Dead Tongues Tell No Tales

This post originally appeared on Bound and Gagged, the banned books blog I run. However, since Irish History Month is upon us, I thought I’d share it here.

Bound and Gagged

IrishReadsToday is St. Patrick’s Day. For many around the world, especially here in America, that means shamrock Mardi Gras beads, pub crawling, and a drunken bacchanalia in the name of one’s Irish heritage. This is largely due to the fact that the Irish, whether because of famine, occupation, or genocide, are a diasporic people with descendants scattered worldwide. However, it is a pet peeve of many how little people claiming Irish heritage know about Ireland, its history, its politics, or its impact on the world. For example, while getting feedback on a story set in Ireland, hardly anyone in my college level writing workshop group knew the difference between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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The Fanny Tales – The Barista’s Tale

Please see my previous post, “The Fanny Tales – The Barista” for an explanation of what the hell this is and for the introductory prologue of my modern Chaucerian character, The Barista. As stated before, the assignment was to write a tale that the character might actually tell, thus creating a collection of different stories in diverse styles with vastly different morals. As the class’s bawdy tale of sexual escapades was covered by “The Marriage Counselor’s Tale” (see previous post), I decided to play it straight, as I think this at times cynical barista may still believe in happy endings.  Continue reading

The Fanny Tales – The Barista

Tonight I started reading The Canterbury Tales again. For those who don’t know, The Canterbury Tales tells the story of a group of people who meet at an inn before setting out on a pilgrimage to Canterbury and agree to tell each other stories along the way to pass the time. The text follows a general pattern of a character’s prologue followed by the story they tell.

Back when we studied The Canterbury Tales in high school, my humanities teacher, a fantastic woman named Mrs. Fanny (no doubt where she got her healthy appreciation for bawdy puns), had us each come up with a modern character (characters in the Tales are known by their profession, e.g. The Knight or The Pardoner or The Wife of Bath) and write their prologue and a tale they would tell, reflective of their values and personality. This resulted in such gems as The Child Star and The Marriage Counsellor. Continue reading