Geoffrey Chaucer: A near contemporary of Malory.

Many websites contain information on the life and works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Most of these websites provide useful information, timelines, and miscellaneous facts about Chaucer. The Geoffrey Chaucer Page is a very helpful website that contains a brief note on Chaucer and provides a timeline of the important events which occurred during Chaucer’s lifetime . A better description of Chaucer and his works is given by Anniina Jokinen’s website, Luminarium . It is an organized source of data on Chaucer’s life and works, and has a medieval yule carol playing on the Chaucer homepage . Columbia’s Electronic Encyclopedia offers a less impressive description of Chaucer, and does not adequately analyze his works . Librarius offers excellent insight on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales . These four websites offer us a window into the life and works of Geoffrey Chaucer.

The luminarium website links to a “Geoffrey Chaucer” website which is impressive and covers many topics. The homepage has the anonymous medieval yule carol “Bring a Torch Jeanette, Isabella” playing and offers easy access to the other portions of the site through six labeled links. The creator of the website, Anniina Jokinen, includes her email address and source citation for her music at the bottom of the page along with other useful citation information. Clicking on the “Quotes” link leads to a page of notable lines from the text of the Canterbury Tales. The actual texts containing these quotations can be found by clicking on the link labeled “The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer.” The information provided by clicking on these links is broad. The website offers everything from general notes on Chaucer’s literary works, to audio excerpts, and translations of passages (which are difficult to read in the original Middle English). The only major flaw of the website is a link that goes to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia website for information on Chaucer’s life. The little information provided by the Columbia Encyclopedia website does not stand up to the Luminarium pages. This was a poor choice for an external link on an excellent website <>.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia website offers a small, poorly organized description of Chaucer’s life and work. This website is chaotic and lacks any real content. There is little helpful information provided about the life and works of Chaucer, and the advertisements on the sides of the web pages are very distracting. The Chaucer portion of the website is divided into six brief sections which are linked to the main page. The only useful information on the website is the information on the two phases of Chaucer’s life, his early works and the Italian period. The bibliography provided on a page linked to the homepage is poorly set-up, and again, seems randomly chosen. This website is less than impressive than either the Luminarium site or The Geoffrey Chaucer Page <>

The Geoffrey Chaucer Page is just as useful as Luminarium. It is copyrighted by the President and his Fellows of Harvard University, and it offers a brief description of Chaucer’s life and numerous links to sites that prove that Geoffrey Chaucer existed through old records. The “Bibliography of works on Chaucer’s life” is linked to the homepage and assists the viewer in finding more information on Chaucer. The most useful information can be found on the “Brief Chronology of Chaucer’s life and Times” page. There is a useful timeline which shows events that took place both before and during Chaucer’s lifetime. This is the only one of the four websites that offers a large timeline full of notable events (which is most impressive). The information on this website is both well organized and useful. Unlike the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia page, The Geoffrey Chaucer Page is very simple, making it easy to navigate. This is a big benefit, especially since navigating the Internet can drive one crazy on its own <>.

Librarius is among the most impressive of the four Chaucer websites. The homepage offers both information on Geoffrey Chaucer’s life and detailed information about his Canterbury Tales. Modern English translations of every tale are available through links which will bring the viewer to another page. All work taken from other authors is properly cited and is available for purchase. The organization of the homepage is excellent, and it provides an easy way to navigate the website. The link “Chronology of Geoffrey Chaucer’s life and times” will bring the viewer to an external page which lists in paragraph form the years that notable events had taken place. This website combines the best elements from the previous three websites, and offers more specific information on one of Chaucer’s greatest works, the Canterbury Tales. The only element this website lacks is music. The music on Luminarium is a plus that Librarius . does not have .

The four websites discussed are just a few of the many pages dedicated to Geoffrey Chaucer. Librarius and Luminarium are very easy to navigate because of their excellent organization. The medieval carol playing on Luminarium makes me want to be a medieval minstrel (I’d even wear the tights). The Geoffrey Chaucer Page is easily navigable, but it is a bit simple. It doesn’t have as much information as the other websites but is still better than the horrible Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia website. The websites provide a window into the life and works of Geoffrey Chaucer and may inspire the reader to become a “squier” dressed in tights, a mercenary “knyght,” or a certified medieval yule caroler; however, these inspirations will pass as they are only brought about by the frustrations of navigating poor websites and attempting to fully understand the mystery that is Middle English.


Works Cited

Christopher Garcia