Chronological overview of English Literature

By lealsof
  • Period: 439 to

    Timeline of English Literature

    This timeline will allow you to understand the different periods, ages, and eras that developed during the process of creating English literature to this day. The purpose is to understand each historical event and the different authors.
  • Period: 439 to 1066


    The old English period (439 - 1066)
    Old English prose works include:
    * Legal writings.
    * Medical tracts.
    * Religious texts.
    * Translations from Latin and other languages.
    * Poems and prose.
  • 450

    Term Anglo-Saxon

    Term Anglo-Saxon
    There are two Germanic tribes the Angles and the Saxons, who invaded Celtic England.
  • 658


    He was the first English Christian poet, he created the ecclesiastical history of the English town of Bede (658-680).
  • 731

    The Venerable Bede

    The Venerable Bede
    He created his history of the English church.
  • 890

    The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

    The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
    The original manuscript was created during the reign of Alfred the Great (871-899). It tells the story of the Anglo-Saxons.
  • 937

    The Battle of Brunanburh

    The Battle of Brunanburh
    It is an English poem that tells the story of the Saxon king Athelstan, it also tells the story of the greatest battle that took place in England.
  • 955


    He was a prose writer, he wrote Latin grammar, the Lives of the saints, Heptateuch which is a version of the first seven books of the bible (955-1025).
  • 975


    It is the greatest writing in Old English literature, it tells the story of prince Beowulf and the monster Grendel (975-1025).
  • 991

    The Battle of Maldon

    The Battle of Maldon
    It is a heroic poem of a battle between the East Saxons and the Viking invaders, it describes the combat scenes very well.
  • Period: 1066 to 1500


    This period is characterized because the language is in transition, the literary language became recognized as modern English. Many of the writings were religious. Then there was from the year 1350 a change in literature with more interesting writings such as "Piers Plowman", "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight".
  • 1135

    The History of the Kings of Britain

    The History of the Kings of Britain
    In this year the History of the Kings of Britain (1135-1138) was written, the author was Geoffrey of Monmouth. The story tells of a king and his triumph by defeating an army.
  • 1200

    Influence of French Poetry

    Influence of French Poetry
    English poetry was influenced by French models such as Brut (1200) of the priest Lawamon.
  • 1350

    The linguistic situation in England

    There was a literary and linguistic revolution in England in the years 1350 to 1500 as language English had to compete with more widely used languages ​​such as Latin, French and Anglo-Norman dialect.
  • 1387

    Geoffrey Chaucer

    Geoffrey Chaucer
    He wrote one of the greatest poetic works in English known as "The Canterbury Tales", this work allowed the language of English to have credibility and to know through stories the cultural diversity of the Lower Middle Ages. A characteristic of this literary work is that it is written in a different genre, style, and tone.
  • 1464

    William Caxton

    William Caxton
    He wrote the first book published in an official printing press, the book is called "The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye" (1464), Dictes and Sayenges of the Phylosophers (1477), Canterbury Tales (1478), The Myrrour of the Worlde (1481 ), the first illustrated English book. In total this writer wrote 100 articles.
  • 1469

    Thomas Malory

    Thomas Malory
    This author was in prison in England, where he probably wrote the book "Le Morte d'Arthur (The Death of Arthur)" one of the first works written in English prose.
  • 1500

    Lyric Poetry

    Lyric Poetry
    Lyric poetry in English begins in the 16th century with the work the great poets such as Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard.
  • Period: 1500 to


    “Rebirth”. From 1500 to 1660.
    This period is subdivided into four parts:
    1) The Elizabethan Age (1558–1603).
    2) The Jacobean Age (1603–1625).
    3) The Caroline Age (1625–1649).
    4) The Commonwealth Period (1649–1660).
  • 1510

    Erasmus and Thomas More

    Erasmus and Thomas More
    They were diverse writers of poems in prose that took into account their era to write works related to Christian humanism.
  • Edmund Spenser

    Edmund Spenser
    It is one of the longest poems in English written by Edmund Spenser, this author recounted the Protestant era of Queen Elizabeth I and the various events of medieval knights.
  • Ben Jonson

    Ben Jonson
    He was a poet who wrote about the values, ethics, and norms shared during the time. He wrote several books, he is known as a controversial playwright in his time. Some of his greatest works are:
    Cynthia's Revels (1601)
    Volpone (1607)
    The Alchemist (1610)
    The Magnetic Lady, or Humours Reconciled (1641)
  • William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was a playwright and poet, he is considered one of the greatest writers of English literature. He lived in the period of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the Jacobean era, he was interested in the renaissance and disillusion at this age. He wrote great books like:
    Romeo and Juliet (1597).
    Hamlet (1603)
    Sonnets (1609)
  • King James Bible

