As everyone with an interest in medieval literature should know, Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales are among the most treasured pieces of medieval literature.
Telling the stories of a group of pilgrims traveling to the holy shrine of Canterbury, the pilgrims, from all different social groups and classes, rest at an inn. The host of the inn, meanwhile, says that the pilgrim who is able to tell the best tale will win a fabulous prize. Intrigued, the pilgrims take turns telling stories, each story an attempt to “one-up” the previous tale.
Though unfinished in Chaucer’s life, the Tales remain an endearing piece of literature.
Unfortunately, though, we do not see much attention paid to Chaucer today. Sure, he was his occasional appearance in film– like in A Knight’s Tale— and the even rarer moment of glory in literature, where his work is adapted into the steampunk aesthetic, such as Clockwork Lives, but other than those few instances, few people in the modern interact with Chaucer’s seminal work.
This is why I was so enthralled to see The Canterbury Tales reenacted on Pilgrim’s Prize.
The idea behind this endeavor is simple: student and lovers of literature, as part of a course, came together to recreate the modus operandi of Chaucer’s book: each told a tale and then the next would try to one-up that tale. Using a wide range of multimedia and online resources, the students and lovers created a dazzling range of texts ranging from Harry Potter fanfiction to short films. It truly is an impressive range and one needs to read some tales for yourself before drawing your conclusions.
So, I encourage everyone reading this to check out the link below for yourselves and then check back here and post your comments.