GEOFFREY CHAUCER: RIASSUNTO
Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400).Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London into a middle class family. His father, a wine merchant, sent him to be a page in the household of the third son of king Edward III.
In addition to diplomatic trips to France, Chaucer also went to Flanders in 1377 and to Italy in 1372 and 1378. He became justice of the place and knight of the Shire for Kent.
Chaucer’s production is divided into three phases: French, Italian and English.
During his “French phase” his poetic models were French, especially allegorical poems on courtly love such as “Le Roman de la Rose”. Of his Italian phase the best work is “Troilus and Criseyde” a free rendering of Boccaccio’s “Filostrato”.
GEOFFREY CHAUCER: CANTEBURY TALES
His English phase is best represented by “The Canterbury Tales”.Chaucer took it over from Boccaccio’s “Decameron”. He presented his tales told by a group of pilgrims travelling to Canterbury.
Chaucer’s pilgrims cover the middle strata of society. He gives a portrait of middle class England in the late 14 century. A fine irony is the main characteristic of his writing.
The collection of Tales was unknown to European literature before Boccaccio’s Decameron in which 10 speakers tell a Tale each for 10 days. Boccaccio’s speakers are in a castle near Florence to which they have repaired to get away from the plague. Chaucer went on a diplomatic and commercial missions to Italy.
GEOFFREY CHAUCER: LIFE
In these occasions he became familiar with Italian literature (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio), but while he said to know Dante and Petrarch’s works and to approve them he never mentioned Boccaccio.
In several of his allegorical poems, Chaucer shows the influence of Dante’s greatest allegorical work: The Divina Commedia.
The importance of his Italian experience was that is showed Chaucer that is showed Chaucer that a vernacular language could be used to create literature of a nobility and importance equal to that of the classical languages.