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Chaucer crest A unicorn's head with canting arms of Roet below: Possibly funeral helm of his son Thomas Chaucer After this, Chaucer's life is uncertain, but he seems to have travelled in France, Spain, and Flanderspossibly as a messenger and perhaps even going on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. AroundChaucer married Philippa de Roet. It is uncertain how many children Chaucer and Philippa had, but three or four are most commonly cited.
His son, Thomas Chaucerhad an illustrious career, as chief butler to four kings, envoy to France, and Speaker of the House of Commons. Thomas's daughter, Alicemarried the Duke of Suffolk.
Thomas's great-grandson Geoffrey's great-great-grandsonJohn de la Pole, Earl of Lincolnwas the heir to the throne designated by Richard III before he was deposed. Chaucer's "Treatise on the Astrolabe" was written for Lewis. He became a member of the royal court of Edward III as a valet de chambreyeomanor esquire on 20 Junea position which could entail a wide variety of tasks.
His wife also received a pension for court employment. He travelled abroad many times, at least some of them in his role as a valet. Two other literary stars of the era were in attendance: Jean Froissart and Petrarch. Around this time, Chaucer is believed to have written The Book of the Duchess in honour of Blanche of Lancasterthe late wife of John of Gaunt, who died in of the plague.
Numerous scholars such as Skeat, Boitani, and Rowland  suggested that, on this Italian trip, he came into contact with Petrarch or Boccaccio.
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They introduced him to medieval Italian poetrythe forms and stories of which he would use later. Later documents suggest it was a mission, along with Jean Froissart, to arrange a marriage between the future King Richard II and a French princess, thereby ending the Hundred Years War.
If this was the purpose of their trip, they seem to have been unsuccessful, as no wedding occurred. It has been speculated that it was Hawkwood on whom Chaucer based his character the Knight in the Canterbury Tales, for a description matches that of a 14th-century condottiere. A 19th-century depiction of Chaucer A possible indication that his career as a writer was appreciated came when Edward III granted Chaucer "a gallon of wine daily for the rest of his life" for some unspecified task.
This was an unusual grant, but given on a day of celebration, St George's Day, when artistic endeavours were traditionally rewarded, it is assumed to have been another early poetic work. It is not known which, if any, of Chaucer's extant works prompted the reward, but the suggestion of him as poet to a king places him as a precursor to later poets laureate.
Chaucer continued to collect the liquid stipend until Richard II came to power, after which it was converted to a monetary grant on 18 April Chaucer obtained the very substantial job of comptroller of the customs for the port of London, which he began on 8 June His life goes undocumented for much of the next ten years, but it is believed that he wrote or began most of his famous works during this period.
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He was mentioned in law papers of 4 Mayinvolved in the raptus of Cecilia Chaumpaigne. What raptus means is unclear, but the incident seems to have been resolved quickly and did not leave a stain on Chaucer's reputation.
It is not known if Chaucer was in the city of London at the time of the Peasants' Revoltbut if he was, he would have seen its leaders pass almost directly under his apartment window at Aldgate.
He is thought to have started work on The Canterbury Tales in the early s.
He also became a member of parliament for Kent inand attended the ' Wonderful Parliament ' that year. He survived the political upheavals caused by the Lords Appellantsdespite the fact that Chaucer knew some of the men executed over the affair quite well. On 12 JulyChaucer was appointed the clerk of the king's worksa sort of foreman organising most of the king's building projects. George's Chapel, Windsorcontinue building the wharf at the Tower of Londonand build the stands for a tournament held in It may have been a difficult job, but it paid well: Chaucer was also appointed keeper of the lodge at the King's park in Feckenhamwhich was a largely honorary appointment.
Richard II granted him an annual pension of 20 pounds in and Chaucer's name fades from the historical record not long after Richard's overthrow in The last few records of his life show his pension renewed by the new king, and his taking a lease on a residence within the close of Westminster Abbey on 24 December The last mention of Chaucer is on 5 June when some money was paid which was owed to him.
Chaucer died of unknown causes on 25 Octoberalthough the only evidence for this date comes from the engraving on his tomb which was erected more than years after his death.
