Geoffrey Chaucer's Early Life

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Geoffrey Chaucer is regarded as the first great English poet. He lived during a time of war, plague and social revolt. Despite these terrible things, society was very vibrant, creative, and increasingly literate (“Chaucer and His Works”). There is not a lot of information about Chaucer`s early life. He was probably born in London, sometime between 1340 and 1345. His father was a successful wine merchant, but there is no further information about his childhood or education. In 1357, he served as a page to Elizabeth, countess of Ulster, wife of Edward III`s third son. A page is the equivalent of a butler today. During a British expedition in 1359, he was captured by the French, but he was ransomed by the king. He was later sent by Edward III on several diplomatic missions to France, Genoa, and Florence. While traveling, he gained exposure to the work of many famous authors, such as: Dante, Broccaccio, and Froissart. Around 1366, Chaucer married Philippa Roet, a lady in waiting in the queen`s household. They are thought to have had three or four children .Chaucer held many noble offices between 1374 and 1389. He served as comptroller of the lucrative London customs, member of the Parliament for Kent, a justice of the peace, clerk of the king`s works, and several other …show more content…
It is a very characteristic document of his individual style in his early career, even though a modern reader might find it less relatable at first than for instance The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer wrote The Book of Duchess after the sudden death of the Duchess Blanche, John of Gaunt`s wife, who died of plague. It is not known whether John Gaunt commissioned the poem or whether it was an unsolicited tribute. There is no solid evidence to support the idea that it was used in an official commendation ceremony, and emphasizing its private and personal nature does little to enhance the poem

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