In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER with a search for broader meaning that characterizes this book’s best work. Joyce Coleman University of North Dakota Jesús L. Serrano Reyes and Antonio R. León Sendra, trans. Geoffrey Chaucer: Cuentos de Canterbury. Biblioteca Universal 24. Madrid: Gredos, 2004. Pp. 646. $46.50. Recent years have witnessed a revival of interest in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer in Spain that is best exemplified by the publication both of Sáez Hidalgo’s annotated translation of Troilus and Criseyde (Madrid, 2001; reviewed in SAC 25) and of the first Catalan translation of the Canterbury Tales by Victòria Gual (Barcelona, 1998). With their collaborative translation of The House of Fame (Córdoba, 1999) and with several studies that explore the relation of Chaucer and of his texts with contemporary medieval Spain, the translators of the book reviewed here have in part contributed to this renewed attention to Chaucer. Their collaboration has now resulted in the addition of Chaucer’s masterpiece to the prestigious series Biblioteca Universal Gredos, which aims at presenting the classics in careful versions and making them available to a wide reading public. This handsomely produced volume opens with an introduction that, first, describes Chaucer’s historical, social, and literary contexts; next, it contains an outline of his biography and literary career, and continues with a discussion of the textual, thematic, linguistic, metrical, and narrative aspects of The Canterbury Tales. It ends with a detailed and helpful chronology covering the period 1340–1400 and with an adequate selected bibliography. Especially relevant is the authors’ consideration of the link—both historical and literary—between Chaucer and Spain: they hypothesize that Chaucer might have learned Castilian during his visit of 1366 (p. 18) and refer to Petrus Alphonsus, Ramon Llull, and Juan Manuel as possible influences (p. 19). Apropos of Juan Ruiz’s Libro del Buen Amor, however, the authors state that ‘‘se han buscado semejanzas . . . sin resultados significativos’’ [p. 19; similarities have been sought without significant results], although a recent essay sheds new light on PAGE 350 350 ................. 11491$ CH13 11-01-10 14:02:51 PS REVIEWS this issue (Eugenio M. Olivares Merino, ‘‘Juan Ruiz’s Influence on Chaucer Revisited: A Survey,’’ Neophilologus 88 [2004], 145–61). With the Spanish approach of the introduction, Serrano and León demand greater scholarly attention to Chaucer’s Iberian dimension, while making his oeuvre more accessible to Spanish readers, who, however, would have welcomed bibliographical references to the Spanish versions of the texts by Chaucer and by his contemporaries mentioned in the introductory section. The introduction contains one historical error in dating the Norman Conquest of 1066 ‘‘en la primera década del siglo XI’’ [p. 37; in the first decade of the eleventh century]. Like all previous Spanish translators of Chaucer, Serrano and León sensibly choose to render the original poetry in prose. Taking the Riverside Chaucer edition as their source, they aim at a faithful translation, and claim ‘‘haber conseguido una correspondencia bastante exacta entre los textos’’ [p. 49; to have achieved a sufficiently exact correspondence between the texts]. Written in an agile and fresh style following the original , the Spanish version is for the most part idiomatically successful. The translation, however, fails on a number of occasions to deliver the semantic and textual correspondence announced. Some proper names are mistranslated. For example, ‘‘Boloigne’’ (I.465) is rendered as ‘‘Bolonia’’ (p. 76) for ‘‘Boulogne-sur-Mer’’; ‘‘Mount Vesulus’’ (IV.47, 58) as ‘‘Monte Vesubio’’ (pp. 260, 261) for ‘‘Monte Viso’’; ‘‘Ladomya’’ (II.71) as ‘‘Ladomea’’ (p. 171) for ‘‘Laodamı́a’’ (cf. V.1445, p. 347). Other words and short phrases have been misread: ‘‘salueth’’ (I.1492) is rendered as ‘‘habı́a salido’’ (p. 98) for ‘‘saludado’’; ‘‘bores’’ (I.1699) as ‘‘osos’’ (p. 103) for ‘‘jabalı́es’’; ‘‘what myster men’’ (I.1710) as ‘‘qué misteriosos hombres’’ (p. 103) for ‘‘qué clase de hombres’’; ‘‘on thyn auter’’ (I.2252) as ‘‘fuera de él’’ (p. 114). In addition, numerals are occasionally mistranslated . Since there is not space to discuss all the words and phrases that seem inaccurate to me, I must limit myself to representative examples and leave it to the reader...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 350-352
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.