The Canterbury Tales (Unabridged Selections)

  • by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Narrated by David Butler
  • 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This modern English edition of Chaucer's classic begins on a spring day in April. Sometime in the waning years of the 14th century, 29 travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. Among them are a knight, a monk, a prioress, a plowman, a miller, a merchant, a clerk, and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. Travel is arduous and wearing; to maintain their spirits, this band of pilgrims entertain each other with a series of tall tales that span the spectrum of literary genres.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Still enjoyable, relevant, and beautiful

By happenstance, I started listening to The Canterbury Tales on Palm Sunday, the same day that the narration begins. As I pulled out of my driveway on an April morning, I had Chaucer's famous description of spring in my ears as a Christian procession marched by, led by a bag-pipe player. I was on a trek to Niagara Falls, but I was hearing the account of a different sort of pilgramage, written 600 years ago, but still sounding beautiful to the ear. In fact, I much preferred listening to these tales rather than reading them silently myself from the page. This is poetry, and the scansion and lyricism can easily get lost as the modern reader struggles with the early spellings and olden vocabulary. Be advised that the first tale, that of the knight, is extraordinarily long, formalistic, predictable, and maybe even just kind of boring. It must be a purposeful tip of Chaucer's funny-looking hat to the epic poetry of Homer. But don't give up early! Chaucer rewards the patient with the following tale from the miller which is the exact opposite--short, mean, and bawdy! You'll be shocked at just how old some of the English language's four-letter words are. This pattern continues as Chaucer has each of his pilgrams take turns telling stories in their own voice, and the diversity and contrast is enjoyable. BEWARE: Although this is advertised as an unabridged reading, I was dubious when I saw its rather short length. After listening to the entire program, I looked at my very thick printed version and found several tales there that were not included in the audio reading. I have made Audible aware of this. Nonetheless, such editing may be for the best--except for purists and academics--as this version certainly offers the lay reader/listener a representative sample of what Chaucer could do with an earlier version of our language.
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- Sean

impressive

Quite well narrated, more expressive than I expected. Also the quality of sound is also very good. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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- Victoria

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-28-2003
  • Publisher: Findaway World