Narrator Tim Pigott-Smith's performance is a wonderful illustration of the pleasures of storytelling. In this modern-verse rendition of "The Friar's Tale" from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, Pigott-Smith inhabits the Friar's voice like a well-tailored suit as the Friar tells the humorous story of a summoner who is an extortionist, thief, and bawd. The summoner meets a yeoman who turns out to be the devil himself, and the two unsurprisingly get along quite well. But later, when he is cursed by a woman he tries to extort, the summoner is taken by the devil to hell, where the Friar clearly believes he belongs. Listeners will particularly appreciate Pigott-Smith's enjoyable deployment of different accents for the characters.
This is a story from the Canterbury Tales III: Modern Verse Translation collection.
Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, a collection of narratives written between 1387 and 1400, tells of a group of 30 people from all layers of society who pass the time along their pilgrimage to Canterbury by telling stories to one another, their interaction mediated (at times) by the affable host - Chaucer himself. Naxos AudioBooks' third volume presents the tales of six people, here in an unabridged modern verse translation (by Frank Ernest Hill, 1935). This is an ideal way to appreciate the genuinely funny and droll talent of England’s early master storyteller. Seven leading British actors bring the medieval world into the 21st century, and at least in terms of character, not much seems to have changed!
Public Domain (P)2004 Naxos AudioBooks
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