Monday, September 22, 2008

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 504
Reason for Reading : Guardian 100 Greatest Books, Classics Challenge 08, TBR Challenge 2008

A collection of tales written by poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Origianlly written in Middle English, this was an expertly written modern translation by Nevill Coghill. He managed to keep the rhyming scheme and the rhythm keeping it most suited to being read out loud for maximum effect.

The premise is that the collection of tales form a competition within a group of travellers from all different levels of employment to amuse themselves on their travels to Canterbury. Everything from moral tales to humerous ones, tales of chivalrous love to cautionary tales of cheating spouses. Each tale stands alone and Chaucer deftly captures the different voices and styles of his players.

I particularly enjoyed The Knights Tale, The Miller's Tale,The Wife of Bath's Tale and the seemingly unfinished Squires Tale. From reading the prologue there were a whole host of other tales that Chaucer sadly never got around to writing and this collection remains forever uncomplete. My least favourite was easily the overly moral Clerk's Tale of a woman who has more patience than a saint. It is easy to be daunted by the reputation of this masterpiece, but reading the tales one at a time really helped to make the pieces of the tale easier to digest. I can highly recommend this excellent modern translation.

2 comments:

Ladytink_534 said...

I still remember bits and pieces of it from when I read it in high school.

Nymeth said...

I've been trying to gather the courage to read this for so long. It intimidates me a bit, but then again so did The Odyssey, and I ended up really enjoying it. Your review is certainly encouraging. And I'll keep this translation in mind, thanks!