The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Whenever I said that I was reading “The Canterbury Tales,” somebody would tell me how much they loved ‘the tales.’

Yah, I didn’t really get that.

My thought was, I would listen to the audio, because if I started to get bored, the story would just keep going, and I couldn’t get bogged down.  I think a better idea would actually have been to get a paper copy of the book and read one person’s tale at a time. By listening in bits and pieces which didn’t line up with the actual stories, I just lost interest in pretty much all of them.  Sure, some of the stories were interesting, but this was one time when audio failed me.

And, come on! Finishing “The Canterbury Tales” with a long, long, LONG tale about the deadly sins and penance? Talk about anti-climactic!

Sadly, I just didn’t feel the “The Canterbury Tales” love.

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14 comments to The Canterbury Tales

  • Ugh, I hated reading the Canterbury Tales back when I was an English major. I love a lot of classics that other people despise (like Moby-Dick and The Scarlet Letter), but I’ll be happy to never encounter the Tales again.

  • I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy The Canterbury Tales. I read a handful of them in college and they were the funnier ones, so by the time I decided to read the entire book, I think the familiarity I already had with bits and pieces helped me be more connected to the story as a whole.

  • I read The Canterbury Tales last year, The story about the man in the barrel was good but I understand your point – it’s long.

    I’m reading Anna Karenina now, I hear this will get boring and long at some point but I really like it so far.

    Have a great day!

  • I’m one of those people who LOVED The Canterbury Tales. Although..I didn’t read them all at once. I found reading them in spurts (one or two a month) worked out best.

  • I read this for a class and remember enjoying it after the teacher explained everything to me. Sorry it didn’t work for you.

  • In my senior english class, we were each assigned a story and had to prepare a presentation for that story. I think that made it easier on us. I have to say I found it more interesting when the teacher explained everything. I want to read all the stories since I have forgotten almost everything about it, even the story I was assigned :).

  • It’s been so long since I’ve read these, I can’t really say how I feel about them!

  • At least you can say you’ve read them now. I never have but my husband teaches them so I’m sure I will at some point.

  • I read The Canterbury Tales in high school, so I barely remember it. I don’t have bad memories of it though. I just finished One Amazing Thing, and mentioned The Canterbury Tales in the review I’m writing, just because everyone tells a story.

  • I did love The Canterbury Tales, but I haven’t read all of them yet. I didn’t think most editions even had all of them. I also can understand Middle English which I think helped me get the humorous side of them and made the experience smoother. And I’m totally interested in medieval culture, so even the boring stories were interesting for me.

  • I loved the tales! But I’ve read them one at a time over the years. I don’t know if I’ve read them all yet or not! I don’t think I would have liked listening or reading them all at once. I read them in annotate/critical editions or in classes, which really helps with the understanding. But I also have a strong interest in the time period, so that helps too.

  • Eww–I have this on one of my challenge lists. I tried it on audio last year and gave up really quickly. I might try paper…or just pick something different for the challenge.

  • I took a class that focused on the Canterbury Tales and we had to read it in Old English. Talk about crazy difficult. But it also made the tales more interesting. In order to really understand what was going on, I had to take my time with each tale – this usually meant reading them out loud and then still going back numerous times over some parts. But even then, there are some stories that are really great and others that aren’t. I think that’s why most people only read very specific stories, not the whole thing.