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The Canterbury Tales

Walmart # 9781608194872
$11.89$11.89
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$15.61$15.61
Twenty-four tales, which range from high romance set in ancient Greece to low comedy in contemporary England, are adapted in a pitch-perfect rendering of Chaucer's pointed satire. Chwast's illustrations and diagrams relate tales of trust and treachery, of piety and bawdiness, in an engaging style that will appeal to fans of "The Canterbury Tales."

Customer Review Snapshot

3.1 out of 5 stars
11 total reviews
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Most helpful positive review
Early Reviewer The Canterbury Tales by Seymour Chwast I will have to admit, The Canterbury Tales as written by Chaucer is one of my least favorite books, and actually I cannot even say that, as it is one of those books that I just can't seem to read all the way through. Originally started in high school, and picked up numerous times in the past, getting even a quarter of the way in is more of a chore than a pleasure, until now. After reading Chwast's version of the tales I think I will give the original another try. The author has made this story accessible to all, although in a condensed form, he has not skipped over or edited out any of the insights that Chaucer was trying to get across. But the part that I think I like best about Chwast is that he does not 'dumb down' the book, the yeoman is still called a yeoman even though the name could very well have been changed in the adaptation for a more modern word. All in all this is a wonderfully illustrated and superb book that I highly recommend to anyone who, like me, has had a bit of a hard time with the original, or would like a stepping off point that will help them to take on Chaucer.

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Twenty-four tales, which range from high romance set in ancient Greece to low comedy in contemporary England, are adapted in a pitch-perfect rendering of Chaucer's pointed satire. Chwast's illustrations and diagrams relate tales of trust and treachery, of piety and bawdiness, in an engaging style that will appeal to fans of "The Canterbury Tales."

Accompany a band of merry medieval pilgrims as they make their way-on motorcycles, of course-to Canterbury. Meeting at the Tabard Inn, the travelers, including a battle-worn knight, a sweetly pretentious prioress, the bawdy Wife of Bath, and an emaciated scholar-clerk, come up with a plan to pass time on the journey to Thomas à Becket's shrine by telling stories. The twenty-four tales, which range from high romance set in ancient Greece to low comedy in contemporary England, are adapted into graphic novel form by Seymour Chwast-a pitch-perfect transposition of Chaucer's pointed satire. Chwast's illustrations relate tales of trust and treachery, of piety and bawdiness, in an engaging style that will appeal to those who have enjoyed The Canterbury Tales for years, and those for whom this is a first, delectable introduction.

Specifications

Series Title
The Canterbury Tales
Publisher
Bloomsbury USA
Book Format
Hardcover
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
144
Author
Seymour Chwast
ISBN-13
9781608194872
Publication Date
September, 2011
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
10.51 x 7.49 x 0.65 Inches
ISBN-10
1608194876