     King James Bible
    It is an English translation of the Bible, it is well known and various writers were used to translate it. It was first published in 1611 and has had an enormous impact on subsequent translations of the Bible.
  • John Donne

    John Donne
    He was a metaphysical poet who wrote various poems such as The flea, Death be not proud, A Valediction forbidding mourning, and The canonization.
  • Thomas Hobbes

    Thomas Hobbes
    He was a writer and philosopher who wrote on various topics mainly about modern politics, the forms of government and bases that are now used in politics. Some of his books are:
    Leviathan (1651)
    The political works (1659)
    Behemont (1681)
  • Period: to


    It is subdivided into three ages:
    1) The Restoration (1660–1700)
    2) The Augustan Age (1700–1745)
    3) The Age of Sensibility (1745–1785)
    The authors at this time satires, dramas, poems about women, illustration, and a critical view of different situations that occurred at that time.
  • John Milton Woodcock

    John Milton Woodcock
    This author wrote one of the most classic books in English literature, it is called "Paradise lost" which talks about a muse and tireless love, about the good and evil angels among other topics. It consists of 10 books in total.
  • Aphra Behn

    Aphra Behn
    She was a playwright, writer and as a profession, she was a British spy. She is considered one of the first professional female writers in English history. Her main works are:
    The Rover (1677)
    The City Heiress (1682)
    The Emperor of the moon (1687)
  • William Congreve and John Dryden

    William Congreve and John Dryden
    William Congreve and John Dryden were English playwrights, poets, and translators who were noted for being one of the authors of the Restoration Comedy, which was manner at that time.
  • Daniel Defoe

    Daniel Defoe
    He was an English writer and journalist who had worldwide recognition mainly for his novel Robinson Crusoe (1719).
  • Jonathan Swift

    Jonathan Swift
    He was an Irish writer who became well known for his main work which was a utopia and satirical work, this book is known as "Gulliver's travels".
  • Samuel Johnson

    Samuel Johnson
    He was one of the most important writers who published one of the greatest writings in English which is "A Dictionary of the English Language" (1755).
  • Period: to


    As its name indicates, it was a period where romance was on the rise with various works that were characterized by describing pain, feelings, and symbolism.
  • William Beckford

    William Beckford
    He was a novelist writer, one of his greatest works is "Vathek" which is a gothic novel that describes things like hell.
  • William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    They wrote the play "Lyrical Ballads" which according to many experts this marked the beginning of romanticism in England.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft

    Mary Wollstonecraft
    Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was a British playwright writer, who is best known for having written the Gothic novel, Frankenstein. This is one of the first novels to talk about science fiction. She also wrote a work related to the Vindication of women's rights.
  • Period: to


    This period was characterized by the reign of Queen Victoria, it was a time with great social, political, and religious problems. The reform for the right to vote was given. There were many English authors at this time with well-known poems.
  • Charles Dickens

    Charles Dickens
    He was the creator of several British royalist novels and "A Christmas Carols, Oliver Twist".
  • Elizabeth Gaskell

    Elizabeth Gaskell
    She made many novels and short stories that were written in the Victorian era.
    1) North and South (1854)
    2) Daughters and wives (1866)
  • Christina Rossetti

    Christina Rossetti
    She was a British female poet who wrote beautiful poems that were recognized as works about love and events that were seen at that time.
    Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862)
  • Herbert George Wells

    Herbert George Wells
    He was a British writer who wrote novels of various genres, his best-known novel is a science fiction and is called "The Time Machine". Then he created the novel "The History of Mr. Polly" (1910) a history about an escape.
  • L. Frank Baum

    L. Frank Baum
    He was an American writer who mainly wrote stories for children, on this occasion he wrote the book "The wonderful wizard of Oz" which was recognized worldwide, and produced a series of books on that topic.
  • Beatrix Potter

    Beatrix Potter
    She was a writer who liked to illustrate her stories, especially she designed fables for children, among the most famous is "Peter Rabbit Book" (1901).
  • Period: to


    This period of literature was developed during the government of King Edward VII and is between the death of Queen Victoria and the First World War. Here various authors such as poets, playwrights, and writers of fantastic stories developed.
  • Joseph Conrad

    Joseph Conrad
    He is a British writer of Polish origin, who wrote about the human being and his instability in the face of changes; his books were distributed everywhere.
    1) Lord Jim (1900)
    2) Heart of Darkness (1902)
    3) Within Tides (1914)
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery

