Make some predictions about the kinds of stories you may read.Introduction to The Canterbury TalesIn this activity, you can learn more about medieval England and society at that time by visiting the websites provided.Important Events in the Fourteenth Century includes illustrated descriptions of important events of the fourteenth century, events that would have shaped the England in with Chaucer lived and wrote.Art History Resources on the Web includes images and explanations of art from all eras of history, including the Middle Ages.Read "The Prologue"
The Canterbury Tales was written by Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the most influential English writers. But Chaucer isn't just the author of The Canterbury Tales; he uses a character named Chaucer to narrate the story. Creating a character based upon himself allows Chaucer the authorto add humor to the tales and to gently mock his own authority.Learn more about Geoffrey Chaucer and his techniques as you prepare to read "The Prologue."The Prologue"Customhouse officer, king's envoy, member of the royal household, and survivor of political intrigue and power shifts, Geoffrey Chaucer had ample opportunity to observe many kinds of people from many walks of life.Learn more about this dynamic and influential author before you read the selections from his most famous work, The Canterbury Tales.Use the Student Guide to take notes and answer questions as you work through the lesson.Geoffrey Chaucerborn sometime between 1340 and 1344 and died in 1400Professional Experiences Geoffrey Chaucer•From a young age, Chaucer worked in the royal household of England. Though he was a ∙commoner, he served during the reigns of three kings and gained the trust of the royal family.•Chaucer traveled as a royal envoy to Flanders, France, and Italy, arranging business deals, ∙negotiating politics, and possibly acting at one time as a spy.•Chaucer’s position at the customhouse required him to keep track of and collect taxes on ∙wool, a major source of royal income. He held this post for 12 years, earning the trust of the royal family and special rewards for his service.• Late in his life, Chaucer earned the position of clerk of the king’s works, overseeing the ∙construction of royal residences and the safekeeping of royal records. This was a position of
great responsibility and honor.iterary Mentors and Milestones Geoffrey Chaucer•Chaucer lived at a time when it was possible for a man fluent in English and French and ∙capable in Italian and Latin, as he was, to read every book then in publication. His writing attests to his wide reading in the law, science, and the arts. Through his travels, he became aware of European “bestsellers” by authors such as his contemporaries Boccaccio and Petrarch, as well as those of the Italian master Dante.• Chaucer’s writings include lengthy poems on subjects drawn from folklore, legend, and ∙myth; short poems written for special occasions; and translations of Latin works. The Canterbury Tales, though unfinished, is considered his masterpiece.