Friday, September 10, 2010

School Book: The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling

It's taken me a bit, but I finally finished the prose retelling of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. I have never read The Canterbury Tales in their entirety, so this was a great opportunity for me. (Previously I have read both the General Prologue and the Miller's tale twice).
But right off the bat, things seemed a bit off. The big problem is that Peter Ackroyd's version is a prose retelling; the original Canterbury Tales is a Middle English poem. Yes, it can be a bit hard to understand for us modern audiences, but a lot is lost in translation. Both the General Prologue and the Miller's Tale seemed quite cut and rather dry compared to the original; they were missing both the clever use of language and the multiple meanings inherent within the original. I was also kind of bothered by the use of swears throughout the prose retelling. They often seemed out of place, particularly in the Miller's tale.
But otherwise this was an enjoyable read. As long as you keep in mind that this is a retelling which is rather different from the original, Peter Ackroyd's version will keep you quite entertained!

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