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The General Prologue is read rather slowly and clearly, making it pretty easy for a modern English speaker to understand (especially if you have a written version to follow along with), but not making it an especially enjoyable dramatic performance. The Tale of the Physician is faster and more exciting. Both readings in the original Middle English are followed by a reading in a modern English translation. If you ever doubted how much better Chaucer is in the original, hearing him back-to-back in Middle English and then in modern English makes the point. If you will forgive the comment and just to prevent anybody else being confused, Beowulf is an Old English (Anglo-Saxon) chant or song about Norse heroes and dragons, nothing remotely like this 14th century poem of English pilgrims telling a mix of folk stories and bawdy jokes.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I studied Middle English while completing my graduate degree in English, and looked forward to hearing these in that version. While it is good to hear them, I was disappointed at the comparative monotone. The speaker does not seem to get into the spirit of the narration. I realize he is reading a "foreign language" and sympathize, but still it is disappointing. Part of the disappointment reflects on a live performance of Beowulf by Ben Bagley, which I still remember after a few years.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful