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Chaucer: Father of English Literature

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Callum Brooks

on 5 July 2013

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Transcript of Chaucer: Father of English Literature

Chaucer: Father of English Literature
Historical Context & Language
Effect on the English Novel
As a page in 1357
Then a diplomat for Edward III (travels exposed him to other authors)
1374 he was controller of profitable London customs
1386 he was an MP for Kent and a judge
1389 he was a clerk for Edward III and Richard II
After 1400- buried in Westminster Abbey
Geoffrey Chaucer
Who was Chaucer?
Chaucer's most famous work is 'The Canterbury Tales' which he wrote in 1387. The story focuses a group of diverse fictional pilgrims that tell stories to pass the time on their way to Canterbury. He was influenced by his travels, and influences from Italian and French literature can be found in his works. Aside from the Canterbury Tales, he wrote other works of poetry and literature.
The English Language
At the time, barely any works of literature were written in English, and the most common languages were French and Latin.
Other Pastimes/Jobs:
Author, poet, philosopher, alchemist and astronomer.
Rhyme Royal
Chaucer invented his own rhyming stanza form.
Consists of seven lines per verse.
Usually in iambic pentameter.
Rhyming pattern is a-b-a-b-b-c-c.
He used this form in some of his long poems and in four of the Canterbury Tales.
Most English and Scottish poets used Rhyme Royal in at least one of their works in the 15th and 16th century. It began to become out of fashion during the Elizabethan era but Shakespeare and others used it occasionally.
Iambic Pentameter & Rhyming Couplets
Chaucer was one of the first poets to use the five stress line in his works. His use of rhyming couplets also made it one of the most standard poetic forms in England. Several poets after him used his styles of rhythm and rhyme.
Use of Satire
Chaucer was one of the first
English authors to use satire
with common comical effects
that we use today.
Standardization of the English Language
Chaucer was one of the authors of the time to help bring together the Kentish and Midlands dialects. Along with the courts and bureaucracy a standard Middle English was created, although still very different to the Modern English we have today.
Chaucer Quotes
Whoso will pray, he must fast and be clean, And fat his soul, and make his body lean.
Women desire six things: They want their husbands to be brave, wise, rich, generous, obedient to wife, and lively in bed.
To gete a glotoun deyntee mete and drynke!
Of this matiere, O Paul, wel kanstow trete:
"Mete unto wombe, and wombe eek unto mete,
Shal God destroyen bothe," as Paulus seith.
Allas, a foul thyng is it, by my feith,
To seye this word, and fouler is the dede,
Whan man so drynketh of the white and rede
That of his throte he maketh his pryvee
Thurgh thilke cursed superfluitee.

English Words First Found in Chaucer's Work
Acceptable, alkali, altercation, amble, angrily, annex, annoyance, approaching, arbitration, armless, army, arrogant, arsenic, arc, artillery and aspect.
Some people argue that the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales
is novel-like in its idea of collecting the stories together almost like chapters. At the time there were no English novels but the arrangement of Chaucer's narrative poems could have been the inspiration for novels in the future.
There's no workman, whatsoever he be, That may both work well and hastily.
Murder will out, this my conclusion.
Forbid us something, and that thing we desire.
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne
Full transcript