There is some speculation  that he was murdered by enemies of Richard II or even on the orders of his successor Henry IV, but the case is entirely circumstantial. Chaucer was buried in Westminster Abbey in London, as was his right owing to his status as a tenant of the Abbey's close. Inhis remains were transferred to a more ornate tomb, making him the first writer interred in the area now known as Poets' Corner. Near the end of their lives, Lancaster and Chaucer became brothers-in-law when Chaucer married Philippa Pan de Roet inand Lancaster married Phillippa's sister Katherine Swynford de Roet in The phrase "long castel" is a reference to Lancaster also called "Loncastel" and "Longcastell""walles white" is thought to be an oblique reference to Blanche, "Seynt Johan" was John of Gaunt's name-saint, and "ryche hil" is a reference to Richmond.
These references reveal the identity of the grieving black knight of the poem as John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Earl of Richmond. Fortune, in turn, does not understand Chaucer's harsh words to her for she believes that she has been kind to him, claims that he does not know what she has in store for him in the future, but most importantly, "And eek thou hast thy beste frend alyve" 32, 40, Chaucer retorts, "My frend maystow nat reven, blind goddesse" 50 and orders her to take away those who merely pretend to be his friends.
The three princes are believed to represent the dukes of Lancaster, Yorkand Gloucesterand a portion of line 76 "as three of you or tweyne" is thought to refer to the ordinance of which specified that no royal gift could be authorised without the consent of at least two of the three dukes. Fortune states three times in her response to the plaintiff, "And also, you still have your best friend alive" 32, 40, 48 ; she also refers to his "beste frend" in the envoy when appealing to his "noblesse" to help Chaucer to a higher estate.
The narrator makes a fifth reference when he rails at Fortune that she shall not take his friend from him. Religious beliefs[ edit ] Chaucer's attitudes toward the Church should not be confused with his attitudes toward Christianity. He seems to have respected and admired Christians and to have been one himself, even while he also recognised that many people in the church were venal and corrupt.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message Portrait of Chaucer 16th centuryf. Per pale argent and gules, a bend counterchanged Title page of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, possibly in the hand of the scribe Adam Pinkhurstc.
Eustache Deschamps called himself a "nettle in Chaucer's garden of poetry". Equatorie of the Planetis is a scientific work which was discovered in It has language and handwriting similar to Chaucer's and it continues many of the ideas from the Astrolabe. It also contains an example of early European encryption. Linguistic[ edit ] Portrait of Chaucer from a manuscript by Thomas Hocclevewho may have met Chaucer Chaucer wrote in continental accentual-syllabic metera style which had developed since around the 12th century as an alternative to the alliterative Anglo-Saxon metre.
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His early influence as a satirist is also important, with the common humorous device, the funny accent of a regional dialectapparently making its first appearance in The Reeve's Tale.
The poetry of Chaucer, along with other writers of the era, is credited with helping to standardise the London Dialect of the Middle English language from a combination of the Kentish and Midlands dialects. Modern English is somewhat distanced from the language of Chaucer's poems owing to the effect of the Great Vowel Shift some time after his death.
This change in the pronunciation of English, still not fully understood, makes the reading of Chaucer difficult for the modern audience. The status of the final -e in Chaucer's verse is uncertain: Chaucer's versification suggests that the final -e is sometimes to be vocalised, and sometimes to be silent; however, this remains a point on which there is disagreement.
When it is vocalised, most scholars pronounce it as a schwa. Apart from the irregular spelling, much of the vocabulary is recognisable to the modern reader. Chaucer is also recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary as the first author to use many common English words in his writings.
These words were probably frequently used in the language at the time but Chaucer, with his ear for common speech, is the earliest extant manuscript source. Acceptable, alkali, altercation, amble, angrily, annex, annoyance, approaching, arbitration, armless, army, arrogant, arsenic, arc, artillery and aspect are just some of the many English words first attested in Chaucer.
Literary[ edit ] Widespread knowledge of Chaucer's works is attested by the many poets who imitated or responded to his writing. John Lydgate was one of the earliest poets to write continuations of Chaucer's unfinished Tales while Robert Henryson 's Testament of Cresseid completes the story of Cressida left unfinished in his Troilus and Criseyde.
