Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), known as the 'Father of English Literature' is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, and is chiefly remembered nowadays for his 'Canterbury Tales', and for being the first poet to be buried in Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey. Walter Skeat was one of the leading medievalists of the late 19th century, and published the complete works of Chaucer in a series of 7 volumes in the 1890s. These were condensed into a single volume, published in 1906 by the Clarendon Press (Oxford), in a very handsome morocco binding. The Times Book Club, active at the time, would have ordered a supply of the book for sale to its members, and our copy is evidently one of these (a label inside the back cover marks it as a Times Book Club copy - see photo).
Walter William Skeat (1835–1912), FBA, was the pre-eminent British philologist of his time, and was instrumental in developing 'English Language' as a higher education subject in the UK. In 1860, having married and been ordained, he held curacies first at East Dereham (1861-1862) and then Godalming (1862-1863). In October 1864, he returned to Cambridge University as a mathematics lecturer, a position he held until 1871. In 1878, he was elected Elrington and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Cambridge. He completed Mitchell Kemble's edition of the Anglo-Saxon Gospels, and did work both in Old English and the Gothic language. He is best known for his work in Middle English, and for his standard editions of Chaucer and William Langland's "Piers Plowman".
Our book is in very good condition for its age, bound in dark blue-green cloth with impressed decorative border to both covers, and gilt decorative bands at top & bottom of the spine. The word 'Chaucer' is in gilt on the front cover, and the title and publisher's name also in gilt on the spine; page tops are also gilt. Externally there are few signs of wear - a little wear at top & bottom of the spine, and at all corners, but only minimal. One or two pale marks are visible, mainly on the back cover. Inside, the binding is firm, the pages all neatly cut, clean and bright, and there is no foxing. The halftitle page has a pencilled name & address with some Greek characters, but there is no other notation. Running heads are in Gothic lettering. The frontispiece retains its tissue guard. Inside the back cover is the dark red Times Book Club label. A very nice and compact copy of this famous writer's works.