About two years ago, I wrote about the Broadview Canterbury Tales, which I was considering as a textbook. I'm now in my second semester with it, and I'm not so happy with it.
One reason is simply familiarity (or lack thereof): I'm used to the Riverside's composite text, with readings and spellings from Hengwrt as well as Ellesmere. Presumably, over time one would adapt to that. But that's really the least of the problems, though individually they all seem small. It's the aggregate that makes me want to return to the Riverside.
The line numbering goes a little funky now and then, especially around the end of a tale or section; there sometimes seem to be extra lines that don't appear in the numbering system.
I don't like the punctuation. Sentences are chopped up in unfamiliar ways (so in a way this is reason one over again), and I think sometimes they don't make such good sense as in the Riverside's punctuation. I like to see related ideas grouped together in elaborate clauses rather than presented as a serious of one-line sentences.
The notes are less detailed than I would like. True, the Riverside's Explanatory Notes at the end of the book are awkward to consult and go over the heads of many of my students if they do look them up. But I would like them to be there for my more advanced students.
The lack of language instruction in the introduction turns out to be a problem. I thought that wouldn't matter, because I did a lot of my own explaining anyway. And if I were really organized and wrote my own mini-grammar-handbook (or just a series of handouts) that would be one thing. But it turns out I'm not that organized (big surprise, yeah?), and that a lot of my in-class explaining was in response to student questions about the Riverside's introductory material. If I assign it, it may be confusing for some, but at least they read it and then when they ask questions I can fill in some gaps, and even people who didn't do the reading will get something out of the lecture. Now, students aren't even asking questions, because they don't know what they don't know; they don't know where to start with the questions. I need them to ask questions so I know what to lecture on.
Cost is a problem. Used copies of the Riverside CT are a little more expensive than the Broadview, new. I do try to be aware of textbook costs, and save my students money where I can. Some of the problems I mention could be overcome if I wrote more handouts and just spent more time with this version of the text. But, bottom line, I'm not very comfortable with the Broadview edition, and I feel like my teaching is suffering because of that. If the Riverside CT were cheaper, I would definitely go back to it, no question. As it is . . . I think I'll go back, and feel guilty.