Books: Bloody As Could Be

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHAUCER

by JOHN GARDNER

328 pages. Knopf. $12.50.

As a born teacher will do when he is peddling a beloved subject that is thought to be impenetrable, Novelist and Medievalist John Gardner clowns a bit in this amiable biography of Chaucer. He includes a faker's guide to the pronunciation of Middle English, to which, after a discourse on the swampy places to be avoided in negotiating the letter e, he adds, "If this is too confusing, try to follow, in general, the pronunciation of the Cisco Kid: 'Boot hombray, thees...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!