The tragedy of "Troilus and Criseyde" is one of the greatest narrative poems in English literature. Set during the siege of Troy, it tells how the young knight Troilus, son of King Priam, falls in love with Criseyde, a beautiful widow. Brought together by Criseyde's uncle, Pandarus, the lovers are then forced apart by the events of war, which test their oaths of fidelity and trust to the limits. Described by editor Barry Windeatt as Chaucer's ?most ambitious single achievement, his masterpiece, ? "Troilus and Criseyde" is the first work in English to depict human passion with such sympathy and understanding.
Born in London to a wine merchant, Geoffrey Chaucer (c1340-1400) became a royal servant and travelled as a diplomat to France, Spain and Italy. As well as being famed for his translations, his own work includes The Canterbury Tales, The Book of the Duchess and The Legend of Good Women. Professor Barry Windeatt is Fellow and Keeper of Rare Books at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He has translated The Book of Margery Kempe for Longman and is the author of the Oxford Guide to Troilus & Criseyde.