In The Canterbury Tales, “The Knight’s Tale” is the first story told to the pilgrims as they set out on their travels. It concerns Theseus, returning from fighting at Thebes, and the fate of two of his enemies, the knights Palamon and Arcite. Theseus has mercy on the wounded Theban soldiers and imprisons them instead of killing them. While locked in the tower, both knights fall desperately in love with Emeyle, Theseus’ sister-in-law. Eventually the two are pitted against each other in a chivalrous fight to win the hand of their beloved.
Richard Bebb, with the help of Professor Derek Brewer, the leading expert on Chaucerian pronunciation, makes the original Middle English not only comprehensible to the modern ear, but exciting as well.
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About the Author
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343–1400), English poet, was the son of a London vintner. He was married and held a number of positions at court and in the king’s service, including diplomat, controller of customs in the port of London, and deputy forester in the King’s Forest in Somerset. He was buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey where a monument was erected to him in 1555.
Richard Bebb (1927–2006) was educated at Highgate School and Trinity College in Cambridge. He became an actor in 1947 in Michael Redgrave’s Macbeth and then spent two years in repertory at Buxton and Croydon. He appeared in a handful of West End plays, over a thousand broadcasts, and almost two-hundred television plays. He lectured at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and the Smithsonian on theatrical and musical subjects.