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The Canterbury Tales: In Modern English (Penguin Classics)

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This description may be from another edition of this product. Nevill Coghill s masterly and vivid modern English verse translation with all the vigor and poetry of Chaucer s fourteenth-century Middle English In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the...

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Didn’t receive the condition I ordered.

Definitely not “like new” condition. Arrived with a very obviously bent up cover.

Tales of Canterbury

ll scholars of English history and literature will love these bawdy, funny, and sometimes even serious and somber tales. "Th Miller's Tale" is one not to be overlooked!

Not very good condition

I bought 4 books, 3 of them are amazing, so happy to get them but not this one, it's not in good condition although it said "very good condition ", and it has some dust on the cover heated to remove, it's like it was in a wet place for some time and got some dust, the font is hard to read..I'm so disappointed to get it like that..

Wonderful text; too expensive

As a college teacher, I love this text, but also won't assign it because it is too expensive. It is virtually the same price as the complete Oxford Riverside Chaucer.

A superior edition for scholars and novices alike

This edition of the Canterbury Tales, edited by Larry Benson, is superb. It is based on the Riverside Chaucer, Third Edition (also edited by Benson) and is as authoritative as you can get. It's greatest attribute is the presentation of a highly readable text that will be appreciated by scholars and lovers of Chaucer of all levels. It's beautifully glossed, but in an unobtrusive manner that allows the language to sing off the page without any unneccesary interruptions; the copious (and useful) vocab and grammar notes are clearly marked by line and placed below the body text, thus one can read (aloud preferably!) at one's own pace without being constantly interrupted. The placement and economy of the notes also makes for a clear presentation and a great reading text that allows one to approach the Tales at one's own pace. Highly informative and entertaining essays on Chaucer's life, outlining the history and conext in which he lived and wrote, and on the language and versification of the Tales introduce the volume and provide an excellent jumping off point into the them. The latter essay is a decent - albeit brief - introduction to reading and pronounciation of the Middle English that Chaucer employs in the Tales, but it is far from comprehensive in that it confines its survey to just the Tales. Although covering only the most basic elements thereof while paying scant attention to the nuances of inflection and grammar (and, again, variations and specifics of Middle English in general and Chaucer's language in his other works), it is still a great gateway, especially for the novice reader of Chaucer who wishes to engage the author and the work in their original vernacular. And this is really where this edition acheives - it presents a highly readable and accesible version of Chaucer's masterpiece and allows readers of all levels to approach the poem(s) on their own terms, unencumbered by an intrusive or burdensome sholarly apparatus. In other words, one can approach the Tales with just enough context, historically and linguistically, to engage with it in a manner as close to possible as a fluent reader of Middle English would have. And the perfect balance between inspiring the novice reader to venture forth independently and the superior guidance that is readily available with just a quick glance toward the bottom of the page, will undoubtadly improve one's reading and comprehension of Middle English. Scholars of all levels will appreciate and enjoy this edition. Larry Benson (still teaching at Harvard, by the way) is one of the great Chaucerians and has given us one of the best editions of Chaucer available - one that is equally beneficial and interesting to both the student and the layman. The point is, you can't outgrow this one. If anything, you can grow into it. What more could one want?

A brilliant translation and an excellent place to start.

CHAUCER : THE CANTERBURY TALES. Translated into Modern English by Nevill Coghill. 504 pp. Penguin Classics. ISBN : 0140440224 (pbk.)Nevill Coghill's brilliant modern English translation of Chaucer's masterpiece, 'The Canterbury Tales,' has always been a bestseller and it's easy to understand why. Chaucer was an intensely human writer and a great comic artist, but besides the ribaldry and sheer good fun of tales such as 'The Miller's Tale,' we also know he was capable of other things. His range was wide, and the striking thing about Coghill's translation is how amazingly faithful it is to the spirit of the original - at times bawdy and hilariously funny, at other times more serious and moving when Chaucer shifts to a more poignant mode. But despite the brilliance of Coghill's translation, a translation so effective that it was even made into a successful musical, and despite the fact that it remains the best possible introduction to Chaucer for those who don't know Middle English, those who restrict themselves to Coghill are going to miss a lot - such readers are certainly going to get the stories, but they're going to lose much of the beauty those stories have in the original language. The difference is as great as that between a black-and-white movie and technicolor.Chaucer's Middle English _looks_ difficult to many, and I think I know why. It _looks_ difficult because that in fact is what people are doing, they are _looking_ at it, they are reading silently and trying to take it in through the eye. This is a recipe for instant frustration and failure. But fortunately there is a quick and easy remedy.So much of Chaucer's power is in the sheer music of his lines, and in their energy and thrust. He was writing when English was at its most masculine and vigorous. And his writings were intended, as was the common practice in the Middle Ages when silent reading was considered a freakish phenomenon, to be read aloud. Those new to Chaucer would therefore be well advised, after reading and enjoying Nevill Coghill's rendering, to learn how to read Middle English _aloud_ as soon as possible by listening to one of the many excellent recordings (one of the best is by Robert Ross on Caedmon). Coghill certainly captures the spirit of Chaucer, but modern English cannot really convey the full flavor and intensity of the original. Learn how to roll a few of Chaucer's Middle English lines around on your tongue and you'll soon hear what I mean. You'll also find that it isn't nearly so difficult as it _looks_, and your pleasure in Chaucer will be magnified enormously.

