Chaucer's works are today widely studied and serve as models for current literature around the world. Chaucer holds a place of esteem as the earliest and one of the foremost writers in the English language.
©2005 Michael Drout; (P)2005 Recorded Books
This is the third of Professor Drout's lecture series I've listened to and I'm impressed once again. He gets to the heart of the matter and speaks clearly without "dumbing down" the subject.
Not sure about Geoffrey Chaucer? You'll be won over by Prof. Drout's lively introduction to his major works, which focuses especially on The Canterbury Tales. With wit and thoughtful criticism, Drout puts Chaucer in context of his time and the larger scale of literary history. Drout's tone is light, but his insights are deep. You don't have to a be a scholar of medieval literature to enjoy this lecture series -- but you might think about becoming one once you're through listening. Highly enjoyable.
Professor Drout is as entertaining in this course as ever, though I had wished to catch up on my middle english. However, the course was not about middle English, I am nonetheless happy about purchase.
Chet Yarbrough, an audio book addict, exercises two cocker spaniels twice a day with an Ipod in his pocket and earbuds in his ears. Hope these few reviews seduce the public into a similar obsession but walk safely and be aware of the unaware.
Geoffrey Chaucer is a master of ambiguity. Michael Drout, in the Modern Scholar series, offers an informative and laudatory appreciation of Chaucer as the Bard of the Middle Ages. Drout notes that Chaucer’s view of life is best revealed in The Canterbury Tales.
Drout offers high praise for Chaucer, suggesting The Canterbury Tales seeds centuries of fictional narratives; in part because of Chaucer’s prescient understanding of human nature but also because of life’s ambiguous truths. Drout considers Chaucer equal to William Shakespeare, the greatest poet and playwright of all time.
Though Drout does not suggest Chaucer endorses cultural’ transgressions, it appears Chaucer is ambiguous about his character’s opinions. Drout suggests Chaucer may have been repentant in The Parson’s Tale (the last of The Canterbury Tales that endorses religion of Chaucer’s era) because he is nearing the end of his life. In any case, it is clear that Chaucer is ahead of his time; earned his place in West Minster Abbey (the first poet to be buried there), and deserves his reputation as the Father of English Literature.
Drout gives his audience an excellent summary of Chaucer’s contribution to literature in these lectures; however, Chaucer is best represented by his own writing. Every listener/reader reaches their own opinion after experiencing Chaucer’s work; that is what makes The Canterbury Tales a classic.
"In Drout we Trust"
Michael Drout uses a literary critique of Geoffrey Chaucer's works as an excuse to talk about medieval life while also addressing the question of why Chaucer is rated so highly and what influences shaped his talent. As well as being a significant author, Chaucer had a dazzling rise under a sequence of Kings at a time of great turmoil in English history when it was difficult enough to make the transition from wine merchants' some to courtier and even harder to avoid assassination and torture as various factions rose and fell. Drout goes some way to explaining how Chaucer did it. He also brings the text to life by reading passages of Chaucer in middle English and contrasting them with passages of old English and modern version of the Canterbury Tales. I've always found it strangely fascinating to hear the unfamiliar tones of our own language as they were spoken by long dead ancestors.
Don't worry if you like history but aren't interested in literary criticism. Drout's incapable of being dull and effortlessly links the literature back to the experience of living a medieval life. Don't worry if you like history but feel this period to be pretty solidly covered in other publications. Drout has interesting things to say about the cultural life of the middle ages as well as the intricacies of Chaucer's progress through the hierarchy of the royal bureaucracy.
I've yet to listen to a dud from Prof Drout and this is another characteristically strong offering.
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