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Chaucer
  • Published: 1 June 2005
  • ISBN: 9780099287483
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $22.99

Chaucer

Brief Lives



'Ackroyd reinvented the biography genre, pushing at the boundaries - he pulls of the feat of climbing inside Chaucer's soul by immersing himself in the history and literature of the period' Scotland on Sunday

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.

  • Published: 1 June 2005
  • ISBN: 9780099287483
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

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.

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Praise for Chaucer

'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

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