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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
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The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,346108165 (3.74)467
  1. 102
    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Othemts)
  2. 60
    Walking to Canterbury : A modern journey through Chaucer's medieval England by Jerry Ellis (amyblue)
  3. 40
    Piers Plowman by William Langland (myshelves)
    myshelves: Some similar themes are covered, especially with regard to religious issues.
  4. 40
    The Mercy Seller by Brenda Rickman Vantrease (myshelves)
    myshelves: The Mercy Seller, a novel about the religious ferment in the early 15th century, features a Pardoner who is not happy about the portrayal of the Pardoner in The Canterbury Tales.
  5. 30
    The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (thecoroner)
  6. 10
    Life in the Medieval University by Robert Rait (KayCliff)
  7. 10
    The Canterbury Tales by Seymour Chwast (kxlly)
  8. 10
    Tales of Count Lucanor by Don Juan Manuel (caflores)
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» See also 467 mentions

English (105)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
This beautiful old volume was sadly printed in the worst of times. Even though I've been careful in its storage, and in handling, the dreaded acidity is catching up with the paper. I imagine that in perhaps another 50 years, the pages will be completely yellowed and crumbly, and it'll be gone. This volume is written in the original English (the East Midland dialect, according to Untermeyer's excellent introduction) of the day, with an excellent glossary at the end (but beginning, I suspect, to be less than helpful, nearly 100 years after publication).

His stories give insight into the day to day lives of people in his time (the 1300s), and he wrote in a manner that is still lively and readable today. ( )
  Lyndatrue | Aug 9, 2014 |
Skimmed 7/4/14 on vacation (BR Ranch, Calabash beach); three husband/wife stories (333, 375, 463): Widow of Bath-dominate, the Clerk's tale-obsequious, the Franklin's tale-ideal (article "The Poetry of Love, marital wisdom in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales," David M. Wright, Memoria Press, The Classical Teacher, late summer 2014 http://issuu.com/memoriapress/docs/classicalteacherlatesummer2014_web-/1, hard copy of article in book, not able to copy and paste from online publication

penitence/repentance 543

sin/lust/flesh 561ff
  keithhamblen | Jul 23, 2014 |
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories told by pilgrims in Medieval England who are going to pray at Canterbury Cathedral. Chaucer uses characters from all aspects of the society - knights, merchants, tradesmen, religious - allowing the human nature to be revealed where the 7 Deadly Sins (pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony, lust) are counterbalanced by virtues (humility, contentment, patience, fortitude, mercy, moderation, chastity).

The tales at times were a bit boring while others were funny and a bit lewd. There were love stories, morality tales, fables, and satires. The characters each seem to have a quality that added something to their story.

Sometime I may try to find a translation in Modern English and see if I enjoy the stories more. ( )
  cyderry | Jun 13, 2014 |
Read in a Penguin Classics translation from the 50s, this is a re-read for me. I last read this approaching 20 years ago when I needed distracting on a long haul flight. And having read it again, I can see why it did it's job! It's not exactly an easy read, it demands attention and concentration - no skimming here. but it rewards the attention with some classic pieces of story telling. The concept was enormous, each of the pilgrims (and there are approaching 30 identified) were to tell two tales. He didn't even get as far as one tale each, the work remains unfinished, but some of the stories are just sparkling studies of human nature even now. A lot of the stories are relayed as if the pilgrim is telling a story they have heard elsewhere, so a lot of them can be traced to other sources - there's little in the narrative arc that is original. What is all Chaucer is the linking passages, the representation of all of life in one group. They are a mixture of positions in life and it is noticeable that the ladies represented in the group and in the tales tend to be very strong females - very few shrinking violets here. For his time, that strikes me as noticeable. The introduction, when the pilgrims are introduces, could be (with a little tweaking) any group of random strangers you could gather together today. OK, there are a few more religious job titles then than now (they'd be bankers or management consultants now) but they're such an assorted bunch that they seem to spring to life as you read. I think that's part of the charm, this is the English at the birth of a national consciousness - these are my people, this is part of what makes us who we are. ( )
1 vote Helenliz | May 4, 2014 |
I love the Canterbury Tales. I took an entire class dedicated to the study of this beautiful piece of work. What I love about this collection of tales is that there is something for everyone; tons of dirty humor, some love stories, tragic stories, morality stories, animal fables, a satire on chivalry tales, poetry...

