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Реферат

 

на тему:

 

“Geoffrey Chaucer”

 

(1343-1400)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, Chaucer is best known for

"The Canterbury Tales" and the contribution to English literature that

he made by writing his verses in English instead of Latin which was the

norm at the time.

 

He was born in London between 1340 and 1344, the son of John Chaucer, a

vintner. In 1357 he was a page in the household of Prince Lionel, later

duke of Clarence, whom he served for many years. In 1359–60 he was with

the army of Edward III in France, where he was captured by the French

but ransomed.

 

By 1366 he had married Philippa Roet, who was probably the sister of

John of Gaunt's third wife; she was a lady-in-waiting to Edward III's

queen. During the years 1370 to 1378, Chaucer was frequently employed on

diplomatic missions to the Continent, visiting Italy in 1372–73 and in

1378. From 1374 on he held a number of official positions, among them

comptroller of customs on furs, skins, and hides for the port of London

(1374–86) and clerk of the king's works (1389–91). The official date of

Chaucer's death is Oct. 25, 1400. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

 

Chaucer's literary activity is often divided into three periods. The

first period includes his early work (to 1370), which is based largely

on French models, especially the Roman de la Rose and the poems of

Guillaume de Machaut. Chaucer's chief works during this time are the

Book of the Duchess, an allegorical lament written in 1369 on the death

of Blanche, wife of John of Gaunt, and a partial translation of the

Roman de la Rose.

 

Chaucer's second period (up to c.1387) is called his Italian period

because during this time his works were modeled primarily on Dante and

Boccaccio. Major works of the second period include The House of Fame,

recounting the adventures of Aeneas after the fall of Troy; The

Parliament of Fowls, which tells of the mating of fowls on St.

Valentine's Day and is thought to celebrate the betrothal of Richard II

to Anne of Bohemia; and a prose translation of Boethius' De consolatione

philosophiae.

 

Also among the works of this period are the unfinished Legend of Good

Women, a poem telling of nine classical heroines, which introduced the

heroic couplet (two rhyming lines of iambic pentameter) into English

verse; the prose fragment The Treatise on the Astrolabe, written for his

son Lewis; and Troilus and Criseyde, based on Boccaccio's Filostrato,

one of the great love poems in the English language (see Troilus and

Cressida). In Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer perfected the seven-line

stanza later called rhyme royal.

 

To Chaucer's final period, in which he achieved his fullest artistic

power, belongs his masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales (written mostly

after 1387). This unfinished poem, about 17,000 lines, is one of the

most brilliant works in all literature. The poem introduces a group of

pilgrims journeying from London to the shrine of St. Thomas а Becket at

Canterbury. To help pass the time they decide to tell stories. Together,

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