Customer Reviews

5 stars
0
4 stars
4
3 stars
5
2 stars
1
1 star
1
Most helpful positive review
Early ReviewerThe Cante...
Early Reviewer The Canterbury Tales by Seymour Chwast I will have to admit, The Canterbury Tales as written by Chaucer is one of my least favorite books, and actually I cannot even say that, as it is one of those books that I just can't seem to read all the way through. Originally started in high school, and picked up numerous times in the past, getting even a quarter of the way in is more of a chore than a pleasure, until now. After reading Chwast's version of the tales I think I will give the original another try. The author has made this story accessible to all, although in a condensed form, he has not skipped over or edited out any of the insights that Chaucer was trying to get across. But the part that I think I like best about Chwast is that he does not 'dumb down' the book, the yeoman is still called a yeoman even though the name could very well have been changed in the adaptation for a more modern word. All in all this is a wonderfully illustrated and superb book that I highly recommend to anyone who, like me, has had a bit of a hard time with the original, or would like a stepping off point that will help them to take on Chaucer.
Most helpful negative review
1 customers found this helpful
I really wasnt impres...
I really wasn't impressed by this. I read the original last month and with it fresh in my head this just falls flat. I knew it would have to cut down quite a bit, but this is hopelessly homogenized. It's no where near as raunchy, ironic, theatrical, bigoted or religious as the original. And once you strip away all of Chaucer's tone there really isn't much left. To paraphrase Lincoln, it's like a broth made from the shadow of a pigeon that starved to death.
Most helpful positive review
Early ReviewerThe Cante...
Early Reviewer The Canterbury Tales by Seymour Chwast I will have to admit, The Canterbury Tales as written by Chaucer is one of my least favorite books, and actually I cannot even say that, as it is one of those books that I just can't seem to read all the way through. Originally started in high school, and picked up numerous times in the past, getting even a quarter of the way in is more of a chore than a pleasure, until now. After reading Chwast's version of the tales I think I will give the original another try. The author has made this story accessible to all, although in a condensed form, he has not skipped over or edited out any of the insights that Chaucer was trying to get across. But the part that I think I like best about Chwast is that he does not 'dumb down' the book, the yeoman is still called a yeoman even though the name could very well have been changed in the adaptation for a more modern word. All in all this is a wonderfully illustrated and superb book that I highly recommend to anyone who, like me, has had a bit of a hard time with the original, or would like a stepping off point that will help them to take on Chaucer.
Most helpful negative review
1 customers found this helpful
I really wasnt impres...
I really wasn't impressed by this. I read the original last month and with it fresh in my head this just falls flat. I knew it would have to cut down quite a bit, but this is hopelessly homogenized. It's no where near as raunchy, ironic, theatrical, bigoted or religious as the original. And once you strip away all of Chaucer's tone there really isn't much left. To paraphrase Lincoln, it's like a broth made from the shadow of a pigeon that starved to death.
1-5 of 11 reviews

Until now, Seymour Chw...

Until now, Seymour Chwast was known to me as one of the founding partners (along with Milton Glaser), of Pushpin Studios, a design outfit which gained international recognition and was especially active from the 50s till the 80s, when their off-beat and often irreverent visual style was part of the avant grade of illustration and graphic design. I've never read the original [Canterbury Tales], but the description on the back cover of this graphic version had me thinking this would be a good way to approach the tales, which I've always been intimidated of because of the Middle English text. I can't say I was overly impressed with Chwast's drawings, though their graphic simplicity was effective in conveying the stories and the overall tone was very amusing. This book did make me all the more curious to explore Chaucer's original tales, which is, after all what had attracted me to it in the first place, so in that sense this Early Reviewers book fulfilled my expectations beautifully.

Early ReviewerThe Cante...

Early Reviewer The Canterbury Tales by Seymour Chwast I will have to admit, The Canterbury Tales as written by Chaucer is one of my least favorite books, and actually I cannot even say that, as it is one of those books that I just can't seem to read all the way through. Originally started in high school, and picked up numerous times in the past, getting even a quarter of the way in is more of a chore than a pleasure, until now. After reading Chwast's version of the tales I think I will give the original another try. The author has made this story accessible to all, although in a condensed form, he has not skipped over or edited out any of the insights that Chaucer was trying to get across. But the part that I think I like best about Chwast is that he does not 'dumb down' the book, the yeoman is still called a yeoman even though the name could very well have been changed in the adaptation for a more modern word. All in all this is a wonderfully illustrated and superb book that I highly recommend to anyone who, like me, has had a bit of a hard time with the original, or would like a stepping off point that will help them to take on Chaucer.

Although nothing can r...

