One of The Times' Best Literary Non-Fiction Books of 2019 One of the Sunday Times' Best Literary Books of 2019 Finalist for the PROSE Award in Biography and Autobiography, Association of American Publishers One of the Times Literary Supplement's Books of the Year 2019 Winner of the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, The British Academy A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year Longlisted for the HWA Non-Fiction Crown, Historical Writers' Association Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize, The Wolfson Foundation
Geoffrey Chaucer is often called the father of English literature, but this acclaimed biography reveals him as a great European writer and thinker. Uncovering important new information about Chaucer's travels, private life, and the circulation of his writings, Marion Turner reconstructs in unprecedented detail the cosmopolitan world of Chaucer's adventurous life, focusing on the places and spaces that fired his imagination.
From the wharves of London to the frescoed chapels of Florence, the book recounts Chaucer's experiences as a prisoner of war in France, as a father visiting his daughter's nunnery, as a member of a chaotic Parliament, and as a diplomat in Milan. At the same time, the book offers a comprehensive exploration of Chaucer's writings. The result is a landmark biography and a fresh account of the extraordinary story of how a wine merchant's son became the poet of The Canterbury Tales.
'An absolute triumph.' - A. N. Wilson, Times Literary Supplement
'A hugely illuminating book...
Turner's writing is never less than perspicacious, and often slyly humorous.' - Tim Smith-Laing, The Telegraph
'[A] wholly beguiling, original, vividly written appreciation of the hugely innovative author and his rich cultural and political European background.' - Robert Fox, Evening Standard
'A great swirl of a biography, one more capacious and more ranging than any of its predecessors.' - Joe Stadolnik, Los Angeles Review of Books
'[Turner] has forged a new kind of biography...
Her work promises to be definitive for some time to come.' - Mary Wellesley, Times Higher Education