Geoffrey Chaucer was an English poet and author. Considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, he is best known for The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer has been styled the "Father of English literature" and was the first writer buried in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. Chaucer achieved fame in his lifetime as a philosopher and astronomer, composing the scientific A Treatise on the Astrolabe for his 10-year-old son Lewis, he maintained an active career in the civil service as a bureaucrat and diplomat. Among Chaucer's many other works are The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Legend of Good Women, Troilus and Criseyde, he is seen as crucial in legitimising the literary use of the Middle English vernacular at a time when the dominant literary languages in England were still French and Latin. Chaucer was born in London sometime around 1343, though the precise date and location remain unknown, his father and grandfather were both London vintners, several previous generations had been merchants in Ipswich.
His family name is derived from the French chausseur, meaning "shoemaker". In 1324, his father John Chaucer was kidnapped by an aunt in the hope of marrying the 12-year-old to her daughter in an attempt to keep property in Ipswich; the aunt was imprisoned and fined £250, equivalent to £200,000 today, which suggests that the family was financially secure. John Chaucer married Agnes Copton who inherited properties in 1349, including 24 shops in London from her uncle Hamo de Copton, described in a will dated 3 April 1354 and listed in the City Hustings Roll as "moneyer", said to be moneyer at the Tower of London. In the City Hustings Roll 110, 5, Ric II, dated June 1380, Chaucer refers to himself as me Galfridum Chaucer, filium Johannis Chaucer, Londonie. While records concerning the lives of his contemporary friends, William Langland and the Pearl Poet, are non-existent, since Chaucer was a public servant, his official life is well documented, with nearly five hundred written items testifying to his career.
The first of the "Chaucer Life Records" appears in 1357, in the household accounts of Elizabeth de Burgh, the Countess of Ulster, when he became the noblewoman's page through his father's connections, a common medieval form of apprenticeship for boys into knighthood or prestige appointments. The countess was married to Lionel, Duke of Clarence, the second surviving son of the king, Edward III, the position brought the teenage Chaucer into the close court circle, where he was to remain for the rest of his life, he worked as a courtier, a diplomat, a civil servant, as well as working for the king from 1389 to 1391 as Clerk of the King's Works. In 1359, in the early stages of the Hundred Years' War, Edward III invaded France and Chaucer travelled with Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, Elizabeth's husband, as part of the English army. In 1360, he was captured during the siege of Rheims. Edward paid £16 for his ransom, a considerable sum, Chaucer was released. After this, Chaucer's life is uncertain, but he seems to have travelled in France and Flanders as a messenger and even going on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Around 1366, Chaucer married Philippa Roet. She was a lady-in-waiting to Edward III's queen, Philippa of Hainault, a sister of Katherine Swynford, who became the third wife of John of Gaunt, it is uncertain how many children Chaucer and Philippa had, but three or four are most cited. His son, Thomas Chaucer, had an illustrious career, as chief butler to four kings, envoy to France, Speaker of the House of Commons. Thomas's daughter, married the Duke of Suffolk. Thomas's great-grandson, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, was the heir to the throne designated by Richard III before he was deposed. Geoffrey's other children included Elizabeth Chaucy, a nun at Barking Abbey, Agnes, an attendant at Henry IV's coronation. Chaucer's "Treatise on the Astrolabe" was written for Lewis. According to tradition, Chaucer studied law in the Inner Temple at this time, he became a member of the royal court of Edward III as a valet de chambre, yeoman, or esquire on 20 June 1367, a position which could entail a wide variety of tasks.
His wife received a pension for court employment. He travelled abroad at least some of them in his role as a valet. In 1368, he may have attended the wedding of Lionel of Antwerp to Violante Visconti, daughter of Galeazzo II Visconti, in Milan. Two other literary stars of the era were in attendance: Petrarch. Around this time, Chaucer is believed to have written The Book of the Duchess in honour of Blanche of Lancaster, the late wife of John of Gaunt, who died in 1369 of the plague. Chaucer travelled to Picardy the next year as part of a military expedition. Numerous scholars such as Skeat and Rowland suggested that, on this Italian trip, he came into contact with Petrarch or Boccaccio, they introduced him to medieval the forms and stories of which he would use later. The purposes of a voyage in 1377 are mysterious, as details within the historical record conflict. Documents suggest it was a mission, along with Jean Froissart, to arrange a marriage between the future King Richard II and a French princess, thereby ending the Hundred Years War.
