I must confess that I delayed the reading of The Canterbury Tales as I feared its contents would be just too painful to ingest. Once again, my apprehensions were for naught and I am delighted to report that it has earned my top rating and deserves any and all accolades attributed to it. I did take quite some time to complete it, however, this was one worth relishing. Likely its position at 99 out of 100 on my current list saddened me so to realize I am near the end of this goal so perhaps it was a subliminal procrastination on my part.
The journey begins at the Tabard Inn where Harry Bailey joins an assorted crew of 29; motley and otherwise, as they journey to Canterbury telling tales along the way, each hoping to impress and earn the spot as best storyteller.
The themes of Chaucer’s tales revolve heavily around religion and marriage, some infused with unexpected wit and humor for their time while others evoked Homerian works. This is a book to be kept at the bedside and read again and again.
The Second Nun’s Tale recounts the martyred Saint Cecilia’s life and death. Destined for martyrdom, she marries and wants to retain her virginity so sends her husband to be baptized with the promises of seeing angels. He agrees and is so enlightened, he later sends his brother to do the same. And how are these 3 holy Christians rewarded? The brothers are beheaded and Cecilia is burned and beaten and finally succumbs after three days of torture.
There is no question that any time spent with Mr. Chaucer would be a delight. Well now, chatting with the master storyteller would be the beginning of a what I’d hope to be a long and lasting kinship. I don’t think I’d prick or prod here, but would rather just let the master do what he does so well.
My rating for The Canterbury Tales is a 10 out of 10.
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