The Canterbury Tales in Modern Verse

Front Cover
Hackett Publishing - 360 pages
Readers of this witty and fluent new translation of The Canterbury Tales should find themselves turning page after page: by recasting Chaucer's ten-syllable couplets into eight-syllable lines, Joseph Glaser achieves a lighter, more rapid cadence than other translators, a four-beat rhythm well-established in the English poetic tradition up to Chaucer's time. Glaser's shortened lines make compelling reading and mirror the elegance and variety of Chaucer's verse to a degree rarely met by translations that copy Chaucer beat for beat.  Moreover, this translation's full, Chaucerian range of diction--from earthy to Latinate--conveys the great scope of Chaucer's interests and effects.

The selection features complete translations of the majority of the stories, including all of the more familiar tales and narrative links along with abridgments or summaries of the others. To reflect Chaucer's interest in poetic technique, Glaser presents the tales written in non-couplet stanzas in their original forms.

An Introduction, marginal glosses, bibliography, and notes are also included.

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Selected pages


1 General Prologue
2 The Knight
3 The Miller
4 The Reeve
5 The Cook
6 The Man of Law
7 The Wife of Bath
8 The Friar
15 The Pardoner
16 The Shipman
17 The Prioresse
18 Chaucers Tales of Sir Thopas and Melibee
19 The Monk
20 The Nuns Priest
21 The Second Nun
22 The Canons Yeoman

9 The Summoner
10 The Clerk
11 The Merchant
12 The Squire
13 The Franklin
14 The Physician
23 The Manciple
24 The Parson
25 Chaucers Retraction
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Page 15 - That slepen al the nyght with open ye (So priketh hem nature in hir corages). — Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages. And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes. To feme halwes. kowthe in sondry londes; And specially from every shires ende Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende. The hooly blisful martir for to seke. That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
Page 14 - And bathed every veyne in swich licour. Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth The tendre croppes...
Page 14 - Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour...
Page 349 - ... us with the precious blood of his herte; so that I may been oon of hem at the day of doom that shulle be saved.
Page 349 - Qui cum patre et Spiritu Sancto vivit et regnat Deus per omnia secula. Amen.
Page 14 - Southwark and their arrangement that each shall tell two stories on the way to Canterbury and two on the return journey, is a remarkable picture of English social life in the fourteenth century, inasmuch as every class is represented from the gentlefolks to the peasantry'.
Page 349 - Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns God through endless ages of ages. Amen.
Page 38 - Or break it through, by running, with his head. His beard, as any sow or fox, was red. And broad it was as if it were a spade. Upon the coping of his nose he had A wart, and thereon stood a tuft of hairs, Red as the bristles in an old sow's ears; His nostrils they were black and very wide. A sword and buckler bore he by his side. His mouth was like a furnace door for size. He was a jester and could poetize, But mostly all of sin and ribaldries. He could steal corn and full thrice charge his fees;...
Page 17 - A of the Romaunt of the Rose, the Book of the Duchess, and the House of Fame, were to be considered as early compositions because of the great frequency of split-rime.

About the author

Joseph Glaser is Professor of English, Western Kentucky University.

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