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austinchapman

in libris

Read much. Talk little.

Currently reading

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Eleven
Joe Abercrombie, N.K. Jemisin, Ken Liu, Jonathan Strahan
Progress: 208/507 pages
Empire: The Russian Empire and Its Rivals
Dominic Lieven
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. A: Middle Ages
Stephen Greenblatt, Alfred David, James Simpson, M.H. Abrams
Progress: 367/543 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 318 out of 543 pages.

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. A: Middle Ages - Stephen Greenblatt, Alfred David, James Simpson, M.H. Abrams

The next section in this anthology consists of selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, plus a few bits of his other poetry. I remember reading some of the Tales way back in my freshman year of college, but not much of it stuck. It was a delight to read these again. The famous Knight's Tale is not in this anthology, but the Miller's Tale is, and what a delight! Even though the Middle English takes a lot of getting used to and some of the conventions of medieval poetry are not exactly fitted to modern tastes, the Miller's Tale is indisputably one of the most entertaining pieces of fiction ever to grace our language. Also included are the Pardoner's Tale and the Wife of Bath's Tale, alongside the Nun's Priest's Tale. The Wife of Bath is a most intriguing character, a strong personality who's gone through husbands with varying degrees of callousness. She grates but she is also entirely relatable, a character that is good to think about. Her tale takes quite a while to get going, but once it does, it's hard to take a break. The Pardoner is a disgustingly corrupt clergyman but fun to read about, and his sermon is an impressive sophistry. 

 

The other poetry doesn't really stand out to me, but the poem written to Henry IV soon after usurping the throne from Chaucer's previous paymaster, is interesting in the way it flatters the new king but also reminds His Majesty that payment is due!

 

Next up, I'll read a modern sci-fi novel...