Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 – 1400)
• Chaucer was born around 1340 (we don’t know for sure) in
• His family was middle class, and he did a number of
diplomatic duties for the English royalty, including being a
page for the wife of King Edward III’s son.
• He married Phillippa Roet, who was a lady in waiting for the
• He appears to have worked for King Edward III and his
successor, King Richard II, in addition to being a member of
• Appears to have died around 1400, although no one is really
• Was the first to be buried in what is now known as
“poet’s corner” in Westminster Abbey, although it’s
possible that he was originally buried there because
of his political work, not his writing.
The Great Vowel Shift
• Video link: http://youtu.be/uVyHDvkeX6M
• Moving from Old English to Early Modern English
The Canterbury Tales
• Chaucer began the work around 1387.
• Twenty-nine pilgrims (including the narrator) are on the road to
• He originally wanted to write 120 tales, four for each pilgrim, but he
never completed it.
• The pilgrims come from all walks of life, therefore would not have
spent any time together in real life.
• Around 60 copies of fifteenth century printed texts still exist. (note:
Printing press introduced in mid-1400’s, which helps!)
From the Ellesmere Chacuer
Where were they going?
• To Canterbury cathedral, to pay homage to Thomas a Becket, a
• You can still walk the path that the pilgrims took today!
Brought to you by…
• "Geoffrey Chaucer." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015.
Web. 06 Feb. 2015.
• Extrememly useful: