Chaucer the father of English poetry, lived in the Middle English period. It is convenient to divide chaucer’s literary output into 3 stages. The French period: in the first phase as a writer, Chaucer leaned heavily on French sources and French forms. This is evident in “ The Book of the Dichess”, poem on the death of the wife of john of gaunt, and again in a translation of a fench verse romance, “The Romaunt of the Rose”. Both poems belong to an established convention: the dream vision. In a dream vision, an extremely popular form during the middle ages, the poet falls asleep, usually on a May morning. In his dream he encounters real people or personified abstaractions; they represt the scenario of life, in which humans act as they should or fail to do so. The Italian period: during his visits to Italy, Chaucer saw a new world of art and literature. He was influenced by the works of Petrarch and Boccaccio. In Italy he also saw the dawn of Rennaissance, and this too, to some extend influenced his poems. The important works he wrote during this period are The Parlemment of Foules, The House of Fame, Troilus and Criseyde and The Legende of Good Women. The English period: in this period Chaucer becomes independent and begins writing in his own style. Chaucer’s masterpiece , the Canterbury Tales, one of the most famous works in all literature, was written during this period It is a collection of 24 tales in verse and prose, some complete, some incomplete, told as entertainment by a group of pilgrims riding from London to the shrine of Thomas A. Beckett at Canterbury. It had a very big and ambitious plan but it remained incomplete and unfinished. This is a collection of stories fitted into a general framework on the model of Boccaccio’s Decameron. A number of pilgrims including Chaucer meet at an Inn on their wat to Canterbury. The jolly host of the inn suggests that each pilgrim should tell stories to avoid the tiredness of the journey to and fro. The...
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