Many of you have already encountered The Canterbury Tales before, but by way of review, Chaucer wrote this in the frame of a group of people on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. He includes representatives from various groups in society, the commoners, the gentry/aristocracy, and the clergy. The miller is a commoner, but he was part of a guild and thus, he was probably better off financially than some.

For class on Tuesday, Jan. 31, you’ll need to

  • Read “The Miller’s Tale” (and Prologue) from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Remember that it was published in 1386 and was written in Middle English. You may find this challenging to read in the Middle English. Here are some tips:
    • Look it up in Wikipedia first and get familiar with the plot, the characters, what it is responding to, etc., so that you have an idea of what you’re reading. This is not cheating; this is smart reading.
    • Try reading it from this site which offers a line-by-line translation/transliteration from Middle English to modern English.
    • Spend a little time listening to Middle English read here. I have not been able to find a Middle English reading of “The Miller’s Tale”, so this is from the General Prologue instead. If you listen for a little while, you start to pick up more of the meaning. Just try to settle into it.
  • Listen to the playlist of Music in Chaucer’s time, linked in the Music and Playlists page.
  • Listen to five minutes of background lecture from Robert Greenburg’s How to Listen to and Understand Great Music series here: This will give you background on the time period that is pertinent to the Miller’s Tale and on the music by Machaut from the playlist. **Be ready to discuss the information in this clip.**