Ryan's Reviews > The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
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M 50x66
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Jul 12, 2011

really liked it

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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 written in the English language for a mass audience.

The book, in parts, is wickedly hysterical and bitingly satirical of the classes and cultural stratification of the era.

Chaucer died in 1400 without finishing the Tales, and the first printing of it wasn't 1476. Previous to the first press run, the only copies were handwritten manuscripts. The first serious attempt to restore the genuine text of the Canterbury Tales was made by Tyrwhitt in 1775, three hundred years after they were first printed by Caxton. Tyrwhitt's edition of the Canterbury Tales has enjoyed the highest reputation, and this is the version which I am currently reading.
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