Thursday, April 17, 2008

THE CANTERBURY TALES by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Book: Geoffrey Chaucer, THE CANTERBURY TALES. Translated by Nevill Coghill. Penguin Classics paperback, good condition; book is age-browned but intact. Owner's signature on front flyleaf, along with a long out-of-date phone number.
First read: Still reading (since 1980)
Owned since: 1984

Continuing the April theme, here's the original: "When in April the sweet showers fall/And pierce the drought of March to the root..."

Yeah, today's post is late. How much are you paying me? I have no excuse, except spring fever. Dizzy and I went for a long walk this morning, I had some things to do, I went to lunch with Anna, I took a nap. I'm restless and ready to travel again, and wish I had a bunch of friends to travel with.

It's a shame that people don't seem to go on pilgrimages any more, or at least not the way they did in Chaucer's time. I can't think of any better adventure than going off on a trip with a bunch of friends, and I am serious about this: anybody up for a road trip? I have several trips planned between now and mid-July, but they're all solo ventures. I'm so used to traveling by myself that the idea of a journey in the company of friends seems like a romantic fantasy.

This book was an inheritance from the previously-mentioned Tom Ehrenfeld, who was getting rid of books when he left Washington after graduation. The phone number scribbled on the front flyleaf belonged to a group house of mutual friends that called itself "Boytech." Seeing it just now brought up names and faces I have not thought of in 20 years or more.

I first read excerpts of this book in Mr. MacConochie's tenth-grade English class; the tales we read were just racy enough to keep us interested. I still probably haven't read the whole thing. It feels like a project to be tackled sometime before I die, or maybe a class I should take -- its own literary pilgrimage.

1 comment:

Peter said...

I'm selling off a load of books and wonder if I should sell my Folio Society 3vol. Canterbury Tales. In talking with a friend I wondered out loud why I too, shouldn't go on pilgrimages as a reason to travel and have a metaphor to write. Art museum pilgraages, cathedral pilgrimages, battlefield and memorial pilgrimages. Why not? Your idea is really a very good reason to travel, explore and write. Now the trick is to break free of the 9 to 5 trap.