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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2011
My review relates specifically to the Kindle edition of the Canterbury Tales (Bantam Classic) as at July 2011. Judging from the other very positive reviews, my guess is that the print version of this book is much, much, much better!

I was looking for a good version of Cantebury Tales for Kindle, ideally with both middle english and modern text, and this ebook sounded perfect as described. I downloaded the sample and I was impressed by the content as far as it went. Unfortunately, the sample content only includes the Table of Contents, Preface and Introduction etc. It did not contain any portion of the Tales themselves, not even part of the General Prologue. So I purchased the whole thing to have a better look. That's when I decided to give this a 1-star rating in Kindle edition.

Amazon really do need to ensure that Kindle sample content samples the book and not just its introductory sections.

According to other reviewers, in the printed version the two formats of the text (middle english and modern) are presented opposite each other on facing pages. Ideal!

I knew this would not be possible on Kindle which can only display one page (or part page) at a time so I expected a bit of a challenge. But...woe...the formatting is such that blocks of middle english text and the modern text just follow on from each other with no clear breaks between the two versions of text and no way of jumping between the two. The poetry line formatting is OK but The Knight's Tale, for example, is just one continuous poem with middle english, then modern english, then middle english again etc. Every page and a half you have to spot the line where one text ends and the other begins. There is rarely even a line gap to make that easy to do. It is very, very hard therefore to read the work fluently in either text format and pretty much impossible to try to compare the two. I gave up trying after flicking through the General Prologue and the Knight's Tale.

For me, this makes this Kindle edition of this book practically unreadable in either middle or modern english. I have requested a refund from Amazon which I am sure will be forthcoming.
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111 of 123 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2003
As with all of the Penguin Classics, this is a nicely presented book. An introduction at the start covers the life and works of Chaucer in good detail.
The text has been updated into modern English by Neville Coghill. It is easy to read and retains the effect of Chaucer's poetic language.
The modern English means that it is easy to understand but is not suitable for those needing to study the original English. There are, however, boooks with the original old English.
A very informative set of notes and annotations add to the efectiveness of the translation, and give essential detail needed to understand the text.
All of the tales are included, including the General Prologue.
Worth buying if you need to study the tales or are interested in reading them and understanding them properly.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
This is a Project Gutenberg file so is based on a rather problematic and unreliable text, and is in middle English. There are lots of problems with the Kindle formatting e.g. the notes that should appear in the right-hand margin (awkward anyway) are almost run-on for Kindle, and glosses appear within the text itself only separated by a change of font.

If you are a student then this is close to useless as this isn't an edition any university course would use. If you are a general reader wanting to experience Chaucer in his original English with glossary help then this might work, but really the formatting adds difficulties that just shouldn't be there. Not recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2013
One of the English literature classics. It is nice to have both versions (mediaeval and modern English). Of course I did the prologue for 'O' levels many years ago, but we all found the Miller's Tale much more amusing......" Nicholas was y risen for to..." etc.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
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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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2001
Although difficult at first to get your head around the old english, be patient and before long you will enjoy geoffrey Chaucers unique sense of humour and light critizicm of the times.
The Wife of Baths story is particuarly interesting. Her tale of the woes of marriage - which for her are numerous! are hilarious! she argues for remarriage very well, and her whole demenour is a refreshing change from those male dominated times. it is worth buying this book, just to be able to read the wifes story.
Dont be put off by the language - it adds to the appeal.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2004
Steeling myself for the hell I remember this book to be from my school days, I was delighted to find reading it to be a completely different experience!
I couldn't put it down - I can't admit to understanding absolutely all of it, but the notes at the bottom of each page really help to bring the text to life and the book itself brings to life this period of the middle ages.
It gives indepth social commentary which I believe anyone would benefit from having sight of.
I would recommend this book most highly; it is fantastic! (My only regret is there is no sequel)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2007
As is proved by the delightfully wicked set of stories mirroring in some respects Boccaccio's Decameron, which predated Chaucer, but which expand on bawdiness and give a fascinating insight into human nature: the very language is stripped of all ambiguity: for example, 'and sodeynly anon, Damyan gan pullen up hir smock and in he throng' is almost something out of a Jilly Cooper, although far more exotic!

And if you don't like the olde English, you can read the translation, which I think is extremely helpful if you're new to Chaucer or don't warm immediately to the lingo.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This version will appeal most to those who have read and studied The Canterbury Tales and enjoyed them.
The Canterbury Tales are best heard aloud. 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 December 2013
This Everyman's Library edition of The Canterbury Tales
is published in as near to Geoffrey Chaucer's own words
as the known manuscripts allow.

Edited by A C Cawley, during his time as Professor of
English and Medieval Literature in the University of
Leeds, this edition was first published in 1958 and
stands as one of the best editions of the Tales.

Whilst later translations give the gist of the stories
in modern language, the student of Medieval English will
find this edition of great help in understanding the
nuances of Chaucer's meanings to some words, some of
which can be lost in translation to modern English.

Begun in 1387, in what would have been considered to be
Chaucer's old age, in medieval times; we can almost feel
ourselves being jostled and cajoled by our companions as
we walk the Pilgrims Way from London to Canterbury towards
the shrine of Thomas Becket. All the while listening to
the fables of farce, courtly love and stories of sexual
shenanigans as we stop and replenish ourselves along the
route.

This 600 page edition includes the Prologue, a chronology
of contemporaneous events, notes on pronunciation and a
bibliography.
Worthy of inclusion on your bookshelves.
Another reprinting of this edition would be welcomed.
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