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The Canterbury Tales
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About the Author

Born in London to a wine merchant, Geoffrey Chaucer (c1340-1400) became a royal servant and travelled as a diplomat to France, Spain and Italy. As well as being famed for his translations, his own work includes Troilus and Criseyde, The Book of the Duchess and The Legend of Good Women. Jill Mann has been Professor Medieval & Renaissance English at Cambridge University, and most recently Notre Dame Professor of English. She is the author Feminizing Chaucer (2002), and co-editor (with Piero Boitani) of The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer (2nd edn. 2003). Jill Mann has been Professor Medieval & Renaissance English at Cambridge University, and most recently she was Notre Dame Professor of English. She is the author Feminizing Chaucer (2002), and co-editor (with Piero Boitani) of The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer (2nd edn. 2003).

Reviews

Gr 9 Up-The first version put into modern English by John Tatlock and Percy Mackaye. Narrated by Flo Gibson.

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.)

This unabridged edition features some of the BBC's best narrators giving voice to the outrageous personalities of Chaucer's motley crew of medieval pilgrims. Essential. (Audio Oldies but Goodies, ow.ly/6s5xH) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"A delight . . . [Raffel's translation] provides more opportunities to savor the counterpoint of Chaucer's earthy humor against passages of piercingly beautiful lyric poetry."--Kirkus Reviews

"Masterly . . . This new translation beckons us to make our own pilgrimage back to the very wellsprings of literature in our language." --Billy Collins

"The Canterbury Tales has remained popular for seven centuries. It is the most approachable masterpiece of the medieval world, and Mr. Raffel's translation makes the stories even more inviting."--Wall Street Journal

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