April Belongs to Chaucer

Posted on April 22, 2011

The month of April has been immortalized in literature and in song.  It was in April that a certain Pilgrimage to Canterbury as envisioned by Geoffrey Chaucer commenced.

Fittingly, it is a time of year that many students today find themselves grappling with Middle English in order to complete studies in Chaucer and his works. But hold, Middle English? What the heck is that? Well, as a veteran of the literary wars from old through middle to modern English, let me just say that be happy Chaucer wrote in Middle and not Old English. Here without “translation” is the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales:

So, do you honestly believe that the average warm-blooded American student can sit still for the above? Heck, No. So professors from mine to those of today have had to devise teaching methods to provoke interest and not anger or boredom. Here is one such professor – putting it to a rap beat.

Whatever works, but we have all missed the opportunity to hear Chaucer himself tell the tales.

Afterword: If you would like the modern version of the Canterbury Tales, you may Google several.

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