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The Selected Canterbury Tales: A New Verse Translation
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The Selected Canterbury Tales: A New Verse Translation

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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  265 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In the tradition of Seamus Heaney's Beowulf and Marie Borroff's Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sheila Fisher's The Selected Canterbury Tales is a vivid, lively, and readable translation of the most famous work of England's premier medieval poet. Preserving Chaucer's rhyme and meter and faithfully articulating his poetic voice, Fisher makes Chaucer's tales accessible to a ...more
Hardcover, 738 pages
Published April 25th 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1390)
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(showing 1-30 of 699)
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Adrian Colesberry
Delightfully bawdy. There are stories in here that sound like stock jokes. I think this is where the man is bedding the miller's wife and to prove that the miller is asleep, they keep pulling hairs out of his arse before they do it. The miller wakes up an one point and says they can have sex all they want but stop taking a talley on his arse.
Or maybe that is a stock joke. Many moons ago.
Amanda
The Crown Jewels of English literature as funny, saucy, thought-provoking and dramatic as they were when they were written some six-hundred years ago, full of memorable characters and tales that beg to be re-read and re-read.

I put off reading Chaucer for years, worried that the language would be too old to be easily understood and I did not want to read a modern prose translation. But thankfully Chaucer spells phonetically and with a little perseverance one gets used to his idioms and dialect qu
...more
Lynn Cullivan
Disclaimer: I can't read middle English, but I did slog my way through a couple of the Tales in college. I think this edition captures the sense of the original, and makes Chaucer fun to read. If you liked Chaucer, you'll enjoy this. If you hated Chaucer, give this version a try -- he's too important an influence on English literature to be overlooked.
Molshri
Loved it. The stories are naughty, bawdy, funny, romantic, spiritual and entertaining. I rue the fact that we don't have story tellers anymore. The Canterbury tales take us to the day of yore when story telling was an art and each tale was passed down through several generations.
It's important NOT to read a revised version in easy English. Read this book in prose like the original.
There are some excellent tales like the Wife Of Bath's Tale which questions the role of a woman in society and is
...more
Rick Davis
Technically, Chaucer doesn't need to be translated. He is writing in English, and anyone with a reasonable amount of patience, and perhaps the aid of a dictionary from time to time, ought to be able to read Chaucerian English. In fact, the level of difficulty is not much different from that of trying to read one of George MacDonald's dialect-laden Scottish novels from the 1800s. However, the fact remains that there are plenty of words and phrases that will trip you up as you read Chaucer and mak ...more
Raj
This selection contained about half of the tales along with some prologues. Although the tales themselves were fairly straightforward and often amusing and bawdy (lots of sex and bums and the like) the language was hard going. I think that although there was some translation in my version it wasn't a full translation to modern English, so still required a lot of effort to read.

I'm sure that there was a lot of subtlety and so on that I missed, but even with that, I enjoyed the flow of the text. T
...more
Russ
Some of the tales are good, some are a little crazy, some are preachy.
I found the interlinear layout very helpful - before I was too far into the book, I had learned many of the key middle English words and could understand all but a few lines without referencing the modern English.
Regina
With the editor's notes, this edition is very easy to read and quite enjoyable. While reading this, the sing-song nature of the verse echoed in my head at random times of the day. I wonder if that middle-English schwa ending is the carry over that I have heard in older preachers and poets that like to end every spoken line in "ah".

I enjoyed the stories and also being able to see more clearly the relationship that English has with the other Romance languages.

Reading Chaucer is like making a conn
...more
Bob
This is not the entire set of tales, so I'm not sure my comments apply to all editions.

This is on one of my top 100 book lists, and am glad I read it. The language is so unlike modern English that it was difficult to comprehend. To make it easier, I found I enjoyed it better reading it out loud. It also helped to read the introductory material that explained some of the pronunciation rules of the time. This helped to bring out the poetry of the work. Read aloud the stories were understandable m
...more
Lydia
A beautiful translation by a wonderful professor.
Hollisann Harrison
Apr 24, 2015 Hollisann Harrison rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Hollisann by: My Grandmother
Shelves: favorites
Beautifully worded, and thank goodness for the glossary in the back!

