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Geoffrey Chaucer and the Creation of the English Language

Geoffrey Chaucer and the Creation of the English Language

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Published by Thalita Carvalho
Geoffrey Chaucer and the creation of English language
Geoffrey Chaucer and the creation of English language

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Published by: Thalita Carvalho on Apr 02, 2011
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Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Faculdade de Letras
Introdução às Literaturas de Língua Inglesa
Geoffrey Chaucer and the
creation 
of the English languageand its literature
Professor: Marcel LimaAlumni: Thalita de Carvalho Pereira
Belo Horizonte/MG2011
 
Geoffrey Chaucer and the
creation 
of the English language and literatureIn this essay I will outline the influence of Geoffrey Chaucer in the developmentof the English language as we know it today and its literature.Geoffrey Chaucer is believed to have been born around 1340. He was the sonof John Chaucer, a wine trader, but he had access to aristocracy life by workingas a professional courtier and marrying in the family of John of Gaunts. Hiswork gave him the opportunity to travel to various areas of Europe, includingItaly and France, and consequently make “the acquaintance of the works ofwriters such as Dante, Petrarch, and Boccacio.” (Carter and McRae, p. 33).The wide range of cultural references acquired by Chaucer in his travels and hisown intelligence made of him one of the most capable writers of his time.Although he knew all the finer languages used to write by his contemporarymen, Chaucer chose to write mostly in the East Midland dialect of English,which was spoken in London. The problem with his choice was that the dialectdid not present him with enough material for his writings, hence, “in a sense, hehad to create the English language as we know it today and to establish itsliterary traditions.” (Burgess, p. 29)One of Chaucer’s most important works is
Troilus and Criseyde 
, the tragic love-story of the Trojan War. According to Burgess (p. 34), it is considered the firstfull-length piece of English fiction. The theme of joys and pain of love isrecurrent in Chaucer’s works and, according to Carter and McRae (p. 34),becomes more and more important, as in
The Legend of Good Women 
, poemabout women who died for love.Chaucer’s masterpiece is
The Canterbury Tales 
, a collection of linked tales toldby pilgrims who would go from Southwark to Canterbury. In this unfinishedwork, Chaucer is not only telling the tales of pilgrims, but he is unveilingdifferent human characters and a “view of life which, in its tolerance, humour,skepticism, passion, and love of humanity, we can only call ‘modern’”. (Burgess,p. 31)

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