THE AUTHOR'S RETRACTION

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon



A MODERN ADAPTATION OF CHAUCER'S RETRACTION FROM CHAUCER'S CANTERBURY TALES

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THE AUTHOR'S RETRACTION

You who have read these tales, all or in part, if there was anything that pleased you, I ask you to remember that their true author is Chaucer, whose imagination and wit are what invigorate them, while I have merely given them modern settings, making whatever changes might have been necessary to place them believably in our times. I have ridden on the great man's shoulders, and it is my hope that you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have.

If there was anything that displeased or offended you, I ask that you attribute it to a defect of my skill, and not of my will. For though I have neither Chaucer's talent nor his art, I did my best to convey just a hint of both to you, and insofar as I might have failed, the fault is entirely mine, and is in no way Chaucer's, whose masterpiece I commend to you, if you have not read it already.

And if there was anything that bored you, I hereby disown it entirely, as in the Hebrew prayer that disowns all leavening that was inadvertently missed in the Passover spring cleaning. For had I seen it, I would certainly have burned it before the sacred hours of your reading began.

As the bartender says in the General Prologue, a tale may be "beautiful or base,/ Long or short, with farce or fancy full,/ Just as long as it is never dull." I hereby disown, retract, and apologize for anything you might have found dull, my only consolation being that you were free to skip over it. Hopefully, there were also passages that touched your mind, your funny bone, or your heart.

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