I own my grandmother's copy of this book, and honestly, this is the most treasured book in my entire collection, seeing as how it is long since out of print. My grandmother had a subscription with some company or another, and for 25 cents she could purchase a hardcover book.

If you can get your hands on a First Edition copy of "Selections From The Canterbury Tales" (published by Books, Inc.), then you'll see why I love this book
...more
The Book : An Online Review at The New Republic
IN 1989 THE MIDDLE ENGLISH text of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was published by Norton in the Critical Editions series. It did very nicely, and in 2005 a second edition appeared. Commenting on this text in the Customer Reviews column of Amazon, several readers stressed how essential it was, for anyone wanting to appreciate Chaucer properly, to make the effort to read him in the original. Read more...
Dami
I bought this book as a challenge of my English understanding a couple of years back.[return]I have started reading it but lost the enthusiasm after about the third of the book, and I didn't continue. Its a hard read, and you have to constantly look up Middle English words (there is a dictionary at the back, but I didn't find out about it till much later).[return]In the future I plan to buy a translated version (either into modern English or Hungarian).
Bunny
Apr 26, 2008 Bunny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes, if they were a "reading fan".
have no idea WHY I bought this, it was on a whim. But read it I did. I found reading the pronunctation key and trying to read as it would have been spoken, instead of reading it as I would speak it, made the book FLOW for me... Chaucer was an incredible raconteur. My favorites in this book were, A Knights Tale, and A Shipmates Tale. (thank goodness for the footnotes!)
Austyn
The Canterbury Tales’ frame narrative incorporates themes of courtly love and church corruption; mixes popular medieval genres (e.g., estate satire and fabliau); and uses the description of characters such as their social position and physiognomy to paint a sardonic portrait of English society. Chaucer wrote in the Middle-English vernacular.
Mark Flowers
I'll be reviewing this for SLJ, but I'll just say here that this is a tremendous translation, despite my belief that anyone who really wants to can read Chaucer in the original.

Here's the SLJ review:

http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/...
Carlos Irizarry
A epic poem that wells it's song in it's patterned throb. This is the work that put the English (Middle Stepson ok) on the map. Has a Medieval and yet also Enlighten spirit (Classical Antiquity is used more then what one would expect). Tales of varied diameters are done "Wife Of Bath" is my personal favorite though.
Danielle
Definitely needs a translation to make it enjoyable to read, and some of the humor is lost due to time, but you can definitely see why this is cosidered a classic work. Intelligent, political statements without it being obvious, and humorous, worth a read.
Magda
I quite liked it. The language was a bit incomprehensible but footnotes were a lot of help.I haven't read all of them but those I have I liked. The stories were interesting and some of them really funny at times.
Amy
I have not read all of the tales - but I have read a number, due to repeated exposure through high school and college.
And I can still recite the first 18 line of The General Prologue, with atrocious pronunciation....
Andrea
I recognize it's historical significance, but most of it was pretty boring. The miller tale was amusing, if rather lewd...
Hilary
not the full monty of tales, but impressive nonetheless
Sara
Took a class just on this book while finishing up my English degree. I had an awesome professor who was very passionate about the time and the author. He explained many nuances and taught we learned much about the variances in middle English while forcing us to discover the social and political context.
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1838
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343 – October 25, 1400?) was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Although he wrote many works, he is best remembered for his unfinished frame narrative The Canterbury Tales. Sometimes called the father of English literature, Chaucer is credited by some scholars as being the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacu ...more
More about Geoffrey Chaucer...
The Canterbury Tales The Riverside Chaucer Troilus and Criseyde The Canterbury Tales: Nine Tales and the General Prologue: Authoritative Text, Sources and Backgrounds, Criticism The Wife of Bath

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