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Publisher's Summary

At the Tabard Inn, 30 travelers of widely varying classes and occupations are gathering to make the annual pilgrimage to Becket's shrine at Canterbury. It is agreed that each traveler will tell four tales to help pass the time and that the host of the inn will judge the tales and reward the best storyteller with a free supper upon their return. Thus we hear, translated into modern English, 20-some tales, told in the voices of knight and merchant, wife and miller, squire and nun, and many more. Some are bawdy, some spiritual, some romantic, some mysterious, some chivalrous. Between the stories, the travelers converse, joke, and argue, revealing much about their individual outlooks on life, as well as what life was like in late 14th-century England.
©2003 Gavin Menzies (P)2008 Blackstone Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tad Davis on 10-20-08

Many voices, at times enthralling

This new Blackstone recording of "Canterbury Tales" is wonderful and at times enthralling -- and also at times laugh-out-loud funny. Like the Charlton Griffin recording (also available here), it's the whole ball of wax: every tale, including the often-omitted Tale of Melibee and the Parson's Tale (which is really a three-hour sermon rather than a tale. Listen to it. It's good for the digestion, and quite a bit more interesting than it sounds). This translation, by J.U. Nicholson, uses a more old-fashioned vocabulary in places than the Coghill translation used by Griffin; but at the same time, it's also saltier. There are few crude names for parts or functions of the human body that Chaucer fails to use at one point or another, and most of them find their way into this recording. (For me, that's a GOOD thing!) One notable feature is that this is a multi-voice recording. Martin Jarvis is Chaucer, Ralph Cosham the Lawyer, Simon Vance the Squire; and that's only a few examples. Both this version and Griffin's version are five-star recordings in my book. Griffin's has occasional music, which this one lacks; on the other hand, this one has greater variety of tone and voice.

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140 of 140 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Ruth Green on 03-06-09

A helpful index

I love this audio version of the Tales, but without an index it can be frustrating to locate a particular tale. I'm a teacher, and like to have students listen to excerpts. I didn't complete the times for all of the tales, but hopefully what I provide here will save another teacher a lot of time.
Canterbury Tales Bookmarks on Audible edition

Part I
General Prologue, Part I to 46:20

Knight's Tale, Part I 46:25-- 2:51:52

Miller's Tale, Part I 2:52:03-- 3:30

Reeve's Tale, 3:30-- 3:55

Cook's Tale, 3:55-- 4:06

Lawyer's Tale, 4:06-- 4:57

Sailor's Tale, 4:57-- 5:23

Prioress' Tale, 5:23-- 5:39

Sir Thopas, 5:39-- 5:50

Melibee, 5:50-- 7:49

Part II

Monk, 00-- 48.56

Nun's Priest, 49:00-- 1:25:46
Epilogue 1:25:46 - 1:26.41

Physician, 1:26-- 1:42:13

Words of Host to Physician and Pardoner, 1:42:23-- 1:45

Pardoner, 1:45-- 2:18

Wife of Bath, 2:18-- 3:32:54

Friar 3:32:56 --




Part III

Squire, 00-- 32:21 (unfinished)

Host to Squire and Franklin, 32:22-- 34:15

Franklin, 34:15-- 1:18:33

Second Nun's Tale, 1:18:33

Canon's Yeoman



Here the Maker, 6:19-- 6:21:50

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232 of 234 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Zoe on 04-07-13

Olde English classic

If, like me, you have always intended to read this national treasure but been daunted by the language then the audiobook is a good option. The various narrators do an excellent job of bringing the different characters to life. Some tales are witty and interesting but I found a few others to be too preachy or long-winded for modern tastes. However, I am glad that I have finally heard the tales in full!

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Curran on 01-08-13

masterly reading makes this classic enjoyable

I am not in the least a Chaucer scholar - partly because previously I had not managed to get very far with reading the Tales for myself. So I can only write as a novice and an amateur, but I am listening intently and enjoying the book in a multiplicity of ways. The variety of the Tales themselves, the drama and humour of the work, the way in which is it all structured; and the music of the language , which is retained in this modern translation and which does gain from being read aloud. I hesitated for some time before buying this book, thinking it might be too much for me. On the contrary, I am relishing it and am grateful to such gifted readers for bringing this very special text alive for me.

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20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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