The Canterbury Tales is one of the most famous works of English literature, written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late 14th century. The work tells stories of a group of pilgrims as they travel through England to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The tales told by the pilgrims vary widely, from comic to tragic.
Later we learn that this journey is bound for Canterbury—in other words, these pilgrims are setting out from London and heading to a destination farther east.
The book is divided into four books, each containing many tales. The first book contains twenty-four different stories—the Prologue, seventeen tales (some told by more than one pilgrim), and three poems (in which Chaucer himself plays a role). The second book doesn’t have any tales or poems in it; instead, it has several more stories about the Knight, who was the first pilgrim to tell his tale in Book One. The third book is also mostly about him, and it contains five tales and two poems. In Book Four, we encounter another group of pilgrims (who are all together on their own pilgrimage) and three more stories told by various characters.