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British Literature Periods

  • Jan 1, 654

    Beginning of Religion

    Beginning of Religion
    Foundation of the first religious community at Waltham Abbey, with a wooden church.
  • Jan 1, 700


    Beowulf (c. 700 C.E.) is a heroic epic poem, written in Old English, and easily the most important work of literature written in that language. At over 3,000 lines, the poem makes up 10 percent of the entire corpus of extant Old English literature. Beowulf is also one of the earliest surviving documents written in any vernacular language—one of the most valuable glimpses into the culture and history of the medieval ages afforded to historians.
  • Jan 1, 735

    Caedmon's Hymn

    Caedmon's Hymn
    The so-called Venerable Bede (c. 673-735) embeds this Anglo-Saxon hymn and the legend of its creation within his Latin text, An Ecclesiastical History of the English People, a book that describes the spread of Christianity in England. The hymn itself was composed in the mid- or late-7th century and so is the earliest surviving Old English poem.
  • May 27, 735

    Bede's Death

    Bede's Death
    Bede (IPA: /biːd/), also Saint Bede, the Venerable Bede, or (from Latin) Beda (IPA: /beda/), (ca. 672 or 673 – May 27, 735), was a Benedictine monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Wearmouth. He is well-known for his considerable writings, the most important of which, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People), has gained him the title "The Father of English History."
  • Oct 14, 1066

    Battle of Hastings

    Battle of Hastings
    The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of Duke William II of Normandy and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II, beginning the Norman conquest of England.
  • Period: Oct 15, 1066 to Dec 31, 1485

    MIddle English

  • Dec 31, 1066

    The End of the Anglo-Saxon Period

    The End of the Anglo-Saxon Period
    The Anglo-Saxon rule came to an end in 1066, soon after the death of Edward the Confessor, who had no heir. He had supposedly willed the kingdom to William of Normandy, but also seemed to favour Harold Godwinson as his successor.
  • Period: Jan 1, 1100 to Dec 31, 1500

    Medival Period

  • Mar 26, 1150

    Characteristics of This Period

    Characteristics of This Period
    The term Middle English literature refers to the literature written in the form of the English language known as Middle English, from the 12th century until the 1470s. During this time the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English became widespread and the printing press regularized the language. There are three main categories of Middle English Literature: Religious, Courtly love, and Arthurian, though much of Geoffrey Chaucer's work stands outside these.
  • Sep 1, 1295

    Marco Polo Releases his tales of China

    Marco Polo Releases his tales of China
    Marco Polo was not the first European to reach China, but he was the first to leave a detailed chronicle of his experience. There is a substantial literatutre based on Polo's writings.
  • Mar 24, 1375

    The Canterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer

    The Canterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer
  • Mar 25, 1393

    Piers Plowman by William Langland

    Piers Plowman by William Langland
    Piers Plowman of Visio Willelmi de Piers Plowman is a Middle English allegorical narrative poem by William Landland. It is written in U rhymed alliterative verse divided into sections called "passus" http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-life/medieval-
  • Mar 25, 1484

    End of the War of Roses

    End of the War of Roses
    The beginning of the English Rennaisance is often taken, as a convenience, to be 1485, when the Battle of Bosworth ended the Wars of the Roses and inaugurated the Tidor Dynasty. Rennaisance style and ideas, however, were slow to penetrate England, and the Elizabethan era in the second half of the 16th century is usually regarded as the height of the English Rennaisance.
  • Period: Jan 1, 1485 to


  • Oct 31, 1517

    Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses

    Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses
    The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficiancy of Indilgences were written by Martin Luther in 1517 and are very widely regarded as the initial catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. The disputation protests against clerical abuses, especially nepotism, simony, usury, pluralism, and the sale of indulgences.
  • Mar 26, 1540

    Characteristics of this Time Period

    Characteristics of this Time Period
    The movement actually began in Italy and spread to England, and the English Rennaisance offered fromc1500-1688. Characteristics of the Remnaisance was the idea of the 'Divine Right' of kings to rule. Another was the development of humanistic ideas, such as the "dignity of man." It was a time of scientific inquiry and exploration. This was also the time of the Protestant Reformation, and the invention of the printing press.
  • Major Work- Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

    Major Work- Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
    The Tragical History of the Life and Death of DOCTOR Faustus, commonly referred to simply as DOCTOR Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the German story Faust, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power, experience, pleasure and knowledge.
  • Major Work- Romeo and Juliet

    Major Work- Romeo and Juliet
    Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families.
  • Major Work- Hamlet by William Shakespeare

    Major Work- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play dramatises the revenge Prince Hamlet is instructed to enact on his uncle Claudius. Claudius had murdered his own brother, Hamlet's father King Hamlet, and subsequently seized the throne, marrying his deceased brother's widow, Hamlet's mother Gertrude.
  • Major Event- Charles II restored monarchy in England

