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The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer, V. A. Kolve (Editor)

Other authors: Peter Levi (Blurber)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
19,628154181 (3.72)672
Chaucer's finest work begins at the Tabard Inn, where thirty travelers of widely varying classes and occupations are gathering to make the annual pilgrimage to Becket's shrine at Canterbury. It is agreed that each traveler will tell four tales to help pass the time during their long journey, and that the host of the inn will reward the best storyteller with a free supper upon their return. Thus we hear, translated into modern English, the knight's tale, the merchant's tale, the miller's tale, the wife of Bath's tale, twenty-some tales in all. Some are bawdy, some spiritual, some romantic, some mysterious, some chivalrous. Between the stories, the travelers converse, joke, and argue, revealing much of their individual outlooks upon life as well as what life was like in late-fourteenth-century England.… (more)
  1. 90
    The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (thecoroner)
  2. 102
    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Othemts)
  3. 60
    Walking to Canterbury : A modern journey through Chaucer's medieval England by Jerry Ellis (amyblue)
  4. 50
    Piers Plowman by William Langland (myshelves)
    myshelves: Some similar themes are covered, especially with regard to religious issues.
  5. 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.
  6. 20
    The Pentameron by Richard Burton (KayCliff)
  7. 10
    Finbar's Hotel by Dermot Bolger (JenniferRobb)
    JenniferRobb: Both contain stories of travelers who have stopped to "rest" in their journey.
  8. 10
    Tales of Count Lucanor by Manuel Juan (caflores)
  9. 11
    The Canterbury Tales by Seymour Chwast (kxlly)
  10. 11
    Life in the Medieval University by Robert S. Rait (KayCliff)
  11. 01
    A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Nonfiction study of Chaucer's period, with several references to his Tales.
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» See also 672 mentions

English (147)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (156)
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
What do they say? Third time is a charm? It took me a third try to understand the attraction of this work, and even enjoy it.

I read the Bantam Duel-Language version, edited by A. Kent and Constance Hieatt. Reading the duel-language, with the Middle English on the opposite page of the Modern English helped tremendously. I could read the modern version first, for understanding, then read the original version for the poetry and humor. In this way, I could appreciate both the meat and the broth of the stories.

I am very glad that I read a book a year or two on the whole topic of Love and Chivalry in the Medieval times. It shines the light on a lot of behavior and actions in these stories which would have been dark and repulsive to me if I didn't understand where the ideas came from. Not that I'm saying the behaviors were not dark and repulsive. Even though not all of the tales were included here, I feel no compulsion to seek out more of them. This was an interesting read, and I'm glad I gave it a third chance. ( )
  MrsLee | May 25, 2022 |
Ughh, we read this in my AP senior english class and I hated it. The writing pissed me off, the stories were weird, although their were a few entertaining moments they were rare enough that I hated it. Classics really don't seem to be my thing. ( )
  banrions | Dec 7, 2021 |
Knight [3/5]; Miller [4/5]; Reeve [2/5]; Cook [1/5]; Man of Law [2/5]; Shipman [3/5]; Prioress [4/5]; Chaucer [4/5]; Monk [2/5]; Nun Priest [5/5]; Physician [3/5]; Pardoner [4/5]; Wife [4/5]; Friar [4/5]; Summoner [3/5]; Clerk [2/5]; Merchant [3/5]; Squire [1/5]; Franklin [3/5]; Second Nun [2/5]; Canons Yeoman [3/5]; Manciple [4/5]; Parson [2/5]

Therfore no womman of no clerk is preysed.
The clerk, whan he is old, and may noght do
Of Venus werkes worth his olde sho,
Than sit he doun, and writ in his dotage
That wommen can nat kepe hir mariage!


Well that was pretty decent, i mean i'd have given it 3-stars but grading on a curve against similar fare like the Decameron it stands up better.
I read a interlinear translation to start with until i could parse most of it, i may have missed a word or two here and there but got most of those from context. Oh and i skipped the Appendix stories, if you want me to read something never put it in the Appendix :P .

