Geoffrey Chaucer is today enjoying a global renaissance. Why do poets, translators, and performers, from the mountains of Iran to the islands of Japan, find him so inspiring? In part this is down to the absolutely ground-breaking character of Chaucer's work. Not for nothing was he known as the Father of English Literature; his works were not just literary adventures, but also the first ever attempt to convince the world that poetry, science, tragedy, and astrology could all be explored through English, at a time when English writing commanded no prestige at a European level. Born in noisy dockside London, and then later a royal esquire, Chaucer was recognized by Westminster as a wily civil servant, a customs officer, but not as a poet. Only much later did his Westminister Abbey burial place became Poets' Corner, a national shrine. From Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath, writers have revelled in Chaucer's unique expressive range: high tragedy and barnyard farce; religious allegory and sex up a pear tree; farts and the music of the heavenly spheres. Today new performers are imagining new Chaucers across the world. -- from dust jacket.