Chaucer and Today: Introduction (Chaucer Journal)

Geoffrey Chaucer, often called the “father of English”, is known as one of history’s greatest poets. Spinning fantastic tales of medieval life, Chaucer brought to life English in a way no other poet of his time could; when everyone was writing in Anglo-Norman, Chaucer bucked trends and wrote in English, a defiance against language conventions at the time. Making his living as a royal clerk while writing at night, Chaucer’s texts told stunning tales of fantasy and reality.

                Today, his The Canterbury Tales stands the test of time. Read and studied by every true fan of English literature, the Tales tell how a collection of pilgrims come together at an inn and tell stories; with each lusting after the prize offered by their host for who can tell the best story, what transpires is a lucid account of the medieval Man as brought to life by an amazingly talented poet.

                Though Chaucer is not as well-known as his contemporaries today—he certainly does not have the same reputation of Shakespeare or even John Milton—he remains an integral part of English literature and even language. His magnum opus concerning pilgrims and the stories they tell manages to retain its charm despite the passing of the centuries and the lack of relative praise and Hollywood-esque adaptations.

                For this reason, it is a fun find to discover a critical engagement with Chaucer which breaks new ground. Hence, the existence of this series—introducing “Chaucer and Today”, a critical appraisal and commentary series on works adapting Chaucer’s works into contemporary language and meaning.

Join us as we delve into this oft unappreciated niche and find what makes the medieval man today tick! Comment and suggest texts to tackle and help make this project go from one to sixty in a matter of seconds! Regardless, sit back and enjoy the ride.