Geoffrey Chaucer Fact File Biography: Lifespan: Circa 1343 – 1400 *** Full Name: Geoffrey Chaucer *** Date of Birth (Birthday): He was born around 1343 (Exact date of birth unknown) *** Place of Birth: Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London *** Family background: His father was a vintner *** Early life and childhood: Geoffrey Chaucer grew up and spent the majority of his life in London *** Geoffrey Chaucer died on October 25, 1400 ***
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 1: Geoffrey Chaucer was born around 1343 in London. His exact birth date and location remain uncertain.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 2: He was an English poet and is widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages. He was also an author, astronomer and philosopher.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 3: His most major literary works include The Canterbury Tales, the House of Fame, the Book of the Duchess, the Legend of Good Women, the Parliament of Fouls, A Treatise on the Astrolabe, and Troilus and Criseyde.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 4: His father and grandfather were winemakers in London. His father was kidnapped at the age of 12 by his aunt. She did this in hope that he would marry her daughter so that she would gain ownership of property which belonged to Geoffrey Chaucer's family. The aunt was caught, she was sent to prison and ordered to pay a fine.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 5: Although parts of Geoffrey Chaucer's life remain unknown, surviving records detail much of his life. This was not typical of other contemporary poets which is why we know little about their lives. However, Geoffrey Chaucer was a public servant so his life was well documented.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 6: He married the daughter of Sir Gilles de Roet, Philippa Roet, in September 1366. They met young when Geoffrey Chaucer began working at Elizabeth of Ulster's household. At the ages of approximately 10 and 12, Philippa Roet and Geoffrey Chaucer were both sent to work for Queen Philippa and King Edward III.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 7: His close connection to Queen Philippa and King Edward III gave Geoffrey Chaucer financial security as the King ensured that the couple were granted a lifetime of annuity. The financial support enabled them to start a home inside the Royal household. Chaucer's sister-in-law Katherine Swynford, became the mistress of King Edward III's brother John of Gaunt, and the couple eventually married in later life
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 8: It is not known exactly how many children Geoffrey Chaucer and his wife Philippa had, however, it is likely that they had four; two sons and two daughters. The names of Elizabeth Chaucer and Thomas Chaucer are documented.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 9: In 1389, he became the clerk of the king's work which largely involved the organization of the king's building projects and repairs to important London buildings such as the wharf at the Tower of London, St. George's Chapel, and Westminster Palace.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 10: He wrote a number of short poems including An ABC, Chaucers Wordes unto Adam, Balade to Rosemounde, His Owne Scriveyn, The Complaint unto Pity, The Complaint of Chaucer to his Purse, The Complaint of Venus, The Complaint of Mars, A Complaint to His Lady, Fortune, Gentilesse, Lak of Stedfastnesse, The Former Age, Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan, Lenvoy de Chaucer a Bukton, Proverbs, Truth, and Womanly Noblesse. Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 16: He wrote one of his finest pieces of literary works in the form of a long poem based on two lovers called 'Troilus and Criseyde'. The story is set during the Siege of Troy and tells of tragedy. The phrase, 'all good things must come to an end' is thought to derive from this particular poem.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 11: He wrote ‘A Treatise on the Astrolabe’. The astrolabe was used historically by navigators and astronomers to predict the location and positions of the Sun, Moon, stars and planets of our solar system. He wrote the scientific essay for his son Lewis.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 12: At some stage during the early 1380s, historians believe that Geoffrey Chaucer began writing The Canterbury Tales. The collection of 24 tales became his most acclaimed work and contributed greatly towards English literature.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 13: The Canterbury Tales is Geoffrey Chaucer's longest literary works. It is written mainly in verse, in Middle English and consists of more than 17,000 lines. Middle English can be described as the language spoken in England following the Norman Conquest. The Canterbury Tales tells the story of a journey made by pilgrims from London to Canterbury.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 14: The earliest major poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer was The Deth of Blaunche also known as 'The Book of the Duchess'. It is thought that John of Gaunt asked Geoffrey Chaucer to write the poem following the death of his wife, Blanche of Lancaster. We have been led to believe this through evidence collected from handwritten notes by an English historian known as John Stowe.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 15: Historians have concluded that Geoffrey Chaucer's poem 'The House of Fame' was most likely written around 1379-1380. The poem consists of more than 2000 lines and is based upon a dream vision which the poet entails when he falls asleep and dreams of a glass temple where he is guided by an eagle. The poem is written in three books.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 17: Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a famous poem based upon the good deeds and virtues of women, it is called 'The Legend of Good Women'. Geoffrey Chaucer used iambic pentameter in this poem which can be described as a line of language into which a poem is divided, also known as a type of metrical line.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 18: He was the pioneer of heroic couplet. His first use of heroic couplet can be seen in 'The Legend of Good Women' poem. The style consists of a pair of rhyming lines and has strongly influenced the future of English poetry as it has taken on a traditional form. He later used heroic couplet in The Canterbury Tales.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 19: Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem about love called the 'Palement of Foules'. It consists of approximately 700 lines and is written in rhyme royal stanza. Geoffrey Chaucer was the first poet to introduce the rhyme royal style which is made up of 7 lines and provides greater variation, particularly in longer poems.
Geoffrey Chaucer Fact 20: He is thought to have died around the age of 56-57 on October 25, 1400. The exact date and cause of Geoffrey Chaucer's death remains unknown. Geoffrey Chaucer was the first poet to be buried in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.
Influence & Legacy of Geoffrey Chaucer: Geoffrey Chaucer was an important English poet who introduced new styles to poetry and literature that greatly influenced the future of the English language. He wrote famous literary works including his most acclaimed piece, 'The Canterbury Tales'.