Timeline of English Literature- Age of Chaucer (1350 – 1450)

Age of Chaucer (1350 – 1450)

History / Events

1381 Peasants’ revolt

1429 Siege of Orleans

1431 Joan of Arc burned

1441 Kings’ College, Cambridge founded
1356. Mandeville's " Travels."

1362 Langland’s Piers the Plowman The full title of the poem is The Vision of Piers Plowman. Three distinct versions of it exist, the first c. 1362, the second c. 1377, and the third 1393 or 1398. It has been described as "a vision of Christ seen through the clouds of humanity." It is divided into nine dreams, and is in the unrhymed and alliterative.

1380 Wycliffe’s Bible

1380-83 Troylus and Cryseyde by Chaucer.
1382 The Parlement of Foules by Chaucer
1384 The House of Fame by Chaucer
1385 The Legende of Goode Women by Chaucer

1385-91 English poet Geoffrey Chaucer writes The Canterbury Tales, a work which places him in the front rank of the narrative poets of the world. It contains about 18,000 lines of verse, besides some passages in prose, and was left incomplete. In it his power of story-telling, his humour, sometimes broad, sometimes sly, his vivid picture-drawing, his tenderness, and lightness of touch, reach their highest development. He is our first artist in poetry, and with him begins modern English literature. His character—genial, sympathetic, and pleasure-loving, yet honest, diligent, and studious—is reflected in his writings.

1393 Confessio Amantis.

Edward III
Richard II
Henry IV
Henry V
Henry VI


John Gower
John Wycliffe

William Langland
Geoffrey Chaucer
John Lydgate
James I

  1. Why are the years 1340 and 1400 important?

Ans. The year 1340 is important for the birth of the ‘father of English poetry’, Chaucer and in 1400 he breathed his last.

  1. Who made the first version of the Bible in English and in which year?

Ans. In 1382 John Wycliffe made the first version of the Bible in English.

  1. Why are 1453 and 1477 important in the history of English literature?

Ans. In the year 1453, Constantinople, which was the capital of Roman Empire, fell to the Turks, what announces the advent of the Revival of learning, i.e. the Renaissance Movement in Europe.
        In the year 1477, Caxton established his printing press in England in 1476 printed the first book Lydgate’s Temple of Glass, the Sheep and the Goose. Mallory’s Marti d’ Arthur was printed in 1485.

  1. Name two of Chaucer’s prose writings.

Ans. A Tale of Malebeus and Parson’s Tale are Chaucer’s two-prose work.

  1. Who is the first translator of the Bible?

Ans. Wycliffe, the morning star of the Reformation, felt the great need of the masses and with the assistance of his disciples produced a complete English version of Bible. It goes to the credit of Wycliffe that he made the first translation of the scriptures into any modern vernacular.

  1. Point out two major historical events that took place in the age of Chaucer.

Ans. Chaucer belonged to the 14th century. It was an age of foreign conquests, expansion of trade, chivalry and religious pilgrimages. In the same age however, Black Death, famine and plague swept away about one third of England’s population. Two historical events are – Black Death in 1348-49 and the peasant revolt in 1381.

  1. To which age does Chaucer belong?

Ans. 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400).

  1. Why are the years 1340 and 1400 important?

 Ans. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400).

  1. To whom was Chaucer indebted for the general idea of The Canterbury Tales?

Ans. The general idea of the story telling is slightly followed from the works of Boccachio. However, truly speaking in characterization and narration it is thoroughly English and Chaucerian.

  1. Relate two Events related to Social importance in Chaucer’s age.

Ans. In the 14th century in 1348 the Black Death and in 1381 The Peasants’ revolt took place. They caused great social upheavals at that period.      


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