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The Ricardian Poets: a Timeline

This timeline shows the historical context of three of the so-called Ricardian Poets (Chaucer, Langland and Gower), to give a sense of their chronological relation to each other and to the events of the time. The Gawain-poet is not included here, since we have no firm knowledge of the dates of his works or any details of his biography. It is probable, though, that he was writing during the period covered here.

1327Coronation of Edward III
c. 1330Birth of Langland and Gower
1337Beginning of Hundred Years War
c. 1340Chaucer probably born in London, in the early 1340s
1348Black Death reaches England
1351Statute of Labourers
1357First record of Chaucer, as a member of the household of the Countess of Ulster, wife of Prince Lionel
1359Chaucer accompanies Lionel, as valettus, to fight in France
1360Chaucer captured by French soldiers and ransomed for £16
"Chaucer carries letters from Calais to England for Lionel
1365 Piers Plowman Z-text?
" Gower purchases the manor of Aldington Septvauns in Kent
1366 Death of Chaucer's father, John
" Chaucer travels to Spain, and is given safe conduct by Charles II of Navarre
c. 1366 Chaucer marries Philippa
1367 Birth of a son, Thomas, to Chaucer
1368 Chaucer listed as a squire
"-1372 Chaucer: Book of the Duchess
1369 Chaucer apparently on campaign with John of Gaunt in France
c. 1370 Piers Plowman A-text
1371 Chaucer listed as an esquire of the King's chamber (until 1373)
1372 Constance of Castile, in whose service is Philippa Chaucer, marries John of Gaunt
1374 Chaucer granted a gallon of wine a day for life
" Chaucer appointed Controller of Customs for wool in London, and given a house rent-free in return for seeing to its upkeep
" Chaucer granted an annuity of £10 by John of Gaunt
1376 -1378 Gower: Mirour de l'Omme
" The "Good Parliament"
1377 Death of Edward III; accession of Richard II
1378 Chaucer travels to Milan
"Gower granted power of attorney for Chaucer whilst he travels
"-1380 Chaucer: The House of Fame
"-1382 Gower: Vox Clamantis
"Great Schism (Western Schism)
c. 1379Piers Plowman B-text
1380 Chaucer released from the charge of raptus brought by Cecily Champaign
" Possible date of birth of second son, Lewis, to Chaucer
" -1382 Chaucer: Parliament of Fowls
"-1387 Chaucer: Legend of Good Women
1381 Peasants' Revolt
1382-6 Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde
1385-6 Piers Plowman C-text
c.1386 Death of Langland
" Chaucer moves from London to Kent, appointed a "knight of the shire" of Kent and sits as MP for Kent in the Oct./Nov. Parliament
1387 Chaucer makes apparently his final trip abroad, to Calais
1388 Chaucer resigns his royal annuities
"-1400 Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
"The "Merciless Parliament"
1389 Chaucer appointed Clerk of the King's Works (until 1391)
c. 1390 Gower: Confessio Amantis
1394 Chaucer granted an annuity of £20 for life by Richard II
1398 Gower marries Agnes Groundolf
1399 Chaucer living again in London, in the grounds of Westminster Abbey
" Richard II forced to abdicate by Henry Bolingbroke, who is crowned as Henry IV
1400 Death of Chaucer, apparently on October the twenty-fifth
" (c. 1400) Gower: In Praise of Peace
1408 Death of Gower

Select recent bibliography:

Arner, L. "History Lessons from the End of Time: Gower and the English Rising of 1381." Clio 31, (2002): 237-57.

Bennett, J. M. "The Curse of the Plowman." The Yearbook of Langland Studies 20, (2006): 215-26.

Dodd, G. "Changing Perspectives: Parliament, Poetry and the 'Civil Service' under Richard II and Henry IV." Parliamentary History 25, (2006): 299-322.

Friedman, J. B. "Chaucer's Pardoner, Rutebeuf's “Dit De L'herberie," the “Dit Du Mercier," and Cultural History." Viator 38, (2007): 289-319.

Giancarlo, M. Parliament and Literature in Late Medieval England Cambrige: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Hanna, R. London Literature, 1300-1380. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Hewett-Smith, K. M. "Allegory on the Half-Acre: The Demands of History." The Yearbook of Langland Studies 10, (2006): 1-22.

Hudson, A. "Langland and Lollardy?" The Yearbook of Langland Studies 17, (2003): 93-105.

Lacey, H. "‘Grace for the Rebels': The Role of the Royal Pardon in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381." Journal of Medieval History 34, (2008): 36-63.

Matthews, D. "Recent Chaucer Criticism: New Historicism, New Discontents?" Modern Philology 106, (2009): 117-27.

Scanlon, L. "King, Commons, and Kind Wit: Langland's National Vision and the Rising of 1381." Kathy Lavezzo (ed.) Imagining a Medieval English Nation (2004): 191.

Sobecki, S. I. "Educating Richard: Incest, Marriage, and (Political) Consent in Gower's 'Tale of Apollonius'." Anglia 125, (2007): 205-16.

Turner, M. Chaucerian Conflict: Languages of Antagonism in Late Fourteenth-Century London Oxford University Press, 2007.

Valente, C. The Theory and Practice of Revolt in Medieval England Ashgate, 2003.