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Analysis:             Poet's Biography

Geoffrey Chaucer is a colossal figure in English literature, famously dubbed the "Father of English poetry." He played a pivotal role in legitimizing the English language as a medium of literary expression at a time when French and Latin dominated the written word in England.

Literary Background

Chaucer lived during the Middle Ages, specifically in the 14th century, which was marked by the Hundred Years' War, the Black Death, and the Peasants' Revolt. It was a time of social upheaval and change, which was reflected in the evolving English language and literature.

Early Influences

Chaucer was born circa 1343 to a family of affluent wine merchants, which allowed him access to an extensive education and the court. His work as a public servant and diplomat under three kings gave him a wealth of experience that informed his writing. He was also profoundly influenced by his travels through Italy, where he encountered the works of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, which had a significant impact on his narrative style and themes.

Poetic Schools or Movements

While there were no formal poetic schools or movements at the time, Chaucer was a part of an intellectual circle that included other prominent figures of the English court. His work resonated with the humanism of the Italian Renaissance, and he is credited with helping to pave the way for the English Renaissance.

Poetic Oeuvre: Phases and Themes

Chaucer's poetic oeuvre can be categorized into three phases: his early works, which include "The Book of the Duchess" and "The House of Fame"; his Italian period, which produced "The Parliament of Fowls" and "Troilus and Criseyde"; and his later English period, during which he composed his most famous work, "The Canterbury Tales."

"The Canterbury Tales" is a collection of stories told by a group of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury Cathedral. The work stands out for its rich diversity of voices and its satirical portrayal of a cross-section of 14th-century English society. Themes of social critique, the tension between destiny and free will, courtly love, and moral tales pervade his work.


Chaucer's influence on English literature is immeasurable. He was the first to demonstrate the richness and versatility of the English language in literary form, which had lasting significance for subsequent generations of writers. "The Canterbury Tales" alone has inspired countless adaptations and imitations.


Chaucer's legacy was honored by his burial in Westminster Abbey, in an area that became known as Poets' Corner. He was the first writer to receive this honor, subsequently shared by many of the greatest British literary figures.


Geoffrey Chaucer's work reflects the vibrancy and complexity of medieval England and has remained a cornerstone of English literature. His pioneering use of English at a time when Latin and French were the dominant languages for scholarly and artistic works was revolutionary. Through his vivid characterization and masterful storytelling, Chaucer offered a timeless portrayal of human nature, encompassing its virtues and vices. His influence extends beyond literature, into the very fiber of the English language and cultural consciousness.

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