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The Ship of Fools

by Gregory Norminton

A book that owes much to the Canterbury Tales, though this is a voyage at sea rather than on land. The crew, a motley collection of unfortunate fools, tells tales in the hope that the ship will not founder. In places it's as if the author has attempted to translate the nightmares of Heironymous Bosch into written imagery. In the end, fascinating and original despite all that it owes to the early masters of prose and painting .

Extract

Let us begin with the least forthcoming passenger.
The SLEEPING DRUNKARD lies in Elysium. Within the murky scriptorium of his brain the chapters of a different book - a book of dreams - are writing themselves. What flaming tigers does he hunt in those benighted forests? What country, friends is this, where the fields and spires are Home, and the women find him so very appealing? Or does he dream himself as he really is: crumpled in the bow, gripping a flagon, about to be rudely woken?

Parallels

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Ship of Fools - painting in Musee de Louvre by Heironymous Bosch
 

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