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British Literature Timeline

  • Jan 1, 1386

    The Canturbury Tales

    Author: Geoffrey Chaucer
    Note; This date is approximate.
  • Period: Jan 1, 1386 to Dec 31, 1485

    The Middle Ages

  • Jan 1, 1390

    The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale

    Author: Geoffrey Chaucer
    Note: This date is approximate
  • Jan 1, 1395

    Chaucer's Retraction

    Author: Geoffrey Chaucer
    Note; This date is approximate
  • Dec 31, 1396

    Battle of Nicopolis

    Marks the final failure of the Crusades.
  • Dec 31, 1399

    Richard II abdicates the throne to Henry IV.

    Ends the Plantagenet dynasty; the Lancastrian dynasty begins.
  • Oct 25, 1415

    Battle of Agincourt

    Marks the turning point of the 100 Years' War.
  • Dec 31, 1429

    Joan of Arc lifts the siege of Orleans.

    This turn of events shifts the momentum of the war toward France.
  • Dec 31, 1431

    Joan of Arc is tried and executed.

    Joan of Arc was one of the most key figures in the 100 Years' War.
  • Dec 31, 1439

    Johannes Gutenberg invents the printing press.

    This invention allows for the spreading of literature to the masses.
  • Dec 31, 1453

    The 100 Years War ends.

    England's territory in France is almost completely lost.
  • May 22, 1455

    Battle of St. Albans

    Marks the beginning of the War of the Roses
  • Jan 1, 1470

    Morte Darthur

    Author: Sir Thomas Malory
  • Aug 22, 1485

    Battle of Bosworth Field

    Richard III dies and Henry Tudor becomes king; this marks the last liniage shift in the English monarchs.
  • Period: Jan 1, 1486 to

    16th Century

  • Jun 16, 1487

    Battle of Stoke

    This marks the end of the War of the Roses.
  • Dec 31, 1492

    Christopher Columbus reaches the New World.

    Marks the beginninf of European colonization of the New World.
  • Dec 31, 1503

    Leonardo da Vinci begins painting the Mona Lisa

  • Dec 31, 1510

    The great plague hits England

  • Dec 31, 1513

    Batlle of the Spurs

    Henry VIII crushes the French.
  • Dec 31, 1517

    The 95 Theses

    Marks the official beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
  • Dec 31, 1532

    The Formation of the Anglican Church

    England breaks away from Rome and establishes Henry VIII as head of the Anglican church.
  • Dec 31, 1553

    Mary Tudor becomes the first queen of England

  • Dec 31, 1558

    Elizabeth Tudor becomes Queen Elizabeth of England

    Her reign marks the height of the English Renaissance.
  • Dec 31, 1564

    William Shakespeare is born in 1564

  • Dec 31, 1580

    Francis Drake circles the world

  • England respulses the grand Spanish Armada

  • Spain repulses the English Armada

  • Amoretti

    Author: Edmund Spenser
  • The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

    Author: Christopher Marlower
  • The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

    Author: Sir Walter Raleigh
  • Period: to

    Early 17th Century

  • The Sonnets

    Author: William Shakespeare
  • Eve's Apology in Defense of Women

    Author: Aemilia Lanyer
  • Epigrams

    Author: Ben Johnson
  • William Shakespeare dies.

  • Poems

    Author: John Milton
  • Galileo publishes his ideas about the universe

  • The Temple

    Author: George Herbert
    Note: The date for this collection of poems has not been firmly establish. So, I applied the date above is the year of Herbert's death.
  • Holy Sonnets

    Author: John Donne
  • Descartes coins his famour philosophical assumption: "I think; therefore, I am."

  • Parliament revolts against Charles I

  • Lucasta

    Author: Richard Lovelace
  • Charles I is beheaded

  • Cromwell massacres the populations of Drogheda and Wexford

  • Poems

    Author: Andrew Marwell
  • Oliver Cromwell dissolves Parliament and becomes dictator of England

  • Areopagitica

    Author: John Milton
  • Sonnets

    Author: John Milton
  • Cromwell dies

  • England's Parliament restores Charles II to the throne

  • Period: to

    Restoration and the 18th Century

  • An Essay of Dramatic Poesy

    Author: John Dryden
  • Mac Flecknoe

    Author: John Dryden
  • Isaac Newton presents Principia

  • William of Orange (from the European mainland) overthrows James II

  • John Locke rejects political power derived from the authority of God

  • A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire

    Author: John Dryden
  • A Tale of the Tub

    Author: Jonathan Swift
  • Scotland and England become the United Kingdom of Great Britain

  • An Essay on Criticism

    Author: Alexander Pope
  • A Modest Proposal

    Author: Jonathan Swift
  • The Dunciad

    Author: Alexander Pope
  • Marriage A-la-Mode

    Author: William Hogarth
  • Rambler No. 4

    Author: Samuel Johnson
    Note: The above date is a publication date.
  • Rambler No. 60

    Samuel Johnson
  • Both England and France lay claim to the Ohio River Valley; these claims lead to the French and Indian War.