Although nothing can replace the original tales, Chwast's graphic novel does an interesting job distilling the central themes and big moments of Chaucers's masterwork, and does so with visual panache. The prologue explanation of characters is marvelously concise. The selected moments of focus are of the utmost importance. Mr. Chwast has clearly become very familiar with Chaucer's work, and with critical interpretations of it. The art style here is minimal, simple, and expressive. Much of the action takes place in the foreground, and the focus of the illustration is primarily there. Not to say that the images lack depth, but there is a certain two-dimensionality that certainly serves to keep the reader focused on the story at hand. Few background elements are present, which may be a turn off to some graphic novel fans used to a richer visual style. For this work, though, and the story being told, the simplicity is effective and probably necessary. My major complaint with the illustration is regarding inexplicable visual symbolism of motorcycles used in the introduction, and whenever we are told of the travellers. I'm honestly not sure why they took this particular liberty when so few liberties are taken elsewhere. Even as a witty framing device it makes little sense as the stories are clearly not modernized in any other way, save only the odd turn of phrase and occasional visual gag. These tales can't really be modernized if the text is to remain relevant. The context of this pilgrimage, the necessity of travelling as a group, covering ground at length, and stopping in inns are all functions of a certain time and place. Modifying or removing these elements introduces more questions than it might potentially answer. Modernizing Chaucer's stories has always been a "can of worms" few authors have been brave enough to open. The motorcycle travel method remains, then, for me, enigmatic. Perhaps, if I were to venture a guess, Chwast does not like drawing horses. Part of the visual brilliance of this particular graphic novel, on the other hand, is the method by which Chwast has inserted interjections from the narrator and other storytellers. The abruptness of the original text is very well translated in this representation of the story, and the face of the narrator appearing at the margins to deliver context or side notes is proof that these tales can be well told in a visual form. I would really recommend this as a way for students to get involved with the material. This graphic novel could serve as a marvelous supplementary reading for someone preparing a presentation on Chaucer, and might even lend some insight for a student strong with visual conceptions that might not have been clear from an initial reading of the text. This graphic novel is a great visual representation, albeit a small/short one. A very concise presentation of Chaucer's work. I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed reading Chau...

I enjoyed reading Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales in high school. But Chwast's adaptation is a fun and accessible read for those who may not enjoy the original.

Seymour Chwast is at i...

Seymour Chwast is at it again with the Canterbury Tales, adapting another classic to his signature graphic novel style. He also did Dante's Divine Comedy a couple of years ago and this one continues the "tradition". While maybe not enough to help you pass a college level test on Chaucer, this might be enough for you to squeak by in high school English if you were lucky enough to have to read a little Chaucer. In any event, you'll be much more entertained than you would be reading Cliff Notes. Of course, I am not encouraging anyone out there to skip the real deal. You should definitely read your Chaucer people! But Seymour gives you the gist of some of the tales in his trademark fashion here, skipping over some of the long rambling descriptions and getting to the meat of the narrative. I love how he has some of the characters popping up in the page margins (aka "the peanut gallery") heckling the narrator to get a move on. In the knight's tale, where Chaucer spends a good six pages of verse describing the amphitheatre that Theseus builds for the tournament for Emelye's hand, Chwast has a character lean over the frame with the illustration of the amphitheatre and temple to tell the knight: "Hey, all this is slowing down the story. Get on with it!" For the Miller's Prologue and tale, we have Chaucer himself stepping into the margin to warn us that "Readers should be eighteen or older." Then, as we are winding down and getting into the Doctor's tale involving the beautiful maid Virginia, we have the Friar heckling the author for "any tales about an ugly woman?" And we have Chwast breaking down Chaucer's notes to wives at the end of the Clerk's tale. Where Chaucer says: Superwives, stand up in your own defence! Each is as huge and strong as a camel. Then why permit a man to give offence? You smaller wives, though feeble in battle, Be fiercer than a tiger or a fiend, Clack on and on like windmills, I counsel. Chwast summarizes it and tells wives to: Show off your figure, make your husband jealous, and confront him even if he's in full armor! All in all, this is an entertaining and quick graphic jaunt through the tales. For me, it was good that I had read them in their entirety but I suppose if you just want a quick study this could be it. Or maybe if you are thoroughly entertained by Chwast's irreverent take, it will put you on the path to reading the real Chaucer. I'm looking forward to whatever classic he decides to tackle next!

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Electrode, Comp-389266847, DC-prod-cdc02, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3, SHA-fe0221a6ef49da0ab2505dfeca6fe7a05293b900, CID-f6381065-bd5-16e6def7932296, Generated: Fri, 15 Nov 2019 07:20:41 GMT