Many of the manuscripts of Chaucer's works contain material from these poets and later appreciations by the Romantic era poets were shaped by their failure to distinguish the later "additions" from original Chaucer. Writers of the 17th and 18th centuries, such as John Drydenadmired Chaucer for his stories, but not for his rhythm and rhyme, as few critics could then read Middle English and the text had been butchered by printers, leaving a somewhat unadmirable mess.
Roughly seventy-five years after Chaucer's death, The Canterbury Tales was selected by William Caxton to be one of the first books to be printed in England. English[ edit ] Chaucer is sometimes considered the source of the English vernacular tradition. His achievement for the language can be seen as part of a general historical trend towards the creation of a vernacular literatureafter the example of Dantein many parts of Europe. A parallel trend in Chaucer's own lifetime was underway in Scotland through the work of his slightly earlier contemporary, John Barbourand was likely to have been even more general, as is evidenced by the example of the Pearl Poet in the north of England.
Although Chaucer's language is much closer to Modern English than the text of Beowulfsuch that unlike that of Beowulf a Modern English-speaker with a large vocabulary of archaic words may understand it, it differs enough that most publications modernise his idiom.
The following is a sample from the prologue of The Summoner's Tale that compares Chaucer's text to a modern translation: Original Text This frere bosteth that he knoweth helle, This friar boasts that he knows hell, And God it woot, that it is litel wonder; And God knows that it is little wonder; Freres and feendes been but lyte asonder.
Friars and fiends are seldom far apart. For, pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle For, by God, you have ofttimes heard tell How that a frere ravyshed was to helle How a friar was taken to hell In spirit ones by a visioun; In spirit, once by a vision; And as an angel ladde hym up and doun, And as an angel led him up and down, To shewen hym the peynes that the were, To show him the pains that were there, In al the place saugh he nat a frere; In all the place he saw not a friar; Of oother folk he saugh ynowe in wo.
Of other folk he saw enough in woe. Unto this angel spak the frere tho: Unto this angel spoke the friar thus: Now, sire, quod he, han freres swich a grace "Now sir", said he, "Have friars such a grace That noon of hem shal come to this place? That none of them come to this place? And unto Satan the angel led him down.
Broader than a galleon's sail. Hold up thy tayl, thou sathanas! At the same time, records in the diary of Philip Henslowe show that Middleton was writing for the Admiral's Men. Unlike Shakespeare, Middleton remained a free agent, able to write for whichever company hired him. His early dramatic career was marked by controversy. In the same year an outbreak of the plague forced the theatres in London to close, while James I came to the English throne.
These events marked the beginning of Middleton's greatest period as a playwright. Having passed the time during the plague composing prose pamphlets including a continuation of Thomas Nashe 's Pierce Pennilesshe returned to drama with great energy, producing almost a score of plays for several companies and in several genres, most notably city comedy and revenge tragedy.
He continued his collaborations with Dekker, and the two produced The Roaring Girl, a biography of the contemporary thief Mary Frith. Working alone he produced his comic masterpiece, A Chaste Maid in Cheapsidein His own plays from this decade reveal a somewhat mellowed temper. Certainly there is no comedy among them with the satirical depth of Michaelmas Term and no tragedy as bloodthirsty as The Revenger's Tragedy. Middleton was, at the same time, increasingly involved with civic pageants.
This last connection was made official inwhen he was appointed chronologer of the City of London. He held this post until his death inwhen it passed to Jonson. Middleton's official duties did not interrupt his dramatic writing; the s saw the production of his and Rowley's tragedy The Changelingand of several tragicomedies. Inhe reached a peak of notoriety when his dramatic allegory A Game at Chess was staged by the King's Men. The play used the conceit of a chess game to present and satirise the recent intrigues surrounding the Spanish Match.
Though Middleton's approach was strongly patriotic, the Privy Council silenced the play after nine performances, having received a complaint from the Spanish ambassador. Middleton faced an unknown, probably frightening degree of punishment. Since no play later than A Game at Chess is recorded, it has been suggested that this included a ban on writing for the stage.
The old churchyard where Middleton was buried survives as a public park in Elephant and Castle. Works[ edit ] Middleton wrote in many genres, including tragedyhistory and city comedy.
Earlier editions of The Revenger's Tragedy attributed the play to Cyril Tourneur or refused to arbitrate between Middleton and Tourneur.
Jackson,  however, Middleton's authorship has not been seriously contested, and no further scholar has defended the Tourneur attribution.