Geoffrey Chaucer: Father of English Literature

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400) is widely considered the “father of English literature.” He is best known for his Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories told by a diverse group of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury Cathedral.

Chaucer was born in London and was the son of a wine merchant. He served as a page in the household of the Countess of Ulster and later became a soldier, diplomat, and civil servant. Chaucer’s varied experiences gave him a unique perspective on English society, which he would later use in his writing.

Chaucer wrote in Middle English, the language spoken in England from the 11th to the 15th centuries. He is credited with helping to establish the language as a literary language, rather than just a spoken vernacular. Chaucer’s writing is known for its humor, irony, and vivid characterization.

The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer’s most famous work, is a collection of 24 stories told by a group of pilgrims who are traveling from London to Canterbury. Each pilgrim tells a story, which reflects his or her personality and position in society. The stories cover a wide range of themes, from love and marriage to greed and corruption.

Chaucer’s influence on English literature is immeasurable. His use of vernacular English helped to establish the language as a literary language, and his characterisation and storytelling techniques have been imitated and admired by countless writers over the centuries. He is still widely read and studied today, and his work is considered a cornerstone of English literature.

Geoffrey Chaucer is often depicted on a horse because in addition to his literary work, he also held several important positions in the English government during his lifetime. He served as a diplomat and a civil servant under three different kings, including Richard II. In fact, Chaucer was rewarded for his service to the crown with various gifts, including the use of a horse for his personal use.

As a result, Chaucer is often portrayed on horseback in portraits and illustrations as a symbol of his important position in society and his association with the royal court. Additionally, horses were an important mode of transportation during Chaucer’s time, and depicting him on horseback would have been a common way to portray someone of his status and wealth.

In conclusion, Chaucer was a pioneer in English literature who helped to establish the English language as a literary language. His Canterbury Tales remains a beloved and influential work, and his impact on English literature cannot be overstated.

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