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The Canterbury Tales: In Modern English (Penguin Classics)

4.2 out of 5 stars 372 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0140440225
ISBN-10: 0140440224
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On a spring day in April--sometime in the waning years of the 14th century--29 travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. Among them is a knight, a monk, a prioress, a plowman, a miller, a merchant, a clerk, and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. Travel is arduous and wearing; to maintain their spirits, this band of pilgrims entertains each other with a series of tall tales that span the spectrum of literary genres. Five hundred years later, people are still reading Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of the Franklin, the Pardoner, or the Squire because you never learned Middle English, take heart: this edition of the Tales has been translated into modern idiom.

From the heroic romance of "The Knight's Tale" to the low farce embodied in the stories of the Miller, the Reeve, and the Merchant, Chaucer treated such universal subjects as love, sex, and death in poetry that is simultaneously witty, insightful, and poignant. The Canterbury Tales is a grand tour of 14th-century English mores and morals--one that modern-day readers will enjoy. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Like Charles Lamb's edition of Shakespeare, Hastings's loose prose translation of seven of Chaucer's tales is more faithful to the work's plot than to the poet's language. This is not a prudish retelling (even the bawdy Miller's tale is included here) but the vigor of Chaucer's text is considerably tamed. In the original, the pilgrims possess unique voices, but here the tone is uniformly bookish. The colloquial speech of the storyteller is replaced by formal prose; for example, while Cohen (see review above) directly translates Chaucer's "domb as a stoon" as "silent as stones," Hastings writes "in solemn silence." Cartwright's startling paintings skillfully suggest the stylized flatness of a medieval canvas, but often without the accompanying richness of detail. Like Punch and Judy puppets, the faces and voices of these pilgrims are generally representative but lack the life and charm of the original text. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (January 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140440224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140440225
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (372 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
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VINE VOICEon May 10, 2006
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on February 25, 2003
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