Geoffrey Chaucer is best known for authoring the medieval classic Canterbury Tales. He is considered the greatest author of his times. He is also responsible for medieval English supplanting French and Latin as the language of England. Chaucer is considered the source of the English vernacular.
Geoffrey began his career as a page in the household of Elizabeth, Countess of Ulster, wife of Edward III's son Lionel, Duke of Clarence. As a squire serving in Edward III's army when the king invaded France in 1359, he was captured at the siege of Rheims, and subsequently ransomed. A few years later, he married Phillipa de Roet, a lady-in-waiting to Constance of Castile, the second wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. It was to commemorate John Gaunt's first wife, Blanche, that Chaucer composed in 1368 "The Book of the Duchess," the earliest work that can confidently be attributed to him.
Geoffrey served in various campaigns in France and Spain and twice visited Italy as a negotiator on important diplomatic missions.  By the age of 31, he had been appointed Controller of Customs and Subsidy of Wools, Skins, and Hides in the port of London, a very responsible post which he held for twelve years. During this period, he found time to write such major and innovatory works as "The House of Fame," "The Parliment of Fowls" and "Troilus and Cressida."
In 1386, he became a Justice of the Peace and Knight of the Shire to represent Kent in Parliament. Soon afterward, his wife died and he devoted the rest of his life to composing the "Canterbury Tales," a project that was never completed.
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