If this was the purpose of their trip, they seem to have been unsuccessful. In 1378, Richard II sent Chaucer as an envoy to the Visconti and to Sir John Hawkwood, English condottiere in Milan, it has been specu
Perdita (The Winter's Tale)
Perdita is one of the heroines of William Shakespeare's play The Winter's Tale. She is the daughter of Leontes, King of Sicilia, his wife Hermione. Perdita is born in prison, where her father has sent her mother because he wrongly believes she has been unfaithful to him. Paulina takes the baby to Leontes to try to convince him that it is his daughter, but he refuses to believe it, he thinks instead that she is the result of an affair between Hermione and Polixenes, King of Bohemia. He sends Antigonus to leave the infant Perdita on the seacoast of Bohemia. In a dream, Hermione appears to Antigonus and tells him to name her child Perdita, which means "the lost one" in Latin and, in Italian, "loss", he is chased away and eaten by a bear. Luckily, a shepherd living nearby comes to see, he finds Perdita and takes the box that Paulina left with Antigonus. It contains jewels and a note and some money, for Paulina knew that if someone found her, they would need an explanation. Perdita is brought back to the shepherd's house and is raised by the shepherd as his own, along with his son.
Early in the play, Perdita is described as being a beauty of conception. Sixteen years Perdita has grown into a beautiful young woman, unaware of her royal heritage. Prince Florizel, the prince of Bohemia, plans to marry her, his father, disapproves of the marriage and threatens the couple, so they flee to Sicilia with the help of Camillo. Prince Florizel disguises himself as a merchant. On, it is revealed that Perdita is the princess of Sicilia. Perdita is reunited with her mother, she lived her life thinking she was one person and found out she was another. She only knew the life of a simple girl. Leontes and Polixines reconcile and both approve of Perdita's marriage, it is assumed that Florizel and Perdita lived ever after
As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance is a type of prose and verse narrative, popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe. They were fantastic stories about marvel-filled adventures of a chivalric knight-errant portrayed as having heroic qualities, who goes on a quest, it developed further from the epics. Romances reworked legends, fairy tales, history to suit the readers' and hearers' tastes, but by c. 1600 they were out of fashion, Miguel de Cervantes famously burlesqued them in his novel Don Quixote. Still, the modern image of "medieval" is more influenced by the romance than by any other medieval genre, the word medieval evokes knights, distressed damsels and other romantic tropes. Romance literature was written in Old French, Anglo-Norman and Provençal, in Portuguese, English and German. During the early 13th century, romances were written as prose. In romances those of French origin, there is a marked tendency to emphasize themes of courtly love, such as faithfulness in adversity.
Unlike the form of the novel and like the chansons de geste, the genre of romance dealt with traditional themes. These were distinguished from earlier epics by heavy use of marvelous events, the elements of love, the frequent use of a web of interwoven stories, rather than a simple plot unfolding about a main character; the earliest forms were invariably in verse, but the 15th century saw many in prose retelling the old, rhymed versions. The romantic form pursued the wish-fulfillment dream where the heroes and heroines were considered representations of the ideals of the age while the villains embodied the threat to their ascendancy. There is a persistent archetype, which involved a hero's quest; this quest or journey served as the structure. With regards to the structure, scholars recognize the similarity of the romance to folk tales. Vladimir Propp identified a basic form for this genre and it involved an order that began with initial situation followed by departure, first move, second move, resolution.
This structure is applicable to romance narratives. Overwhelmingly, these were linked in some way only in an opening frame story, with three thematic cycles of tales: these were assembled in imagination at a late date as the "Matter of Rome", the "Matter of France" and the "Matter of Britain". In reality, a number of "non-cyclical" romances were written without any such connection. Indeed, some tales are found so that scholars group them together as the "Constance cycle" or the "Crescentia cycle"—referring not to a continuity of character and setting, but to the recognizable plot. Many influences are clear in the forms of chivalric romance; the medieval romance developed out of the medieval epic, in particular the Matter of France developing out of such tales as the Chanson de Geste, with intermediate forms where the feudal bonds of loyalty had giants, or a magical horn, added to the plot. The epics of Charlemagne, unlike such ones as Beowulf had feudalism rather than the tribal loyalties; the romance form is distinguished from the earlier epics of the Middle Ages by the changes of the 12th century, which introduced courtly and chivalrous themes into the works.
