'Whoever best acquits himself, and tells The most amusing and instructive tale, Shall have a dinner, paid for by us all...' In Chaucer's most ambitious poem, The Canterbury Tales (c. 1387), a group of pilgrims assembles in an inn just outside London and agree to entertain each other on the way to Canterbury by telling stories. The pilgrims come ...
'Whoever best acquits himself, and tells The most amusing and instructive tale, Shall have a dinner, paid for by us all...' In Chaucer's most ambitious poem, The Canterbury Tales (c. 1387), a group of pilgrims assembles in an inn just outside London and agree to entertain each other on the way to Canterbury by telling stories. The pilgrims come from all ranks of society, from the crusading Knight and burly Miller to the worldly Monk and lusty Wife of Bath. Their tales are as various as the tellers, including romance, bawdy comedy, beast fable, learned debate, parable, and Eastern adventure. The resulting collection gives us a set of characters so vivid that they have often been taken as portraits from real life, and a series of stories as hilarious in their comedy as they are affecting in their tragedy. Even after 600 years, their account of the human condition seems both fresh and true. This new edition of David Wright's acclaimed translation includes a new critical introduction and invaluable notes by a leading Chaucer scholar. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
I thought I was buying the Canterbury Tales. That's what the title says, but it is some little paraphrase of the Canterbury tales, a few pages long and in modern English. They should call it what it is. I didn't want to give it any stars but it wouldn't publish without a rating. The real rating is Zero Stars.
Jun 23, 2009
I had to read this for medieval literature and it was my least favorite book. The stories are either boring, bawdy, or cliche. The plot lines, despite being written long ago, are uninteresting and easy to predict. It is not worth the time it takes to read. Don't be deceived by the fact that it is a so-called classic. And I don't say this as a classic-hater, being a classicist myself, but as a critic.
Oct 29, 2008
Pilgrimage Through Reading
This book was assigned to us in British Literature class. We only read a few selected story, but each one made me laugh, especially "The Wife of Bath". If the you, the reader reads nothing else in the book, you MUST read "The Wife of Bath". It is exceedingly comical. It is a good idea to have Cliff notes next to you as you, that way you can catch the slang terms and inuendos. Wonderful read and superb portrayal of characters, making them "real".
Apr 3, 2007
This is a wonderful story and based on real life. Chaucer was one on the greatest writers of his time.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-09-07 Ackroyd's retelling of Chaucer's classic isn't exactly like the Ethan Hawke'd film version of Hamlet, but it's not altogether different, either. Noting in his introduction that the source material "is as close to a contemporary novel as Wells Cathedral is to an apartment block," Ackroyd translates the original verse into clean and enjoyable prose that clears up the roadblocks readers could face in tackling the classic. "The Knight's Tale," the first of 24 stories, sets the pace by removing distracting tics but keeping those that are characteristic, if occasionally cringe-inducing, like the narrator's insistence on lines like, "Well. Enough of this rambling." The rest of the stories continue in kind, with shorter stories benefiting most from Ackroyd's treatment, though the longer entries tend to... ramble. The tales are a serious undertaking in any translation, and here, through no fault of Ackroyd's work, what is mostly apparent is the absence of the original text, making finishing this an accomplishment that seems diminished, even if the stories themselves prove more readable. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1988-10-28 This carefully researched and lively edition of a part of Chaucer's masterwork is richly and beautifully produced. While Cohen admits that ``Chaucer's words are best,'' her prose adaptation of four of his tales captures the zest and vigor of Middle English and makes his stories accessible to the modern child. This is not a pedantic translation or a bowdlerized retelling; Cohen does not substitute weak cliches for Chaucer's rollicking and earthy metaphors, nor does she sacrifice the rhythms of his text. Readers hear the bickering of the pilgrims as they decide on which tale they want to hear next, and the rambling voice of the good Sir John as he laments Chaunticleer's fate. Hyman's meticulous drawings not only evoke the rich panoply of 14th century England, but they are faithful to the text in the smallest detail. Each pilgrim is made particular: we see the Pardoner's limp hanks of hair and the Wife of Bath's gap-toothed smile and dainty ankle. One could not ask for a more enticing introduction to Chaucer's world. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1988-10-28 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. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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