The Caterbury Tales

30 Jun

I have always wanted to read the Caterbury Tales because I believed it is an important book for an English Literature enthusiast, I tried nine years ago and after a few pages of unfathomable old English I shut the second-hand book and put it back on the shelf. A few weeks ago I saw this version of the Caterbury Tales in the local library, I decided to give it another go, especially that it said on the book that the spelling of the words in this version is modernised, hence easier to understand. It was still difficult though, a book to endure rather than enjoy.

It starts with a group of people on a journey to Canterbury trying to kill the time by telling eachother stories about themselves and people they met, and the book continues with these pilgrims’ tales. The tales are often graphic, obscene, shallow and uncomfortably rude which is completely paradoxical and oxymoronic with the fact that they are pilgrims on a religious journey.

I have pondered a lot while and after reading the Canterbury Tales about why such a superficial difficult-to-read book has been held in such a high regard over the centuries. Eventually I satisfied myself by blaming its historical and linguistic value as the first known major work of literature in the “English” language. I couldn’t help thinking however of other Western literary works which share in their languages this initiality of the Canterbury Tales like the Iliad and the Odyssey, but I realised that their quality of verse, languages and narrative is incomparable to the Canterbury Tales’ embryonic standard of English and literature.

The Canterbury Tales is a book worth knowing about, but reading it and studying it would only be fun for medievalists.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: