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The Canterbury Tales [Blackstone] Audiobook

The Canterbury Tales [Blackstone]

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Publisher's Summary

At the Tabard Inn, 30 travelers of widely varying classes and occupations are gathering to make the annual pilgrimage to Becket's shrine at Canterbury. It is agreed that each traveler will tell four tales to help pass the time and that the host of the inn will judge the tales and reward the best storyteller with a free supper upon their return.

Thus we hear, translated into modern English, 20-some tales, told in the voices of knight and merchant, wife and miller, squire and nun, and many more. Some are bawdy, some spiritual, some romantic, some mysterious, some chivalrous. Between the stories, the travelers converse, joke, and argue, revealing much about their individual outlooks on life, as well as what life was like in late 14th-century England.

©2003 Gavin Menzies; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (456 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Natalia United States 08-07-12
    Natalia United States 08-07-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best way to "read" Chaucer!"
    If you could sum up The Canterbury Tales in three words, what would they be?

    Moral, Eternal, Bawdy


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Realizing that the common theme was that you eventually get what you deserve.


    Any additional comments?

    Having these classic tales told by the excellent narrators gave them life and made them understandable and enjoyable. It really beat reading them in school!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIYBRID 03-18-12
    HIYBRID 03-18-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finally it made sense..."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Canterbury Tales to be better than the print version?

    Gee. I've struggled in print both in old english and whatever modern translation I had but this translation was alive whereas in the past the language stood in my way. This time the language enhanced the personalities of the story...


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I forget her name but she had intensely foul language.. and poetry to boot..


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was a good group for the various voices.. Women and men telling the tale..


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No not one moment but I realized that I probably am a medieval christian prior to being a Buddhist..


    Any additional comments?

    Listen and let this solve the mystery of what the whole trip was about...

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CAFOXXYY 03-27-13
    CAFOXXYY 03-27-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More Wonderful Than I Remembered"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Canterbury Tales to be better than the print version?

    Yes. I enjoyed the performances by the narrators, the wonderful stories, and the amazing rhyming ability of the author. They make this a memorable event.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Canterbury Tales?

    I loved and enjoyed each and every one of the stories.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrators actually bring these stories to life with their wonderful voices and reading abilities.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Tales you will never forget.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Sklensky Syracuse, NY USA 07-30-12
    Diane Sklensky Syracuse, NY USA 07-30-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Intriguing Classic with Rich Characters"
    Would you listen to The Canterbury Tales again? Why?

    I'm sure that there were things that I missed - but, despite the lively, updated language and frequently entertaining characters, quite a lot of medieval attitudes came through and I probably will not listen again. I'm glad that I listened to it once, though, to know what it was about and get a feeling for the time. I was intrigued by the degree to which the seeds of the Renaissance were present in the extensive quotations from the classics - I had not realized that was already occurring at the time in England. But so many of the characters went ON and ON quoting the classics that I suspect that I will not feel the urge to return to it.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Franklin, I think. So many of the characters were spiteful or otherwise ungenerous that his Tale was a pleasant relief (if I am remembering correctly).


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Franklin's Tale.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not an extreme reaction - some of it was quite funny, but I don't think I laughed aloud.


    Any additional comments?

    It was, I'm sure, far easier to listen to than to read and I do feel better informed for having heard such a classic work of literature. The excellent performances made many of the tales very engaging.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth Green 03-06-09
    Ruth Green 03-06-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A helpful index"

    I love this audio version of the Tales, but without an index it can be frustrating to locate a particular tale. I'm a teacher, and like to have students listen to excerpts. I didn't complete the times for all of the tales, but hopefully what I provide here will save another teacher a lot of time.
    Canterbury Tales Bookmarks on Audible edition

