This week the literary world has been thrown into disaray at the news that the work of the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages was actually little known Phillippa Roet.
Scholars have discovered definitive proof that all works currently attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer, including The Canterbury Tales were actually written by Chaucer’s wife, Philiipa Roet.
Well connected Roet was actually quite the character in her own right, sister of Katherine Swynford who became the third wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (son of King Edward III), her father was Sir Gilles de Roet, a knight of the Hainault who accompanied Queen Philippa to England. The pair met when Chaucer was commissioned to work as a page in Elizabeth of Ulster’s household in 1357 when the two met.
At this time Chaucer studied law and had no plans to be a poet, but after meeting Roet he is said to have drunk a gallon of wine, given to him by Edward III and written his first poem.
However now at a vault discovered at the mound that is all that remains of Leicester Castle, where Edward III died experts have discovered fragments of hand written pieces of Chaucer’s works including The Canterbury Tales, The Book of the Duchess, and The Legend of Good Women and these original drafts are signed Roet the Poet!
They say behind every successful man is a woman and that seems especially true of the Middle Ages.
EDIT: Well done to everyone who spotted the April Fool’s joke. We choose this particular trick in light of evidence that in the past many male authors drew inspiration, or directly plagiarised their wives private correspondence and diaries.