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
"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
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
A friar goes into a town looking for goods to give to the church. He spotted a house that he had stopped at before and always gave willingly. The Friar talked to the man (who is in a wheelchair) and his wife. The wife offered the friar something to eat. The friar told her that he would love something, but nothing needed to be killed on his account; but if she truly wanted to she can. The wife greets the friar and talks about how the last time the friar visited her son died not too...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 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
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
I couldn't finish this. Perhaps it's the translation. Perhaps they didn't translate it enough. Perhaps it's just the content. But I just didn't care for these stories.
The first one ab...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
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
Beyond its importance as a cultural touchstone...more
I've read both the Middle English (original) version and a few of the translated versions, and I've decided to go back to the original and revisit some of my favorite stories. The Tales, like Don Quixote, are one of those works that I'm *always* reading. They are lifetime books, in that there is always something new there, some nuance I've previously overlooked, some linguistic trick, some emotional capture...always something. Always. It is, I believe, probably one of the finest things ever writ...more
The Wife of Bath's Tale and The Pardoner's Tale are classics and my students seem to appreciate them. They like drunk good idea of the three frat boys to kill death and the irony of The Pardoner's Tale. There seems to be mixed reviews of...more