On December 29, 1170, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II. Following his death he becomes a saint and martyr in the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church. It is to his shrine we find the traveling characters in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. For most readers, Chaucer is dry and so a writer who can bring the life back into his stories with modern language is called for. Peter Ackroyd delivers this in “The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling.” In its modern form, The Canterbury Tales move along a balance beam of farce and piety. The characters may be on their way to St Thomas Becket, but their behavior is far from holy and that is part of what has made writers like Chaucer stick around, entertaining us with thoughtful prose and dirty humor throughout the centuries.
Book Title: The Canterbury Tales
Book Author: Ackroyd, Peter
Dewey Decimal Call Number: FIC ACK
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