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Description

Had Geoffrey Chaucer not written, or not written so well, the last 600 years of English literature would have been decidedly different. His creative style and use of language served as one of the primary foundations on which later writers built. Through his writing, Chaucer's wit, charm, and eloquence give us a deeper understanding of not only the time in which he lived, but of how human emotion, frailty, and fortitude are the base elements of human existence.Despite social upheaval and the changing fortunes of his patrons and peers, Chaucer remained a favored subject during three distinct and contrasting reigns. His experiences provided Chaucer an appreciation for his good (and bad) fortune - and that of others - made evident in his writing.

Chaucer's works are today widely studied and serve as models for current literature around the world. Chaucer holds a place of esteem as the earliest and one of the foremost writers in the English language.

©2005 Michael Drout (P)2005 Recorded Books

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Global

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeff
  • 10/01/2015

Highly recommended

I enjoyed this review of Chaucer's works. The series reviewed
The Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde, and, of course, The Canterbury Tales. Dr. Drout also reviews Chaucer's translation of The Consolation of Philosophy and The Romance of the Rose. It's too bad The Book of the Lion didn't survive. This series enlightened me about how revolutionary the Canterbury Tales were. The use of a frame narrative allowed Chaucer to cloak his opinions and it allowed Chaucer the freedom to get inside the minds of the many different personalities of his time period in the 14th Century. The lecture sheds light on the historical events influencing Chaucer's writing, such as his involvement and survival of a lineage of royalty and the fact that his writings were read at court. Dr. Drout is also an expert in Middle English which further sheds light on understanding Chaucer. Dr. Drout's inclusion of the different literary theories including the feminist movement was informative. If you think literature starts with Shakespeare, this is a must listen.

6 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
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  • CHET YARBROUGH
  • 17/08/2014

MASTER OF AMBIGUITY

Geoffrey Chaucer is a master of ambiguity. Michael Drout, in the Modern Scholar series, offers an informative and laudatory appreciation of Chaucer as the Bard of the Middle Ages. Drout notes that Chaucer’s view of life is best revealed in The Canterbury Tales.

Drout offers high praise for Chaucer, suggesting The Canterbury Tales seeds centuries of fictional narratives; in part because of Chaucer’s prescient understanding of human nature but also because of life’s ambiguous truths. Drout considers Chaucer equal to William Shakespeare, the greatest poet and playwright of all time.

Though Drout does not suggest Chaucer endorses cultural’ transgressions, it appears Chaucer is ambiguous about his character’s opinions. Drout suggests Chaucer may have been repentant in The Parson’s Tale (the last of The Canterbury Tales that endorses religion of Chaucer’s era) because he is nearing the end of his life. In any case, it is clear that Chaucer is ahead of his time; earned his place in West Minster Abbey (the first poet to be buried there), and deserves his reputation as the Father of English Literature.

Drout gives his audience an excellent summary of Chaucer’s contribution to literature in these lectures; however, Chaucer is best represented by his own writing. Every listener/reader reaches their own opinion after experiencing Chaucer’s work; that is what makes The Canterbury Tales a classic.

6 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
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  • Margaret
  • 30/04/2012

Drout does it again!

If you could sum up The Modern Scholar in three words, what would they be?

This is the third of Professor Drout's lecture series I've listened to and I'm impressed once again. He gets to the heart of the matter and speaks clearly without "dumbing down" the subject.

9 sur 10 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Chi-Hung
  • 21/04/2010

I learned more about history than language.

Professor Drout is as entertaining in this course as ever, though I had wished to catch up on my middle english. However, the course was not about middle English, I am nonetheless happy about purchase.

9 sur 10 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
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  • Mountain K9iner
  • 16/06/2015

Good overview but a missed opportunity

Any additional comments?

I took a Chaucer course in grad school and listened to Dr. Drout's survey as a way of refreshing my memory in anticipation of teaching Chaucer this fall to my 10th grade English class.

Pros:

1. Dr. Drout is an engaging communicator. His enjoyment of and expertise in Chaucer is self-evident. His presentation is much better in this course than in the Anglo-Saxon course. For example, Dr. Drout minimizes the amount of readings in the original language and strikes a nice balance between original and translation.

2. He keeps the summaries relatively brief, and, for the Canterbury Tales, offers suggestions for how the various tales speak to each other. Even though the course is full of spoilers for a new reader, it does not diminish the pleasure of reading Chaucer's works in their entirety.

3. The biographical sketch of Chaucer and argument for how his literary skills increase throughout his writing career is interesting4. Though I had a different goal in mind, I think this course would be somewhat useful as an introduction to a new reader of Chaucer.

Cons

Dr. Drout acknowledges late in the course that modern critical theories which center on "power" (feminism: power of men over women, marxism: power of bourgeoisie over proletariat, race-based theories: power of whites over minorites, and environmentalism: power of humans -- especially white males -- over the environment) have pretty much exhausted their ability to provide compelling insights into literature. I agree with him completely, though I think they ran out of creative steam almost as soon as they began.

Sadly, Dr. Drout makes extensive use of feminist interpretation in this course. It brought back unhappy memories of the feminist/marxist indoctrination camp I found myself in during grad school. The insights of feminist interpretation for Chaucer could have been acknowledged and shared in a few sentences. There are far more interesting ways to read Chaucer and it was a big disappointment that Dr. Drout chose to use this approach so frequently.

It is not the predictable and trite interpretations of feminists (nor the sexual-psychological-social interpretations of Foucault) that have given Chaucer his centuries long status as one of our greatest authors. Dr. Drout himself gives a rather eloquent tribute to Chaucer's genius at the end of the course, and what makes Chaucer great has nothing to do with the stale and condescending conclusions of political activists who use literary studies as a platform to convert students to their cause. There is a huge difference between reading Chaucer (or any other author) and using Chaucer.

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  • Global
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  • CICADA
  • 23/08/2016

Made me want to read Chaucer!

Would you consider the audio edition of Bard of the Middle Ages - The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer to be better than the print version?

This was a great overview of the author Chaucer, his life, times and works. I didn't know anything about him when I bought this. I wanted to read the Canterbury Tales. I wasn't sure if it was approachable for a layman to read. Professor Drout made his works accessible and interesting!

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
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  • Lily C. Baker
  • 12/08/2018

I Own All of Prof. Drout's Audible Lectures!!!!!!

Prof. Drout is someone I listen to, regardless of the topic because his scholarship is so entire and his lectures so engaging and enthusiastic that they're just really fun listens. And if I learn something along the way about literature or medieval history, or Viking and Norsemen - then fun bonus for me!

He has a hip, natural lecture style that feels a bit like you're hanging out with the smartest friend you have and they're on a tear to talk about a topic they love. I've listened to most of his lectures more than once, my favorites being the ones on Tolkien, Science Fiction Literature, Anglo Saxons, medieval lit and Norse.

I just noticed he has some lectures on YouTube and I may have to sail on over there to get my fix of Drout scholarship. Can't seem to get enough!

  • Global
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  • Nickolas
  • 10/03/2018

Drout wins again

I'm already learning Anglo-Saxon after listening to Drout's lectures on the subject of the same name; now I can add Middle English to my learning que.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn
  • 11/09/2016

Worth your time

Although I can't say I agree with all of Drout's ideas, I did really enjoy this.I needed to review Chaucer, and this course was very helpful for that purpose.

  • Global
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19/07/2015

Exceptional

This was an engrossing set of lectures by an enthusiastic, knowledgeable educator. Highly recommended.