Chaucer: His Life, His Works, His World

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Fawcett Columbine, 1989 - Biography & Autobiography - 636 pages
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An award-winning biography that recreates the public, private, and poetic life of Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English poetry and a central man of his age
 
Chaucer was born in the latter half of the fourteenth century, an age of revolution and devastation when Europe was convulsed by the Hundred Years' War, the Black Death, and the social and intellectual upheavals that marked the "autumn of Feudalism." The son of a wealthy London vintner, he maneuvered his way into the turbulent courts of Edward III and Richard II, and thus, without holding noble rank himself, he was able to witness the violent drama of royal power. It was, as Howard demonstrates, the perfect vantage point for a poet. Chaucer's own poetic development from the mannered medieval style of The Book of the Duchess to the rich, comic, human complexity of The Canterbury Tales reflects the transformation of his world. With The Canterbury Tales and the darker, more formal epic Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer established English for all time as a language of literature.
 
"A thoughtful, thorough book that conjures up the living presence of England's first great poet more concretely than anybody has ever done before."--San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

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User Review  - waltzmn - LibraryThing

Geoffrey Chaucer died with his greatest work, the Canterbury Tales, unfinished. Is there perhaps a slight irony in the fact that Donald R. Howard died with this major work about Chaucer unfinished ... Read full review

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User Review  - LydiaHD - LibraryThing

This book is 502 pages long (not including chronology, appendices, reference notes, and references), and I loved it. There are lots of things that are unknown about Chaucer's life, and Howard has ... Read full review

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About the author (1989)

Donald R. Howard's distinguished academic career began with a teaching post at Ohio State University. He was professor of English at Johns Hopkins University and also at Stanford University, where he was named Olive H. Palmer Professor of Humanities. He died in 1987.

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