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on 6 January 2014
I bought this to help with my British Middle Ages class at university, and found that the translation was really good and comprehensible. However, the translators didn't even attempt to rhyme the lines as Chaucer had (except on those occasions where they happened to rhyme anyway), and there weren't corresponding line numbers, so if you're reading a Middle-English version and have trouble understanding the language, you can't just find the same line in this version - you have to read through it until you think you've found the right place - of you just go through each line-by-line, but that gets a bit irritating.
However, when just considering this book without comparing it to others, it is well-translated and has a useful bit at the back entitled "Explanatory Notes" where it briefly goes over each tale and explains the translations and sometimes words and how they would have differed in Middle English.
I'd say it was a good buy.
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on 29 December 2012
I downloaded this version as it was cheaper than others and I am studying Chaucer for my A Level English Literature. However, the stories are not in the original old English but have been translated into modern English - totally unhelpful as the whole point is that they were in Middle English! Moreover, you have to skim through the whole book to find a particular tale as the contents page has no links or page numbers. Overall, an unworthy copy, I would advise you to look for a different version, what a waste of money!
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on 28 June 2013
I bought this book because it stated in the blurb that it was presented in the Old English of the original text. It isn't. Some of the words have been modernized. This makes the text easier to read, but it was not what I personally was looking for. It should perhaps be clearer in the book description.
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on 11 June 2011
I'm afraid I have to give this no stars (except the system won't let you), it certainly doesn't deserve the one star I had to give it in order to leave a review. The first 4% seems to be a long introduction which mentions that the volume also includes poems by Spencer which I didn't really want, but this is not mentioned in the listing description. When you finally get to the actual text of the Canterbury Tales it seems to be neither the original medieval spelling or a modern translation. They seem to have 'mispelt' the words in a different way or updated some of them to modern spelling in a random way.

It is truly irritating that there is not enough information about these e-books for you to make an informed choice, except when people have kindly left reviews to give some guidance.

It would be much more helpful if in cases like this they could tell you if in the original or a modern translation and more about what the e-book contains and the formatting.

