Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

By Geoffrey Chaucer

The procession that crosses Chaucer's pages is as lively and as richly textured as a medieval tapestry. The Knight, the Miller, the Friar, the Squire, the Prioress, the spouse of bathtub, and others who make up the solid of characters — together with Chaucer himself — are genuine humans, with human feelings and weaknesses. whilst it truly is remembered that Chaucer wrote in English at a time while Latin used to be the normal literary language throughout western Europe, the value of his success is much more striking. yet Chaucer's genius wishes no ancient creation; it bursts forth from each web page of The Canterbury Tales.

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Instructed by the eldest of the Samanas, Siddhartha practiced the eradication of ego, practiced samadhi according to new Samana rules. A heron flew over the bamboo forest—and Siddhartha received the heron into his soul, flew over forests and mountains, was heron, ate fish, felt the pangs of heron hunger, spoke in heron squawks, died a heron death. A dead jackal lay on the sandy bank—and Siddhartha’s soul slipped into the corpse, was dead jackal, lay on the beach, grew bloated, stank, decayed, was torn apart by hyenas and flayed by vultures, became a skeleton, became dust, blew into the fields.

Siddhartha had long since begun to join in the wise men’s counsels, to practice with Govinda the art of wrestling with words, to practice with Govinda the art of contemplation, the duty of meditation. He had mastered Om, the Word of Words, learned to speak it soundlessly into himself while drawing a breath, to speak it out soundlessly as his breath was released, his soul collected, brow shining with his mind’s clear thought. He had learned to feel Atman’s presence at the core of his being, inextinguishable, one with the universe.

Siddhartha is suffused with a sense of harmony and measure, and Hesse’s sentences tend to fall just so, with a great deal of gravitas and a certain decadent lushness. He often repeats phrases, which has the effect of a chant or incantation. Thus it is crucial for the sentences of the translation to have an elegant, melodious cadence, rich in assonance—this is what Hesse reads like in German. What makes the book luminous in the original is the way the quest for perfection/Nirvana is reflected in the quiet beauty of the prose.

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