Anyway its fun enough at times.. i'm struggling a little right now to remember what happened in several of the tales but its been a long day.. and a long book ;) .

I did save at least a dozen bookmarks trying to decide what quotes to use so thats a good sign of quality or at least interest :) .

For I ne kan nat fynde
A man, though that I walked into Inde,
Neither in citee nor in no village,
That wolde chaunge his youthe for myn age;
And therfore mooth I han myn age stille,
As longe tyme as it is Goddes wille.
Ne Deeth, allas, ne wol nat han my lyf.
( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
I read this for a British author challenge; to read a narrative poetry. I have had this on my shelf for sometime. Not sure how long. My copy is a paperback, modern English translation by r.m. lumiansky (1948). Printing 1971. Canterbury Tales is really a collection of short stories told by a group of English pilgrims who are making the trip from a suburb of London to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury. So it is a frame story of sort. Each pilgrim was to tell 4 stories and someone was suppose to win. Written in the 1300's the stories give a cross-section of English society. England is Catholic at this time. Pilgrimages were encouraged. Maybe this explains why England is still a land of people who "walk". The Pilgrimage also accounts for the conglomeration of people that come together to tell these tales. You have Knights, Millers, Cooks, Man of Law, Prioress, Monk, Priest, Wife, Friar, Cleric, Merchants, Squires, Nun, Yeoman, etc as storytellers. The short story collection, 24 tales not all complete but these stories explore a variety of topics from moralizing, to religious, romance, bawdy. Some will seem very familiar because they have been borrowed from other sources. Chaucer wrote the works in Middle English. He did not write in Latin as was the custom, but wrote for the English people. I can't say I enjoyed all the stories but I enjoyed the fact that I read this book finally and now know what it is and I also appreciated that people were on a walk to see the shrine of Becket who I've read a bit about. Seems to fill in a spot for me. ( )
  Kristelh | Oct 14, 2021 |
Classics
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (183 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geoffrey Chaucerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kolve, V. A.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
NeCastro, GerardTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levi, PeterBlurbersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ackroyd, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Allen, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Altena, Ernst vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bantock, NickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barisone, ErmannoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnouw, A.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bennett, J. A. W.Notesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boenig, RobertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bragg, MelvynForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burton, RaffelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cawley, A. C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caxton, WilliamPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coghill, NevillTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fisher, John H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, Robert D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hanning, Robert W.Introductionsecondary 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
Lounsbury, Thomas Raynesfordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lumiansky, R.MTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manly, John MatthewsEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicolson, J. U.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearsall, DerekIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skeat, Walter W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stearn, TedCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, AndrewEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuttle, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Untermeyer, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wain, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, DavidTranslatorsecondary 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
For
Hester Lewellen
and for
Larry Luchtel
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.
[Preface] The first part of this Norton Critical Edition of "The Canterbury Tales: Seventeen Tales and the General Prologue"--the glossed Chaucer text--is addressed specifically to students making their first acquaintance with Chaucer in his own language, and it takes nothing for granted.
[Chaucer's Language] There are many differences between Chaucer's Middle English and modern English, but they are minor enough that a student can learn to adjust to them in a fairly short time.
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
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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!
The ISBN 0192510347 and 0192815970 correspond to the World's classics editions (Oxford University Press). One occurrence, however, is entitled "The Canterbury Tales: A Selection".
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Chaucer's finest work begins at the Tabard Inn, where thirty travelers of widely varying classes and occupations are gathering to make the annual pilgrimage to Becket's shrine at Canterbury. It is agreed that each traveler will tell four tales to help pass the time during their long journey, and that the host of the inn will reward the best storyteller with a free supper upon their return. Thus we hear, translated into modern English, the knight's tale, the merchant's tale, the miller's tale, the wife of Bath's tale, twenty-some tales in all. Some are bawdy, some spiritual, some romantic, some mysterious, some chivalrous. Between the stories, the travelers converse, joke, and argue, revealing much of their individual outlooks upon life as well as what life was like in late-fourteenth-century England.

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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.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140424385, 014042234X

 

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