Thursday, July 16, 2015

Chaucer Takes on the Internet... and Wins

I went to a conference for Medieval and Renaissance studies last month <insert nerd jokes that I've never heard before> to present a paper on an recent adaptation of Beowulf. One of the people on my panel, Jessica, was presenting a paper on a project that she and some of her friends created called Pilgrim's Prize. It is SO neat that I wanted to share it with y'all because y'all need to know it exists.

Pilgrim's Prize as described by Jessica – "Pilgrim's Prize is a year long project supported by the University of Edinburgh. It is a modernized adaptation of The Canterbury Tales told through a variety of online media. It aims to bring the Tales to a digitally savvy audience and mimic the hyper-textual and non-linear narrative style employed so well by Chaucer over six hundred years ago."

Interpretation – This is a modern retelling of The Canterbury Tales through online forums, Twitter, blogs, advice columns, Storify, etc. The creators of the project have split up the characters from the original, created online personas, and have them engaged in a storytelling contest. The characters – and the audience! – are able to interact with one another.

See how awesome that is?! The Canterbury Tales are not the easiest read, though they are well worth the effort. Pilgrim's Prize interprets them for a modern audience in ways that a modern audience understands. Each character has their own Twitter account so you can follow and interact with them. You can read all about the characters on the Artists portion of the website. For those of you who are familiar with the Tales you will be able to figure out who the characters are. For those of you who are not, you will enjoy a clever storytelling competition and hopefully go pick up a copy of the original to read alongside.

Moral of this blog post – GO visit Pilgrim's Prize ASAP. Stop wasting time on Buzzfeed or Facebook or any of the hundred mindless websites out there. If you are a high school English teacher, use this website! It makes the Tales so much more relatable for your students.

*For those of you who do not know what The Canterbury Tales are or do not remember from high school, you can find an overview here.

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