Canterbury Tales - Which Version is Best For You?

Over some period I have read several translations of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. My first experience, selections in a high school text, was not promising. (Perhaps, I was not yet ready for Chaucer.) Translating poetry from one language to another is difficult and often unsuccessful. Translating Chaucer from Middle English is not much easier. English has changed dramatically in the last 600 years, to the point that Middle English is nearly indecipherable. For example, we read Chaucer's description of the Knight's appearance: Of fustian he wered a gipoun (Of coarse cloth he wore a doublet) Al bismotered with his habergeoun (All rust-spotted by his coat-of-mail) A glossary, diligence, and time are required for reading the original Chaucer. If you choose to do so, the Riverside Chaucer edition (edited by L. Benson) and the Norton Critical Edition (edited by Olson and Kolve) are highly recommended. The Signet Classic paperback edited by D. R. Howard modernizes the spelling a bit, but largely adheres to the original Chaucer and is an easier introduction to Middle English. Although in most cases the instructor assigns a particular version of Canterbury Tales, it can be exceedingly helpful to pick-up an additional version or two. A slightly different translation may entirely surprise you, even resonate with you, making Chaucer much more enjoyable. I suggest that you look for these versions: Selected Canterbury Tales, Dover Thrift edition - provides a poetic, rather than literal interpretation, and is quite readable. The collection of tales is fairly small, however. Canterbury Tales, Penguin edition, translated by Nevill Coghill, is an excellent poetic translation. It is a complete collection, arranged by Group A thru H, and also includes The Parson's Prologue, The Parson's Tale in synopsis, and Chaucer's Retractions. Coghill's translation remains my favorite. The Canterbury Tales, Bantam Classic paperback edited by Hieatt, uses the "facing page" format with the original Chaucer on the left and a modern literal translation on the right page. I found the literal translation a little wooden, but this edition can be quite helpful if you need some help with Middle English. (A guide to phonetics, grammar, spellings, and a glossary is provided.) Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (Barrons Educational Series) uses an "Interlinear Translation" format in which each line of Middle English is followed by a modern translation (literal to make the comparison easier). I rather like this approach. Canterbury Tales, John Murray Publishers, London is hard to find, but provides a partial translation to modern English, maintaining as much as possible of the Middle English. This rather clever approach is somewhat risky, but the translator H. L. Hitchins pulls it off. With some effort I could follow the text without continually referring to a glossary and in a limited way I was "reading Middle English". Canterbury Tales, Pocket Books, prose translation by R. M.

The Canterbury Tales Mentions in Our Blog

The Canterbury Tales in A History of Morte Darthur
A History of Morte Darthur
Published by Theia Griffin • December 18, 2020

In 1891, a young artist named Aubrey Beardsley walked into London bookseller Frederick Evans' shop and met J.M. Dent, then a new relatively new publisher. The book dealer and publisher were engaged in a conversation about Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur which at the time was undergoing a renewed popularity...

The Canterbury Tales in In Honor of Banned Books Week, Let's Ban Banning Books Once and for All
In Honor of Banned Books Week, Let's Ban Banning Books Once and for All
Published by Beth Clark • September 24, 2018

Okay, maybe we can’t eliminate censorship (yet...#goals), but we can celebrate Banned Books Week with gusto by reading all of the stories that someone (or someones) tried to silence, destroy, or restrict access to. Here are 50 of the most frequently banned and/or most recently challenged books, along with the "who, why, and how" of literary censorship in America.

The Canterbury Tales in On the Page and On the Streets
On the Page and On the Streets
Published by Chris Viola • May 11, 2016

I recently came across a travel website that proclaimed, “London has a rich literary tradition that permeates its streets.”

It’s true, of course. I know the first time I saw London’s cobblestone back streets, I immediately pictured Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger tearing through the crowds, possibly having just picked someone’s pocket. For my money, Dickens’ vivid descriptions of 1830s London are just as compelling as his characters.

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