Hi, my name is Thinkie, welcome to my blog!
I'm a student in cultural studies, a museum enthusiast, a scrapbooker and an art journaler. I love to travel within Europe and I enjoy photography. You can read more about me on my homepage.

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The Canterbury Tales

I have decided to blog more often about the books I've read. I'll usually only blog about a book in the language in which I've read it. I'm not planning on summarizing plots, just to write about my experience reading the book.

Ik heb besloten om vaker te bloggen over de boeken die ik heb gelezen. Ik kies ervoor om deze boeken-blogposts alleen te schrijven in de taal waarin ik het boek heb gelezen. In het geval van dit boek dus in het Engels. Ik ben niet van plan de boeken samen te vatten en zal alleen schrijven over mijn ervaring bij het lezen van het boek.

This spring and early summer I have been, bit by bit, reading The Canterbury Tales for my English booklist. I had bought it during our trip to England in 2007 as a souvenir from our visit to Canterbury and the Canterbury Tales experience. I chose a version that claims to be pretty close to what the Middle English original must have been like (although part of the words are translated on the marge of the page or explained in footnotes). The manuscript that was mainly used is an early one but said to be of lower quality than some others, makes me wonder what the differences are. It seemed like a fun challenge to read The Canterbury Tales and my interest was evoked when I noticed that Middle English is closer to Dutch than modern day English.
It was quite a challenge! I enjoyed some of the stories, gained historical knowledge and learned about Middle English, and liked some of the more subtle humour. But at the same time some of the stories were alike in some ways, often it took the narrator a long time to get to the point of the story, and there were countless enumerations, the train of which I lost because I read so slowly in Middle English. Not to mention a couple of endless sermons, which would probably bore most modern day christians, let alone an athe´st like me. Although at the same time people are being critisized in the stories for bad behaviour and clergymen aren't spared. I actually kept falling asleep whilst reading some of the tales, especially during the parson's tale. That was quite a surprise for me; I usually don't care for poetry but I found it easier to read the parts of the book that were written as poetry than the two stories that were written in prose.
I guess people reading or listening to the Canterbury Tales in Chaucer's time will have had more feeling with the tales, because they were 'closer to home' so to speak. These days we are used to many little snippets of information and short bursts of concentration and try to absorb as much of information as we can, where reading fiction is a way of escaping and relaxing. This is a mixture of fiction and preaching and because of their religious believes, things that we may now see as utter fiction might have seemed not fully impossible to a medieval audience, as things that could have happened and even though they are made up, are in line with some stories they believed were true. Medieval people must have had a totally different way of experiencing a collection of stories like these, partly because it wasn't customary to read silently by oneself back then, partly because they had a far more limited access to such things.
It's difficult to form an opinion about the whole body of work because it has a variety of styles and subjects. Although I got bored part of the time I'm happy I chose this book for my list, it gave me the endurance to finish it, I enjoyed parts of it and I feel enriched by the experience, I learned a lot!

The edition I read

A wacky animated version on dvd that my teacher suggested, great fun!P>

Geplaatst op 27-08-2010.
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Reactie van Annemarie

Chaucer?? Good for you. Haven't read it since 1985. Never went back.

Reactie geplaatst op 2010-08-29.

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Reactie geplaatst op 2014-03-30.

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Reactie geplaatst op 2014-03-30.

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