The barefoot pilgrims outside Canterbury Cathedral. Along the way, of course, they told the stories that form the greatest work of literature in the English language. Chaucer plaque in Talbot Yard, London. Henry Eliot This morning another, real band of pilgrims was assembling for a second attempt at the Canterbury Tales:
Cover of Spanish translation of Chaucer, Cover of Faber reprint edition of Chaucer, Introduction If I were writing this in French, as I should be if Chaucer had not chosen to write in English, I might be able to head this preliminary note with something like Avis au lecteur; which, with a French fine shade, would suggest without exaggeration the note of warning.
For I do really desire to warn the reader, or the critic, of some possible mistakes in or about this book: It were perhaps too sanguine a simplicity to say that this book is intended to be popular; but at least it is intended to be simple.
It describes only the effect of a particular poet on a particular person; but it also expresses a personal conviction that the poet could be an extremely popular poet; that is, could produce the same effect on many other normal or unpretentious persons.
It makes no claim to specialism of any sort in the field of Chaucerian scholarship. It is written for people who know even less about Chaucer than I do.
It does not in any of the disputed details, dictate to those who know much more about Chaucer than I do. It is primarily concerned with the fact that Chaucer was a poet. Or, in other words, that it is possible to know him, without knowing anything about him.
The whole point, so far as I am concerned, is that it is as easy for an ordinary Englishman to enjoy Chaucer as to enjoy Dickens. Dickensians always quote Dickens; from which it follows that they often misquote Dickens.
Having long depended on memory, I might be quite capable of misquotation; but I fear I have fallen into something that may seem even more shocking: I do incline to think that it is necessary to take some such liberties, when first bringing Chaucer to the attention of fresh and casual readers.
However that may be, all this part of the explanation is relatively easy; and the intention of the book is tolerably obvious. Unfortunately this plan of simplification and popularity is interrupted by two problems, which can hardly be prevented from presenting a greater complexity.
And yet I cannot altogether regret the course that I actually followed; for there grew upon me, while writing this chapter, a very vivid realization which the chapter itself does not very clearly explain. I fear that the reader will only pause to wonder, with not unjust irritation, why I sometimes seem to be writing about modern politics instead of about medieval history.
I can only say that the actual experience, of trying to tell such truths as I know about the matter, left me with an overwhelming conviction that it is because we miss the point of the medieval history that we make a mess of the modern politics.
I felt suddenly the fierce and glaring relevancy of all the walking social symbols of the Chaucerian scene to the dissolving views of our own social doubts and speculations to-day.
There came upon me a conviction I can hardly explain, in these few lines, that the great Types, the heroic or humorous figures that make the pageant of past literature, are now fading into something formless; because we do not understand the old civilized order which gave them form, and can hardly even construct any alternative form.
The presence of the Guilds or the grades of Chivalry, the presence of the particular details of that day, are not of course necessary to all human beings.The fun of the Canterbury Tales is in the banter between the pilgrims, but when you read the stories in isolation you can lose that sense of a multi-voiced, rambunctious group.
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The Host (Harry Bailey) The owner of the Tabard Inn, who volunteers to travel with the pilgrims. He promises to keep everyone happy, be their guide and arbiter in disputes, and judge the tales. The Knight Socially the most prominent person on the pilgrimage, epitomizing chivalry, truth, and honor.
Steven Payne and other medieval re-enactors at Canterbury Cathedral at the end of his pilgrimage from Winchester. A modern medieval pilgrimage re-enactor, Steven Payne, recreated the journey in December , though he took the longer Winchester route and did it on foot (in authentic fourteenth century clothing, footwear and gear) in 14 days.
The Canterbury Tales: The Canterbury Tales, frame story by Geoffrey Chaucer, written in Middle English in – The framing device for the collection of stories is a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas à Becket in Canterbury, Kent.
The 30 pilgrims who undertake the journey gather at . rutadeltambor.com: Ribald Tales of Canterbury / Tasty [DVD]: Hyapatia Lee, Sharon Kelly, Peter North, Patti Petite, Gail Force, Bud Lee: Movies & TV.