This occurred regardless of congruity to the source material. Chivalry was treated as continuous from Roman times; this extended to such details as clothing. When Priam sends Paris to Greece in a 14th-century work, Priam is dressed in the mold of Charlemagne, Paris is dressed demurely, but in Greece, he adopts the flashier style, with multicolored clothing and fashionable shoes, cut in lattice-work—signs of a seducer in the era. Historical figures reappeared, reworked, in romance; the entire Matter of France derived from known figures, suffered somewhat because their descendants had an interest in the tales that were told of their ancestors, unlike the Matter of Britain. Richard Coeur de Lion reappeared in romance, endowed with a fairy mother who arrived in a ship with silk sails and departed when forced to behold the sacrament, bare-handed combat with a lion, magical rings, prophetic dreams. Hereward the Wake's early life appeared in chronicles as the embellished, romantic adventures of an exile, complete with rescuing princess and wrestling with bears.
Fulk Fitzwarin, an outlaw in King John's day, has his historical background a minor thread in the episodic stream of romantic adventures. The earliest medieval romances dealt with themes from folklore, which diminished over time, though remaining a presence. Many early tales had the knight
Dictionary of National Biography
The Dictionary of National Biography is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives. Hoping to emulate national biographical collections published elsewhere in Europe, such as the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, in 1882 the publisher George Smith, of Smith, Elder & Co. planned a universal dictionary that would include biographical entries on individuals from world history. He approached Leslie Stephen editor of the Cornhill Magazine, owned by Smith, to become the editor. Stephen persuaded Smith that the work should focus only on subjects from the United Kingdom and its present and former colonies. An early working title was the Biographia Britannica, the name of an earlier eighteenth-century reference work; the first volume of the Dictionary of National Biography appeared on 1 January 1885.
In May 1891 Leslie Stephen resigned and Sidney Lee, Stephen's assistant editor from the beginning of the project, succeeded him as editor. A dedicated team of sub-editors and researchers worked under Stephen and Lee, combining a variety of talents from veteran journalists to young scholars who cut their academic teeth on dictionary articles at a time when postgraduate historical research in British universities was still in its infancy. While much of the dictionary was written in-house, the DNB relied on external contributors, who included several respected writers and scholars of the late nineteenth century. By 1900, more than 700 individuals had contributed to the work. Successive volumes appeared quarterly with complete punctuality until midsummer 1900, when the series closed with volume 63; the year of publication, the editor and the range of names in each volume is given below. Since the scope included only deceased figures, the DNB was soon extended by the issue of three supplementary volumes, covering subjects who had died between 1885 and 1900 or, overlooked in the original alphabetical sequence.
The supplements brought the whole work up to the death of Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901. Corrections were added. After issuing a volume of errata in 1904, the dictionary was reissued with minor revisions in 22 volumes in 1908 and 1909. In the words of the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, the dictionary had "proved of inestimable service in elucidating the private annals of the British", providing not only concise lives of the notable deceased, but additionally lists of sources which were invaluable to researchers in a period when few libraries or collections of manuscripts had published catalogues or indices, the production of indices to periodical literatures was just beginning. Throughout the twentieth century, further volumes were published for those who had died on a decade-by-decade basis, beginning in 1912 with a supplement edited by Lee covering those who died between 1901 and 1911; the dictionary was transferred from its original publishers, Elder & Co. to Oxford University Press in 1917.
Until 1996, Oxford University Press continued to add further supplements featuring articles on subjects who had died during the twentieth century. The supplements published between 1912 and 1996 added about 6,000 lives of people who died in the twentieth century to the 29,120 in the 63 volumes of the original DNB. In 1993 a volume containing missing biographies was published; this had an additional 1,000 lives, selected from over 100,000 suggestions. This did not seek to replace any articles on existing DNB subjects though the original work had been written from a Victorian perspective and had become out of date due to changes in historical assessments and discoveries of new information during the twentieth century; the dictionary was becoming less and less useful as a reference work. In 1966, the University of London published a volume of corrections, cumulated from the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research. There were various versions of the Concise Dictionary of National Biography, which covered everyone in the main work but with much shorter articles.
