Geoffrey Chaucer is now known as the Father of English literature. He is considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. He is also the first poet to have been buried in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey. He achieved renown during his life as an author, philosopher, alchemist and astronomer.
Geoffrey Chaucer was also known as a bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. He is best known today as the author of the Canterbury Tales. Other works of his include: The Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde.
The precise date and location of the author’s birth remains unknown. However, it is believed he was born in London around the year 1343. During his teenage years, he was brought to the court life by Elizabeth de Burgh, the Countess of Ulster in whose service he worked as a page. He also worked as a courtier, a diplomat, and a civil servant.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s first major work was The Book of the Duchess, written as an elegy for Blanche of Lancaster. It is believed to have been written between 1374 and 1386. During the same period, while he was customs comptroller for London, he also wrote three of his other major works: Parlement of Foules, The Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde.
It was at the beginning of the 1380s that he started to work on what would later become his greatest work, namely The Canterbury Tales. The work is in fact a collection of stories told by fictional pilgrims that are heading towards the Canterbury Cathedral. In time, these fictional stories grew to shape English literature.
Geoffrey Chaucer is said to have died of unknown causes on 25 October 1400. However, this date comes from an engraving on his tomb that was placed there a century after his death. Have you read any of Chaucer’s works?
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