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5.0 von 5 Sternen 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 highschool text, was not promising.
Translating poetry from one language to another is difficult and often unsuccessful. Translating Chaucer from Middle English is not much easier. Our language has changed dramatically in the last 600 years, to the...
Veröffentlicht am 15. Juli 2000 von Michael Wischmeyer

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1.0 von 5 Sternen Kindle edition badly formatted, impossible to read
This is no feedback on the contents and the translations. Just want to say that the Kindle edition is a mess. I understand that the printed edition is "bilingual" with the original on the left side and the "translation" on the right side. This formatting is completely lost in the Kindle edition. In the end original and translation get mixed up in one continuous piece of...
Veröffentlicht am 9. Dezember 2011 von Guidoriccio


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26 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Canterbury Tales - Which Version is Best For You?, 15. Juli 2000
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Michael Wischmeyer (Houston, Texas) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
Over some period I have read several translations of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. My first experience, selections in a highschool text, was not promising.
Translating poetry from one language to another is difficult and often unsuccessful. Translating Chaucer from Middle English is not much easier. Our language has changed dramatically in the last 600 years, to the point that Middle English is undecipherable. For example, we read Chaucer's description of the Knight's appearance:
Of fustian he wered a gipoun (Of course cloth he wore a doublet) Al bismotered with his habergeoun (All rust-spotted by his coat-of-mail)
Obviously, 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 might be an easier introduction to Middle English.
Most of us read whatever version is assigned for classwork. However, I expect that you will find it quite helpful to pick-up an additional version or two of Canterbury Tales. A slightly different translation may entirely surprise you - you may even find it 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 nearly complete collection.
The Canterbury Tales, Bantam Classic 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 understanding of 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 is a rather clever approach, 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. Lumiansky, is easy to read, but while the prose format adheres to the storyline, it is only a shadow of the poetic Chaucer. It might prove useful if you are not comfortable with poetry.
Good luck and I hope your expereince with Chaucer goes well.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen simply great, 10. April 2005
Von Ein Kunde
this is one of the oldest pieces of english literature! Therefor it is translated into more or less modern english so that normal human beeings like you and me can enjoy it. this realy is a great collection of different storys, with some of them strikingly funny while others are deeply moving. Once one has accustomed ones self to the rhyme the reading takes you with its current.
Pinguine gives good backup information, although they are not marked on the same page, but on the back of the book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An interesting read..., 7. März 2009
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Canterbury Tales: A Selection (Taschenbuch)
In the Canterbury Tales Chaucer tells the story of a pilgrimate to Canterbury where the pilgrims, in order to pass the time during their long walk, tell each other various stories. The party consists of such different characters as a knight, a miller, a prioress, a merchant etc. and each of them has a slightly different way of storytelling.
Thanks to PenguinŽs superb footnotes that not only explain lots of medieval English words and their meaning but also give a detailed survey of the conventions of the Middle Ages, the English is surprisingly easy to understand and suddenly the Middle Ages donŽt seem to be such a faraway era anymore. I am not a native speaker, so I cheated a little and got myself the German translation of the Canterbury Tales as well and read them in turns, otherwise I am afraid I might have missed some important points... I found it quite an exhausting read, but at the same time I enjoyed it immensely!
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1.0 von 5 Sternen Kindle edition badly formatted, impossible to read, 9. Dezember 2011
This is no feedback on the contents and the translations. Just want to say that the Kindle edition is a mess. I understand that the printed edition is "bilingual" with the original on the left side and the "translation" on the right side. This formatting is completely lost in the Kindle edition. In the end original and translation get mixed up in one continuous piece of text. Of course it is easy to see were the different versions start and end, still it is absolutely inconvenient because one has to jump back and forth. If the publishing house offers a Kindle edition they should put equal effort in it. Otherwise it just feels as they would like to make some additional money without any work. It is a pity.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen One of the major influences of modern literature., 22. Juni 1999
The version of this classic I read was a translation into modern English by Nevill Coghill. As you can see above, I awarded Chaucer (and the translation) five stars; but I do have a criticism. This translation (and many other publications of Chaucer) do not contain the two prose tales ("The Tale of Melibee" and "The Parson's Tale"). These are rarely read and I understand the publisher's and the translator's desire to keep the book to a managable size. Still, that should be the readers decision and no one else's. I had to go to the University library and get a complete copy in order to read those sections. As I mentioned, this copy is a translation into modern English. However, I do recommend that readers take a look at the Middle English version, at least of the Prologue. Many years ago, when I was in high school, my teacher had the entire class memorize the first part of the Prologue in the original Middle English. Almost forty years later, I still know it. I am always stunned at how beautiful, fluid, and melodic the poetry is, even if you don't understand the words. Twenty-nine pilgrims meet in the Tabard Inn in Southwark on their way to Canterbury. The host suggests that the pilgrims tell four stories each in order to shorten the trip (the work is incomplete in that only twenty-four stories are told). The tales are linked by narrative exchanges and each tale is presented in the manner and style of the character providing the story. This book was a major influence on literature. In fact, the development of the "short story" format owes much to these tales. All of the elements needed in a successful short story are present: flow of diction and freedom from artifice, faultless technical details and lightness of touch, and a graphic style which propels the story. In poetry, Chaucer introduced into English what will become known as rime royal (seven-line stanza riming ababbcc), the eight-line stanza (riming ababbcbc), and the heroic couplet. His poetry is noted for being melodious and fluid and has influenced a great many later poets. He has a remarkable talent for imagery and description. With respect to humor, which often receives the most negative responses from a certain group of readers (as witnessed by some of the comments below), there are at least three types: good humor which produces a laugh and is unexpected and unpredictable (for example, the description of the Prioress in the Prologue), satire (for example, the Wife of Bath's confession in the Prologue to her tale), and course humor, which is always meant to keep with the salty character of the teller of the tale or with the gross character of the tale itself. I am really stunned at the comments of the reviewer from London (of June 21, 1999). He/she clearly has no idea of the influence of the work nor on the reasons why Chaucer chose to present the humor the way he has. T. Keene of May 17 gave the work only three stars, presumably because it was once banned in Lake City, Florida. (Does that mean it would get fewer stars if it hadn't been banned?) Perhaps our London reviewer will be more comfortable moving to Lake City! Another reviewer suggested that "The Canterbury Tales" was only a classic because it had been around a long time. No! Chaucer's own contemporaries (for example, Gower, Lydgate, and Hoccleve) acknowledged his genius. My goodness, even science fiction books acknowledge the Tales (for example, Dan Simmons' "Hyperion," which won the 1990 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel of the year, is based on the Tales). These brief entries are too short to review all of the tales. Let me just descibe the first two. Other readers might consider reviewing the other tales in later responses. In "The Knight's Tale," the Theban cousins Palamon and Arcite, while prisoners of the King of Athens (Theseus), fall in love with Emelyn, sister of Hippolyta and sister-in-law to Theseus. Their rivalry for Emelyn destroys their friendship. They compete for her in a tournament with different Greek gods supporting the two combatants. Arcite, supported by Mars, wins but soon dies from a fall from his horse (due to the intervention of Venus and Saturn). Both Palamon and Emelyn mourn Arcite, after which they are united. It is the basis of "The Two Noble Kinsmen" by Fletcher and Shakespeare. "The Miller's Tale" is a ribald tale about a husband, the carpenter John, who is deceived by the scholar Nicholas and the carpenter's wife Alison that a second flood is due. In this tale, a prospective lover is deceived into kissing a lady in an unusual location. And, recalling the response from our reviewer from London, apparently this Tale should not be read by people from London (or Lake City)!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Canterbury Tales, 7. Juni 2000
Chaucer is as religious, if not more so, than his Italian counterpart Dante. The Canterbury Tales, as mentioned in most of the review prior to mine, recounts the soujourn of twenty-nine pilgrams to Canterbury. Chaucer had original intended, or so it would seem, to write four tales for each pilgrim--two to be told going to Canterbury and two to be told on the return from Canterbury. It is very likely that Chaucer omitted the twenty-five or so tales that he did for a stoutly religious reason--that once you meet God in your life (which was the intent of a pilgramage) there is no returning. This is why the pilgrims are never seen leaving Canterbury. In all, the tales tell a very strong moral tale. Nearly every line of this wonderful work can be interpreted with a religious overtone and it is no doubt that Chaucer intended for it to be this way. In closing I would like to make reference to a review I read on this page. The short story for in no way came out of this work. The development of the short story can only be attributed Edgar Allan Poe. To suggest that the short story evolved from this would be a grave error. That aside this is a wonderful tale on the surface level and a morally deep tale if you chose to read into it.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Listen, Then Read, 14. Mai 2007
Von 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(TOP 500 REZENSENT)   
The Canterbury Tales are best heard aloud before being read. I like the Recorded Books version. With commentary by Professor Murphy and talented actors, the various tales come appealingly alive. Chaucer's Middle English has its archaic words explained, and leaves the beauty of the meter and rhymes intact.

