Monday, 4 October 2010

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)

He was an English author, poet(詩人), philosopher(哲学者), bureaucrat(官僚), courtier(廷臣) and diplomat(外交官).

His Life...
His earliest record is when he was a page(従者) of Elizabeth de Burgh because his father was connected to her.

Around 1366, he married Phillipa Roet. This is the tomb of Phillipa. ↓ She worked for Edward III's queen as an assistant.

In the early days of the Hundred Years' War, Edward III invaded France and Geoffrey traveled to France with Lionel of Antwarp, Elizabeth's husband.
In 1360, he became a prisoner. Edward paid 16 pounds and released him.
He became a member of the royal court as a varlet de chambre(倉庫係下士官). It was a high position that gave him many jobs and money.

His career as a writer began to blossom when Edward III rewarded him with "a gallon of wine for the rest of his life."

It was given on a celebration day called St George's day. On St George's day, prises like 芥川賞 were awarded. This placed him a precursor(先駆者) to later poets laureate(優秀な詩人).

He began working as a Comptroller(会計監査官) in 1374. He worked for 12 years which was a long time.

Geoffrey is thought to have started writing "Canterbury Tales" in the early 1380s.

When April with his showers sweet with fruit

The drought of March has pierced unto the root

And bathed each vein with liquor that has power

To generate therein and sire the flower;

When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,

Quickened again, in every holt and heath,

The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun

Into the Ram one half his course has run,

And many little birds make melody

That sleep through all the night with open eye

(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-

Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,

And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,

To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.

And specially from every shire's end

Of England they to Canterbury wend,

The holy blessed martyr there to seek

Who help ed them when they lay so ill and weal

In 1389, he got a job to organize the king's building projects. He conducted repairs on Westminster Palace, St. George's Chapel, Windsor and continued building the wharf at the Tower of London. It was a tough job but he was paid well.In 1390, records say that he was robbed and injured. He quit his job the next year.

His Works...

His most famous book is "The Canterbury Tales." The book is not completed. This is the modern text. It is written about people in the medieval era. The Catholic Church still had power, but it was the subject of controversy(論争). One of the characters in the book works for the Church and he admits that the Church is corrupt(腐敗).

Why he is important...
He was one of the first poets to use a five stress line.
"The Canterbury Tales" is so famous that many writers have written an ending to it. Also, many books have adopted the title such as "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.


  1. Needs some audio or video! Let's hear Chaucer in Old English.
    You gotta give me something more than what the other students have done. Just one really good presentation, please! T3-5 is killing me! Another day like today and I will lose all hope....

  2. Yea I should improve this. But right now my nose is running like crazy which means I'm catching a cold...
    will do later...