Thursday, January 19, 2006

Geoffrey Chaucer

Think, for instance, of the famous opening to the set of stories that a group of pilgrims tells one another as they wind their way toward the tomb of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The example is a fair one, since Burton Raffel, the latest translator of The Canterbury Tales, explicitly cites it as something unintelligible to modern readers ... --Joseph Bottum, Than Longen Folk to Goon on Pilgrimages, First Things, March 2009, review of The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, translated by Burton Raffel

...each traveler is defined in the first instance by occupation and most of them by native province; each person is strongly characterized by individually developed sexuality; each is a special, complex aspect of maleness or femaleness. This is a larger apparatus for a theory of character than that employed by modern novelists raised on the simple Old Testament schemata of psychoanalysis. --Kenneth Rexroth, Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Classics Revisited (1968)

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