How do you write a 600-page biography of someone who died more than 600 years ago and didn’t leave behind any personal writings — no letters or diaries? Context. It’s all about the context. And in Marion Turner’s brilliant “Chaucer: A European Life” (Princeton University Press), you will learn not only about the life of the man behind “The Canterbury Tales,” you will learn about the bustling, fast-changing world in which he lived and traveled. Turner bases her book on the “spaces and places” in which Geoffrey Chaucer moved — the architecture of his home, the streets of his neighborhood and the city of London, as well as the places abroad where he lived (and was, for a time, a prisoner of war). Throughout, she weaves in the life of the man and the influences that inspired his poetry. It’s a long book, and very detailed. But if you are interested in history, poetry or the man who invented iambic pentameter, it’s fascinating.