Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales Hardcover – Nov 24 1989
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|Hardcover, Nov 24 1989||
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On a spring day in April--sometime in the waning years of the 14th century--29 travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. Among them is a knight, a monk, a prioress, a plowman, a miller, a merchant, a clerk, and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. Travel is arduous and wearing; to maintain their spirits, this band of pilgrims entertains each other with a series of tall tales that span the spectrum of literary genres. Five hundred years later, people are still reading Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of the Franklin, the Pardoner, or the Squire because you never learned Middle English, take heart: this edition of the Tales has been translated into modern idiom.
From the heroic romance of "The Knight's Tale" to the low farce embodied in the stories of the Miller, the Reeve, and the Merchant, Chaucer treated such universal subjects as love, sex, and death in poetry that is simultaneously witty, insightful, and poignant. The Canterbury Tales is a grand tour of 14th-century English mores and morals--one that modern-day readers will enjoy. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
This carefully researched and lively edition of a part of Chaucer's masterwork is richly and beautifully produced. While Cohen admits that "Chaucer's words are best," her prose adaptation of four of his tales captures the zest and vigor of Middle English and makes his stories accessible to the modern child. This is not a pedantic translation or a bowdlerized retelling; Cohen does not substitute weak cliches for Chaucer's rollicking and earthy metaphors, nor does she sacrifice the rhythms of his text. Readers hear the bickering of the pilgrims as they decide on which tale they want to hear next, and the rambling voice of the good Sir John as he laments Chaunticleer's fate. Hyman's meticulous drawings not only evoke the rich panoply of 14th century England, but they are faithful to the text in the smallest detail. Each pilgrim is made particular: we see the Pardoner's limp hanks of hair and the Wife of Bath's gap-toothed smile and dainty ankle. One could not ask for a more enticing introduction to Chaucer's world. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This unabridged version makes one realize however that this work was never finished or has been incompletely transmitted to us. For instance, the first tales such as the miller's and the reeve's are cleverly linked to one another. Sadly, soon enough afterwards, no structure is perceptible and tales simply follow one another with no apparent logic.
In addition, the unabridged version includes lesser known tales, some of which are dismally boring, such as the Tale of Melibee or the Parson's Tale, both in prose. They are closer to a long series of quotations than an actual narrative. Was Chaucer being ironic in including them? Or else, are they later additions that Chaucer did not write himself?
Overall, listening to the Canterbury Tales is a unique experience that is highly recommended to all, for sheer delight but also to realize how much, and how little, our culture has evolved since medieval times.
The Canterbury Tales revolve around a group of 29 on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral to pay homage to the martyred St. Thomas a'Becket. The members of the pilgrimage come from all walks of life, including a Knight, Prioress, Merchant, Miller, the ever-entertaining Wife of Bath, and many others. The Canterbury Tales are the pilgrims' stories and each one reflects the individual character's personality beautifully. One can't help but feel a part of this lively group.
Whether you like a bawdy, raucous tale or a morally sound fable you will definitely find something entertaining in this book. I laughed out loud several times and found Chaucer's use of symbolism, wit, wisdom, and the glimpse into 14th Century life absolutely fascinating.
I read Canterbury Tales a while ago. It was an abridged edition. Severely abridged. Entire sections and tales were cut out, for PC and conservative reasons both. I reread it in an unabridged edition, and while even a truncated Chaucer is beautiful, I see how much I missed.
Yes, the Tales may be anti-semitic and sexist and Chaucer probably killed puppies just to see their expressions. It's still a beautiful example of writing. Rather than limit himself to portraying the upper classes and more refined manners, Chaucer elected to portray "low" manners and tastes as well, giving a more complete picture of life as he saw it. The completeness of the Tales for that time period blows me away.
It's long, but it's worth it. If you can, find an edition that keeps as much of the original language and slang as possible. It's slower reading, but his skill shines through.
Most recent customer reviews
I find one of the vocalist's pronunciation difficult to understand on the 2nd disc. First disk is simply delightful. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Louis Archambault
Good side-by-side presentation and introduction on Middle English. Actual translation a bit pedestrian.Published 15 months ago by Gerald Hare
Very clearly developed introduction: it includes an historical context that helps situate the background from which the tales emerge and a form-literary analysis of the various... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Michel Boucher
This brilliant translation makes, Chaucer, an author many young people complain is too difficult, easily accessible and remarkably modern in feel. Read morePublished on March 19 2009 by Alison Bonar
In Chaucer's work, 'The Canterbury Tales', perhaps the greatest of English literary works from the period of the language known as Middle English, there is one particular piece... Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2006 by FrKurt Messick
I enjoy the translation. I think it's ideal for the classroom. I can appreciate the tales that are streamlined for ease. It's very easy to follow.Published on June 20 2004 by Bethanie Frank
There have been few writers and poets with the same vigor, fortiude and knowledge like that of Geoffrey Chaucer. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by B. Viberg
The Canterbury Tales were almost ruined for me by my freshman English Lit class. They insisted on making us read it from The Norton Anthology of Literature, which of course is... Read morePublished on April 7 2004 by JR Pinto
If you haven't read the Canterbury Tales in their native language than you are missing out. It isn't very hard, once you get in the flow of things it becomes just like reading... Read morePublished on March 6 2004 by Matt Fellows
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