Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400) is primarily known for his poetry, particularly The Canterbury Tales. The son of a vinter, he became well-traveled and rose through powerful friends into a career as a public servant. He married Philippa Roet, gaining further political access through her, and in 1374 he received the position Comptroller of Wool Customs and Subsidy for the Port of London.
There are indications that he was under financial pressure to raise money in 1380-81. He sold his father’s house and called in a significant number of debts.
Between 1378-81 Chaucer was writing an early version of St Cecilia, The House of Fame (a reflection on lasting reputation, lost voices and stories, and the inaccuracy of legacy and rumor), and The Parliament of Fowls (in which a female protagonist wishes to delay marriage).
In 1391 Chaucer addressed his educational A Treatise on the Astrolabe to a ten-year-old “Lyte Lowys my sone.” Sone could be taken metaphorically or literally; one hypothesis has little Lewis as the child of Chaumpaigne and Chaucer.