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Geoffrey Chaucer

English poet known as "The Father of English Literature" and regarded as "a crucial figure in developing the legitimacy of the vernacular, Middle English, at a time when the dominant literary languages in England were French and Latin" (Wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Chaucer )

Connected Sites

  • Canterbury Chaucer's most famous work (albeit probably unfinished) was the "Canterbury Tales" which adopts the format of stories told by a group of Pilgrims traveling between Southwark and the tomb of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. Apparently intended to cover 2 stories from each of 30 pilgrims in each direction (i.e 120), only 24 tales are known of and the group never reaches Canterbury! It is also not known if Chaucer ever visited the city though he was a JP for the county of Kent
  • Florence Visited in 1373 on "secret business" for Edward III - thought to be negotiations for loans with Florentine bankers. It is not known if he met e.g Boccaccio or Petrarch but the visit is credited with introducing him to stylistic and subject aspects later incorporated into the Canterbury Tales which exhibit considerable parallels with the Decameron.
  • Tower of London Chaucer was "Clerk of Works" at the Tower 1389-91. During this time he supervised the construction of a part of the Tower Wharf. This became exposed in 2003 and, during excavations, Chaucer's "Moat Wall" was identified. On-site signs now identify the location and Chaucer's role in it Link
  • Westminster In 1556 Chaucer was the first poet to be interred in "Poet's Corner" inside the Abbey - He was buried there originally when he died c1400 not because he was a "poet" but because he was a tenant and parishioner of the Abbey (his reneted house was on the site later occupied by the Chapel of Henry VII). It is presumed that his body was re-interred in the Elizabethean tomb erected in his honour. He was also elected as one of 2 "knights of the shire" to represent Kent in 1386 ("The Wonderful Parliament") - the House of Commons then met in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey. There is also a record of him being present in the Great Hall on 13 Nov in a court case.

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