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From Page to Poet

The Countless jobs of Geoffrey Chaucer



Geoffrey Chaucer worked in the house of Elizabeth De Burgh, the Countess of Ulster and the wife of Lionel, the Duke of Clarence. He became the noblewoman's Page, thanks to the connections that John Chaucer had.

In 1337, the Hundred years War began and in 1359, Chaucer, went with Lionel of Antwerp, Elizabeth De Burgh's husband, to France, when King Edward III of England, invaded France. He was part of the English Army and was caught in 1360, as a prisoner of war, when he was in Rethel, in Reims. Chaucer was released, when King Edward III paid sixteen pounds as ransom and he sometime later, joined the royal service of England, working for Edward.

On June 10th 1367, Edward paid Chaucer a pension of twenty marks for his services. Before this period, Chaucer had roamed through France, Spain and Flanders as a messenger. He had gone on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.


In 1366, Chaucer married Philippa de Roet. He is believed to have around four kids, though extensive details of his married life is not present. Chaucer in believed to have studied law in the Inner Temple, though this too is not confirmed.

On June 20th 1367, he became a Yeoman, Esquire, in King Edward's royal court. As a varlet de Chambre, he travelled to many countries on behalf of King Edward III. In 1368, he attended the wedding of Violante, daughter of Galeazzo II Visconti and Lionel of Antwerp in Milan, though details about this event is not known and there is no confirmation, of Chaucer attending it.



During this period, Chaucer wrote The Book of Duchess, to honor John of Glaunt's wife, Blanche of Lancaster, who had died due to Bubonic Plague in 1369. Like all great writers, Chaucer too began writing, because of a tragedy.

Thus Chaucer got into Literature and created some of the world's most followed works. The Book of Duchess was just a start and more was to come over the years.

Chaucer: The Origins

In the Beginning...



Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London, England in 1343, though the exact date and location of his birth are unknown. The name Chaucer, comes from the French word, Chausseur, meaning shoemaker. Some people of the name Chaucer, in London, lived in the Cordwainer Street, in the shoemaker's quarters. Several among them were vintners, wine merchants and Geoffrey's father and grandfather were one among them.


John Chaucer was Geoffrey Chaucer's father and Robert Chaucer was Geoffrey's grandfather and John's father. The time line of Geoffrey's birth and life is very vague and still a matter of debate. Geoffrey was originally thought to have been born in 1328, but was later found that John Chaucer was still unmarried during that time period.




Geoffrey's father, John Chaucer was kidnapped by an aunt of his, when he was twelve years old, to be married to her daughter, to keep the property in Ipswich, within the family. However things went wrong for the aunt and John Chaucer was saved. The aunt was imprisoned and was also levied two hundred fifty pounds, which made sure that the Chaucer family was secured. Years later, in 1349, John married a lady called Agnes Copton.


Hamo De Copton, was a rich man and was a moneyer at the Tower of London. After his death, his properties went to his niece. Agnes Copton herself was therefore from a rich background and inherited twenty four shops from her uncle.
So the Chaucer family, though were wine merchants, was financially secure, though not elite and Geoffrey Chauncer did have a very decent way of life.



Geoffrey Chaucer is however believed to have been born in around 1343, contradicting to the year of his parent's marriage.
The dates of the John and Agnes Copton's marriage and the year of Geoffrey's birth might be some what not accurate, but Geoffrey Chaucer was known to have been a lad around 1957, working under the countess of Ulster and wife of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, Elizabeth. This however is known only from entries. that Elizabeth De Burg had paid Young Geoffrey during the months of April, May and December, various sums for Clothes and other small expenses.

Agnes Copton, though might be referred to as Geoffrey Chaucer's mother, it is believed that John Chaucer might have had Geoffrey Chaucer to some other women, though this is not absolutely proved. This also somewhat paints a picture that John had married Agnes, a few years after Geoffrey was born and the Agnes was not his real mother.

The birth and origin of Geoffrey Chaucer has been vague and is a subject of great debate. Researches have been carried out across the world, to find the details of Geoffrey's Chaucer's birth, but the know facts are that, Agnes Copton, is considered his mother and John Chaucer his father, with Robert Chaucer being his grandfather. John Chaucer is believed to have lived in Thames Street during the time of Geoffrey's birth.

The Shoemaker's Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer:



Geoffrey Chaucer was one of the greatest poet to have ever lived in the history of mankind. He was also a writer, diplomat, philosopher, courtier, and bureaucrat. Born in the thirteenth century, he is known as the father of English Literature. Born in a family of merchants and vintners,Geoffrey Chaucer turned out to be a writer and showed interest in literature.

Many scholars consider him to have been the first to demonstrate artistic legitimacy in English, rather than French or Latin. The unfinished work of Canterbury Tales, is considered to be his best work ever and has gained the most popularity. Chaucer was born in London, England, in the year 1343, though the exact date and location are not really known.

His life by itself had been a tale of great highs and lows, adventure, travel,involvement of so many well known characters, in the history of the world. The Book Of Duchesse, The Canterbury Tales, The House of Fame, are some of his greatest literary works.



Though Geoffrey Chaucer's works were admired over the years, the real spread of his works and the serious scholarly reviews did not begin until the nineteenth century. Frederick James Furnivall founded the Chaucer Society in 1868, which actually established many of Chaucer's works, along with the details of his use of language and its analysis.

Walter William Skeat was the man, who established the base texts of all of Chaucer's works. Chaucer Review was founded in 1966 and is known as the journal of Chaucer studies.

Geoffrey Chaucer's works, The Canterbury Tales in particular, has a large following and forms an important part of the syllabus of students, undergoing their studies in English Literature.