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Geoffrey Chaucer was born in 1343. Chaucer worked as a diplomat, a courtier and a civil servant altogether.

Chaucer is sometimes regarded as ‘the father of English Literature”. He is supposed to be the pioneer of using a style in which characters are made to utter the real sounds and dialects of their native languages. He has used English language of that period, rather than using French like the rest in that era.

The most famous and celebrated of his works is “The Canterbury Tales”. Unfortunately, this most enjoyed work of the poet is an incomplete book, because of Chaucer’s death. He started writing it when he was in his 40s. It is an interesting account of 30 pilgrims of all walks of life going to the shrine of Martyr St. Thomas Becket, on a shiny day in April. All the characters are assumed to storytelling, whereas Chaucer gives us their complete description. He describes these characters humorously with an under tone of satire over the contemporary society. The pungent satirical tone is heightened by the description of religious characters such as The Monk. Chaucer involves the reader with himself so deeply that the reader starts feeling as being the part of the group. Moreover, he creates an atmosphere of friendliness. The reader feels no strangeness, and it seems as if Chaucer is a friend who is giving an account of his personal experience.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ marked a different stature in its time, as the narrative style was completely different from the contemporary. This piece of work is in contrast with those present at that time because of its naturalism. His language has the quality of both being colloquial and learned. He also explains a situation quite dramatically without making the character speaking a single word. Chaucer successfully takes the reader in his realm of imagination, making the reader see the situation through his eyes, and thinking through his brain.

Chaucer has been regarded as a great story teller in verse. His work holds a great variety, length wise and subject wise. His tone is at the same time both comic and serious. His satire is also sharp and pungent and it also evokes sympathy. Chaucer had a full command over all levels of speech. All in all Chaucer was one of the great artists, English literature has ever produced.



character – зд.персонаж

shrine – усыпальница, рака

martyr – мученик

pungent – колкий, язвительный

walk of life – общественное положение; занятие, профессия

colloquial – разговорный



  1. Look through the text again and find words and constructions you may use in your professional discourse (scientific terms etc.). Translate and memorize them.
  2. Find the transcription of the following words and practise pronouncing them: altogether, pioneer, martyr, successfully
  3. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

· Chaucer didn’t finish his greatest work.

· The characters of ‘The Canterbury Tales’ represent different strata of society.

· Chaucer preferred the French language to English in his literary work.

· Chaucer played an important role in the formation of English literature.


Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

  1. Read the text and find the answers to the following questions:

· Why didn’t Alexander Pope receive a good school education?

· Why did Pope choose literature as his occupation?

· Whom did Pope regard as his teacher?

· Which work made Pope famous?

· Which work gained him a leading place in English literature of his time?


Pope is an exceptional personality. In the first place, he was for a generation “the poet of a great nation”. There is not a single point to doubt that poetry was very limited in early eighteen century; there were very few lyrics, little or no love poetry, no epics, no dramas or songs of nature, but when we come in the narrow field of satiric and didactic verse Pope was the undisputed master. His influence completely dominated the poetry of his age. Several other foreign writers, as well as the mainstream of English poets, looked to him as their model. Pope was remarkably clear and adequate reflection of the spirit of the age in which he lived. He was the only writer of that age who devoted his whole life to letters.

Pope was born in the year of the Revolution i.e. 1688 in London. His parents were Catholics, they left London and settled in Binfield, near Windsor, where he spent his childhood. Unfortunately he received very little school education because of prejudice against Catholics in Public School and also because of his own weakness and deformity. But all these did not end his interest to literature, his mind and soul was with literature hence he browsed for himself among English books and picked up a smattering of the classics. At very early age he began to write poetry and records the fact with his usual vanity:

“As yet a child, not yet a fool to fame,

I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came.”

Being debarred by his religion from many desirable employments, he opted for literature to make his ambition and life motive or work. Dryden was his only master which he mentioned many times. When he was of sixteen year old he has written his “Pastorals” and after few year appeared his “Essay on Criticism”, which made him famous. And with the publication of the “Rape of the Lock”, in 1712, Pope’s name was known and honored all over England and this boy of 24 years, by the absolute force of his own ambition, had jumped to the leading place in English letters.



mainstream – главное направление, господствующая тенденция; относящийся к основному течению

browse – пролистывать, просматривать

smattering – малое количество; поверхностные сведения о чем-либо

letters – литература

prejudice – предрассудок

vanity – тщеславие

debar – препятствовать, лишать права

John Dryden – Джон Драйден (1631 - 1700) английский поэт, драматург и критик.

“Essay on Criticism” – статья-памфлет «Опыт о критике», манифест английского классицизма эпохи Просвещения

“Rape of the Lock” – иронико-комическая поэма «Похищение локона»


  1. Look through the text again and find words and constructions you may use in your professional discourse (scientific terms etc.). Translate and memorize them.
  2. Find the transcription of the following words and practise pronouncing them: adequate, unfortunately, essay, honored.
  3. Prove that:

· Poetry in the early 18 century was rather limited.

· Pope had a great influence on his contemporaries.

· Pope enjoyed popularity since early age.


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