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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 October 2014
Having decided to reread The Canterbury Tales after many years and having a paperback of the poem in original spelling, I thought I would download this to my Kindle to have as a side-dish as it were to see me through more difficult passages. I find it useless for my purposes. The "original" text in plain font here (the so-called plain English translations being in italic) is a mixture of original and updating of words to make them easier to understand. This may be useful but means one is not actually presented with the original beside a translation, but a kind of hybrid modernisation text with enough of the antique to give it "flavour". And it can't be trusted to be exact.

From the prologue for instance my paperback Laurel Poetry Series version of the original has

Bifel that in that season on a day
In Southwerk at the Taberd as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Caunterbury with ful devout corage
At night was come in-to that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twentye in a companye
Of sondry folke by aventure y-falle
In felawshipe and pilgrims wer they alle
That towards Cauntebury woulden ryde;

The "original" in this kindle version becomes

Befell that season on a day
In Southwark at the Tabard as I lay
Ready to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury with devout corage
At night was come into that hostelry
Well nine and twenty in a company
Of sundry folk, by aventure y-fall who had by chance fallen
In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all, into company.
That toward Canterbury would ride.

What is a phrase glossing the meaning of "aventure -y-fall" is as shown put in as if part of the text, causing a mess. The "translation" proper that follows reduces what is in fact a quite unambiguous piece of verse anyhow to

Now it happened that one day in that season
As I stayed at the Tabard in Southwark
Ready to go on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury in great high spirits
At night there came into that inn
A group of twenty-nine
Diverse people, who had by chance
Fallen in with each other, and they were all pilgrims,
That wanted to ride to Canterbury.

So, "the story" if that's what you want in "plain English".Not a full translation with details missed and a generalised free verse simply giving the impression of full verse translation without it being such.

The quotes should help people make up their own mind, and some mightn't see any problem. My own copy though is deleted from my Kindle as it annoys me in its unreliability of text and rewriting of "translation" in sections where original passages have a meaning that is perfectly clear and better put in the poetry itself.

I will look elsewhere for a translation for my purposes.
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on 11 November 2015
This is my first reading of the Canterbury tales and I largely found it enjoyable. This book contains all of the tales in Modern English.

My reason for not giving five stars is that the explanatory notes are not numbered within the tales, they are just marked with an asterisk; consequently, it is more time consuming to look up the notes than it needs to be. I find this error very surprising as it's not one error in the book, it's nearly 500 errors (or opportunities to spot the errors). Also several of the points marked with an asterisk are not even in the explanatory notes.
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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 28 October 2015
*This review relates specifically to the KINDLE edition*

I am very disappointed by this Kindle book. It is essentially unreadable. There appear to be no explanatory footnotes in the Kindle edition so the numbers in brackets in the text that relate to the footnotes are useless. There are translation of various words indicated by an asterisk that are jumbled untidily amongst the text. This has clearly not been properly adapted as an e-book. It may be a cheap e-book but it money thrown away.
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on 31 January 2014
A book review is usually about the content of a book. This one is about the book itself. First a note on the content, though: five stars. A wonderful stage adaptation of these hilarious tales, written more than six centuries ago, which time after time will have you thinking 'people haven't changed'. The banter and comic dialogue between the characters are masterpieces of wit and ribaldry. And now the book itself. Well, this wasn't so much a book as several pieces of paper stuck very loosely together. As you proceed through the pages, they come away from the binding one by one. A quite atrocious piece of manufacturing craft that might easily deserve the Chaucer treatment. The Bookbinder's Tale. Ah, now, here is a fellowe who captures gems of literary talent and sells them for goode monnaie, and the purchaser knows not that all he has bought is several worthless sheetes of paper. One star. Five + one divided by two = three stars.
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on 15 March 2013
I loved this book, all the Canterbury Tales are here but, with them entirely encapsulated in a story format. Much easier to read than the original in dated English prose. Although my copy was an old version, who gives a tinkers curse when the tales were from the 1400's initially anyway. I got inspired to buy this copy after a short trip to Canterbury last year and, witnessed the worn stone steps in the cathedral from the knees of the pilgrims, so, it did not take a giant step to need this book for the shelves at home.
A splendid read right through.
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on 28 December 2013
If you're reading this book because you have to, then hard luck, otherwise give it a miss. It bored the living daylights out of me. It's like one of those people that jabber on without getting to the point. It just goes on and on until it finally bores you numb. The only crumb of excitement was trying to find out what 's****en' meant. I gave up in the end. Buy a shortened or more concise version and give yourself a break.
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on 16 May 2014
I am a student who mainly used The Riverside Chaucer for my module. However, I wanted a quick and easy edition for my Kindle and this fitted the bill. I like that you had the option for the modern translation or could compare the original with the modern. However, the original version isn't the same used in many of the editions and so you may need to consider that before buying.
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on 11 June 2017
Very easy for children to understand. Sometimes these works are too tied to the original text and that just isn't suitable for young ones.
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