Skip to main content

The Canterbury Tales is basically like sharing time at camp

The Canterbury Tales is something I've peeped at from the side of my eye time and time again, which has always resulted in becoming scared of it and running to something like Mary Poppins Opens a Door. Because while said tales remain popular and are some of the oldest English literature, etc etc, they are some of the OLDEST English literature, and their opening in its original form goes like this:

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour

NOPE. "Swich licour"? "Soote"? I am dealing with none of this. But. I'm sick of everyone making Wife of Bath jokes and me not getting them. So I picked up the Penguin Classics edition, which has UPDATED LANGUAGE, which is the only way I'm ever reading this since it's 500 pages and I'm not reading about "sondry londes" for that long.


In case you're unaware, The Canterbury Tales is about a bunch of people who decide to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket, because what else are you going to do in the 14th century other than die of plague?

After listing each of the travelers in the group while they're all stopped at an inn, the narrator tells how the innkeeper (I think) is all "HEY y'know what, I like you guys. How about, since it's a longass way to Canterbury, you each tell two stories there and two stories back, and at the end I'll decide (since I'm now going with you) who told the best story, and then everyone has to buy that dude dinner. At my inn. I totally don't do this all the time."

They all say yes, because who doesn't like telling stories to people forced to listen because of a bet?

I google mapped this journey by bike, because bikes and horses are probably exactly the same, right?

Ok, so six hours if you rode your bike continuously. BUT it's 65 miles. I looked that up and came upon what is surely the work of someone very special HERE, which makes me think the journey to Canterbury would take the party about two days. Maybe three. I don't know how often they stop yet. Or if there are bandits.

One of the unexpected benefits of reading this 1390s work is that Chaucer gives you details of the daily lives and habits of a wide range of people. The nun, when she sings, intones "through her nose, as was most seemly." The yeoman "wore a coat and hood of green,/And peacock-feathered arrows, bright and keen." 

Peacock-feathered arrows sound BADASS.

I'm only on the first story, which is The Knight's Tale (no, not that one). So far he's talking about Theseus and Greece, and I'm not sure what his game is other than to sound smarter than everyone else, but after the prologue, I trust Chaucer implicitly in the realm of awesomeness.

I hope the Knight's Tale ends like this


Popular posts from this blog

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop ( Odyssey Books , where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have. I feel like we could get to this point, Emily INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'. You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters. If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing: We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilar

#24in48: What Was Good, What Was Bad, What You Should Read

24in48, where we try to read for 24 hours out of 48, has come and gone once more. I managed 13 hours, which considering my usual average is 2, is excellent and I will take it. I attribute this to genuine planning this time and a remarkable lack of things to do that weekend. What did I finish! The Witches: Salem, 1692  by Stacy Schiff Captain Phasma  by Kelly Thompson (comic) The Daughter of Time  by Josephine Tey DC Bombshells  Volume 1 (comic) The Punisher: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (comic) Mars Evacuees  by Sophia McDougall The Good. It was actually all pretty good, so I'm gonna give a quick recap so you can decide if it strikes your fancy or not. The Summaries The Witches: Salem, 1692. This is a breakdown of everything that happened before, during, and after the Salem witch trials of 1692. I loved the beginning because Stacy Schiff gives you a good idea of the awfulness of life in New England in the 17th century, and it also helps you understand ho