Jump to content

Menu

The Canterbury Tales For Middle School (Coghill)


Recommended Posts

DD and I plan to read a few selections from The Canterbury Tales (Coghill translation) for 7th grade.  How do you decide which selections to read?  Do you have any favorite recommendations for selections?  Are there any (preferably free) online resources that you would recommend for discussions?  I'm not very good at this literature thing.  Getting better, but still not great at it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think many people decide based on what they are comfortable discussing with their students. The tales have lots of sex, so that would eliminate quite a few if those were uncomfortable topics. Here is a link to give a brief overview.

 

http://www.bookrags.com/notes/ct/top3.html

 

The other issue is normally violence and how it is portrayed. If you click over one section in the above link it will show you a similar view on the violence in the various stories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are particularly engaging Tales for that age:

- The Pardoner's Tale — fairy tale/fable type of Tale: 3 men go looking for Death -- and find him

- The Nun's Priest's Tale — fable type of Tale: Chaunticleer the Rooster and the Fox

- Friar's Tale — a blackmailing swindler gets his come-uppance (similar to Pardoner's Tale)

- Franklin's Tale — how to resolve when your vows and promises to various people conflict

 

If you feel up for a LONG tale: 

- The Knight's Tale — honor, courtly high love, and noble actions; feels a bit like an ancient Greek epic

- Canon's Yeoman's Tale — 2-part Tale, about greed and the consequences

 

A Tale that has a bit of a "fairy tale" AND Medieval Knight feel to it:

- Wife of Bath's Tale = a knight of King Arthur and the Loathly Lady

PREVIEW, as the knight forcibly takes a virgin maid at story's open, and the Wife of Bath has some earthy comments and suggestive language in her prologue (the forcible act is not dwelt on or graphic; and the Wife of Bath's comments are more ennuendo than direct or crude)

 

If you are wanting to avoid out-right bawdiness, skip:

- Cook's Tale

- Clerk's Tale

- Merchant's Tale

- Miller's Tale

- Reeve's Tale

 

Here are some past threads with recommendations for which tales others have done:

Canterbury Tales in a Christian co-op (for high school students)

Which Canterbury Tales to read? (for high school students)

Canterbury Tales (which tales to read/avoid in high school)

 

Here are some past threads with teaching ideas or links to resources for covering the Canterbury Tales:

Is Canterbury Tales worth teaching?

Teaching the Canterbury Tales

Memorizing the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

 

Here are some discussion questions and other free online resources:

- Glencoe Literature Library: Study Guide for Canterbury Tales (esp. good guide for middle school)

- E Notes: Guide to Canterbury Tales (extremely in-depth guide)

- Spark Notes: Summary/Guide to Canterbury Tales

- Cliff's Notes: Summary/Guide to Canterbury Tales

- Study Mode: Discussion Questions for Canterbury Tales (just a few questions)

 

 

Side note: Just my 2 cents worth -- for middle school ages, you might check out either the McCaughrean or Cohen prose retellings (easy to read modern prose retellings), but especially the out-of-print retelling by Hieatt with illustrations by Tenggren (prose retelling with interesting artwork, but esp. good for the lovely, lyrical language, which maintains a lot of the original poetic language without feeling antiquated or stilted).

 

All I could see of the Coghill version at Amazon was the first lines from the Prologue. It appears to be a modern poetic translation maintaining the rhyming structure of the original. I only mention this, as an average 7th grader may connect better with a prose retelling as the first outing with Canterbury Tales, rather than the tales in rhymed poetic format. If you have a student who likes the poetic form, or is an advanced reader, or who has done some formal Literature with the Classics before this, then disregard, and go with the Coghill. :)

 

 

Enjoy your Medieval journey with Canterbury Tales! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, this looks helpful!

I think many people decide based on what they are comfortable discussing with their students. The tales have lots of sex, so that would eliminate quite a few if those were uncomfortable topics. Here is a link to give a brief overview.

http://www.bookrags.com/notes/ct/top3.html

The other issue is normally violence and how it is portrayed. If you click over one section in the above link it will show you a similar view on the violence in the various stories.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is very helpful, thanks!  There's a lot to chew on here.

 

It's funny you should mention the McCaughrean retelling; that was in my cart when I bought the current Coghill version.  I went with the one I have because the illustrations are beautiful!  I'm pretty sure my DD can handle it because she's pretty advanced in literature, but it may be worth it to get the other version anyway.  I am really looking forward to reading a few of these tales.   

