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Geoffrey Chaucer Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

No copies exist of Chaucer's works in his own handwriting.2

Chaucer originally planned to include 100 stories in The Canterbury Tales. He only finished 24.3

Monty Python member Terry Jones is also an avid Medievalist. He has written several books on Chaucer, including Who Murdered Chaucer?, an exploration of the (unproven and unlikely) theory that Chaucer was murdered.4

In "The Franklin's Tale" of The Canterbury Tales, a squire asks a magician to cause the tide to cover the rocks in Brittany so that he can win his lady. Turns out, that may not have been just a product of Chaucer's imagination. In 2000, astrophysicist Dr. Donald W. Olson calculated that an exceedingly rare astronomical alignment actually did cause a high tide to engulf Brittany around the year of Chaucer's birth.5

Chaucer may have had two daughters in addition to his sons, Thomas and Lewis. In 1377, a woman named Elizabeth Chausier entered a convent in London and later became a nun of Barking Abbey.6 There is also a record of an Agnes Chaucer who served as a lady-in- waiting at the Coronation of Henry IV.7 Scholars speculate that these women may have been Chaucer's daughters.

In 1374, King Edward III granted Chaucer a daily pitcher of wine. In 1398, the annual grant was increased to 252 gallons of wine per year.8

In "The Clerk's Tale" of The Canterbury Tales, the hapless Griselda's husband decides to test her - first by telling her that their children are dead, and then threatening to leave her and marry their daughter. Fortunately, Chaucer ends the tale by admonishing husbands and wives alike not to give their spouses this kind of crap.9

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