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About Chaucer: 1340s-1400.

Geoffrey-Chaucer-9245691-1-402

Born around 1345 to a wealthy family of London vintners, Chaucer lived a privileged and flexible life by virtue of his varied jobs, contacts and international postings; from page work as a boy, a soldier, a diplomat, and head of customs, Justice of the Peace, a Member of Parliament to providing royal services. In between his busy schedule and keeping out of royal troubles, he found time to write his great works, including, The Canterbury Tales, which has never been out of print since it was first printed in the 15 century by Caxton Press. His decision to write in Middle English rather than in Latin or French, the language of court, guaranteed the longevity and development of the English language. Naturally, his first hand experience of human ‘wahala’ and travels are evident in his works. Like his birth date, the date of Chaucer’s death is equally imprecise, around October 1400. Known as the ‘Father of English literature’, his works reads like a sweet and sour, pot pouri collection of humanity, providing a great reference for future writers, such as Shakespeare. The Miller’s Tale is one of the twenty-four tales of the Canterbury Tale, exposing pride and ignorance, with a moral ending that turns the previous tale of the Knights Tale into jest. Painting with words, we see through the stories of the twenty-nine or so distinct characters, going on a Pilgrim to Canterbury Cathedral. Their strength and frustrations, secrets and hopes, passions, and shortcomings including farting, together define humanity. Pilgrim journeys in the Medieval Ages were as commonplace an activity as going on religious ‘camp’ and ‘prayer retreats’ in Nigeria today, where characters that would otherwise not socialise together are united by a common journey and disparate motives. This frame provides a perfect setting to etch out the characters and their wahala tales.

 

Old manuscript of Chaucer's work

Old manuscript of Chaucer’s work