    Major Event- Charles II restored monarchy in England
    In 1660 the monarchy was restored the kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland in the person of Charles II. The period that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms was officially declared an Interregnum.
  • Period: to


  • The Great Fire of London

    The Great Fire of London
    The Great Fire of London in 1666 enabled Londoners to remake their city
  • The Act of Settlement

    The Act of Settlement
    The Act of Settlement prohibited a Catholic from being king or queen.
  • Alexander Pope

    Alexander Pope
    Alexander Pope was an English essayist, critic, translator and one of the greatest poets of Neoclassicism, famous for his moral and critical essays, often ironical and biting satires and aggressive quarrels with other writers. One major work was An Essay on Criticism.
  • Samuel Johnson

    Samuel Johnson
    Johnson wrote the Dictionary of the English Language.
  • Voltaire (21 November 1694-30 May 1778)

    Voltaire (21 November 1694-30 May 1778)
    A French writer and philosopher whose intelligence, wit, ironic style, and simple vocabulary made him one of France's greatest writers and philosophers. Voltaire's criticism was based on his ironic view of human nature. So, in his “Micromégas,” he introduces ambassadors from outer space who, during their visit to Earth, witness follies of human thought and behaviour.
  • Neo-Classicism

    A picture describing the time period.
  • Period: to


  • Napoleon

    Napoleon defeated at Toulouse; exiled to Elba
  • Mary Shelly

    Mary Shelly
    In 1814 she fell in love with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, accompanied him abroad, and after the death of his first wife in 1816 was married to him. Her most notable contribution to literature is her novel of terror, Frankenstein, published in 1818.
  • Edgar Allan Poe

    Edgar Allan Poe
    Poe was an American writer, considered part of the Romantic Movement, and became an accomplished poet, short story writer, editor, and literary critic, and gained worldwide fame for his dark, macabre tales of horror. Edgar Allan Poe’s epic poem The Raven, was published when he was in Baltimore in 1835, and became an instant success.
  • Period: to

    Victoria Era

  • Charles Dickens

    Charles Dickens
    A Christmas Carol was the most successful book of the 1843 holiday season. By Christmas it sold six thousand copies and it continued to be popular into the new year. Eight stage adaptations were in production within two months of the book’s publication.
  • Ireland

    Irish potato famine begins.
  • William Makepeace Thackerary

    William Makepeace Thackerary
    William Makepeace Thackeray was an English novelist of the 19th century. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society. Wikipedia
  • California

    California admitted to the Union
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Nathaniel Hawthorne
    In The Scarlet Letter like many of Hawthorne’s works, the setting is New England and protagonist Hester Prynne’s adultery in a Puritanical 17th century town provides the backdrop for a psychological exploration of the themes of sin, repentance, and morality.
  • Technology

    First telegraph cable laid across the English Channel.
  • George Elliot

    George Elliot
    George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Ann Evans, one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century. Her novels, most famously 'Middlemarch', are celebrated for their realism and psychological insights.
  • Modern Literature Characteristics

    Modern Literature Characteristics
    Displays a sense of unity and similarity across genres and locales; experimentation and individalism became popular compared to past periods. Modernism covers artistic movement of symbolism and expressionism.
  • Period: to


  • World War 1

    World War 1
    WW1 marked the end of whatever chance the Victorian period had at progressing. It was then known as the "Great War" as it determined the landscape and produced death at a record breaking level.
  • Major Modern Authors

    Major Modern Authors
    F. Scott Fitzgerald- The Great Gatsby (1925)
    Robert Frost- The Lone Striker (1933)
    T.S. Elliot- The Waste Land (1922)
  • Characteristics of Post-Modern Literature

    Characteristics of Post-Modern Literature
    This period relied on techniques of fragmentation, paradox, and the unreliable narrator often defined as a style/trend which emerged in the post-World War II era. Works are seen as a response against Elightenment thinking and Modernist approaches to literature.
  • Period: to


  • Major Event: Cold War

    Major Event: Cold War
    A time of tension between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. during the second half of the 20th century due to Soviet association with Communism and the spread of ideology over the west
  • Period: to


  • Characteristics of Contemporary Literature

    Characteristics of Contemporary Literature
    A continuation of the Post-Modern era narratives; both fiction and nonfiction anti-heroes, concern with connections between people, emotion-provoking ,humorous irony, emphasized storytelling, and autobiographical essays
  • Major Contemporary Authors/Works

    Major Contemporary Authors/Works
    Alice Walker- The Color Purple (1982)
    Harper Lee- To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
    Amy Tan- The Joy Luck Club (1989)
    Yann Martel- The Life of Pi (2001)
  • Terrorist Attack on the U.S.

    Terrorist Attack on the U.S.
    Airplanes controlled by terrorists were crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.
  • Anglo-Saxon Period

    Anglo-Saxon Period
    The Anglo-Saxon period took place form 449-1066
  • Period: to Dec 31, 1066

    Anglo-Saxon Period