    Part I
    General Prologue, Part I to 46:20

    Knight's Tale, Part I 46:25-- 2:51:52

    Miller's Tale, Part I 2:52:03-- 3:30

    Reeve's Tale, 3:30-- 3:55

    Cook's Tale, 3:55-- 4:06

    Lawyer's Tale, 4:06-- 4:57

    Sailor's Tale, 4:57-- 5:23

    Prioress' Tale, 5:23-- 5:39

    Sir Thopas, 5:39-- 5:50

    Melibee, 5:50-- 7:49

    Part II

    Monk, 00-- 48.56

    Nun's Priest, 49:00-- 1:25:46
    Epilogue 1:25:46 - 1:26.41

    Physician, 1:26-- 1:42:13

    Words of Host to Physician and Pardoner, 1:42:23-- 1:45

    Pardoner, 1:45-- 2:18

    Wife of Bath, 2:18-- 3:32:54

    Friar 3:32:56 --

    Summoner

    Clerk

    Merchant





    Part III

    Squire, 00-- 32:21 (unfinished)

    Host to Squire and Franklin, 32:22-- 34:15

    Franklin, 34:15-- 1:18:33

    Second Nun's Tale, 1:18:33

    Canon's Yeoman

    Manciple

    Parson

    Here the Maker, 6:19-- 6:21:50

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 03-26-15
    Mark 03-26-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting"

    Always meant to read this - the translation is understandable but still gives you a sense of the language of the time. Skip some of the more boring tales (Melibee and the Parsons tale) and it's a very entertaining listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant Arlington, VA, United States 03-23-14
    Grant Arlington, VA, United States 03-23-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Beautiful production; mixed bag for modern folks"

    The work is beautifully performed by multiple readers, who all do a marvelous job. The text has been modernized for contemporary readers, but still retains little touches of middle English vocabulary and pronunciation here and there. These touches are enough to give the text some period flavor, but not so much as to obscure understanding; meaning is generally clear enough from context.

    As far as the text goes, well, despite it's being a classic, it is a bit of a mixed bag for the modern listener. Some parts are just a lot less enjoyable than others. Say the material falls into three categories. First, there are parts that are universal and timeless, and can be easily and fully appreciated by a modern reader. A second group is still enjoyable but is noticeably less accessible. The reader who is not familiar with the period may miss significant amounts of nuance and references unless they are prepared to do a little extra work (say, a quick whiz thru Wikipedia. Third, there are a couple of selections that are impenetrable or just a bore unless you have very specialized tastes or knowledge or both. So just be warned that a few of the tales (and some are not even really stories) will leave you impatient to move on to the next selection.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca 03-31-13
    Rebecca 03-31-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Literary History that I'm Glad I've Read"

    Not what I expected. I knew it was about a group of pilgrims going to Canterbury and of course I'd heard of some of the bawdier tales.

    The variety of styles are fabulous - some more high-tone, and others lively and humorous. I'm wondering if this is the first documentation of fart jokes?

    Many of the religious tales are criticism of the church - carnal priests, the church selling "indulgences", unchristian rants.

    And then the Parson's tale at the end seems to almost negate the former and begs people to repent and guard against the seven deadly sins. After that, Chaucer has a brief ending that asks for God's mercy and begs forgiveness. I thought - "what the heck was that?" and actually was pleased to read that many others reacted the same way.

    This book has modern language - and it was still difficult - especially with some tales - like the Parson's being over 3 hours with much lecturing and quoting of Greek and Roman philosophers and the scriptures. Still - a piece of history that I'm glad I have read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James B. Rich Takilma Oregon 08-07-12
    James B. Rich Takilma Oregon 08-07-12 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Epitome of what an audio book should be!"

    A Middle-English classic in the tradition of the Decameron, a series of storied told by a wide cross-section of 15th century English men & women. Terrific story telling, wonderful reading and a translation that maintains the rhythms and syntax of the original. Listening to the readers I found it simple to follow the original Middle English.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tad Davis 10-20-08
    Tad Davis 10-20-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Many voices, at times enthralling"

