From Cambridge it is not improbable that Chaucer removed to Oxford. It is affirmed by Leland, the great English antiquary of the sixteenth century, that Chaucer was educated at this latter place; and though Mr. Tyrwhit has rejected his authority in the point, it will perhaps be found that he did so without sufficient consideration.
Until 1844 'The Testament of Love' was universally regarded not only as a genuine work of Chaucer, but as an authority of the highest value for the biography of the poet.
The best manuscripts of Chaucer were written by and for some people who found music in Lydgate; and it is only by some standard of the difference between Chaucer's verse and Lydgate's that the readings of Chaucerian manuscripts can be tested and controlled.
The father of English poetry, Chaucer, was born at London in 1328, and educated at Cambridge, where, at the age of eighteen, he wrote The Court of Love, and some other pieces. From Cambridge he moved to Oxford, where, after a considerable stay, he became, says Leland, "an acute logician, a smooth rhetorician, a pleasant poet, a grave philosopher, an ingenious mathematician, and a holy divine."
In 1324 John Chaucer, Geoffrey's father, was kidnapped by an aunt in the hope of marrying the twelve year-old boy to her daughter in an attempt to keep property in Ipswich. The aunt was imprisoned and the £250 fine levied suggests that the family was well-to-do, upper middle-class, if not in the elite.
In 1386 Chaucer was a Member of Parliament for Kent. At about this time he began to write his most important work, The Canterbury Tales. The book is a collection of stories told by a party of pilgrims on a journey from Southwark to Thomas Becket's shrine at Canterbury.
He married a sister of the subsequent wife of John of Gaunt. This alliance proved a valuable aid in entering the court of Edward III., then the most brilliant in Europe. His high poetic talent raised him to favor at the court, and in 1367 he was granted a pension equal to about $1,000 in modern money.
Chaucer's first major work was 'The Book of the Duchess', an elegy for the first wife of his patron John of Gaunt. Other works include 'Parlement of Foules', 'The Legend of Good Women' and 'Troilus and Criseyde'.
Prior to Chaucer's time (with the notable exception of William Langland's Vision of Piers the Plowman), literary works were written in Latin. Chaucer is rightly remembered as the first major author to popularize the use of English in literature.
Geoffrey Chaucer was born in 1343, to John Chaucer a vintner and deputy to the King. Chaucer, his family name is derived from the French word ‘chausseur’ meaning shoemaker.