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The Canterbury Tales: A retelling by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin Hardback Classics) Hardcover – 2 Apr 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Third Impression edition (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846140587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846140587
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Dickens, Blake and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River. Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.

Product Description

Review

The welcome appearance of Peter Ackroyd's new prose version of The Canterbury Tales ...Ackroyd's "retelling" is compulsive, bold and rare and will surely become a vital crib for generations of students to come.
-- Robert McCrum, Observer, March 30, 2009

This prose adaptation...gives the reader a chance to relish the narrative patterns that are repeated and transformed throughout the splendid patchwork. Ackroyd's stitching and unstitching do Chaucer a fine service.
-- Tom Payne, Saturday Telegraph, 18th April, 2009

Review

This prose adaptation...gives the reader a chance to relish the narrative patterns that are repeated and transformed throughout the splendid patchwork. Ackroyd's stitching and unstitching do Chaucer a fine service.

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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Gilgamesh on 14 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you ever found Chaucer's poetry a bit difficult - esp. over 400 pages - this new prose version is for you. Peter Ackroyd, an accomplished novelist, historian and biographer of Chaucer is the perfect match for this most famous of all texts in English literature. He's produced a fluent, accessible and thoroughly enjoyable retelling of the Tales. You can tell how much fun he's had doing it, too, as the best of the stories are as ribald and laugh-out-loud as you could hope. This edition is very nicely produced, too, with a ribbon marker, newly commissioned illustrations by Nick Bantock and a full introduction by Ackroyd himself. Highly recommended.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By William Shardlow on 27 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ackroyd's prose is jaunty and smooth, sweeping you along with joy while sticking close to the original. Poetry into prose isn't easy, but Ackroyd makes it look easy. This is a great improvement on Nevill Coghill's boring translation, which falls between two stools. One stool is making the work transparent and easily readable to the modern reader, while retaining most of what is important in the work. This Ackroyd achieves by stressing the "tales" aspect and using a prose that reads like that of an easy, but literate, modern novel. The other stool is keeping most of the poetry found in the original. As Ackroyd's is a prose translation he, obviously, doesn't keep poetic form, and he certainly shouldn't (and doesn't) keep any obvious rhyme! But his prose maintains as much of the aesthetic value of the original as is possible in straightforward prose. Penguin, amongst others, publish versions of the original with lots of support (it's needed!) Having given up on the Tales in the past because of the inherent difficulties of the original, and the unattractiveness of Coghill, I am grateful to Ackroyd for making this work available to me as a wonderful story.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By SG on 30 May 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a fabulous translation of the Canterbury Tales. Peter Ackroyd has managed to translate this book into modern English without losing any of the characterisation of the tales. (I have read the original)

I would recommend this book, it is easy to read as you can just read individual tales. I have actually bought this for my daughter as well as myself and she too found it very entertaining.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By superblues on 4 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
Having gained an opportunity to work as an export officer of the thriving wool industry, Geoffrey Chaucer was bound to liaise with a wide variety of people. It seems that he cautiously observed every person's behaviour and manner, and listened to what the merchant, clerk, monk etc were saying and possibly thinking. Then, he demonstrated skillful descriptions of each person's appearance and feelings, and compiled their imaginative stories of romance, tragedy, suspense, and morals, which influenced on the English authors later on. Interestingly, Chaucer had picked up the people's scandalous stories, e.g. sex, theft, and used the direct words to describe the situation. Philosopher, clerk, monk, and nun were keen to talk about Jesus and his useful advice, and Chaucer included a list of useful lessons provided by him in the tale.
Peter Ackroyd have superbly translated the masterpiece into modern English and has successfully brought the readers into the medieval period. It's easy to read and utterly convincing work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 12 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
Brings Chaucer to life, the wonderful mix of high and low, laugh out loud humour combined with great wisdom. If you ever get fooled again in life after reading this, then you deserve it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To rewrite Chaucer in today's idiom invites disdain from the purists, but for one such as me, whose education omitted both this vital classic, and the linguistic tools that would have given me access to the original, Ackroyd has here done much to fill the gap that I have always known. Of course I cannot more than guess at what might have been left out, but I found the version highly illuminating, and even rather curious concerning the ways in which the modern idiom might have refreshed the original. No doubt those who are better educated, and privileged with the ability to hear clearly the master's intentions might find faults, because Ackroyd's viewpoint must needs be idiosyncratic. But I learned much, and not just from Ackroyd's sweet and stimulating prose. I feel I now have an inkling of why Chaucer's work was so important.
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