Who has audio files of Chaucer?
April 17, 2010 2:20 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find readings of Chaucer in the original? All I can find are ridiculous modern English translations. I have the text, but I think I need to hear it. I've tried the VMI and Harvard pages. Both are excellent, but I need more help to get the language down! Neither my phone nor work computer is able to load or record the audio files VMI has.
posted by kanewai to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Prologue to the Canterbury Tales on Librivox.
posted by zippy at 2:45 AM on April 17, 2010

P.S. I think Version 5 by Karen Savage (mp3) is the best of the readings on the above page in terms of pronunciation.
posted by zippy at 2:48 AM on April 17, 2010

If you're willing to send away for a $10-15 CD, the Chaucer Studio has a great selection. It's a long-running project: some of their recordings are still available on cassette. I have relied on these in the past to get my Middle English pronunciation up to speed.
posted by philokalia at 6:53 AM on April 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

Yeah, Chaucer Studio is the way to go if you're wanting good pronunciation. Plus they're pretty entertaining.
posted by BlooPen at 7:58 AM on April 17, 2010

I'll give Chaucer Studio a shot!

I listened to some Libravox samples on iTunes, but the ones I picked at random were awful. I've heard Chaucer read live & it was beautiful - even though I couldn't understand much. The libravox ones were more like flamboyant grunting without the poetic flow. I'll try version 5, though.
posted by kanewai at 8:55 AM on April 17, 2010

Haven't heard it, can't vouch for it, but there's also a downloadable series from Naxos with Richard Bebb reading.
posted by tangerine at 11:35 PM on April 17, 2010

I can also vouch for the quality of Chaucer Studio recordings...I bought some tapes from them about 5 years ago and they were top-notch.
posted by fantine at 5:51 PM on April 19, 2010

Curiosity prompted me to buy and download the first two Naxos recordings I mentioned, so I heard all of Bebb's General Prologue and the beginning of his Physician's Tale today on my way to work and back.

Joe Bob says check it out. It only took a few miles up 101 before he started sounding almost normal, just like some guy with a weird old-timey rural accent.
posted by tangerine at 10:31 PM on April 19, 2010

Just to follow up ... I bought a CD from Chaucer Studio, and it takes some work to get used to. I'm enjoying it, though - so thanks for the suggestions!
posted by kanewai at 4:34 PM on May 28, 2010

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