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Geoffrey Chaucer Biography
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343 – 1400), known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey. Chaucer is best known today for The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories written in Middle English (mostly written in verse although some are in prose), that are presented as part of a story-telling contest.
The Cantebury Tales
The Canterbury Tales contrasts with other literature of the period in the naturalism of its narrative, the variety of stories the pilgrims tell and the varied characters who are engaged in the pilgrimage. Many of the stories narrated by the pilgrims seem to fit their individual characters and social standing, although some of the stories seem ill-fitting to their narrators, perhaps as a result of the incomplete state of the work.
Chaucer wrote in continental accentual-syllabic meter, a style which had developed since around the 12th century as an alternative to the alliterative Anglo-Saxon metre. Chaucer is known for metrical innovation, inventing the rhyme royal, and he was one of the first English poets to use the five-stress line, a decasyllabic cousin to the iambic pentameter, in his work, with only a few anonymous short works using it before him.