GEOFFREY CHAUCER: THE CANTERBURY TALES by David- Trans. Wright

GEOFFREY CHAUCER: THE CANTERBURY TALES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It has been some time since a new translation of the merry and melodic Tales has been attempted, and here the translator follows the popular trend to woo the general reader with a literal and unadorned rendering. Of course the poetry suffers. ""Gladly would he learn and gladly teach"" becomes ""he was as glad to learn as to teach,"" and the tenderly evocative prologue begins ""When the sweet showers of April have pierced the dryness of March to its root."" However, Mr. Wright's firm intent, expressed in the introduction, to avoid a ""cataract of the makeshift and often downright bathetic rhyme-carpentry"" does lead the reader into some glimpse of the freshness of Chaucer's affectionate appreciation of a variety of human natures and his skill in tall tales and wondrous romances. At least the reader does not feel cheated--not a word is submerged for twentieth century effect, ribaldries are solemnly reproduced, and the ballad of Sir Topaz comes off with a flourish. This translation offers an easy path into Chaucer with, regrettably, a fine future as a trot.

Publisher: Random House