Chaucer's Tales of Travellers

In the exhibition, Playing with Models: Ornamental Methods of Figuration, held at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich HGKZ, a book-object was displayed that served as the point of departure for this reading. Entitled The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, it was published in 1896 by the famous Kelmscott Press in Hammersmith, London and is known simply as the Kelmscott Chaucer. The border decoration and initials stem from William Morris (1834-1896), the illustrations from Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) - in nineteenth-century England, two of the most dazzling personalities in nineteenth-century art and design. In making the book, Morris had in mind and before his eyes the aesthetic standards of the pioneering period of printing.

For this adventure in time travel, the choice of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400) was obvious: stories with which one hoped to shorten the long journey to Canterbury. From this torso, which counts among the masterpieces of world literature, we choose the Miller's Tale as well as the Wife of Bath's Tale. The two speakers and the dulcimer player, Markus Kluibenschaedl, used the design collection as a set of props (including tall and short airplane ladders) and transformed the Design Hall into a contemporary stage for a classic of English literature of the fourteenth century in a bilingual reading (the Middle English original and modern German). The literary-musical sampling also included an introduction to the life and work of the author.

Recitation: Andreas Fischer and Hildegard Elisabeth Keller, both University of Zurich

Musical accompaniment: Markus Kluibenschädl, dulcimer

October 28, 2004, 7:00 P.M., Museum für Gestaltung. Designsammlung - Grafiksammlung