Neil (nt) wrote,

  • Music:
I've been reading Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, in an edition that has been translated from the 14th Century middle English into modern English. Instead of struggling to understand lines like these:
Whilom ther was dwellynge at Oxenford
A riche gnof, that gestes heeld to bord.
I can breeze through lines like these:
Some time ago there was a rich old codger
Who lived in Oxford and who took a lodger.
The story of a group of pilgrims journeying to Canterbury is merely a framing device. The bulk of the book is the stories that the pilgrims tell to pass the time and to win a prize offered by their host. This allows Chaucer to tell tales as varied as the pilgrims themselves. I've long wanted to read this book, but expected that the middle English would make it a chore.

When I finish the Tales, I plan to read Walking to Canterbury: A Modern Journey Through Chaucer's Medieval England, by Jerry Ellis. This is a LibraryThing recommendation. Normally I'm leery of those "if you like this, you might also like that" recommendations that websites give out, but this one does look very interesting. I picked it up at the library today.
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