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The Canterbury Tales Paperback – February 4, 2003
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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 an alternate Paperback 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 an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
However, I gave this book three stars first becuase I don't put Chaucer on a level with Spenser or Malory, and second because this is a standard Penguin book, which means it's more stripped down than I like. I prefer footnotes to explain references that I might not be able to take in context. In something as heavily alligorical as Chaucer's work, I believe this is very important.
"Canterbury Tales" I came across this 1934 edition. This edition was "Rendered into Modern Translation by J.U. Nicholson. with illustrations by Rockwell Kent and an Introduction by Gordon Hall Gerould. This text contains beautiful artwork and pages which are bordered by calligraphic designs. This is an early 20th century edition with a forward of the view of that era (1934) which is always educational. The text is unique due to this. this edition also has a silk long (10 inches) bookmark. This is a review in process but I find that every volume of period works are unique & educational. Peace