The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I started, I assumed that 460 pages of iambic pentameter would be overwhelming. But don't let the fact that it's written in verse turn you away from this book. At times, I did find that I needed to get away from rhythm and rhyme for a while. But when I came back, I found it was easy to get back into the story. I should also add that this edition was brilliantly translated from Middle-English to modern English. I would never have made it through in Middle-English.
I've always been wary of reading Chaucer (he's been on the banned list for a reason, right?), but I found him rather fascinating. This story is largely an exploration of human nature and how different circumstances- like social class, religion, and gender- affect it. And though some of the ideas expressed seem outdated or archaic, you have to remember that Chaucer lived in the fourteenth century. They ARE outdated and archaic. But there is truth to be found there as well.
If you've been hesitant, like me, to pick up Chaucer, here's what you may want to be aware of:
He's pretty obsessed with sex, but don't think that means he writes trashy love stories. Mostly he talks about sex in a casual, conversational way, and it's usually because he's exploring the relationships between men and women. For the most part, he's fairly tasteful about it.
BUT there are a few times when he did get pretty vulgar (not graphic, just vulgar).
In his day, it would have caused a sensation, now it would make a PG-13 rating.
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