In his own inimitable style, Terry Jones leads you through Chaucer's filthy and very funny tale of adultery, the feared coming of the second flood and burnt bums.
The Canterbury Tales broke the literary mould in many ways. It established English as an acceptable language for literature, where previously it had been almost exclusively Latin or Norman French.
It was also one of the first books to create a link between all the pieces of work in a literary collection. Before that an author had merely put together a group of pieces that he considered interesting, in no particular order and with no connecting narrative.
Chaucer chose a meeting between pilgrims at the Tabard Inn on the road to Canterbury to provide the linking narrative for his Canterbury Tales.
A group of pilgrims swap their tales, with a thoroughly human competitiveness and retaliatory jousting. The choice of pilgrims for his characters allowed Chaucer to put together types that wouldn't usually associate let alone talk.
This recording of The Miller's Tale is a translation from the Middle English into modern language by the leading Chaucerian scholar, Terry Jones - yes, the Python one - who adds to his truly scholarly rendition of the text a smattering of highly useful and fascinating notes, recorded as he read. He also, of course, adds a particular dimension all his own to a tale of wicked bawdiness and bare asses.
Public Domain (P)2008 Silksoundbooks Limited