 

The high school threads you linked were interesting.  Do students at the high school level routinely read re-tellings of this work?  I just assumed they read the original, although I understand it's very difficult. 

These are particularly engaging Tales for that age:

- The Pardoner's Tale — fairy tale/fable type of Tale: 3 men go looking for Death -- and find him

- The Nun's Priest's Tale — fable type of Tale: Chaunticleer the Rooster and the Fox

- Friar's Tale — a blackmailing swindler gets his come-uppance (similar to Pardoner's Tale)

- Franklin's Tale — how to resolve when your vows and promises to various people conflict

 

If you feel up for a LONG tale: 

- The Knight's Tale — honor, courtly high love, and noble actions; feels a bit like an ancient Greek epic

- Canon's Yeoman's Tale — 2-part Tale, about greed and the consequences

 

A Tale that has a bit of a "fairy tale" AND Medieval Knight feel to it:

- Wife of Bath's Tale = a knight of King Arthur and the Loathly Lady

PREVIEW, as the knight forcibly takes a virgin maid at story's open, and the Wife of Bath has some earthy comments and suggestive language in her prologue (the forcible act is not dwelt on or graphic; and the Wife of Bath's comments are more ennuendo than direct or crude)

 

If you are wanting to avoid out-right bawdiness, skip:

- Cook's Tale

- Clerk's Tale

- Merchant's Tale

- Miller's Tale

- Reeve's Tale

 

Here are some past threads with recommendations for which tales others have done:

Canterbury Tales in a Christian co-op (for high school students)

Which Canterbury Tales to read? (for high school students)

Canterbury Tales (which tales to read/avoid in high school)

 

Here are some past threads with teaching ideas or links to resources for covering the Canterbury Tales:

Is Canterbury Tales worth teaching?

Teaching the Canterbury Tales

Memorizing the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

 

Here are some discussion questions and other free online resources:

- Glencoe Literature Library: Study Guide for Canterbury Tales (esp. good guide for middle school)

- E Notes: Guide to Canterbury Tales (extremely in-depth guide)

- Spark Notes: Summary/Guide to Canterbury Tales

- Cliff's Notes: Summary/Guide to Canterbury Tales

- Study Mode: Discussion Questions for Canterbury Tales (just a few questions)

 

 

Side note: Just my 2 cents worth -- for middle school ages, you might check out either the McCaughrean or Cohen prose retellings (easy to read modern prose retellings), but especially the out-of-print retelling by Hieatt with illustrations by Tenggren (prose retelling with interesting artwork, but esp. good for the lovely, lyrical language, which maintains a lot of the original poetic language without feeling antiquated or stilted).

 

All I could see of the Coghill version at Amazon was the first lines from the Prologue. It appears to be a modern poetic translation maintaining the rhyming structure of the original. I only mention this, as an average 7th grader may connect better with a prose retelling as the first outing with Canterbury Tales, rather than the tales in rhymed poetic format. If you have a student who likes the poetic form, or is an advanced reader, or who has done some formal Literature with the Classics before this, then disregard, and go with the Coghill. :)

 

 

Enjoy your Medieval journey with Canterbury Tales! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny you should mention the McCaughrean retelling; that was in my cart when I bought the current Coghill version.  I went with the one I have because the illustrations are beautiful!  I'm pretty sure my DD can handle it because she's pretty advanced in literature, but it may be worth it to get the other version anyway.  I am really looking forward to reading a few of these tales.   

 

The high school threads you linked were interesting.  Do students at the high school level routinely read re-tellings of this work?  I just assumed they read the original, although I understand it's very difficult. 

 

I think it really depends on the family; some do retellings, some do modern translations, a few do the original. We read the opening lines of the Prologue in the original (and listened to a recording of it), and then switched to a modern translation for the actual Tales -- we're slackers. ;) We used a modern translation (a side-by-side version with the original) from an online resource.

 

I have since purchased the Tenggren illustrated version and absolutely LOVE it for the lovely language -- my favorite version for late elementary/middle school. And can be used in high school, as well -- a friend with 2 high school daughters used it last year, as they were trying to motor thru a LOT of classics before DDs graduated and did not have time to read full translations.

 

 

Sounds like you have the version that will work great for you. Enjoy! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...