Geoffrey Chaucer was born about 1343, the son of a rich wine merchant in London. Geoffrey followed (ha seguito) Edward III’s son to (il figlio di Edward III’s nella) war in France where he was taken (fù preso) prisoner and ransomed (riscattato) by the King himself (in persona) in 1360. So Chaucer grew up (crebbe) in close (in stretto) contact with the royal family and travelled from England to France. The King sent him (lo inviò) on various missions. Between 1368 and 1378, his journeys (i suoi viaggi) brought him (lo portarono) also to Italy where he became interested (si interessa) in Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio. In 1374 he was also appointed (nominato) to the office of Controller of the Customs on Wool and Hides in the Port of London. He was also a Member of Parliament for Kent. He was then a prosperous bourgeois since his (a partire dal suo) marriage to a wealthy (con una ricca) lady had brought him (gli aveva portato) a considerable income (reddito).
The year (l’anno) 1386 was a difficult one (è stato un anno difficile) for Chaucer. He was dismissed (è stato dismesso) from all his (da tutti i suoi) offices and this left him (lo lasciò) without income (senza reddito). He began to work on (cominciò a lavorare su) The Canterbury Tales in this period.
In 1389 he was appointed (è stato nominato) Clerk of the King’s Works (responsabile dei lavori del re) at Westminster. He was (fù) the first poet to be buried (sepolto) in the Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.
The father of English literature
Chaucer is regarded (considerato) as the father of English literature. His language became (divenne) standard English. The feature (caratteristica) of Chaucer’s works is their variety. His poems are usually divided into three periods: the French, the Italian and the English.
The French period is so called (chiamato) because it includes poems modelled on French romance styles and subjects (sul modello di stili e temi del romanticism francese):
• The Romaunt of the Rose
• The Boke of the Duchesse
The Italian period shows (espone) a greater (maggiore) maturity of perception:
• The Parlement of Foules
• The House of Fame
• The Legende of Good Women
• Troylus and Criseyde
The English period is marked (caratterizzato) by greater realism and includes Chaucer’s masterpiece:
• Canterbury Tales