Chaucer 1340-1400

 
9780094794108: Chaucer 1340-1400

The year of the millennium marks the 600th anniversary of the death of Geoffrey Chaucer. This first, and some would say greatest, poet of the English language stands before the gateway of the early modern age. He lived at a time when the elite languages of former conquerors, French and Latin, were both giving way to English - no longer just the vernacular of the common people, but increasingly the language of the court, the law and of literature. This biography charts the life of an extraordinary man, whose own character has always puzzled lovers of his comic masterpiece, "The Canterbury Tales". How did he remain so apparently cheerful and serene through one of the darkest eras of history? As a child he survived the Black Death. Later he fought in France during the Hundred Years War, served as a diplomat in Italy, and became an MP at the angry beginnings of the Protestant Reformation, the Peasants' Revolt and the overthrow and murder of Richard II.

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Product Description:

The year of the millennium marks the 600th anniversary of the death of Geoffrey Chaucer. This first poet of the English language stands before the gateway of the early modern age at a time when the elite languages of French and Latin were giving way to the vernacular of the common people.

Richard West weaves a fascinating picture of a man whose own character has always puzzled lovers of his comic masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales. How did he remain so apparently cheerful and serene through one of the cruellest eras of history? As a child he survived the Black Death, later he fought in France during the Hundred Years War, served as a diplomat in Italy, and became an MP at the time of the Peasants' Revolt and the murder of Richard II.

Richard West sees Chaucer as the creator not only of English poetry, but of the national character and humour, the forerunner of Shakespeare and Dickens - in many ways, as the first Englishman.

Review:

A sheer delight . . . West can look Macaulay and Trevelyan in the face. ( Alan Massie, Daily Telegraph)

A lively and entertaining study which . . . provides the history of a period as well as the biography of one man. ( Peter Ackroyd, The Times `A few pages into Richard West's superb [biography] one wonders why Defoe is not a more significant figure in our cultural history.' Kate Saunders, Observer)

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West, Richard
Published by Constable (2000)
ISBN 10: 0094794103 ISBN 13: 9780094794108
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West, Richard
Published by Constable (2000)
ISBN 10: 0094794103 ISBN 13: 9780094794108
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West, Richard
Published by Constable (2000)
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