I have a terrible confession to make: I’ve never read Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales looms over me like a black crow, cawing cruelly, but flying away whenever I approach. (I assume this is the kind of stuff I’ll find in the Tales, but having never read them, I really don’t know.) And here our tale takes a surprising turn, with the entrance of Terry Jones. Yes, Monty Python’s Terry Jones, the director of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Turns out Jones was perfectly suited to direct the Grail, as he was also a famous historian. Jones’ final historic work is a Chaucer app that includes side-by-side modern and original middle-English, the actual manuscripts, and a 45-minute narration, and it’s quite brilliant. So good, in fact, I’ll finally read Chaucer myself. Jones sadly died not a month ago, on 21 January 2020, and while he will always be associated with Monty Python first, he really was quite the all-rounder. A bit like Chaucer himself.

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