I don’t remember much about my high school English classes (it was a long time ago), but I do remember studying The Canterbury Tales. That work, by Geoffrey Chaucer, sparked in me a lifelong interest in the history of the English language and medieval history. It is a piece of literature that continues to be a subject of academic interest – 500 peer-reviewed journal articles about it were published in the last 15 years. But more than that, it is a fun read, rollicking and full of witty social commentary, poking fun at the hypocrisy of individuals and institutions. Imagine if Stephen Colbert spoke in rhyme. And, by the way, in 1995 it was banned by an Illinois high school.
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