Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a collection of narratives written between 1387 and 1400, tells of a group of 30 people from all layers of society who pass the time along their pilgrimage to Canterbury by telling stories to one another, their interaction mediated (at times) by the affable host - Chaucer himself. Naxos AudioBooks’ third volume presents the tales of six people, here in an unabridged modern verse translation (by Frank Ernest Hill, 1935). This is an ideal way to appreciate the genuinely funny and droll talent of England’s early master storyteller. Seven leading British actors bring the medieval world into the 21st century, and at least in terms of character, not much seems to have changed!
British actors present seven of Chaucer's classic tales in modern verse. Tim Pigott-Smith opens with "The Friar's Tale," recounting the Summoner's pact with the devil in a clear and expressive voice. Timothy West's portrayal of "The Seaman's Tale" lags a bit when the long-suffering wife's vocal characterization changes mid-speech. Rosalind Shanks lends sweet sadness to the murder and miracle comprising "The Prioress's Tale." Genuine angst rings through Sean Barrett's depiction of "The Manciple's Tale," as a husband takes decisive action on a crow's advice. Michael Maloney applies a driving rhythm as a young woman chooses death over loss of virtue in "The Physician's Tale." This clear and compelling collection is certain to appeal to both novice and experienced Chaucer readers.
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