In Search of Chaucer Sites

We are on the brim to the twenty first century, so what is the first thing that comes into a student's mind when he needs to do a school project on Geoffrey Chaucer, a fourteenth age English writer? Internet. Internet is probably the most important source of information, a source with infinite potential to hold all data humanity can generate. It delivers information relatively fast, and is the easiest to access (provided you have a computer at hand). However, is it helpful? I tried looking for sites on Geoffrey Chaucer, and came to the conclusion that sometimes it maybe easier and faster to consult your local library. There are basically three types of sites about Chaucer. They are sites from universities generated by professors teaching an English course on Medieval Literature and students taking this course, forums for scholars and other people interested in studying Chaucer in greater detail, and sites that actually provide some information on Chaucer in some organized manner.

Most of the sites I looked at are the sites created by English professors teaching courses on Medieval Literature or students doing school projects on Geoffrey Chaucer. Even though these sites can be well done, mostly they are disorganized collections of links to other sites. These sites can be a useful starting point, but they rarely provide solid information on Chaucer. One of the best sites I found is Chaucer MetaPage from University of North Carolina. MetaPage is essentially a vast collection of links to texts of Chaucer's works as well as other information about him and his age.

For serious researches of Chaucer there are a number of sites that bring together people devoted to the same interest. For instance, Rutgers University at New Brunswick, NJ currently houses The New Chaucer Society. The society provides a forum for teachers and scholars, organizes congresses, and publishes newsletters on age of Chaucer. Another interesting place for scholars is Geoffrey Chaucer Poetry Port forum where any person can post a question or a thought regarding Chaucer and his works. This may be a good place for people to have discussions or to find out answers to some specific questions about the author. However, before visiting the forum one must be prepared to skip through a lot of irrelevant messages that offer to earn vast amount of money in a week or less.

There are also a lot of sites containing general information about Chaucer. They are not too technical and not too trivial. One of the best sites is Geoffrey Chaucer page at Anthology of Middle English Literature. It is well-organized, with excellent design and content. It is one of the few sites that not only links to Chaucer's works, but also to his quotes, biography, and critical essays about him. About half of the links on the site are to other sites, but all of them are properly cited. This site can be praised for a remarkable easy-to-understand collection of Chaucer resources on the Internet.

Most of the sites on Geoffrey Chaucer provide a lot of links to Chaucer works, both in Middle English and in translations, or to glossaries of Medieval terms, or to other collection of links on Medieval Studies. Very few sites provide information on life of Chaucer. You have to look separately for that. One of the sites that lists Chaucer biography is TombTown. TombTown does not specializes on Chaucer or Medieval Literature, but its biography on Chaucer can give some general information about the author.

Internet may be a vast resource, but I doubt that it is the best one. Finding information on the net requires patience. I would recommend it to anyone who is too lazy to go to the library to take text of one of Chaucer's works. It is quite easy to find the text of his work on the Internet, but if a person is looking for general information about the English author, it may be easier to go to the library to consult some general references that are not available on the net (or require membership fee to access information). Internet has still a long way to go.