The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143106173
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/02/2010
Series: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition Series
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 305,885
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, critic, and biographer.

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London, the son of a wine-merchant, in about 1342, and as he spent his life in royal government service his career happens to be unusually well documented. By 1357 Chaucer was a page to the wife of Prince Lionel, second son of Edward III, and it was while in the prince's service that Chaucer was ransomed when captured during the English campaign in France in 1359-60. Chaucer's wife Philippa, whom he married c. 1365, was the sister of Katherine Swynford, the mistress (c. 1370) and third wife (1396) of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, whose first wife Blanche (d. 1368) is commemorated in Chaucer's ealrist major poem, The Book of the Duchess.

From 1374 Chaucer worked as controller of customs on wool in the port of London, but between 1366 and 1378 he made a number of trips abroad on official business, including two trips to Italy in 1372-3 and 1378. The influence of Chaucer's encounter with Italian literature is felt in the poems he wrote in the late 1370's and early 1380s—The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls, and a version of The Knight's Tale—and finds its fullest expression in Troilus and Criseyde.

In 1386 Chaucer was member of parliament for Kent, but in the same year he resigned his customs post, although in 1389 he was appointed Clerk of the King's Works (resigning in 1391). After finishing Troilus and his translation into English prose of Boethius' De consolatione philosphiae, Chaucer started his Legend of Good Women. In the 1390s he worked on his most ambitious project, The Canterbury Tales, which remained unfinished at his death. In 1399 Chaucer leased a house in the precincts of Westminster Abbey but died in 1400 and was buried in the Abbey.

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The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
bjboyle More than 1 year ago
I love the Canterbury Tales - and read the middle english version in college. I thought this book would be neat to read and see if it held up to my imagined telling. I downloaded the Sample for my Nook Color - the only problem is that the sample isn't nearly long enough. 12 pages. It doesn't even get you through the introduction. I was curious to see the content before I bought the book, but I wasn't able to see any. So, if you are thinkning of doing to same - don't waste your time.
TomMcGreevy on LibraryThing 10 months ago
As the book jacket accurately states "love, sex, infidelity, villainy, drunkenness, murder..." This is an accessible prose version of Chaucer's verse. It gives a real flavour of medieval life and for medieval thought. Tales with religion throughout but not particularly venerated, mostly focusing on lives lustily lived! Vivid morality tales... Did I enjoy it? Not really, but I¿m glad I read it.
jburlinson on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Rather than "A Retelling," this should be called "A Retailing." Ackroyd is a man of letters. There's not a money in lettering these days. So what do you do to bring home the bacon in a tough economy without having to break a sweat? You take a perennial classic in a "foreign" language, trot out a quick trot, and slap it between two hard covers. Go ahead and drop the boring parts, like "The Parson's Tale;" they just slow you down. Be sure you write it in prose, because "the modern world does not love the long poem." Above all, never apologize. If you feel the need to provide a "note on the text," start with: "There are no laws of translation." If that means Mr. Ackroyd will probably not face jail time, his declaration is true, regrettably.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sounds good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Agreed with snowfeather
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is everyrhing okay? Wheres the bios for this place? What happened to our old home?
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For one who has never been able to wade through the English of "The Canterbury Tales" this is an enlightening experience. It allows the reader to experience one of the classics and the period in which it was written without having to translate into current verbiage. Ackroyd is to be complemented on a most worth undertaking.
EdithHankel More than 1 year ago
Excellent "retake" for modern readers -- but read the original first --
JWChichetto More than 1 year ago
This is a striking retelling of Chaucer's TALES by one of UK's best living authors, Peter Ackroyd. All of Chaucer's characters are alive and well in these stories, which Ackroyd does a masterful job translating. My favorite characters, the Wife of Bath and the Pardoner, are as big as life, appointing wit and weight to every word and syllable of their delightful tales. Under their hearts the road trip to Canterbury is as teeming with life as any thoroughfare of Europe and all the pilgrims' destinies, at least on the surface, are as one and undivided as their own. Ackroyd does a brilliant job trickling down and distilling Chaucer's genius and age into our own idiom. I am sure Chaucer himself would prize the translation (as would Rabelais). As for the Wife of Bath, what would she say? "Brilliant job, Sir Peter! These are my last words. I die in peace!" I highly recommend this book. James Wm. Chichetto
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I picked this book up at the bookstore and read the Prologue I knew I wanted to read the rest. I am familiar with Mr. Achroyd's other books so I was interested in what his updating of Chaucher's tales would be. While at university I had read the tales in Middle English with copious footnotes. It was not a difficult labour, just slower than my usual reading speed. I think there will be some argument that Chaucer's poetry will be lost, of course some of it will when rendered into prose. But for me upon reading this prose version I can still hear Chaucer's voice. I can still hear his poetry. If one is coming to Chaucer for the first time I would recommend that you start with the orginal. But if you are returning to Chaucer once again for what I think is a delightful read than by all means read this update. If on the other hand you are coming to Chaucer for the frist time and are daunted by Middle English than this could service as and introduction. I think it could serve the reader doing in either direction.