Sunday, June 2, 2019
Geoffrey Chaucer :: Biographies Biography Essays
Geoffrey Chaucer ...I think some of Chaucer belongs to his time and that much of thattime is dead, extinct, and never to be make alive again. What was alivein it, lives through him..._--John Masefield Geoffrey Chaucers world was the Europe of the fourteenth century. It wasneither rich or poor, happy nor sad. Rather, it was the intermingling ofthese, a mixture of splendor and poverty, displaying two worldly desireand spiritual purity. Chaucers travels through it, mostly on the Kingsbusiness,_ or civil service, shaped his writing, offering the readers oftoday a brief glimpse into the world in which he lived. Chaucer lived from approximately AD 1340 to 1400. The world in which helived was not one of peace or stability. Born the intelligence of a London vintner,he remained a Londoner for most of the rest of his life, leaving the cityonly on the Kings business_. The city of London was gum olibanum Chaucers environment for most of his life. Aside from brief visits into other countri es or playing areas of England, heremained in the city, and its affects on his writing was immense. London of that time was not the London of today. It was a walled city,guarded against invasion, but long enough time had passed since such athreat had approached that the defenses had loosened. Houses perched uponthe walls, and Chaucer in fact, lived for a time in a house built overAldgate, (one of the gates of the city). London was a city less than three-quarters of a square mile in size Itran east and double-u along the Thames less than one and a half miles, andextended northwards less than half a mile. Over 20,000 people were packedinto this small area the diversity of the inhabitants was overwhelming. Londoners ranged from wealthy to impoverished, from small to large, fromshoemaker to blacksmith to minstrel to priest. The city was thus fairlyclose. Stone building mingled with tile, wood, and thatch. While themajor streets were fairly wide, small shops and stands oft spread outinto the road, effectively narrowing it by up to half its width. LondonBridge (the only bridge in the city) was home to a multitude of homes andshops, perched on top of the span to conserve space. Waste was disposed of simply. It was emptied out the windows into thealley or street and slaughtering was done in he streets as well, withscraps being tossed underfoot.