Ultimately, I failed on this one.
For the last 3 weeks, I have been trying to read the Canterbury Tales and I can’t get through them. I can’t seem to get any context for what I’m reading, except for what’s printed in the Norton Anthology. And the stuff that’s in the Anthology is good — good enough that it makes me think I don’t even need to read the Tales! I was trying to read them slowly so I could understand and read all the footnotes, but at that pace it would have taken me a year to get through. Then I tried buzzing through it, and I found that I was absorbing nothing. So I stopped so I can keep moving through the Anthology.
By the end of Volume 1, I may feel compelled to come back and try again. I hope so.
However, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Chaucer and his connections to royalty. He wrote so much more than Canterbury! I read some of his poems as well, and they were OK. One was particularly amusing because it was too his pocketbook (“purse”) as it was too light — he was broke!