Chaucer: Life and Times

By Pare, Roland; McGinn, Florence | MultiMedia Schools, November/December 1998 | Go to article overview

Chaucer: Life and Times


Pare, Roland, McGinn, Florence, MultiMedia Schools


Chaucer: Life and Times

Company: Primary Source Media Limited,12 Lunar Drive, Woodbridge, CT 06525; Customer Service: 800/4440799; Fax: 203/397-38931; http://www. psmedia.com/chauccd.htm.

Price: $90-Windows 3.1, school price.

ISBN: 0-86257-175-8.

Audience: grades 9-12.

Format: CD-ROM; text, graphics, and sound.

System Requirements: IBM/compatible users should have Windows 3.1 or higher, 386SX/33 MHz processor or higher, 4 MB of RAM SVGA graphics, 4 MB to 30 MB free hard drive space (depending on installation), 2x-speed CD-ROM or higher, Sound Blaster or compatible sound card, and mouse.

Description: Chaucer: Life and Times is an in-depth, multimedia presentation of the complete works of Geoffrey Chaucer. It contains translations of the major works, summary overviews of all of Chaucer's works, critical essays, and historical material on the Medieval Period. The presentation is enhanced by artistic images from notable collections such as The National Gallery and the British Library, and audio readings in Middle English from The Canterbury Tales. Interactive elements include a presentation of the modern translation next to the original Middle English manuscript, hyperlinks to a glossary, and an optional notepad feature.

Review Comments:

Installation: We tested this product in Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. Neither operating system posed any difficulties. The software offers some options about the amount of material that can be placed on the hard drive, to be determined by processor speed. Slower systems will require copying more material to the hard drive. On a 233 MHz Pentium system, the program ran directly off the disc with no noticeable delay in any of the functions.

This disc may be run across a network. However, as the instructions point out, it may be run only on a network that has DOS SHARE.EXE or VSHARE.386 available. The program is not actually network aware, but functions on the network as if it were in a stand-alone environment.

Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Materials on The Canterbury Tales are ubiquitous, but this software is notable for its presentation of Chaucer's complete works and a special Middle English audio rendering of The Canterbury Tales. A real strength of this program is the Thematic Routes option, which allows students to select from pre-defined themes and take automated routes to relevant passages. Students can also record their own customized themes. There is an efficient search tool that will locate words or phrases in any of the works; a Cubby Hole feature that provides a record of all screens viewed and all Middle English recordings; and a journal that will record personal notes. …

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