The Canterbury Tales
The procession that crosses Chaucer's pages is as full of life and as richly textured as a medieval tapestry. The Knight, the Miller, the Friar, the Squire, the Prioress, the Wife of Bath, and others who make up the cast of characters -- including Chaucer himself -- are real people, with human emotions and weaknesses. When it is remembered that Chaucer wrote in English at...more
I once spent a pleasant bus trip sitting next to a grad student who was do...more
For those who don't know, The Canterbury Tales is a book containing a bunch of stories told by individuals traveling together on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. The book is written in the late 1300s with the pilgrimage set in the same basic time. It begins with a "General Prologue" providing a description of ea...more
So why should we read Canterbury Tales? Well, I suppose the technical answer would be because each tale represents a style or type of writing. The collection is different forms that were popular in the day...more
First of all, there shouldn't be translations of Chaucer. Much of Chaucer's meaning comes through the language he uses. Take away the language, and what's left is no longer Chaucer. I can see an argument for translating Chaucer into German, French, Italian, Tagalog, whatever. But into Modern English--that's insulting.
If you can't read Chaucer's Middle English, just skip The Canterbury Tale...more
"Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour,
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every hol...more
How can it be that some fellow from the Dark Ages could be better read than my modern self? How is it possibl...more
The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label
Essay #44: The Canterbury Tales (~1380-1400), by Geoffrey Chaucer
The story in a nutshell:
Written in stops and starts from roughly 1380 to 1400, Geoffrey Chaucer's Th...more
I decided to reread The Canterbury Tales because a) I've read Troilus and Criseyde twice now, and loved it, and b) I had to look at the Wife of Bath's tale as a Gawain romance. Gawain is always going to be a draw for me, so I settled down to read it. I find it frustrating, in its unfinished a...more
Update Jan 2011: Finished! There's little that I can add to the appreciative reviews of this charming work, apart from observing that you you don't need to know anything about the historical context (late 14th-century England) to enjoy the collection.
Anyone who loves stories and the whole idea of storytelling will get a buzz from the Tales - they are packaged within the framework of a...more
If you thought the 14th century was prudish about its language and strict about its morality, you're in for a shock. Chaucer's richness includes...more
It is also possible that I might have been a bit over-sensitive and reactionary.
One day I may attempt to read this in its original tongue. Maybe.
Wow. This was not what I thought it would be (Aesopian or in the vein of the Brothers Grimm). Where should I start?
I didn't fini...more
The General Prologue
A nice introduction to Chaucer's conceit, his characters, storytellers all, and his conversational style. One thing that surprises me, is Chaucer's tendency to halt his narrative for little asides about his choices in detail. It's all a little meta for 14th century literature and disruptive to say the least - I mean, who needs to be told why Chaucer tells us of a character's dress and complection, but not of...more
I'll admit I probably didn't delve into this as much as scholarly appropriate - I read the translation mostly since plowing through the old english seemed a bit unnecessary since I wasn't reading it for a class. I do appreciate the magnitude of the work however - don't get me wrong.
I was pretty much surprised by the misogyny and the graphic sexuality contained within. I don't know what I expected really but I g...more
Maybe more to come when I become an English major? We'll see.
Want to read more of my reviews? F...more
Read for: Early British Literature
On the contrary, Decameron and The Canterbury Tales represent more the "measly" middle ages. Thus the plague, the peasantry, the religious dogmas, and the real life of people from each degree such as the religious ones, nobles, and knights.
It is neces...more
To do ample justice to the Canterbury Tales is something I will not even try in this review because the whole collection is such an ambitious and multi-faceted enterprise that it would only be fair to devote to each of the different tales – and the General Prologue – a detailed text in its own right.
Possibly with the intention to emulate Boccaccio, Geoffrey Chaucer introduces his readers into the company of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. It is a motley group indeed, incl...more
“People can die of mere imagination."
Is piece of literature is a British treasure of most importances, and I can honestly understand why. It has affected lots of other great literary works including "The Tales of Three Brothers" by J.K. Rowling. The concept is fairy fine and...more