The tales explore primarily relations between men and women, people and God, and consistently challenge hypocrisy. The tales also exemplify all the major story forms in use during the Middle Ages.

The book's structure is unbelievable subtle and complex, providing the opportunity to peel the onion down to its core, one layer at a time. Modern anthologies look awfully weak by comparison.

Although the material is old, the ideas are not. You will also be impressed by how much closer God was to the lives of these people than He is today. The renunciation at the end comes as a mighty jolt, as a result.

My favorites are by the miller, wife of Bath, pardoner, and nun's priest.

Where do you see the opportunity to give and share spiritual and worldly love? How can you give and receive more love?
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Listen, Then Read, 14. Mai 2007
Von 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(TOP 500 REZENSENT)   
The Canterbury Tales are best heard aloud before being read. I like the Recorded Books version. With commentary by Professor Murphy and talented actors, the various tales come appealingly alive. Chaucer's Middle English has its archaic words explained, and leaves the beauty of the meter and rhymes intact.

The tales explore primarily relations between men and women, people and God, and consistently challenge hypocrisy. The tales also exemplify all the major story forms in use during the Middle Ages.

The book's structure is unbelievable subtle and complex, providing the opportunity to peel the onion down to its core, one layer at a time. Modern anthologies look awfully weak by comparison.

Although the material is old, the ideas are not. You will also be impressed by how much closer God was to the lives of these people than He is today. The renunciation at the end comes as a mighty jolt, as a result.

My favorites are by the miller, wife of Bath, pardoner, and nun's priest.

Where do you see the opportunity to give and share spiritual and worldly love? How can you give and receive more love?
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4.0 von 5 Sternen The Canterbury Tales: Illustrated Prologue, 21. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Canterbury Tales (Gebundene Ausgabe)
This is a great edition of the prologue, the illustrations really accent the story very well.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen I love it!, 5. Dezember 1999
Von 
D. Reiman (Worcester, Massachusetts) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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I have read most of the Canterbury Tales in English class over the past couple of years. I think they are so great because of the satire of Chaucer and the way he presents the characters. My favorite tale is of the Wife of Bath and what a woman really wants in a man. I find it surprising that Chaucer could see so well into the female soul.
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