Chaucer: His Life, His Works, His Worldby Donald R. Howard
Chaucer was born in the latter half of the
Revered for centuries as the father of English poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer was also a central man of his age--a courtier, soldier, diplomat, public official, a man of action, and a man of the world. In this award-winning biography, Donald R. Howard recreates the public, private, and poetic life of this extraordinary man.
Chaucer was born in the latter half of the fourteenth century, an age of revolution and devastation when Europe was convulsed by the Hundred Years' War, the Black Death, and the social and intellectual upheavals that marked the "autumn of Feudalism." The son of a wealthy London vintner, he maneuvered his way into the turbulent courts of Edward III and Richard II, and thus, without holding noble rank himself, he was able to witness the violent drama of royal power. It was, as Howard demonstrates, the perfect vantage point for a poet. Chaucer's own poetic development from the mannered medieval style of The Book of the Duchess to the rich, comic, human complexity of the Canterbury Tales reflects the transformation of his world. With the Canterbury Tales and the darker, more formal epic Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer established English for all time as a language of literature.
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