Sam Leith

Books Podcast: Chaucer’s European roots

Books Podcast: Chaucer's European roots
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In this week’s books podcast we’re talking about why the Father of English Poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer, at least half belongs in a French, Latin and Italian tradition. Marion Turner’s magnificently scholarly Chaucer: A European Life sets the great writer in his own times — one of a hinge between feudal and early modern ideas about selfhood, authorship and originality; and one in which our man travelled widely and with profit across the Europe of his day, learning from poets in France and Hainaut, from Dante and Boccaccio, and even possibly from the painter Giotto. Plus, she tells how the man we often think of as a merry, roly-poly little character on the road to Canterbury first enters the record as an adolescent fashion-plate in something that looked suspiciously like a miniskirt…