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Geoffrey Chaucer Background. Father of English Poetry Chaucer has often been called “the father of English poetry,” a phrase that makes him sound like.

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Presentation on theme: "Geoffrey Chaucer Background. Father of English Poetry Chaucer has often been called “the father of English poetry,” a phrase that makes him sound like."— Presentation transcript:

1 Geoffrey Chaucer Background

2 Father of English Poetry Chaucer has often been called “the father of English poetry,” a phrase that makes him sound like a stuffy sort of writer.

3 The Language Chaucer’s masterpiece—is anything but stuffy. In fact, its realistic language and coarse humor prompted critics to call Chaucer everything from “observant” to “contemptible.”

4 Man of the World Chaucer was a man of the world who knew how a variety of people spoke and acted. This knowledge was invaluable to his writing.

5 Family Born in London into a middle- class wine merchant’s family, he became a page in the royal household while still a teenager, probably around the age of 17. Despite the lowly duties of the job—making beds, carrying candles, running errands—the position offered Chaucer exposure to a world of fine manners and high-born people.

6 The World A few years later, he saw more of the world when he served in a military campaign in France. While in his twenties, Chaucer was made a court official, an appointment that was the start of many years of public service. During his career, he traveled abroad on diplomatic missions and was therefore exposed both French and Italian literature and culture.

7 Rest of Chaucer’s life For the rest of his life, he held a variety of government posts. Some other facts about Geoffrey Chaucer—he was the clerk of the king’s works— a post in which he supervised the maintenance royal buildings and parks. When he moved from London to Kent, he served as a representative to Parliament. He was always considered a commoner.

8 Writings Despite these busy professional duties, Chaucer managed to create a large body of writing. His work is often divided into three distinct periods. His early poetry, which is influenced by the French medieval tradition, includes the Book of the Duchess Romaunt of the Rose

9 Later, he wrote the Parliament of Fowls Troilus and Cressida

10 His most mature writing, crafted in his forties, includes the: Legend of Good Women The Canterbury Tales

11 Masterpiece The Canterbury Tales is considered Chaucer’s masterpiece for several reasons: First, it marks the beginning of a new tradition; Chaucer was the first writer to use English in a major literary work. Before him, literature was composed in French or Latin.

12 Cont’d Secondly, because The Canterbury Tales focuses on an assortment of people who are thrown together on a journey, it gives a lifelike and engaging picture of a cross section of society during the 1300s. Finally, it is an outstanding literature achievement.

13 Lines Chaucer created approximately 17,000 lines of vivid poetry, which still attract new readers centuries later.

14 Birth and Death Geoffrey Chaucer was born about 1342 and died on October 25, Note: Other historians have him being born in London around Although Chaucer was considered a commoner, he was buried in Westminster Abbey in honor of his lifelong contributions to England.

15 Twenty-Nine Pilgrims In Chaucer’s work twenty- nine pilgrims travel to Canterbury to visit the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket. When Chaucer’s pilgrims first meet, at an inn, their hosts suggests they tell stories to pass the time. Their stories become the main part of The Canterbury Tales.

16 Real Characters Chaucer’s pilgrims are well-rounded characters with personalities and pasts. As one critic said, “Not a whisper, not a wart, is omitted.”

17 Occupations of Fourteenth Century Society The pilgrims’ occupations reflect different aspects of fourteenth- century society: Feudel System: Knight, Squire, Yeoman, Franklin, Plowman, Miller, Reeve Religious Life: Nun, Monk, Friar, Cleric, Parson, Summoner, Pardoner Trades of Profession: Merchant, Sergeant at the Law, Five Tradesman, Cook, Skipper, Doctor, Wife of Bath, Manciple, Host

18 Frame Story The Canterbury Tales, uses a frame tale, a story that provides a vehicle, or frame, for telling other stories. The frame is about a pilgrimage, a trip made to a holy place for religious reasons or just for fun and adventure.

19 The Language of Chaucer Chaucer spoke in Middle English, the result of mixing Old English of the Anglo Saxons with the Old French of the Normans. The grammar and vocabulary might seem the same, but certain pronunciations are different. For example, the e of Modern English was a separate audible syllable in many English words.

20 The Prologue’s Opening Lines Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote When April with his showers sweet with fruit The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, The drought of March has pierced unto the root And bathed every veyne in swich licour And bathed each vein with liquor that has power Of which vertu engendred is the flour, To generate therein and sire the flower; Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath, Inspired hath in every holt and heeth Quickened again, in every holt and heath, The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun

21 Pilgrimages Pilgrim means “traveler,” and many religions encourage believers to travel to holy places to show devotion or to seek divine help for problems. People would undertake a pilgrimage for many different reasons. The motivation for most would be a combination of three closely interrelated reasons: – Firstly, people desired to see and touch places and objects that were considered holy. This might involve travelling to view places associated with Jesus or it might be to view relics of a favorite saint. The purpose of this pilgrimage was to attempt to make the object of faith more real. Secondly, people visited holy sites to make amends for having committed sin. By doing a pilgrimage as a penance, they hoped for forgiveness. These pilgrimages might have been for private reasons or for public reasons. They may have been voluntary or they may have been forced. Finally, people went on a pilgrimage for the simple pleasure of travelling. In a world that offered precious few opportunities to experience the world beyond the horizon, pilgrimage was an exciting, challenging opportunity to leave village life behind.see and touchhoped for forgivenesspleasure of travelling

22 Tabard Inn


24 Bibliography haucer/duallang1.htm haucer/duallang1.htm The need to see and touch Glencoe Literature: British Literature. The Reader’s Choice: Texas Edition. o.htm o.htm Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (Selected): An Interlinear Translation oric_figures/becket_thomas.shtml

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