Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES are timeless, but they present the audio producer with a dual challenge in rendering the language and pronunciation for the modern ear and, at the same time, preserving the tone and spirit of Chaucer's lines. This excellent production of four of the best-known tales earns high marks for both modernization and preservation. That is largely due to the choice of readers, whose crisp enunciation and firm pacing convey the personality and social milieu of each teller, but never at the expense of clarity. The tales themselves reflect the range of Chaucer's voices, from the ribald to the sanctimonious. Frances Jeater as the Wife of Bath is a standout, and Charles Simpson's handling of the Clerk's story of the patient Griselda brings feeling and conviction to the kind of medieval morality tale that modern readers often find most antiquated. The Reeve's tale of midnight shenanigans and the Nun's Priest's story of the rooster Chanticleer round out this outstanding set.
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