American Literature in Eighteenth Century

The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story Genre
Comedy, Quest, Satire or Parody
Although the genre of the individual tales varies, the goal of the frame story is pretty clearly to tickle our funny bones and satirize the quirks of various pilgrims, and social estates. So we get lots of humorous details, like that one about the wart on the Miller's nose, or that gross tidbit about the puss-oozing wound on the Cook's leg. As part of the satire, we get characteristics thought to be typical of particular occupations, but exaggerated hugely. Knights are supposed to fight battles? Well this Knight's been at practically every battle ever fought in the past twenty years! Wives are supposed to be lustful (and married)? Well this Wife's had five husbands, in addition to numerous lovers in her youth! So there you go: comedy and satire. Oh, and since this story is about a group of pilgrims on their way to a shrine in a quest for forgiveness, you might also consider this part of the "Quest" genre.

The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale Genre
Adventure, Historical Fiction
"The Knight's Tale" is a work of fiction set in a time period much earlier than the one in which it's written. (The story is told in medieval England, but it'sabout ancient Greece.) This makes it a medieval version of what, today, we might call historical fiction. Just like our historical fiction, "The Knight's Tale" draws upon some of the attitudes it imagines those historical figures might have had, like worship of Greek gods, beliefs surrounding burial of the dead, and ancient Greek philosophies like Stoicism and Platonism. (See "Setting" for more on that.)
Just like our historical fiction, "The Knight's Tale" also contains many anachronisms – attitudes which, if we thought harder about it, we'd realize probably don't belong to the setting of the story. They come from the time the story was written, rather than the historical time in which it is set. In "The Knight's Tale," attitudes...