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,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 quite easily. He certainly is no harder to read than Shakespeare. I would recommend anyone with an interest in history or early English literature do the same. It is so very awe-inspiring to think how close Chaucer's English is to our own.
Just a warning, the Penguin edition I ended up with, although in original Middle-English, is actually a rather abriged version (I didn't notice at the time I bought it, but the editor seems to have just cut out the lesser known, longer tales that he personally found 'dull' for some reason). If you want to read all of the surviving tales, be careful which editon you choose....more