The Canterbury Tales


Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(3.8 stars; 26 reviews)

The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century (two of them in prose, the rest in verse). The tales, some of which are originals and others not, are contained inside a frame tale and told by a group of pilgrims on their way from Southwark to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral.

The themes of the tales vary, and include topics such as courtly love, treachery, and avarice. The genres also vary, and include romance, Breton lai, sermon, beast fable, and fabliau. The characters, introduced in the General Prologue of the book, tell tales of great cultural relevance. The version read here was edited by D. Laing Purves (1838-1873) “for popular perusal” and the language is mostly updated. (Summary by Wikipedia/Gesine)

(19 hr 23 min)

Chapters

Preface 6:21 Read by Gesine
The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer 58:18 Read by Chip
The General Prologue 39:00 Read by Thomas Hoover
The Knight’s Tale, Part 1 1:06:20 Read by Ted Delorme
The Knight's Tale, Part 2 1:19:51 Read by Ted Delorme
The Miller's Tale 54:42 Read by Gord Mackenzie
The Reeve's Tale 23:26 Read by Alex Foster
The Cook's Tale 7:51 Read by Chip
The Men of Law's Tale 1:19:51 Read by Chip
The Wife of Bath's Tale 1:03:23 Read by Kristin LeMoine
The Friar's Tale 22:53 Read by Kara Shallenberg
The Sompnour's Tale 43:03 Read by Chip
The Clerk's Tale 1:20:06 Read by Chip
The Merchant's Tale 1:21:25 Read by Cynthia Lyons (1946-2011)
The Squire's Tale 43:41 Read by Joshua Young
The Franklin's Tale 31:34 Read by Alex Foster
The Doctor's Tale 17:01 Read by Fox in the Stars
The Pardoner's Tale 40:02 Read by David Barnes
The Shipman's Tale 27:36 Read by Gwen
The Prioress's Tale 15:06 Read by Fox in the Stars
The Tale of Sir Thopas 10:12 Read by Jim Mowatt
Chaucer’s Tale of Meliboeus 36:01 Read by Kirsten Ferreri
The Monk's Tale 47:29 Read by Andy Minter (1934-2017)
The Nun’s Priest’s Tale 47:07 Read by Graham Williams
The Second Nun’s Tale 27:43 Read by Alys AtteWater
The Canons Yeoman’s Tale 37:28 Read by Joshua Young
The Manciple’s Tale 17:04 Read by Thomas Hoover
The Parson’s Tale 54:57 Read by Robert Foster
Preces de Chauceres 3:48 Read by Gesine

Reviews

Wife of Bath's Tale Review

(4 stars)

Excellent reading of the middle english text (untranslated, thanks!) with modern vowels. Very listenable and clear.

Very Poor Middle English

(2 stars)

It is obvious that this reader has studied little or no Middle English pronunciation. If it is your intent to listen to this recording to improve your Middle English, search for Jess B Bessinger Jr.'s reading of the General Prologue.

The Canterbury Tales

(0.5 stars)

The narrator for The Knight's Tale cannot be understood and his style/lisp ruin my favorite story.

Couldn't make it past the prologue

(0.5 stars)

Chaucer is not this reader's forte. No poetry in his annoying voice.

(3.5 stars)

Some readers are better than others, but everything was clear.

(5 stars)

I appreciate reading Middle English with a modern pronunciation. Easier to understand. Nobody pronounces Shakespeare as it would be pronounced when written. Shakespearean texts also have modernized spelling for ease of understanding. Unless you are interested in the rhyme and meter, the orignal pronunciation is not that important. The spelling of Morte D'Arthur is also often modrnized. Btw, there is a recording of Troilus and Criseyde here with middle english pronunciation.

More than one rotten apples...

(2 stars)

This set of recordings suffers as do many others published with multiple collaborators as opposed to a single reader.