    This new Blackstone recording of "Canterbury Tales" is wonderful and at times enthralling -- and also at times laugh-out-loud funny. Like the Charlton Griffin recording (also available here), it's the whole ball of wax: every tale, including the often-omitted Tale of Melibee and the Parson's Tale (which is really a three-hour sermon rather than a tale. Listen to it. It's good for the digestion, and quite a bit more interesting than it sounds). This translation, by J.U. Nicholson, uses a more old-fashioned vocabulary in places than the Coghill translation used by Griffin; but at the same time, it's also saltier. There are few crude names for parts or functions of the human body that Chaucer fails to use at one point or another, and most of them find their way into this recording. (For me, that's a GOOD thing!) One notable feature is that this is a multi-voice recording. Martin Jarvis is Chaucer, Ralph Cosham the Lawyer, Simon Vance the Squire; and that's only a few examples. Both this version and Griffin's version are five-star recordings in my book. Griffin's has occasional music, which this one lacks; on the other hand, this one has greater variety of tone and voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Curran
    Staplehurst, United Kingdom
    1/8/13
    Overall
    "masterly reading makes this classic enjoyable"

    I am not in the least a Chaucer scholar - partly because previously I had not managed to get very far with reading the Tales for myself. So I can only write as a novice and an amateur, but I am listening intently and enjoying the book in a multiplicity of ways. The variety of the Tales themselves, the drama and humour of the work, the way in which is it all structured; and the music of the language , which is retained in this modern translation and which does gain from being read aloud. I hesitated for some time before buying this book, thinking it might be too much for me. On the contrary, I am relishing it and am grateful to such gifted readers for bringing this very special text alive for me.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Zoe
    Stourbridge
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Olde English classic"

    If, like me, you have always intended to read this national treasure but been daunted by the language then the audiobook is a good option. The various narrators do an excellent job of bringing the different characters to life. Some tales are witty and interesting but I found a few others to be too preachy or long-winded for modern tastes. However, I am glad that I have finally heard the tales in full!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • L WILSON
    12/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "English Classic"

    I wish Goodreads allowed us a half mark, as this book is worth 4 1/2 star rating. I could not give it 5 as that belongs to the original Middle English version which I have read along side this version.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Hilary
    7/10/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great balance achieved"

    Great balance struck between not using Chaucerian English yet staying as close to it as possible whilst easy to understand for the modern reader. Excellent version, though inevitably a lot of Chaucer's subject matter is mess appealing today but I skipped through those parts on 2x speed (mainly religious lists) and slowed down to enjoy the rollicking yarns.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    10/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bit disappointing"

    Like other reviewers I thought I would try this having struggled with the books, thinking that a "modern english " version might be easier. Although it isn't Chaucerian language I still would not call this modern english. Prehaps it's was the book and not the language I am not enjoying, but can't fault the actors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    Saffron Walden, United Kingdom
    5/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "How bizarre"

    I am glad I am not a literature student and have to read through and study these. I bought them because it was something I thought I should have read, a classic. I didn't manage to complete, perhaps only one third. Many of them just appear to be rhyming toilet humour. A group of people go on pilgrimage - a rough set of coarse non-believing folk it appears, why go to a holy site? Each tells a different tale to entertain the others, some are very sad and moral, most smutty and boring. It is rather hard to listen to great quantities of poetry when used to listening to prose, but the narrators do a very good job. Not recommended, but perhaps I am a literary heathen.

    2 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    2/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Spot o' Banter"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Only for those who liked good rhyming schemes.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Canterbury Tales [Blackstone]?

    The friar's tale


    Any additional comments?

    I want to translate all future books into rhyme.
    Also, its not olde or middle English, very listenable.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Paul M. Quirk
    Reading, UK
    4/8/13
    Overall
    "Not as good as I thought it might be..."

    I bought this because I have never read the Cantebury tales and thought I really ought to. At it's best it is amusing in parts but so much of book is intended to be salutory that I found myself wishing seveal of the pieces would just end.

    The narration was fine with some excellent performances and that did help somewhat, but at the end we have a rather preachy story lightened with a few interesting tales.

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel
    2/26/12
    Overall
    "The Canterbury Tales"

    It may be a classic but since my daughter wasn't that into it I will have to give it one star.

    1 of 27 people found this review helpful

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