Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Geoffrey Chaucer, known popularly as the "Father of English Literature" was born in 1343 and died in 1400. His body of works—with none more famous than The Canterbury Tales—helped legitimize the use of the Middle English language at a time when most scholars dealt specifically in French and Latin. 

...

See
This Answer Now

Start your subscription to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your Subscription

Geoffrey Chaucer, known popularly as the "Father of English Literature" was born in 1343 and died in 1400. His body of works—with none more famous than The Canterbury Tales—helped legitimize the use of the Middle English language at a time when most scholars dealt specifically in French and Latin. 

Edmund Spenser lived two centuries later (1552–1599), and certain scholars might consider him to be the first poet of worth to emerge in England since Chaucer's death. His iconic work, The Faerie Queene, draws on Irish folklore in an epic allegorical poem which, among other things, celebrates the Tudor dynasty. 

These two poets were among the most influential early poets of the English language. Spenser was an enormous fan of Chaucer, and both were great admirers of the famous Italian romantic poets. Anne Higgins refers to both of them as "ambitious urban bourgeois." However, one key difference is that Chaucer is often celebrated for his comedy and societal satire, while Spenser seems more preoccupied with the romantic and the mythic. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team