today I bring you my musings on three very famous classical books. Enjoy!
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
I’ve read the modern English translation of this old classic (English is not my mother tongue and while I speak it well, I figured Middle English would have been too hard for me for now; one day I may read the original too), twice and enjoyed it immensely. Chaucer came up with the device of sending a group of people on a pilgrimage, which allows him to gather together a cast of characters from all different ranks and occupations. Thus, we have a pious abbess, a rich landowner, a carpenter, a wordly wife, and a clerk to name but a few. Each of them must tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two more on the way back, but unfortunately the book was never finished so many of the intended stories were never written. The ones we have though are very varied, and told in different styles: some are fun, some are provoking, but all are very rich and vivid, and show what a versatile writer Chaucer was. A true masterpiece.
Available at: Amazon
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
A comedy set in Sicily. Count Claudio, a soldier who serves under Don Pedro, Prince of Aragorn, returns victorious from a battle against his master’s half-brother Don John, and falls in love with the virtuous Hero. The Prince woos her on his behalf but Don John, who, although faking forgiveness, hasn’t forgotten his recent defeat, decides to cause mischief by making Claudio believe his beloved has cheated on him on the eve of their marriage. But the real gem in the play is the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick. They both claim they will never marry, and keep bickering with each other, but their friends plot to make them fall in love. They’re both intelligent people, their arguments are witty and there’s a great chemistry between them. Overall, although this is not one of Shakespeare’s best works, it is a very funny play that wonderfully portrays the contradictions of human nature. It is well worth a read.
Available at: amazon
King Lear by William Shakespeare
One of Shakespeare’s best tragedies. King Lear decides to retire and foolishly leaves his land and properties to his two daughters who flatter him. His youngest daughter instead tells him the truth and, as a result, she is disowned. But once they’ve got what they wanted, the older daughters turn their backs on their fathers, casting him out in the cold on a stormy night. Realising his mistake, Lear descends into madness. This is a story that everyone can relate too: dysfunctional families, greediness, abuse of power, the responsibilities that parents have towards their children and vice versa, cruelty and justice.. These are all issues that are still relevant today. Overall, a masterpiece that everyone should read.
Available at: amazon
Have you read these books? If so, did you enjoy them?