller understanding of Chaucer's achievement.