Obviously, the best way to bring The Canterbury Tales back to life would be to travel from London to Canterbury. No argument about that.
But I’m excited about doing a walk from Aldgate, where Chaucer lived, to Westminster Abbey, where he’s buried.
It takes about an hour to walk, but I plan to be slower, and take a few detours. Specifically, I’d like to visit sites relating to some of the following (in approximately the order I’d stumble on them):
- Benjamin Disraeli
- Sir Thomas More
- John Milton
- Thomas a Becket (buried in Canterbury, but born on Cheapside)
- Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke
- William Hazlitt
- Samuel Johnson
- Charles Lamb
Naturally, being a journalist, I’d walk along Fleet Street – reaching the end of the City of London to enter Westminster.
In Westminster, the walk to the Abbey could easily take in the following:
- Bram Stoker
- Noel Coward
- Samuel Pepys
- Jane Austen (finally, another woman!)
- Thomas Rowlandson
- JM Barrie
- Rudyard Kipling, and / or
- Herman Melville
Then again, I could cross the river and walk through Southwark, where The Canterbury Tales starts.
Southwark was home to:
- Charles Dickens
- Percy Shelley
- Mary Wollstonecraft (another!)
Naturally, I wouldn’t stop for ALL these literary superheroes on a single pilgrimage. Can you imagine!
But choosing one or two for each pilgrimage would allow me (and others with me) to think about very different kinds of storytelling as we spin tales…
I can’t wait.
Note: I love Dead White Men, and intend to be one myself one day. But there are perhaps a few too many in this list. Can you suggest anybody else I might include, to fix that…?