Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400) son of John Chaucer, a wine-merchant, was born in London. His father was occasionally employed on King Edward III’s service. There is no evidence that Chaucer is at any of the University. 1359, he joined military in France, where he became a prisoner; was ransomed in 1360. About 1366 he married to Philippa, whose sister Katharine became the third wife of John of Gaunt. He received a pension of 20 marks as a retired soldier from king Richard’s court and also  from the Duke of Lancaster a pension of £10. 1367, he became one of the King’s courtiers. 1369, Blanche, the wife of John of Gaunt, died. Chaucer wrote a poem in honour of her memory The Dethe of Blaunche the Duchesse. About 1373 he begun his greatest work The Canterbury Tales. 1377, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to France to treat of peace. 1386, his fortune suffered some eclipse. His patron, John of Gaunt was in abroad, probably on December 1386 Chaucer was dismissed from his employment. Leaving him with no income except his pensions. His wife also died at the same time. 1389, he was appointed as a clerk of Richard the II. He held for two years only and again fell into poverty. 1399, an additional pension of 40 marks was given to him by Henry the IV. In the same year he took a house at Westminster, where he probably died on October 25, 1400.

Illustration "The Canterbury Tales" Painting © 2012.

The works of Chaucer are divided into three different periods, the French, the Italian and the English period. In his first period he wrote the Romaunt of the Rose, a translation from the French Roman de la Rose, the most popular and the finest poem of the Middle Ages. Other two works are Chaucer’s Dream and The Flower and the Leaf. After his return from Italy about 1380 he wrote Troilus and Criseyde (1382?), a poem of 8000 lines. The Parlement of Foules, The House of Fame, and The Legende of Goode Women (1385) belong to his Italian period. Chaucer’s masterpiece the Canterbury Tales, is one of the greatest work in English literature. It contains about 18,000 lines of verse and some passages in prose, left incomplete. In Canterbury Tales Chaucer’s power of story-telling; use of humour; vividness in description; and tenderness reach their highest goal. He is the first artist of the modern English poetry. His genial, sympathy, pleasure-loving, and honest character is highly reflected in his writings.


Hi, I am Vikram, a friend of you! I would like to take this opportunity of personally welcoming you to my blog! You can read my book “The Alchemist A Mystery In Three Acts” Available now on : Always love, Vikram Roy

13 responses »

  1. lamehousewife says:

    he is one of my favorites…thank you…

  2. sarijj says:

    Nice summation. Have you read the Terry Jones’ book, Who Killed Chaucer? It is a little dry at times but thought provoking. I had no idea Chaucer was so controversial even in his own time.

  3. willowdot21 says:

    Very interesting, good post!

  4. The C T’s really allow us to get into the mindset of the people of that time. So it is valuable as social anthropology as well as literature. I can’t do a fairly decent oral reading in the dialect. It’s like German/English with a sing – song rhythm

  5. Lottie Nevin says:


    I laughed so much when I saw your new post in my ‘in box’ and couldn’t wait to read it.

    I love Chaucer for all the reasons that you write about so eloquently yourself.

    The Canterbury Tales is a masterpiece. If you have not read it, I highly recommend that you do. The language takes getting used to but it’s well worth persevering as the humour and character descriptions are second to none. Considering that Chaucer wrote this is the 14th Century, the characters are no different than folks are today. I’m sure everyone has met a ‘Wife of Bath’ at some time in their lives. The humour and lewdness of ‘The Millers Tale’ raises as many laughs now, as I’m sure that it was intended to when Chaucer wrote it.

    The Canterbury Tales gives us an account of life, society and different class structures at a time when England was going through turbulent poitical and religious changes. Each pilgrim tells their story and it is through the telling of them that we have a rare insight into the lives of those who lived in Medieval England.

    Thanks again Vikram, Lottie

  6. Never read it but now that you make a point I would look out for it. But where you find his history? Good research.

  7. Damn Fine Bloggin’ing, Sir!
    Had To Give This One An Extra Tweeting.
    Please Keep It Up, Sir.
    Great Content.

  8. granbee says:

    As an English major in college, I am so very indebted to you for this terriffic post about Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales remain very fresh today, very applicable in many cases to the lives we see around us. So wonderful of you to honour one of my very favorite writers in Enlish literature with this essay! Thank you, dear Vikram!

  9. graphicanthropology says:

    I like the painting.

  10. NIce summary and illustration. Coincidentally I have been looking at the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales once again after many years.

  11. Ben Leib says:

    Love Chaucer – one of the first examples of how bawdy and carnivalesque old European literature can get.

  12. Sharmishtha says:

    have not had the chance of reading any of his works. atleast i cant recollect any.

  13. molokainews says:

    Love Chaucer! Made to memorize the first page of the General Prologue of Canterbury Tales in college. We were graded (by a medievalist professor) on the quality of our Middle English pronunciation.

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