Geoffrey Chaucer has some claim to being the greatest poet in the English language. He knew at first hand the most powerful people in the country and, as the king's servant; Yet even in this crowded life he found time and opportunity to write some of the finest poems in the language.
Geoffrey Chaucer has some claim to being the greatest poet in the English language. Yet he has also been considered to be an invisible poet, self-depreciating and ironic, leaving only the breath of his comedy behind. In truth a great deal is known of him. He was a royal servant, who was indicted for rape. He was captured in battle and held for ransom. He knew at first hand the most powerful people in the country and, as the king's servant; he was concerned with the most pressing events of the realm. Yet even in this crowded life he found time and opportunity to write some of the finest poems in the language. Troilus and Criseyde is the first modern work of English literature. His genius was prolific and diverse and, while he was a true London artist, he was also part of the European renaissance of learning. The Canterbury Tales is an epic of Englishness itself, presided over by the genial and generous figure of Geoffrey Chaucer.
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"Like a bird of biographical prey, Ackroyd identifies his subject in an iconic image of Chaucer addressing the court of Richard II and swoops to investigate" -- Iain Finlayson * The Times * "Extensively researched and elegantly written" -- Sally Cousins * Sunday Telegraph * "Full, lively and eminently readable" -- Laurence Phelan * Independent on Sunday * "Ackroyd's series of short lives bodes well: handy, attractive, well illustrated, useful" -- Anne Wroe * Sunday Times * "This elegantly written and nicely judged biography offers a welcome reintroduction to a much-underestimated figure, and gets Ackroyd's new series of Brief Lives off to a promising start" * Scotsman *
About Peter Ackroyd
Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning historian, biographer, novelist, poet and broadcaster. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography, Thames: Sacred River and London Under; biographies of figures including Charles Dickens, William Blake, Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock; and a multi-volume history of England. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.
Chaucer: Brief Lives by Peter Ackroyd
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