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From the publisher
Geoffrey Chaucer might be considered the quintessential English writer, but he drew much of his inspiration and material from Italy. Without the tremendous influences of Francesco Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio, the author of The Canterbury Tales might never have assumed his place as the 'father' of English literature. Nevertheless, Richard Owen's Chaucer's Italy begins in London, where the poet dealt with Italian merchants in his roles as court diplomat and customs official, before his involvement in arranging the marriage of King Edward III's son Lionel in Milan and diplomatic missions to Genoa and Florence. Scrutinising his encounters with Petrarch, Boccaccio, and the mercenary knight John Hawkwood, Owen reveals the deep influence of Italy's people and towns on Chaucer's poems and stories. Much writing on Chaucer depicts a misleadingly parochial figure, but, as Owen's enlightening short study of Chaucer's Italian years makes clear, the poet's life was internationally eventful. The consequences have made the English canon what it is today.