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Apple

Canterbury Tales tourist attraction

Have just come back my hols, we went down to Kent this year, the weather was fab whilst the rest of the country appeared to be getting drowned that little corner escaped unscathed, and we had only 1 day of rain the whole time we were there.

Anyway, back to the point, while we were down there we went to Canterbury and went to an attraction called The Canterbury Tales, now as some of you know (or may recall from the old MSN board) I have had that book a while now and struggled with it as the language was very hard to understand (for me anyway) and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it - as did my kids who up to that point had never even heard of the Canterbury Tales, or Chaucer. †It was a walk through thing with the stories told in modern English with effects to bring it to life so to speak. There were two audio commentaries as you went round telling the stories one for adults and one for children which was (apparently according to the lady who gave us the audio guides) funnier. Both were in modern English,†I am guessing that some would say it was trivialising a great work of literature, but I say it brought it up to date and relevant to the modern audience and next generation, the Millers Tale was a particular favourite with my son, and he is still quoting the ruder bits!! I bought the book (a penguin modern English version, as I gave up on the original one I had) and my daughter has already pinched it and is reading it after going there.

I thought it was really good value for money as well we had a coupon which was in a leaflet we picked up so we got in for £5 per person but it wasn't much more than that without the discount, has anyone else been there?
Marita

Surely re-telling a story in Modern English is not trivialising it. It is like translating Tolstoy into English or Dickens into Dutch. Itís bringing them to people who canít read the original language.

Marita
Apple

No I didn't mean it like that, I meant by turning it into a tourist attraction, as a walk through with sounds, smells and visual effects. Sorry for the confusion!  Smile
Marita

You wrote Ďthe stories were told in Modern English with effectsí. I supposed these were the stories as Chaucer wrote them, not set in modern times or so. And your daughter started reading The Canterbury Tales. If turning them into a tourist attraction has that effect, I would say it didnít trivialise them at all.

Marita
Apple

Yes I know, I thought that when I read it back - as usual I knew what I meant but managed to put it across all wrong †Embarassed

Yes, you started off in a room which looked like a medieval inn with an open fire (not a real one) with people (waxwork figures) asleep around it and you entered the room and were told to draw closer and that you were on a pilgrimage to Canterbury and everyone in the Tales was introduced and you were told that to pass the time the people on the journey would be telling some stories then you moved on and the stories began and you just got the visual effects like figures popping up or illuminated by floodlights. Nothing very technical, it was quite basic effects but I enjoyed it immensely. All the figures were in medieval costume so it was done in the right time period. You had one of those little hand held audio things so you could hear the stories and commentary and so the kids could hear the different version done for children at the same time.
Marita

It sounds great, Apple. Reminds me of the Jorvik Viking Centre in York where you are taken around a Viking village with all the noise (luckily not the smells) of a working village.

Marita
Caro

This has puzzled me, Apple, not because of any words you have used, but because I have seen in Britain some similar thing, where Chaucer's Canterbury Tales have been put into a diorama and bits slightly dramatised.  But I didn't think this was in Kent.  I don't know though where I do think it was.  Certainly south of Sheffield but somehow I want to put it further to the west.  Must ask my husband.

I didn't think all that much of Jorvik, but I do remember liking the Canterbury Tales one a lot.  

You sound apologetic for not being able to read the Tales in Middle English, but it's a different language really.  I did English at university with my last two years just doing English topics and one of those was Middle English which I think I took for two years.  I preferred Old English, but both of them were nothing very similar to Modern English.  Now I would expect to read them in Modern English as it would take far too long to interpret all those unknown or unremembered words.  

Cheers, Caro.
Apple

Marita - Yes, I think it was a little like Yorvik but on a much much smaller scale, (I have also been to Yorvik a few years ago).

Caro - it was right in the centre of Canterbury, just round the corner from the Cathedral.
Green Jay

Re: Canterbury Tales tourist attraction

Apple wrote:
Have just come back my hols, we went down to Kent this year, the weather was fab whilst the rest of the country appeared to be getting drowned that little corner escaped unscathed, and we had only 1 day of rain the whole time we were there.



Laughing Well, Apple, I went in the opposite direction to you for my hols! Mist and fog, drizzle and grey skies, plus heavy cloudbursts, and all the while I was worrying about my untended plants shrivelling up in the sunny south-east!

I must say, re Chaucer, I loathed trying to read it in the original for my A level. It confirmed my (at the time) hatred and avoidance of anything other than 20th century literature. Perhaps because I did not have a very good teacher...? Because middle English does sound interesting when read properly - I heard a bit read on telly recently. Though does anyone really know what it should sound like? This is a genuine question.
Caro

Oh, yes, they will know how it is meant to sound, plenty of studies into language and how it was spoken.  The spelling of words often shows how things were once pronounced.  I have said here before how wonderful the voice was reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight that we had out on talking books a while ago.  Just superb.  

Cheers, Caro.
Apple

Well Green Jay it was certainly very beautiful (and very sunny & warm) in East Sussex as well, the day we travelled a bit further and went over the border into your neck of the woods - We went to Battle to see where the Battle of Hastings actually happened and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in this period of history, the audio guide there really brought the whole place to life - which is no mean feat when you think about it when all you are looking at is some ruins and a field! (although the gatehouse to the abbey was spectacular!) The visitor centre was quite good as well with a video explaining all about the Battle narrated by David Starkey shown on a loop.

We also went to Pevensey to see the castle there, as we were told it sort of linked in with Battle as it was where William landed and stayed overnight before going up to where the town of Battle is now, and we were going to go to Hastings as well, but were advised against it by a number of locals at Bexhill on Sea where we stopped off briefly, as it was when the whole country had gone mad rioting and we were told that on that particular day Hastings had shut down and was overrun with police as there had been talk of trouble happening there that evening. I don't know if anything did crack off - and nothing was mentioned on the local news afterwards but we didn't take the risk.

Going back to your question though and Caro's response I personally don't know, but at that time I don't think there was any standard spelling, there was no right or wrong way of spelling words, I recall seeing a documentary on it once. But having said that, even nowadays pronunciation of modern words can be different with variations depending on different factors.

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