I have this recurring nightmare about waking up in the middle ages
and trying to justify my existence (atheism and all) to the <sarcasm>
greatest </sarcasm> minds of the time that reading Chaucer
reminded me of with startling clarity.
On the one hand, it’s neat that he could rhyme all those lines and still maintain
the thread of his story. It’s admirable that, involved as it was, the prelude was
just that: a mere opener to a larger tale. It’s even (possibly) great that he imitates
his perceived speech patterns of a 14th century woman in his writing (unless that’s
just how he wrote, in which case – not so much)…
But the man spent eight hundred lines of verse talking about marriage, infidelity
and genitalia. Granted, it might be argued that literature hasn’t really budged
far from its humble beginnings, but that doesn’t make having to read all that any
The narrator was married five times. Three husbands were old an impotent, but rich;
one cheated; one beat her up. Genitalia are made for sex. Women aren’t all evil,
men do nitpick more than they probably should and it’s okay to be married
more than once if you feel like it… I get it.
I realize this was all meant as a parody but, jeez: a little editing wouldn’t hurt.