An edition in an app: the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales

The General Prologue in an app: with a full performance, manuscript images, translation, new text, commentary and notes, and new scholarship.

3rd February marks the release of the first ever app, specifically designed for mobile phone and tablet, to present significant new scholarly work in an edition of a major literary work: the General Prologue of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Go to PlayStore (Android) or the App Store (Apple/IoS) and look for “Chaucer General Prologue” (Scholarly Digital Editions). Or, go to Press the play icon.

This app includes a new biography of Chaucer by Richard North (UCL), a new text edited by Barbara Bordalejo (USask), Terry Jones’s translation of the General Prologue, additional materials about the Tales by Peter Robinson (who created the app), images of the Hengwrt manuscript form the National Library of Wales, and a full performance of the text by University of Saskatchewan and University of Calgary student Colin Gibbings. Among much else: the full commentary and notes by Richard North suggest a new dating for the reference to the seige of Algezir, which makes the Knight significantly younger at the time of the composition of the General Prologue.

The app is designed to appeal to people interested in Chaucer at every level, from beginning students to advanced scholars. We plan future apps in this series.

The app also celebrates Terry Jones, who was both a distinguished medieval scholar and a Python. As well as contribute his translation of the General Prologue, he was much involved in the early planning of the app, hosting the team to a memorable lunch at a pub in North London. We are happy that we were able to show him the full app in the last weeks of his life.

We attach the University of Saskatchewan press release about the app. Readers might also be interested in the Canterbury Tales project, (click on the link to the Canterbury Tales project). This offers images of all 30,000 manuscript pages of the Tales, with transcripts of some 24,000 pages. The work of this project underlies the app.

Peter Robinson and Barbara Bordalejo (University of Saskatchewan), Richard North (University College London). With Terry Jones (Python)

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