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Emily’s List: The Canterbury Tales edition

Emily Crone
The Canterbury Cathedral
The Canterbury Cathedral in the late 1800s.

Medieval writer Geoffrey Chaucer is forever remembered as the author of “The Canterbury Tales,” a collection of stories about a pilgrimage from London to Saint Thomas Beckett’s shrine in the Canterbury Cathedral. On this day in 1397, Chaucer told his tales for the first time in Richard II’s court. The date has also been identified by scholars as the day the book’s pilgrimage began.

Much to the chagrin of high school students who are often forced to memorize and recite the prologue of the book (myself included), the tales are written in Middle English. But despite the odd pronunciations, Chaucer’s stories have lived on, even in unusual places such as the Heath Ledger movie “The Knight’s Tale.” So in this week’s roundup of the best credit card-related posts, we’ll enjoy Chaucer’s quirky characters and famous tales once again.

1. While getting out of debt helps boost your credit score and your sanity, Mrs. Micah says it also builds character. The Knight was one of Chaucer’s only characters that actually demonstrated great character, and the narrator admired his chivalry and bravery.

2. In “The Canterbury Tales,” the pilgrims travel from London to nearby Canterbury. But for her honeymoon, Kacie at Sense to Save traveled all the way to Alaska, and she put all of the trip’s costs on a credit card. She had a blast, but views it as her biggest financial mistake.

3. Do you equate high school prom time with expensive dresses, up-dos and limos? Lynnae at Being Frugal swears it’s possible to have a frugal prom. You don’t have to give bribes like Chaucer’s friar; just follow Lynnae’s wholesome tips.

4. Moolanomy gives his perspective on the concept of good debt and bad debt, and says it doesn’t matter what kind it is once you acquire that debt. Good and bad can be relative; Chaucer’s monk was supposed to devote his life to work and prayer, but he instead spent his time doing leisurely activities.What’s worse, though: Debt or having fun?

5. It’s one thing to go in debt for school or medical expenses, but what about unnecessary purchases, such as a sports cars or designer clothes? My Two Dollars has experienced credit card debt and the feeling of wanting it all, so he talks about a book that explains how you know when you have enough stuff. Some people, however, seem to never have enough. In the pardoner’s tale, Chaucer “tells the company how he cheats people out of their money by preaching that money is the root of all evil,” according to SparkNotes.

6. Brip Blap explains several ways to live a life that gets you (and keeps you) out of debt. One way is to be able to tell great stories. In “The Canterbury Tales,” the pilgrims decide to tell stories during their trip to and from Canterbury. Whoever the host decides is the best storyteller would have a meal bought for them by the rest of the group.

7. FICO scores may seem as foreign to you as Middle English, which is the language “The Canterbury Tales” was written in. But Bargaineering helps readers understand how to grasp FICO scores with tips on what they are, what they do, what they consist of and more.

8. Money Under 30 explains how to avoid packing on new debt when you’e already trying to get out of existing debt. It always helps to pack lightly, especially when trekking across England in the Middle Ages.

9. Free Money Finance wonders about the effect debt can have on marriage. Chaucer’s character, the wife of Bath, would have some interesting insight on this topic; she had five husbands and several affairs.

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  • Mitch Conroy

    I was looking for quotes from the original Canterbury Tales for my Korean friend to explain why English language is such a mess. Korean language is highly structured and very logical and efficient where the rules of grammar and pronunciation are absolute. I find Korean easy to learn because German and Russian alphabets have same letters sounds not found in English. Not so much for teaching Koreans English language For English some words have 3 different spelling and 3 different meanings. Some everyday words in Korean have very rude embarrasing translation like
    Dong In Trading Inc or Seocho Dong Seocho Goo. Same thing hapened in Germany 30 years ago with
    tele-tote portable TV – in German means dead TV.
    Chicha Micha bis Gospicha (Uncle Mitch from Gospice)
    Thankyou for the picture of Canterbury Cathedral.

  • I remember suffering through Chaucer in high school! Clever comparison, and thanks for including my post!