It doesn't matter so much if it is a free one but there aren't any Canterbury Tales for free.
I would say this is no good whatsoever for someone studying Chaucer seriously or for someone who wants a modern translation so you can get the story without coping with the original language. This falls badly between both of these. Don't bother buying it I would say. Off to try another one. Incidently anyone know if you can get a refund for e-books?
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on 4 April 2016
I have loved Chaucer's work since my days at Grammar School in the 1940's and 1950's and this edition affords my return to the world of
"Middle English.". There are good translations available to read alongside if this is necessary and in particular I would recommend that of Nevill
Coghill written when at Exeter College, Oxford. I am continuing to make my way alone currently and enjoying every minute of this serious but very
entertaining work of life in the period in which Chaucer lived and wrote. The characters come to life very readily and the "tales" they tell are really quite something ! I recommend it highly and wish you good luck along your pilgrimage from London to Canterbury.
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on 26 August 2002
This modern translation is for those who struggle with Chaucer's original language. Coghill's melodious verse captures the timely flow of the original text, thus preventing the reading from becoming a slow and erudite undertaking. Chaucer's Tales were not designed for sluggish meditation, but to be read aloud in an engaging manner, which is what makes this translation an ideal buy for those who wish to experience the Tales for their original charm.
The immortal Canterbury Tales is a must for all lovers of great literature. What we can witness in this noble poem "is the concise portrait of an entire nation: high and low, old and young, male and female, rogue and righteous, land and sea, town and country", as Nevill Coghill describes in his introduction to this translation. The past has become magical to us through the great works of Epic poetry; where the Greeks had Homer, and the Roman's Virgil; the English have none other than Geoffrey Chaucer.
It is only infrequently that we can find classic ideas that have captured readers throughout the ages, be it Pickwick's proposed adventure to study his fellow men, Dante's quest for his beloved Beatrice, or indeed Chaucer's undying Pilgrimage; The Canterbury Tales manifests its own unique appeal in an immortal journey through the Tales of many different voices.
On the Eve of a Pilgrimage from a London Cheapside Inn to St Thomas a Becket's shrine in Canterbury, a group of thirty pilgrims are challenged by the inn's Host to a competition: to while away their morrow's journey by each telling a tale; on returning to London their Host will then decided the best storyteller: and their reward? a luxurious meal on behalf of that Pilgrim's fellows. What follows are many tales, of many varieties: those of courtly love, bawdy comedy, fresh wit, menacing macabre, didactic fables, in short, to use John Dryden's words "God's plenty".
But it is the prologue to Chaucer's great collection of tales that marks its individuality from the Likes of Ovid, Petrarch and Boccaccio - of whom some of the tales are largely indebted to. The translator of this edition advocates that "in all literature there is nothing that touches or resembles the prologue". And this is by all means a cogent argument: what we witness at the beginning of Tales is patchwork quilt of Medieval England, a Tapestry of Chaucer's times, or if you like: a doorway into a world long faded away.
The prologue simply follows the task of introducing the diverse tellers of the Tales, and yet in doing so it records a valuable sample of history. William Blake faithfully promulgates the Prologue's vitality by declaring that: "Chaucer is himself the great poetical observer of men, who in every age is born to record and eternize its acts". The Pilgrims are not only well presented characters, they are also true embodiments of normality. What we see in the Tales is not just a snap-shot of Olde England, but something indeed far bigger: a blueprint of our own society's individuals - "the perennial progeny of men and women". What Chaucer portrays to us in his Canterbury Tales is nothing greater than our very selves.
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on 18 July 2006
This is one of my favourite texts of Chaucer's Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. The text itself is in unmodernised, Chaucer's English, and the notes (comfortably laid-out on the page facing the text) are detailed and very extensive, covering the social and historical context of Chaucer's life and times, helping you to gain a fuller understanding of Chaucer's views and beliefs. There's also a lovely introduction to each Pilgrim which includes an interesting discussion of the social status of the Pilgrim as well as comments about the profession in medieval England in general; I found the sections about the clergy and the aristocracy particularly enlightening. This is a wonderful introduction to studying the Canterbury Tales or Chaucer, it will explain medieval outlooks on issues such as medicine, astronomy, religion, all so essential to fully understand the Tales.
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on 19 December 2009
I first came across this adaptation when I was still in school. Our drama teacher showed it to us and we had a lot of fun with it. Now I am using extracts from it with my own drama students. The kids can really have a lot of fun with the quirky style and the character of the Pardoner always gets an enthusiastic response. The Canterbury Tales are wonderful stories which deserve retelling, and this book (which in fairness only covers a small number of the tales) is a great introduction to the work. It is an ideal way to introduce Chaucer to teens who might be a bit intimidated by jumping straight into the middle English of the original.
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on 23 June 2015
Chaucer’s Tales are all about the sheer joy of storytelling, of making magic with words, of captivating and of igniting imaginations.

They are not smothered and tangled into knots with quixotic claims of absolute morality and self-righteous lessons. His verse is slow and majestic, and he devotes long passages to detailed rhetorical description, to minutiae, all of which leads to the greater achievement being the poetry, the art itself, not any sweeping morals it is trying to enforce. If we were to search for morals we would be disappointed.

The Knight’s Tale relates the plight of Arcite and Palamon. The two cousins are imprisoned by Theseus, and upon looking out their respective jail cells one morning, both manage to fall instantly in love with a young woman walking in the courtyard, Emelye. Over the next few years, after Arcite escapes and Palamon is eventually released, they both return to claim Emelye, still despite never having spoken a word to her. Theseus discovers them fighting in the woods and calls for a grand tournament, the winner of which will marry Emelye. On the eve of this mighty battle, Arcite appeals to Mars, the God of War, for divine intervention to help him claim victory, Palamon appeals to Venus, and Emelye to Diana. It is Emelye’s impassioned plea for liberty, for independence and free will, that leads to the most moving and human moment in the Tale, the most beautiful poetry. Alas, she is denied her freedom.

This grace I preye thee, withoute moore:
As sende love and pees bitwix hem two,
And fro me turne awey hir hertes so,
That al hir bisy torment and hir fir,
Be queint, or turned in another place.
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on 19 July 2012
This book has the old English version on one page and the modern day English version opposite.

The Kindle edition is a complete mess with the original version and the modern translation all mixed up. This makes it impossible to read as the texts for each version run into each other. It is very difficult to see where one ends and the next begins.

This edition needs to be withdrawn from sale until the formatting problems are sorted out.

My recommendation: buy the paper version instead.
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