Friday, November 19, 2010

Chaucer and Sterne



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The Story of Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims Retold for Children, by Katharine Lee Bates. Illustrated by Angus MacDonall. From the Canterbury Classics, a series of supplementary readers edited under the general supervision of Katharine Lee Bates, Professor of English Literature in Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass. Rand McNally & Company, New York (1909). 316 pages. $1.00.

A Sentimental Journey Through France & Italy, by Laurence Sterne. With selections from his Journals, Sermons & Correspondence. Edited with an introduction by Professor Wilbur L. Cross. Liveright Publishing Corp., New York (1942). Black & Gold Edition. 307 pages. $1.50.


Update:
In the Forum: Proust and all his elves.

10 comments:

Momo Luna said...

Oh what wonderful William! You must be thrilled finding these. Old books are so lovely. Beautiful illustration also.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Jean Spitzer said...

The illustration, I like. I'm not so thrilled about "retold for children."

wv: amicab

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Momo Luna. I confess, where old books are concerned, I feel like a kid in a candy shop....

Jean, the fold-out illustration was a surprise bonus in this book. When I picked it up, I wondered too about the “retold.” Here’s the editor’s little italicized preface:

What follows is not Chaucer’s text nor a literal rendering of it. It is the story of the immortal pilgrimage told through selected portions, cast into modern English, of “The Canterbury Tales,” with a few interpolated lines, duly bracketed, of connection and explanation. The necessity of simplifying certain phrases for children and of cutting out allusions that they could not understand without a cumbersome appendix of notes has separated this slight narrative still further from its great original. The paraphrase, nevertheless, clings as closely as it may under these limitations to Chaucer’s own lines. The three tales that have, in their modernized forms, a recognized place in English literature, are given in the respective versions of Dryden, Wordsworth, and Leigh Hunt. From Dryden’s poem a few brief passages, especially such as are utterly without warrant in Chaucer’s text, have been omitted, and the division into parts is not the same. The quarrel between the Miller and the Manciple, at Bob-up-and-down, pages 290-95, is given in Leigh Hunt’s version.

Paul L. Martin said...

William, you are the master at finding these treasures you share with us. If we believe the publishing pundits, books will soon disappear for screens and electronic tablet computers. You, however, will be sitting on a gold mine, if not monetarily, certainly from a literary and cultural perspective. We old-schoolers are very much in awe of your burgeoning library. Maybe I'll sneak up to Salem and become the first biblio-burglar. That way I can support my biblio-addiction.

William Michaelian said...

Paul, I’m all for you coming to Salem, but sneaking will do you no good, because these books will cast a spell on you the minute you walk in, and before you know it you won’t know where you are or which century it is. I also know this: I won’t be around to see the demise of the physical book as we know it. That’s a comfort. It’s also a comfort that my own kids are as crazy about books as I am, and are working on their own small collections. Book lovers are like weeds. Just when they think they’ve gotten rid of us, we’ll sprout up and cover alleys and hillsides.

Paul L. Martin said...

Teach your children well, William, someone sang once. You are simply doing your job as father. Bravo and keep up the good work.

-K- said...

I have a fond but dimming memory of studying "The Canturbury Tales" and nothing but "The Canterbury Tales" one semster in Boston.

William Michaelian said...

With the added benefit, Paul, that the house now smells like a used bookstore when we come in from the street....

Kevin, I’m sure if you sit down with the book it will all come back in a flash. Or at least the parts of it that you read while you were awake. I forget which book it was at the moment, but awhile back I picked up something that I had read in junior high school and was surprised to find how familiar certain passages were. And yet here I am now, not remembering what it was. Oh, well.

Jenny Enochsson said...

I was at a Chaucer virtual museum in Canterbury one. They even had the "naturalistic" smells accompanying the Canterbury tales readings.

Lots of interesting posts here as usual, William. Thanks for sharing.

William Michaelian said...

My pleasure, Jenny. Thank you for being here. Those smells must have transformed the entire experience. And it’s funny how, as soon as you mentioned them, I tried to imagine them, not even knowing what they were....