In reading over Amazon's daily blog, Omnivoracious, I found an excerpt from a review of the new translation of The Canterbury Tales. This translation, by Burton Raffel, is supposed to be a great one, but this reviewer in The Los Angeles Times had an interesting comment:
- Alexander Theroux on The Canterbury Tales, translated by Burton Raffel: "I commend Raffel for his ambition to get folks to read and understand this complex poem. But the problem is that, in so doing, while giving readers access to the mysteries, he ironically robs those mysteries of their beauty. The genius of this magnificent poem is precisely in its original words.... Translating Chaucer is hazardously compromising at best. Technical words become ordinary. Puns can lose their significance. Rhymes are lost. Colors fade. Substitution can seem like a violation.... Chaucer is the crown, the full flower, of English medieval verse. As Ezra Pound declared in 'ABC of Reading,' 'Anyone who is too lazy to master the comparatively small glossary necessary to understand Chaucer deserves to be shut out from the reading of good books forever.