Medieval Europe 814-1450: Literature - Research Article from Arts and Humanities Through the Eras

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Geoffrey Chaucer

c. 1340–1400

Poet
Court administrator

A Life at Court.

Geoffrey Chaucer, arguably the greatest English writer before Shakespeare, was born in London in the early 1340s to a merchant family; the family name suggests the shoe trade, though there is some record of their having been wine merchants. He quickly made his way in the world, apparently acquiring some legal training at the Inns of Court, and by 1357 was in royal service. His wife, Philippa, was an attendant to the queen, and her sister, Katherine Swynford, was the mistress and later wife of John of Gaunt, one of the king's sons. Both through family connections and, most importantly, through his own abilities as an administrator, Chaucer quickly made his way in the royal household and traveled abroad on the king's business several times, holding the posts of controller of the customs and clerk of the king's...

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This section contains 688 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Medieval Europe 814-1450: Literature Encyclopedia Article
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Arts and Humanities Through the Eras
Medieval Europe 814-1450: Literature from Arts and Humanities Through the Eras. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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