Geoffrey Chaucer was born in the early 1340s, probably the only son of John and Agnes Chaucer, who were wine merchants in London. This made Chaucer a member of the relatively well-off merchant class which paved the way for him to mix with members of court, the landed gentry and nobles, as well as merchants and wealthy traders throughout his life. At the age of about 14 Chaucer became a page in the household of the Countess of Ulster, who was the wife of Lionel, one of the sons of the then monarch, Edward III. A few years later Chaucer was a member of Lionel's retinue in France, where he was captured (in Reims) and then ransomed in 1360. It is likely that Chaucer returned to France in the same year, but by 1362 he was probably back in London and may have spent some time in the Inns of…

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Citation: Rudd, Gillian, Sebastian Sobecki. "Geoffrey Chaucer". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002; last revised 08 May 2023. [, accessed 25 May 2024.]

5164 Geoffrey Chaucer 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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