• to check students'
A) Read the text.
GREAT FIGURES OF ENGLISH LITERATURE Geoffrey Chaucer
Chaucer is the earliest great writer of English literature. He was born
in London in the year 1340, the son of wine merchant. When he was about 16 he
became a soldier and fought in the wars against the French. He returned to
London in 1360 and became a civil servant at the court of King Edward III. Because
Chaucer could speak French and Italian the king made him a diplomat and sent
him on many trips abroad. While he was travelling Chaucer read a lot of French
and Italian literature. The works of the Italian poets Dante and Boccaccio had
an important influence on him.
Chaucer's first works were translations of Latin and French books. His
first important original poem was The Book of the Duchess (1368). In 1385 he
published Troilus and Criseyde, a romantic poem based on the work of Boccaccio.
But Chaucer's greatest work was written just before he died in 1400, in fact he
never finished it. It is The Canterbury Tales. In the Middle Ages many people
went on pilgrimages to Canterbury to visit the tomb of Thomas a Beck-et in the
cathedral. Chaucer's book tells us about a group of pilgrims who travel from
London to Canterbury and tell each other stories to pass the time during the long
journey. The stories are full of excitement, romance and comedy. The pilgrims
come from all level of society and show us many weaknesses of humanity. The
Canterbury Tales shows us that people who lived six hundred years ago were
really no different from people today.
B) Look at the underlined words in the text, study their contexts and
match them with their meanings:
1. a monument or place where a dead body is buried_(tomb).
2. example or effect_(influence).
4. person who fights in an army_(soldier).
5. person who makes a special journey to a religious place_(pilgrim).
6. person who works for the government_(civil servant).
7. people, the human race_(humanity).
8. person who works for their government in a foreign country_(diplomat).
C) Decide if these sentences are true (T) or false (F).
1. Chaucer was a soldier in the French Army.
2. Chaucer could understand Latin.
3. Chaucer wrote his book in 1368.
4. The Canterbury Tales is Chaucer's best work.
5. The Canterbury Tales is about Thomas a Becket.
6. The people in The Canterbury Tales are just like people today.
D) Answer the questions about Chaucer's life and work.
1. What jobs did Chaucer have?
2. Who ruled England in 1360?
3. What did Chaucer do while he was travelling?
4. Why did pugrims travel to Canterbury?
5. What did the pilgrims do during their journey to Canterbury?
6. Are there any stories in The Canterbury Tales funny?
7. Were the pilgrims rich or poor?
8. What does The Canterbury Tales show us about people in the Middle