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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Chaucer's successive literary stages


Three distinct periods or stages are discernible in Chaucer's poetical works , so vast and so varied . It is , however , not at all possible to ascribe any of his particular work to any specific period or stage . Some tales of The Canterbury Tales , for instance , were written by him in some earlier phase or time . But these are found grouped and arranged in the final stage .

These three Chaucerian periodss are the French , the Italian and the English . This division is based on the three distinct phases of Chaucer's literary career . But such a division is neither exact nor all fair . Chaucer works , attributed to the Italian period , thus , are marked with French influences . These works are liable to be construed as the works of his French period . This classification , made on the basis of distinct literary influences , is to be taken not too scrupulously .

The influence of French literature is remarkably patent in Chaucer's works all through . The Italian romances are found to inspire his story - telling in verse .  His acute observations on English social life and conduct are definitely discernible in his literary inspiration and success in the final phase of his literary career . as a matter of fact , a better appreciation of Chaucerian literature needs a close acquaintance with these three distinct influences .

To the French period of Chaucer belong some of his earlier works , which are mainly allegorical . Some of his love lyrics , marked with grace and tender sentiments. are the product of this period . Of course , most if these lyrics are at present no longer extant . The best known of such lyrics is the Romaunt of the Rose , a translation from the popular medieval love poem Roman de la Rose of France . The poem is rather long , and contains , in octo-syllable couplets , a graceful allegorical presentation of the whole course of love and reveals much of Chaucer"s originality . But there are controversies as to Chaucer's  exact personal contribution to the translation .
Chaucer's successive literary stages

The most remarkable Chaucer's  works of the French period is The Boke of Blanche , the Duchesse , a courtly and aristocratic elegy , written about 1368-69 , to commemorate the death of Blanche , the first wife of Chaucer's patrin , John of Gaunt . This work is mainly allegorical , although it bears out decisively Chaucer's lyricism . The allegorical element of the poem carries a note of praise for beauty , signified by the late duchess . The longest of his early poems , this does nowhere appear abstract , although it has much of traditional elements-dream , mythology , fancy , and so on . It contains enough substance of reality in the character of the Duchess herself and in the deep grief for her death .

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