Monday, 16 April 2012

365 Reasons To Be Proud To Be British: Canterbury Tales

April 17th 1397: The Canterbury Tales are first told by Geoffrey Chaucer at the court of Richard II.

It's been a long time since I blogged about Richard Happer's excellent little book. So here we go again.

The Canterbury Tales continue to fascinate me. A work that may or not be complete, in an order that may or may not be correct, spanning styles and subjects with the added attraction of Middle English to decipher. It's a rich vein for contemporary dramatists to mine and stands as a foundation of English literature that's too often ignored by many, thinking it'll be difficult to read.

Well, take a look at Michael Murphey's excellent modern spelling version. I've had the PDFs loaded onto my Kindle and now enjoy an accessible version of the Tales wherever I go. Purists may prefer a plain text version that preserves the original language; whatever floats your boat.

I've been thinking about visiting Canterbury Cathedral for some time. Maybe I ought to take the train from London Bridge, see the city, read the Tales on the way there and back, then treat myself to a slap-up meal at the Royal Oak on my return to the capital...

The woodcut illustration of the pilgrims at the Tabard Inn, London is one of the woodcuts by William Caxton used to illustrate the second edition of the Tales. You can read more about his work here.

By Simon Johnson with No comments


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