Monday, July 9, 2007

I have had a full week of varous interruptions and with very little time to read, I am very glad to finally be able to post.
I am still reading "The Canterbury Tales", I am now reading "The Nuns Priests Tale". "The Canterbury Tales" was written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 1300's, the story is about 29 travelers on a journey during the spring time to Canterbury. Each of these travelers are to tell a story while they are traveling and the best tale wins. The tales are all of various kinds, some with much wit, some a little cheeky, all entertaining, but some of the tales Chaucer did not finish. I read a book recently entitled "The Life and Times of Chaucer" by John Gardner, very good book. I received an education of Geoffrey Chaucer, but also on life in the 1300's in England. The author of this book wrote about the wars that went on between the Scots and the English, the monarchy during that time, how women were looked upon, what the people ate, what they wore, the black plague, and how Jews were looked upon in Europe. The book of course gave a very good biography of Chaucer. Geoffrey Chaucer was born about 1340, and maybe as late as 1343, his formal schooling was probably in the vestry of the church by a clerical tutor. He would have been taught in French, by 1385 students would then be taught in English. He was taught in French but this was not the language of the streets. He would have studied Latin, reading, and writing. In his teen years he became a page in the service of Prince Lionel and his wife Elizabeth Countess of Ulster, Prince Lionel was the 2nd son of King Edward III. Chaucer later married Philippa, the sister of Katherine Sywnford who was the famous mistress, and later wife, of John of Gaunt, the 3rd son of King Edward III. Geoffrey and Philippa had 2 children Thomas and Elizabeth. There is much debate on whether Chaucer is the biological father of these 2 children, they may have been the children of John of Gaunt. John of Gaunt and Geoffrey Chaucer were friends; Chaucer may have married Philippa to help out John of Gaunt and to give the children ligitimacy. Chaucer had a full life, he went off to war, to France, went to law school, maybe studied at Oxford, but he did not become a full sergeant of the law. He was made controller of customs and subsidies of the port of London. As a writer Chaucer "wrote in a mimicry impression of people." His poems were written in a way "to see people more clearly," and most of all to "feel emotionally" with the poem. He was the first author to write in the native language of the people rather than French or Latin. Chaucer is considered the father of English poetry. He died 25 October 1400. I have given only a short synopsis of Geoffrey Chaucer, I had taken several pages of notes on the books I've read on him.

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