There are over 20 individual stories, some that were unfortunately left unfinished. Each tale is told by a different person in this group of pilgrims making their way to Canterbury Cathedral. They are all from different walks of life; there is a Knight, a squire, a scholar, a prioress, a priest, a pardoner, etc. They decide to tell stories in order to pass the time as they travel.

For those who are not used to Middle English is that you can read one at a time and/or skip around (after you read the General Prologue), and though you may miss a few things about the actual pilgrimage (some of the story tellers argue and whatnot), the tales themselves are still very enjoyable.

I suggest finding a copy that has both the original spelling and the Middle English spelling in order to enjoy the full impact of the language even if you are not a Middle English expert.

It is a delightful collection of tales! I wish more people would read and enjoy them! ( )
1 vote est-lm | May 3, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (183 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geoffrey Chaucerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ackroyd, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barisone, ErmannoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnouw, A.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bennett, J. A. W.Notesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cawley, A. C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caxton, WilliamPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coghill, NevillTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hieatt, A. KentEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hieatt, ConstanceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, Frank ErnestTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kent, RockwellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Latham, RobertGeneral editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skeat, Walter W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stearn, TedCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Untermeyer, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
... I have translated some parts of his works, only that I might perpetuate his memory, or at least refresh it, amongst my countrymen. If I have altered him anywhere for the better, I must at the same time acknowledge, that I could have done nothing without him...

JOHN DRYDEN on translating Chaucer
Preface to the Fables
1700

And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be.

ALEXANDER POPE
Essay on Criticism
1711
Dedication
First words
When the sweet showers of April have pierced/
The drought of March, and pierced it to the root,/
And every vein is bathed in that moisture/
Whose quickening force will engender the flower;/
And when the west wind too with its sweet breath/
Has given life in every wood and field/
To tender shoots, and when the stripling sun/
Has run his half-course in Aries, the Ram,/
And when small birds are making melodies,/
That sleep all the night long with open eyes,/
(Nature so prompts them, and encourages);/
Then people long to go on pilgrimages,/
And palmers to take ship for foreign shores,/
And distant shrines, famous in different lands;/
And most especially, from all the shires/
Of England, to Canterbury they come,/
The holy blessed martyr there to seek,/
Who gave his help to them when they were sick.
When in April the sweet showers fall
And pierce the drought of March to the root, and all
The veins are bathed in liquor of such power
As brings about the engendering of the flower,
When also Zephyrus with his sweet breath
Exhales an air in every grove and heath
Upon the tender shoots, and the young sun
His half-course in the sign of the Ram has run,
And the small fowl are making melody
That sleep away the night with open eye
(So nature pricks them and their heart engages)
Then people long to go on pilgrimages
And palmers long to seek the stranger strands
Of far-off saints, hallowed in sundry lands,
And specially, from every shire's end
Of England, down to Canterbury they wend
To seek the holy blissful martyr, quick
To give his help to them when they were sick.

(translated by Nevill Coghill, 1951)
Once upon a time, as old stories tell us, there was a duke named Theseus;  Of Athens he was a lord and governor, And in his time such a conqueror, That greater was there none under the sun.
Quotations
Sloth makes men believe that goodness is so painfully hard and so complicated that it requires more daring than they possess, as Saint George says.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This record is for the unabridged Canterbury Tales. Please do not combine selected tales or incomplete portions of multi-volume sets onto this record. Thank you!
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
blurb: The Canterbury Tales stands conspicuous among the great literary achievements of the Middle Ages. Told by a jovial procession of pilgrims - knight, priest, yeoman, miller, or cook - as they ride towards the shrine of Thomas a’ Becket, they present a picture of a nation taking shape. The tone of this never resting comedy is, by turns, learned, fantastic, lewd, pious, and ludicrous. Geoffrey Chaucer began his great task on about 1386. This version in modern English, by Nevill Coghill, preserves the freshness and racy vitality of Chaucer’s narrative.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140424385, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:07 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

A retelling of the medieval poem about a group of travelers on a pilgrimage to Canterbury and the tales they tell each other. With their astonishing diversity of tone and subject matter, The Canterbury Tales have become one of the touchstones of medieval literature. Translated here into modern English, these tales of a motley crowd of pilgrims drawn from all walks of life-from knight to nun, miller to monk-reveal a picture of English life in the fourteenth century that is as robust as it is representative.… (more)

» see all 42 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140424385, 014042234X

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