February 4, 2005
For almost all his life, writing was not Geoffrey Chaucer's day job. The 14th-century English poet, born a vintner's son, began work young and changed jobs often. He was first a lackey, then the agent of a repressive state, declares David R. Carlson, a professor of English at the University of Ottawa. "Chaucer was the police," and not in any metaphoric sense.
In Chaucer's Jobs (Palgrave Macmillan), the scholar is blunt. "Chaucer was made 'the father of English poetry' not because he