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Binding: Paperback, 540 pages
Publisher: Yutang Press
Weight: 1.4 pound
Dimension: H: 1.3 x L: 8.5 x W: 5.4 inches
ISBN 10: 1408629372
ISBN 13: 9781408629376
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Book Description:
1908 INTRODUCTION Was never eye did see that face, Was never ear did hear that tongue, Was never mind did mind his grace, That ever thought the travail long But eyes and ears and every thought Were with his sweet perfections caught. From LOWELL ESSSAY. THIS preface and this book are not meant for the scholar who reads his Middle English with ease, nor again for the student who wishes to delve into the grammar and the syntax of fourteenth century English. Rather are they meant for those many people who have not read, who say they cannot read, Chaucer. For, let writers deny it as they will, to the modern Englishman, and still more to the modern Englishwoman, Chaucer is a sealed book. A few lines here and there are clear enough but then the reader is pulled up sharp and has to refer to notes and glossary and the man who sets out for enjoyment, will not for long turn aside to notes and glossary, however well they may be supplied. If it were not so, if this contention were not true, Professor Skeat would not have thought it necessary to publish a modern version of the beautiful Knightes Tale. The understanding of Chaucer and the love of him the two go together are not very old. Neither Addison nor Pope could appreciate him, and it is well known into what Dryden turned the tales. But attempts have been made to bring Chaucer nearer to the people. Charles Cowden Clarke purified him others modernised his spelling others again so altered him in modernising him that the poet was unrecognisable. Not one of these versions has succeeded. It is a bold thing to hope to prosper where so many have failed but the present editor is bound to explain and to defend his method. To begin with, certain tales, seven out of the twenty four, have been left untouched. They are so broad, so plainspoken, that no amount of editing or alteration will make them suitable for the twentieth century. To these my preface makes no further reference. But in regard to the other seventeen, I may say that, first, the spelling has been slightly modernised, modernised just enough to leave its quaintness and take away some of its difficulty. To take a well known passage and compare the ordinary version with the present version Ther saugh I first the derke imagining Of felonye and a1 the compassyng The cruel ire reed as any glede The pykepurs and eek the pale drede The smyler with the knyf under the cloke The shepne brenning with the blake smoke The treson of the mordring in the bedde The open werre with woundes a1 bibledde Contek with blody knyf and sharp manace A1 ful of chirking was that sory place. Ther saw I first the dark irnaginyng Of felony, and a1 the wmpassyng The cruel wrath, as eny furnace red The pickepurs, and eke the pale Dread The smyler with the knyf under his cloke The stables burnyng with the blake smoke The treson of the murtheryng in the bed The open warres, with woundes a1 y bled Conflict with bloody knyf, and sharp menace. A1 ful of shriekyng was that sory place. Again, difficulties of vocabulary have been treated in the same way. There is no pretence that this version is the Chaucer of the scholar, or the Chaucer of any recognised text and I give an instance as before, comparing the ordinary version with that printed in this volume The sleere of him self yet saugh I ther His herte blood hath bathed a1 his heer The nay1 y driven in the shode a night The colde deeth with mouth gaping upright. Amiddes of the temple sat meschaunce With discomfort and sory contenaunce Yet saugh I woodnesse laughing in his rage Armed complaint, out hees, and fiers outrage The careyne in the bush with throte y come A thousand slayn and nat of qualm y siorve The tiraunt with the prey by force y raft The toune destroyed ther was nothing laft...

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