September 01, 2015

Tuesdays with Chaucer

Let's all just pause to ponder how cool it is that Chaucer t-shirts exist. Whether you're reading the book in Middle English or Modern English doesn't matter to me. I'm using the copy we had on our shelf, which I'm fairly certain was my mother's. (Yes, this is my mother's Chaucer. Ha.)

So here we are. Our first week's check-in. (By the way—you can join any time. Someone wrote me this morning to ask if it was okay. Yes. Yes, it is okay. Please read with us!)

I'm using a Viking edition of The Portable Chaucer. (Mine looks different than this one, but it's the same translator.) The term "portable" cracks me up, because how portable is it, really? The thing weighs a ton and is (literally) 600 pages long.

I have to stop a lot to make sure I understand exactly what is being said. But let me share this: My favorite part about reading Chaucer? The reactions I've gotten so far.

"Oh, you're reading Chaucer!"
"Oooh, Chaucer!"
"Wow! You're reading Chaucer!"

That basically sums it up. People have been drawn to the book, wanting to tell me their experiences at college. "My professor never explained anything. You had to read an annotated version along with the main text in order to figure out what the fuck was going on. The professor would call on you in class to explain something, and woe unto you if you didn't do your research!"

I think seven different people have approached me to share their stories. I could almost write *that* story—the one about each Chaucer fan who wants to tell his or her reaction to the Miller's Tale!

Now, how about you? Are you enjoying the book? Which version are you reading? How far are you?


P.S. Yesterday, I revealed that my new novella will be for sale on September 7th. This is the next installment in the story of Jack, Alex, and Samantha. The novella does include a portion I was giving away for free (the airplane ride to Paris). But as only a handful of readers had requested that PDF, I felt it wouldn't be a problem to include the journey with the section. Every sale helps—and I am grateful for each novella purchased.


Jim Scovill said...

I am reading the Middle English version(1200pp). Last week I translated the miller's tale which was neither as funny nor as racy as I remember from senior lit. I did enjoy the lyricism of the poem more than I remember.

baddoggerel said...

Still waiting for my copy to come in...

Jim Scovill said...

Hi Alison.
Since it is only you and me for the moment
I would like to compare my version with your TPC version.
From the Wife of Bath Progogue lines 608-614

Jim Scovill said...

'For certes, I am al Venerian
in feeling, and min herte is Marcien.
Venus me yaf my lust, my likerousness,
and Mars uaf me my sturdy hardinesse.
Mine ascendent was Taur and Mars therinne
Allas, Allas, that ever love was sinne!'

Jim Scovill said...

How are those lines rendered in TPC?

Alison Tyler said...

I believe these are the lines:

Fo I belong to Venus in my feelings,
Though I bring the heart of Mars to all my dealings.
From Venus come my lust and appetite,
From Mars I get my courage and my might,
Born under Taurus, while Mars stood therein.
Alas, alas, that ever love was sin!


Jim Scovill said...

It's good to know that line references are maintained across the versions.
I would argue that the editor of the Original Spelling Edition (OSE) gives this a slightly stronger interpretation:
'Venus gave me my appetite for pleasure, my wantonness,
And Mars gave me my rebellious boldness.'

Jim Scovill said...

Likerousnesse keeps worming its way back in to my consciousness.