History of English Literature

Timeline created by ledys81
In History
  • 450

    Old English

    Old English
    Also known as Anglo-Saxon literature. In this era, poetry was the dominant genre, but genres such as hagiography, sermons, Bible translations, legal works, chronicles, and riddles were part of this period. Oral tradition was important in early English culture and most literary compositions were recorded to be performed. The most famous poem was Beowulf, which has remained to present days. This poem blends the fables of Scandinavia with the experience in England of Angles and Saxons.
  • 1066

    Middle English

    Middle English
    French became the official language. In this era, religious books maintained to have reputation and Hagiographies were written, adapted and translated. An uneducated population was capable to hear and see literature. In this period, the most recognized work was "The Canterbury Tales" by Chaucer. Chaucer is frequently considered as “the Father of English Literature”.
  • 1500

    Medieval Literature (450 – 1500)

    Medieval Literature (450 – 1500)
    In this era, the newest works of English literature survived thanks to the oral tradition. Medieval literature is split into two eras:
    Old English (658-1100)
    Middle English (1100-1500).
  • The Renaissance Era (1500 – 1670)

    The Renaissance Era (1500 – 1670)
    This era in English literature is ruled by Elizabethan authors such as William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and John Webster. Other well-known composers include Sir Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser. A key influence in this time was the renewal in interest in classical literature, which had a deep impact not only on writing but also on art and philosophy.
  • The Restoration (1660 – 1700)

    The Restoration (1660 – 1700)
    The Restoration literature considered the literature of those who belonged to the reestablished court society of Charles II’s reign. In this era, the dominant genres or styles were satire, poetries, essays, letters, biographies, and novels. The most relevant works were Paradise Lost, Earl of Rochester's Sodom, the passionate comedy of The Country Wife and the moral wisdom of Pilgrim's Progress.
  • The Age of Enlightenment (1700 – 1800)

    The Age of Enlightenment (1700 – 1800)
    Described as the time of meticulous scientific, political and philosophical discussions. Also, ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and humanity were integrated into a worldview. Some of the most significant writers of the Enlightenment were the Philosophes of France, notably Voltaire and the political scholar Montesquieu. A well-known poem from this era was the Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. It’s a clever parody of England’s ruling families.
  • The Romantic Period (1798 – 1830)

    The Romantic Period (1798 – 1830)
    The Romantic period was a reply to the main social transformation in England at the time. The Romantic period was also a response against the opinions and views of the Age of Enlightenment. In English literature, the romantic period gave Lyrical ballads, romantic poetry and romantic novels. The most known authors of this era were William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, and Walter Scot.
  • Transcendental Movement (1830 – 1860)

    Transcendental Movement (1830 – 1860)
    Transcendentalism was a religious, literary, and political movement. Supporters of this movement conceived the inherent morality of the person and nature, but also that the person is predisposed to corruption by society and its established religion and politics. Louisa May Alcott is the most recognized transcendentalist writer, her book Little women is one of the most loved books of all time.
  • Victorian Literature (1832 – 1900)

    Victorian Literature (1832 – 1900)
    It was in the Victorian era that the novel started to be the principal literary genre in English. Women represented an essential role in this growing popularity both as writers and as readers. Most of the time, Victorian novels were about moral stories in which hard work, love, and determination were always compensated. Charles Dickens appeared and quickly became probably the most influential novelist in the history of English writing. Oliver Twist is one of his most acclaimed books.
  • Modernism (1901-1939)

    Modernism (1901-1939)
    English literary modernism begun in the early twentieth century, literary modernism acted against the conservative positions of the Victorian era; the First World War was also a key influence. A significant feature of modernism is self-consciousness. Style and genres: poetry (free verse), speeches, memoir, novels were the most preferable style in this era. Ephifanies began to appear. James Joyce is one of the most recognized writers of this period, Ulysses is his most well-known book
  • Post-modernism (post-World War Two to the present)

    Post-modernism (post-World War Two to the present)
    After Modernism came Postmodernism, Postmodernism can be supposed to reply to Modernist thoughts, adding new ideas such as the unreliable storyteller and pastiche. Famous Postmodern stories include Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.