An Introduction to Geoffrey Chaucer

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However, its additions are noteworthy in including the beginnings of editorial apparatus. This is quite clear from the title-page's list of new features: these include Chaucer's 'portraiture and progenie shewed'; 'his life collected'; 'arguments to every booke gathered'; 'old and obscure words explained'; 'authors by him cited, declared'; 'difficulties opened' and finally, 'two bookes of his, never before printed'.

The biographical material was the first life of Chaucer to appear in English, and its details provided the basic facts of his standard biography until the middle of the Nineteenth Century.


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Neither of these works are now credited as being by Chaucer. This copy was presented to the library in Francis Thynne the son of the former editor of Chaucer, William Thynne had sent Speght a long letter of 'Animadversions' on the edition of Speght took these criticisms - many of which were misguided - in good part and incorporated Thynne's suggestions into his second edition.

He thanks Francis profusely for his help in improving the text in his rewritten preface 'To the Readers. The appendix of Chaucer's 'old and obscure words It was revised and augmented for the reprint. Chaucer's language was becoming increasingly difficult for readers to understand by the end of the Sixteenth Century and it was a striking and necessary addition.

Consisting of some 2, words, most of the entries simply give explanations in the form of synonyms. In its original form it was not a particularly scholarly peice of work, and most of the meanings seem to have been supplied through guesswork from their context. The revised glossary for the second edition also incorporated some etymologies. Part of the Library and University Services. Please note that these pages are from our old pre website; the presentation of these pages may now appear outdated and may not always comply with current accessibility guidelines.

Proheme, with annotations folio A1v Woodcut of the friar with the end of his prologue folio I6v.

BBC - History - Geoffrey Chaucer

On folio , the following is underlined, presumably by the same reader: Throughout euery regyoun Went this foule trumpes soun As swyfte as a pellet out of a gonne Whan fyre is in the pouder ronne This book appears only in the web version of the exhibition. Beginning of the tale of the cook folio D6r Beginning of poem by Scogan To the lordes of the kynges house.

A Brief Introduction to Geoffrey Chaucer, His Works & Important Events in English

Title-page Woodcut of the knight with beginning of his tale folio B1r. Added title-page Beginning of appendix of 'hard words'. The World of Chaucer homepage. Case 1: Chaucer and his Works. Case 2: Contemporaries. Case 3: Influences. Case 5: Leisure, Law and Learning. Chaucer and his works Introduction to Chaucer and his works Descriptions of books with images Adam scriveyn, if ever it thee bifalle Boece or Troylus for to wryten newe, Under thy long lokkes thou most have the scalle, But after my makyng thow wryte more trewe; So ofte adaye I mot thy werk renewe, It to correcte and eke to rubbe and scrape, And al is thorugh thy negligence and rape.

Illuminated page folio 57v. Chaucer The Romaunt of the Rose England: c. Page with annotation by compositor folio 58r. Decorated page, with annotation by compositor folio 13v. Decorated page, with annotation by compositor folio 17v. Excerpt from The Romaunt of the Rose folio v. Chaucer The workes of Geffray Chaucer newly printed, with dyuers workes whiche were never in print before London: printed by Thomas Godfrey, Hunterian Bs.

In this Book

Woodcut of the knight from The Canterbury Tales folio C1r. Woodcut of the squire from The Canterbury Tales folio G5r. Title-page to The Dreame of Chaucer folio Bbb1v. Page showing deleted colophon folio v. The Shipman's Tale: 1 folio 25r.

Chaucer: The Poet in His World

The Shipman's Tale: 2 folio 77v. B eginning of appended Clerk's Tale folio r. Beginning of An ABC folio 80v. Continuation of An ABC f olio 81r. Continuation of An ABC f olio 81v. Continuation of An ABC fol io 82r. Woodcut of the clerk folio bb7v. Woodcut of the pilgrims folio c2v. Woodcut of the wife of Bath folio s2r. Woodcut of the knight folio c4v. First surviving page: woodcut of the shipman from the General Prologue. Front pastedown with annotations. Excerpt from the Merchant's Tale folio m6v. W oodcut of the miller and beginning of his tale folio g8r. Woodcut at beginning of Troilus and Criseyde.

Title page of The Canterbury Tales. Opening of Troilus and Criseyde. Woodcut at beginning of The Book of Fame. Woodcut of the pardoner with the end of his prologue folio N6v. Proheme, with annotations folio A1v. Woodcut of the friar with the end of his prologue folio I6v. Woodcut of the knight and beginning of his tale folio C1r.

Chaucer: The Poet in His World. Is a biography of Chaucer impossible? Related Articles. Chaucer's Post-Truth World. The Beard Maketh the Man. He was born in London, the son of a wine merchant; and by the circumstances of his birth and fortune found himself admitted to a knowledge of different ranks of society and different occupations: he was early a courtier, he saw something of war and was prisoner for a short time in France; later, he had considerable experience of affairs, both of routine work in a government office, and of more exciting diplomatic commissions.

His prosperity was not uniform, and he was not rich when he died in To his immediate and vivid knowledge of various aspects of mankind, he added a great amount of learning. Of the four prose treatises belonging to him, there is none that is not translation, close or loose. The prose works, however, are not to be neglected. Chaucer has two different manners of working: in some of his writings and from some points of view he is an original inventor; more frequently he appears as an agent for imported knowledge, for commonplaces both in abstract ideas, in imagination, and in style.

From the first he is superior in poetic style to the two preceding centuries of English versifiers, who had depended upon French authors for their stories, or their metres, or both. If he does not at first go much beyond the Romaunt of the Rose, or the school of Machault and Deschamps, at any rate he is the equal of his masters in their own province; the first English rhymer who can speak the courtly language and escape from rusticity, the first who has a right to criticise the older imperfect styles.

What is most surprising about the matter of the four prose treatises is that so much of it should be so dull, particularly in the two that belong to the Canterbury Tales. At first he is like every one else; his voice is not his own, but the voice of the century, of the average mind. Even after he had come to his own, and found his true genius, he kept a retreat open into the comfortable world of easy thinking.