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See the fact file below for more information on Geoffrey Chaucer or alternatively, you can download our 22 page Geoffrey Chaucer worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Early Life and Political Career
- Geoffrey Chaucer was born around 1340 to 1344, in London, England. He descended from the bourgeois class – his father, John, ran the family wine business along with his mother, Agnes Copton. Aside from wine trading, John also served as deputy to the king’s butler.
- Young Geoffrey attended St. Paul’s Cathedral School where he encountered the writings of Virgil and Ovid, which would later influence his interest in literature.
- In 1357, Chaucer earned ample money as a public servant of Countess Elizabeth of Ulster, wife of the Duke of Clarence. Two years later, he became part of the English Army during the Hundred Years’ War against France. Because of his royal connections, Chaucer was held for ransom by King Edward III.
- After his release, he joined the Royal Service and was sent on different diplomatic missions to France, Italy and Spain.
- In 1366, Chaucer married Philippa Roet, a lady-in-waiting to King Edward’s wife, and daughter of Sir Payne Roet, who would help Chaucer’s career.
- By 1367, King Edward granted Chaucer a life pension of 20 marks. After a year, he traveled abroad on diplomatic missions as one of the king’s esquires.
- In 1369, the queen died, strengthening Philippa’s position as well as Chaucer’s.
- During his travels to Italy from 1370 to 1373, he familiarized himself with the poetic works of Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch. When he returned to England, he was appointed Comptroller of Customs, which he would hold for twelve years.
- In addition, John of Gaunt, the first Duke of Lancaster, awarded the couple generous pension.
- It is believed that Chaucer could read French, Latin and Italian.
- In 1377, Chaucer went on diplomatic missions in search of Richard II’s future wife and for assurance of military aid in Italy. Years later, out of growing interest in literature, Chaucer asked for temporary leave. Although he stayed in Kent, he still worked as a justice of peace and member of Parliament in 1386.
- By 1387, Chaucer suffered financial crisis after the death of his wife. Along with the death of Philippa went her royal annuities that gave Chaucer a good life.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Literary Career
- One of his early works was Parlement of Foules (Parliament of Fowls), written between 1380 to 1382. It was a poem about the inauthentic quality of courtly love. Some historians believe that it was written during Chaucer’s diplomatic mission in arranging the marriage of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. In addition, the theme of his poem also reflected his marriage with Philippa for social standing.
- In the mid-1380s, he wrote Troilus and Criseyde, which was considered by many as one of his greatest works. The narrative poem tells of the tragic love story of Troilus, son of Priam, and Criseyde set during the Trojan War. He is credited with the origin of royal rhyming in this poem.
- Uncertain of the actual date, Chaucer’s The Legend of Good Women, introduced another style in writing English poetry. His poem consisted of shorter narratives in iambic pentameter couplets. Most scholars agreed that Chaucer depicted Anne of Bohemia, Richard II’s wife, in his unfinished poem, after mentioning real-life royal palaces.
- The Canterbury Tales is arguably Geoffrey Chaucer’s most acclaimed and greatest work. Originally, he meant to produce 120 stories but only 24 stories were finished, no character made it to Canterbury. Despite its fragmented order and erratic qualities, The Canterbury Tales is highly regarded in literature. Chaucer showed maturity in writing by collecting 29 archetypes of late Medieval English society and wrote them with satirical wit.
- Most parts of The Canterbury Tales were written in decasyllabic couplets and heroic couplets, which were later used in epic and narrative English poetry.
- Chaucer’s other famous works include Roman de la Rose, The House of Fame, Anelida and Arcite, The Book of the Duchess, Boece, and A Treatise on
Death and Legacy
- In 1389, Chaucer worked as Clerk of the Works in the Palace of Westminster Abbey. While working, he was robbed twice, which worsened his finances. In addition, the palace stopped giving him a pension. Chaucer resigned and worked as a gardener at the king’s park located in Somersetshire.
- In 1399, when Richard II was overthrown by his cousin, Henry IV, Chaucer’s pension was reinstated. He rented an apartment in the garden of St. Mary’s Chapel in Westminster.
- On October 25, 1400, Geoffrey Chaucer died of unknown causes, in London, England. After his death, he was initially buried at the entrance going to St. Benedict Chapel, in the South Transept. He was the first English poet to be buried in the abbey.
- In 1556, a monument was built in honor of Chaucer.
- By 1599, after the death of Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser, the tradition of Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey began.
- The gravestone of Chaucer became the center of the corner. English literary geniuses like William Shakespeare, the Brontë sisters, Robert Browning, John Dryden, John Keats and Lord Byron were also included.
Geoffrey Chaucer Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the English Poet Geoffrey Chaucer across 22 wonderful pages. These are ready-to-use Geoffrey Chaucer worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Geoffrey Chaucer who was an English poet during the Middle Ages. He is considered the Father of English Poetry and the first to be buried at Poets’ Corner, in Westminster Abbey.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Geoffrey Chaucer Facts
- Father of English Poetry
- Influential Trio
- The Medieval Age
- Poets’ Corner
- Tales and Characters
- The Parliament of Fowls
- Social Pyramid
- Forms of Art
- Poem of the Week
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Link will appear as Geoffrey Chaucer Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 14, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.