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Author - Geoffrey Chaucer
A portrait of Chaucer by his contemporary, Thomas Hoccleve.

Author - Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer was born sometime between 1340 and 1345, most likely in London. He was the son of a successful wine merchant. In 1357, he became page to Edward III's daughter-in-law. The king then sent him on diplomatic missions abroad. On his journeys he would have seen the works of foreign authors such as Dante.

Chaucer held many positions. He was controller of London Customs, MP for Kent, a justice of the peace and clerk of the king's works in charge of royal building work, under Edward III and Richard II. In addition to this he also wrote many poems. His most famous work of all is without doubt The Canterbury Tales. Historical records of Chaucer disappear around 1400 and this is the presumed date of his death. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, the first person in Poets’ Corner.

How much do you know about Geoffrey Chaucer? Find out in this quiz on his life and works.

In which century was Chaucer born?
He was born around 1343 and died around 1400
What is the title of Chaucer's best-known work?
The Canterbury Tales
The Salisbury Tales
The Winchester Tales
The York Tales
The tales are told by a group of pilgrims as they travel from Southwark to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral
What is the title of the earliest of Chaucer's poems, written some time between 1369 and 1372?
The Book of the Abbess
The Book of the Countess
The Book of the Duchess
The Book of the Governess
It is thought that Chaucer wrote the poem to commemorate the death of Blanche, daughter of the Duke of Lancaster and the wife of John of Gaunt
In The Canterbury Tales, what is the name of the inn where the pilgrims meet before their journey?
The Tabard
The Talbot
The Tivoli
The Tolbooth
The inn was real. It was built in 1307 and stayed in business for over 500 years
Chaucer's father and grandfather were both what?
Geoffrey's father, John Chaucer, was a prosperous middle class man who traded imported wines
What name is now given to the language in which Chaucer worked?
Early English
Middle English
New English
Old English
Middle English was spoken from 1066 until the 15th century
Which character in The Canterbury Tales is a little deaf following a blow to the head from one of her husbands?
The Wife of Bath
The Wife of Bristol
The Wife of Dorchester
The Wife of Exeter
The Wife of Bath tales the take of a knight who is set the quest to answer the riddle "what is it that women most desire?" He succeeds in his task when he finds the answer "sovereignty over their husbands"
Which is the first of The Canterbury Tales?
The Cook's Tale
The Friar's Tale
The Knight's Tale
The Merchant's Tale
This is the tale of rivalry between the friends Palamon and Arcite for the love of Princess Emily
Which of the tale tellers has a conspicuous hairy wart?
The Coachman
The Miller
The Tailor
The Weaver
He also likes breaking down doors with his head!
Chaucer served in the English army under which king?
Henry III
Edward II
Edward III
Richard II
In 1360 Chaucer was captured during the siege of Reims and taken prisoner. Edward paid a ransom of £16 (a good deal of money at the time) for his release


Author:  Tony Rennick

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