The last edition, in three volumes, covered everyone who died before 1986. In the early 1990s Oxford University Press committed itself to overhauling the DNB. Work on what was known until 2001 as the New Dictionary of National Biography, or New DNB, began in 1992 under the editorship of Colin Matthew, professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford. Matthew decided that no subjects from the old dictionary would be excluded, however insignificant the subjects appeared to a late twentieth-century eye. Suggestions for new subjects were solicited through questionnaires placed in libraries and universities and, as the 1990s advanced and assessed by the editor, the 12 external consultant editors and several hundred associate editors and in-house staff. Digitization of the DNB was performed by the Alliance Photosetting Company in India; the new dictionary would cover British history, "broadly defined", up to 31 December 2000. The research project was conceived as a collaborative one, with in-house staff co-ordinating the work of
The Canterbury Tales
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories that runs to over 17,000 lines written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400. In 1386, Chaucer became Controller of Customs and Justice of Peace and, in 1389, Clerk of the King's work, it was during these years that Chaucer began working on The Canterbury Tales. The tales are presented as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral; the prize for this contest is a free meal at the Tabard Inn at Southwark on their return. After a long list of works written earlier in his career, including Troilus and Criseyde, House of Fame, Parliament of Fowls, The Canterbury Tales is near-unanimously seen as Chaucer's magnum opus, he uses the tales and descriptions of its characters to paint an ironic and critical portrait of English society at the time, of the Church. Chaucer's use of such a wide range of classes and types of people was without precedent in English.
Although the characters are fictional, they still offer a variety of insights into customs and practices of the time. Such insight leads to a variety of discussions and disagreements among people in the 14th century. For example, although various social classes are represented in these stories and all of the pilgrims are on a spiritual quest, it is apparent that they are more concerned with worldly things than spiritual. Structurally, the collection resembles Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, which Chaucer may have read during his first diplomatic mission to Italy in 1372, it has been suggested that the greatest contribution of The Canterbury Tales to English literature was the popularisation of the English vernacular in mainstream literature, as opposed to French, Italian or Latin. English had, been used as a literary language centuries before Chaucer's time, several of Chaucer's contemporaries—John Gower, William Langland, the Pearl Poet, Julian of Norwich—also wrote major literary works in English.
It is unclear to. While Chaucer states the addressees of many of his poems, the intended audience of The Canterbury Tales is more difficult to determine. Chaucer was a courtier, leading some to believe that he was a court poet who wrote for nobility; the Canterbury Tales is thought to have been incomplete at the end of Chaucer's life. In the General Prologue, some 30 pilgrims are introduced. According to the Prologue, Chaucer's intention was to write four stories from the perspective of each pilgrim, two each on the way to and from their ultimate destination, St. Thomas Becket's shrine. Although incomplete, The Canterbury Tales is revered as one of the most important works in English literature, it is open to a wide range of interpretations. The question of whether The Canterbury Tales is a finished work has not been answered to date. There are 84 manuscripts and four incunabula editions of the work, dating from the late medieval and early Renaissance periods, more than for any other vernacular literary text with the exception of The Prick of Conscience.
This is taken as evidence of the Tales' popularity during the century after Chaucer's death. Fifty-five of these manuscripts are thought to have been complete, while 28 are so fragmentary that it is difficult to ascertain whether they were copied individually or as part of a set; the Tales vary in both major ways from manuscript to manuscript. Determining the text of the work is complicated by the question of the narrator's voice which Chaucer made part of his literary structure; the oldest surviving manuscripts of the Tales are not Chaucer's originals. The oldest is MS Peniarth 392 D, written by a scribe shortly after Chaucer's death; the most beautiful, on the other hand, is the Ellesmere Manuscript, a manuscript handwritten by one person with illustrations by several illustrators. The first version of The Canterbury Tales to be published in print was William Caxton's 1476 edition. Only 10 copies of this edition are known to exist, including one held by the British Library and one held by the Folger Shakespeare Library.
In 2004, Linne Mooney claimed that she was able to identify the scrivener who worked for Chaucer as an Adam Pinkhurst. Mooney a professor at the University of Maine and a visiting fellow at Corpus Christi College, said she could match Pinkhurst's signature, on an oath he signed, to his handwriting on a copy of The Canterbury Tales that might have been transcribed from Chaucer's working copy. Recent scholarship has cast severe doubt upon that identification. In the absence of consensus as to whether or not a complete version of the Tales exists, there is no general agreement regarding the order in which Chaucer intended the stories to be placed. Textual and manuscript clues have been adduced to support the two most popular modern methods of ordering the tales; some scholarly editions divide the Tales into ten "Fragments". The tales that make up a Fragment are related and contain internal indications of their order of presentation with one character speaking to and stepping aside for another character.
