Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer was a 14th-century poet who had a huge impact on English literature and whose books remain a staple for students studying it. Although traditionally dubbed “the father of English literature,” his poems are neither as hierarchical, nor as isolationist (or, indeed as boring!) as that title might suggest. He is one of the great comic poets in the English language.

If you’re looking for a biography of Chaucer, we recommend Chaucer: A European Life by Marion Turner, a professor of English at Oxford University. She spoke to us about Chaucer and his most famous work, The Canterbury Tales.

We also have an interview dedicated to Troilus and Criseyde, an earlier Chaucer poem, with Jenni Nuttall, also of the University of Oxford. She describes Troilus and Criseyde as “an extraordinary piece of storytelling . . . one of the very greatest instances of moment-by-moment narration, of looking through different characters’ eyes: falling in love, being happy, betraying someone.”

Books by Geoffrey Chaucer

Interviews where books by Geoffrey Chaucer were recommended

Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer: A Reading List, recommended by Jenni Nuttall

Troilus and Criseyde has a centuries’ old backstory. Long before Renaissance dramas or realist novels, Chaucer wrote a love story set in a besieged city that was a deep psychological exploration of character and human relationships. Jenni Nuttall, author of Troilus and Criseyde: A Reader’s Guide, shares her reading recommendations after over a decade of teaching the poem to Oxford undergraduates.

The Canterbury Tales: A Reading List, recommended by Marion Turner

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales not only revolutionized English poetry—they’re also extremely funny and moving. Oxford Professor Marion Turner, who has written the first full-length biography of Chaucer in a generation, tells us about the extraordinary man who wrote them and why we should all read the Canterbury Tales. 

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