  • English armies achieve victory in the Americas over the French

  • Battle of Bunker Hill

    Marks the beginninf of the American Revolution
  • Pope

    Author: Samuel Johnson
  • King George declares the colonies free and independent

  • Period: to

    Romantic Period

  • There Is No Natural Religion

    Author: William Blake
  • Songs of Innocence

    Author: William Blake
  • Holy Willie's Prayer

    Author: Robert Burns
  • The Eolian Harp

    Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner

    Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Kubla Khan

    Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • The Ruined Cottage

    Author: William Wordsworth
  • Michael

    Author: William Wordsworth
  • Preface to Lyrical Ballads, with Pastoral and Other Poems

    Author: William Wordsworth
  • The Irish begin rebelling against English authority

  • Songs of Experience

    Author: William Blake
  • The British win the naval battle of Trafalgar; this ends Napoleon's hopes of invading England.

  • Lyrical Ballads

    Author: William Wordsworth
  • Written after Swimming from Sestos to Abydos

    Author: George Gordon, Lord Byron
  • They say that Hope is happiness

    Author: George Gordon, Lord Byron
  • She walks in beauty

    Author: George Gordon, Lord Byron
  • Napolon is exiled to the island of Elba

  • Mutability

    Author: Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • To Wordsworth

    Author: Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Battle of Waterloo

    Marks the end of Napoleon's rule forever
  • On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

    Author: John Keats
  • Ozymandias

    Author: Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • On Seeing the Elgin Marbles

    Author: John Keats
  • To Homer

    Author: John Keats
  • When I have fears that I may cease to be

    Author: John Keats
  • A Song: "Men of England"

    Author: Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • England in 1819

    Author: Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Bright star, I would I were stedfast as thou art

    Author: John Keats
  • Ode on a Grecian Urn

    Author: John Keats
  • Ode on Melancholy

    Author: John Keats
  • La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad

    Author: John Keats
  • Sonnet to Sleep

    Author: John Keats
  • Ode to Psyche

    Author: John Keats
  • Ode to a Nightingale

    Author: John Keats
  • Ode on Indolence

    Author: John Keats
  • To a Sky-Lark

    Author: Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • John Keats dies of tuberculosis at the age of 26

  • George Gordon, Lord Byron dies of fever in Greece

  • Period: to

    Victorian Age

  • Charles Darwin sails to South America as a naturalist

  • Lady of Shalott

    Author: Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • The Whigs acquire more power in the English Parliament for a short time

  • Porphyria's Lover

    Author: Robert Browning
  • Queen Victoria begins reigning in Great Britain

  • 58 children under the age of 13 die in mining accidents in England

  • My Last Duchess

    Author: Robert Browning
  • Sonnets from the Portuguese

    Author: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade

    Author: Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Battle of Balaclava

    Inspires Tennyson's poem The Charge of the Light Brigade
  • Charles Darwin publishes On Origin of Species

  • Hap

    Author: Thomas Hardy
  • God's Grandeur

    Author: Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • The Windhover

    Author: Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Spring and Fall

    Author: Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • No worst, there is none

    Author: Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle punlishes his first Sherlock Holmes short story, A Study in Scarlet

  • Crossing the Bar

    Author: Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • The Lake Isle of Innisfree

    Author: William Butler Yeats
  • Studies in psychology by Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud launch an age of analysis

  • Period: to

    20th Century Onward

  • Heretics

    Author: G. K. Chesterton
  • No Second Troy

    Author: William Butler Yeats
  • On Lying in Bed

    Author: G. K. Chesterton
  • Love Song

    Author: T. S. Eliot
  • The Convergence of the Twain

    Author: Thomas Hardy
  • World War I begins

  • Piano

    Author: D. H. Lawrence
  • World War I ends

  • The Second Coming

    Author: William Butler Yeats
  • Adolf Hitler becomes Fuhrer of the Nazi Party

  • Journey of the Magi

    Author: T. S. Eliot
  • BBC is given a royal charter in the United Kingdom

  • The world population reaches 2 billion

  • BBC World Service starts broadcasting

  • Adolf Hitler becomes the Chancellor of Germany

  • Mesee des Beaux Arts

    Author: W. H. Auden
  • The Unknown Citizen

    Author: W. H. Auden
  • Germany's invasion of Poland begins World War II

  • Winston Churchill becomes prime minister of England

  • World War II ends

  • Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

    Author: Dylan Thomas