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In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories and low farce. A story-telling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight's account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath's Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook.
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About the Author

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London in about 1342. He was valued highly by Edward III, who paid part of his ransom when he was captured fighting in France in 1360. He rose in royal employment, becoming a Justice of the Peace and was buried in 1400 in Westminster Abbey.Nevill Coghill's translation of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde into modern English is also published by Penguin Classics.

Reviews

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.)

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

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"" " " "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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