However, between Fragments, the connection is
The Winter's Tale (1910 film)
The Winter's Tale is a 1910 American silent short drama produced by the Thanhouser Company. The plot is an adaptation of The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare and requires fore-knowledge of the plot in order to understand the condensed one reel work; the film focuses on the conflict arising from two Kings, one of Bohemia and one of Sicilia, during a meeting. Queen Hermione enrages Leontes, by entertaining Polixenes. Leontes decides to kill him with poison, but the plan is foiled by the courtier tasked with the assassination. For this, Leontes imprisons his wife. Hermione gives birth to Leontes orders the baby to die out in the wilderness. Hermione is brought before the court and dies after interrogation. Fifteen years pass and Polixenes confronts and secretly follows his son, appearing as he declares his intention to marry a shepherdess; the two lovers seek protection with the King of Sicilia. Mourning and repentant for his past actions, Leontes learns the shepherdess is his daughter and blesses the marriage of the lovers.
The royal party goes to see a statue of the late queen Hermoine, revealed to be alive. The cast includes Anna Rosemond, Frank H. Crane and Martin Faust, but the directorial and production credits for the film are unknown; the production was a success for the Thanhouser Company and the film was met with positive reception following its May 27, 1910 release. The film survives in the Library of Congress; the surviving print suffers from significant deterioration. The film is a shortened single reel adaption of the play The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare; the film opens with the meeting of the kings of Sicilia. Hermione, the queen of Sicilia, entertains king of Bohemia; this arouses jealousy in the king of Sicilia. Leontes decides to poison orders a courtier to carry out the task; the courtier slips the poison into the cup, but he changes his mind and confesses to the murderous plot. Polixenes and the courtier depart safely. In prison, Hermoine gives birth to a daughter and sends it to her husband, Hoping to quell his anger.
This further upsets he orders the child to be taken out to the wilderness to die. Hermione is brought before a tribunal, is pronounced dead by Paulina. In a departure from the play, the film shows Hermoine's revival and departure to Paulina's house to dwell in seclusion; the infant princess is raised up by a shepherd of Bohemia. After a time lapse of 15 years, Polixenes confronts his son over his wanderings, he refuses to answer and the king follows him in secret. The prince, disguised as a shepherd, woos the young shepherdess and announces his intention to marry her; the king arrives and forbids it, but a faithful courtier advises them to seek protection of the king of Sicilia. Leontes has long come to regret his past actions. There, the identity that the shepherdess as his daughter is revealed and the marriage is approved; the royal party is invited to Paulina's house to view a statue of the late queen Hermoine. At the party, Hermoine disguised as a statue, extend her hand and surprises the grieving Leontes, who rejoices.
Anna Rosemond as the Queen of Sicilia Martin Faust as the King of Sicilia Frank H. Crane as the King of Bohemia Amelia Barleon as the Princess of Sicilia Alfred Hanlon as the Prince of Bohemia The adaptation of the scenario is credited to Lloyd F. Lonergan and Gertrude Thanhouser. While the director of the film is not known, two directors are possible. Barry O'Neil was the stage name of Thomas J. McCarthy, who would direct many important Thanhouser pictures, including its first two-reeler and Juliet. Lloyd B. Carleton was the stage name of Carleton B. Little, a director who would stay with the Thanhouser Company for a short time, moving to Biograph Company by the summer of 1910. Bowers does not attribute either as the director for this particular production nor does Bowers credit a cameraman. Blair Smith was the first cameraman of the Thanhouser company, but he was soon joined by Carl Louis Gregory who had years of experience as a still and motion picture photographer; the role of the cameraman was uncredited in 1910 productions.
The Thanhouser adaption notably foregoes the famous Shakespearean stage directions: Exit, pursued by a bear. And allows Antigonus a peaceful exit. Another difference in the production is that following reported death of Hermione. In the play, the audience is aligns with Leontes' view and gives no reason to doubt Hermione's death, but the Thanhouser adaptation shows the mechanism and conspiracy formed by showing Hermione's revival and departure. Instead of using the Shakespeare character of Time to frame the passage of time, the role is performed by an inter-title; the final scene is missing from the surviving print. The one reel drama 1000 feet long, was released on May 27, 1910; the surviving fragment in the Library of Congress is 12 minutes 35 seconds long, but it does not include the final scene with the disguised Queen of Sicilia. The surviving fragment has suffered significant damage due to deterioration; the film was re-released by the Thanhouser Company Film Preservation with a new original score composed and performed by Raymond A. Brubacher.
The film was positively reviewed by the contemporary trade publications that garnered universal acclaim. The Moving Picture News stated that this was the first Shakespeare adaptation by an Independent producer and said, "We were asked to inspect and criticize this film, there was nothing for us to do but give our full approval and applause, which we do right heartily." The New York Dramatic Mirror praised the production and comment