     Lucy Maud Montgomery
    She is a Canadian author known for her fortune and many writings especially for children, she created the saga of "Anne of Green Gables", "Rilla of Ingleside" and Emily of New Moon.
  • Rudyard Kipling

     Rudyard Kipling
    He was a British writer and poet who wrote various books with children's stories and pleasant stories such as poems.
    1) If (1910)
    2) The Jungle Book (1894)
  • Period: to


    In this period, King George V reigned from 1910 to 1936. The writing of this time was known as Georgian poetry that dealt with themes of rural, pastoral, nature, and deep feelings.
  • Ford Madox Ford

     Ford Madox Ford
    He was an English writer and painter who stood out for writing stories about what he lived in the First World War, his best-known book is The good soldier in 1915.
  • Rupert Brooke

     Rupert Brooke
    This British writer wrote many books on the war, these were known as "sonnets". His stories related cases that he had heard before because he never went to war.
    1) Poems (1915)
  • John Masefield

    John Masefield
    He was a British writer and poet who wrote his poems to the sea and different experiences that told stories of the time in which he lived.
    The best-known books of him are:
    1) Gallipoli (1917)
    2) The Midnight Folk (1927)
    3) "When The Wolves Were Running" (1935)
  • Frank Harris

    Frank Harris
    He was an Irish writer who published a series of novels about love and issues that occurred at that time. The most recognized literary work him was:
    1) My Life and Loves (1922)
  • Virginia Woolf

    Virginia Woolf
    She was a great British author who had ideas about feminism, she published many avant-garde novels, the best known was "Mrs. Dalloway" (1925).
  • Margaret Mitchel

    Margaret Mitchel
    She was an American writer and journalist who created just one novel and it was so successful that it was brought to the screens as a movie. Her book is called "Gone with the wind" (1936).
  • Period: to


    This is a period that is believed not to end yet, it marked a new beginning for writers as they are more bold experimentation when writing in different styles, forms, and themes.
    There is a preoccupation with describing the problems that suffer in today's society.
  • Ernest Hemingway

    Ernest Hemingway
    He was one of the great American authors of the twentieth century, this author is considered one of the best writers for his style of writing and the stories he tells. The most recognized books of him are:
    1) A Farewell to Arms (1929)
    2) Winner Take Nothing (1937)
    3) The old man and the sea (1952)
  • Aldous Huxley

    Aldous Huxley
    He was a British writer and philosopher who emigrated to the United States, his novels and essays are known for describing fantasies and travel themes. His best-known book is "Brave New World" (1932).
  • George Orwell

    George Orwell
    He is a British writer who was born in India, he is known for making dystopian novels such as "Animals farm" or "1984". In his novel about a farm he makes reference to the government, he strongly criticizes it.
  • C. S. Lewis

    C. S. Lewis
    He was a highly studied writer who wrote various novels and critiques throughout his life. His main work is "Narnia: The witch, the lion, and the wardrobe" (1950). This was another of the books that reached the screens and became a movie because it was very successful.
  • Period: to


    This period begins just when the Second World War breaks out, in this period the authors are more critical and develop various theories about a better world. Many of the postmodern authors wrote some books in the earlier (modern) period.
  • Samuel Beckett

     Samuel Beckett
    He was a playwright and novel writer, he is of Irish nationality but wrote many books in English. He is representative of 20th-century literary experimentalism. His best-known work was "Waiting for Godot" (1952).
  • Maya Angelou

     Maya Angelou
    She was an activist, writer, and woman who defended the rights of Americans for a long time. She published several essays and a book that is her autobiography.
    1) Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie (1971)
    2) I know why the Caged Bird Sings (1979)
    2) On the pulse of the morning (1993)
    3) A Brave and Startling Truth (1995)
  • Penelope Lively

    Penelope Lively
    She is a writer who mainly writes novels for children and adults about life, memory, and the importance of keeping memories.
    1) Family album (1975)
    2) Moon tiger (1987)
    3) Passing on (1989)
  • J.K. Rowling or Joanne Rowling

    J.K. Rowling or Joanne Rowling
    She is a writer, television producer, and screenwriter who is known worldwide for writing the Harry Potter book series. Everyone has heard, read, or seen these books at some point in her life.
    1) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997).
    2) Cormoran Strike (2013).
  • Period: to


    2000- To the present
  • Zadie Smith

    Zadie Smith
    She is a British writer and novelist who has won several awards for her novels, mainly the novel "White teeth" is recognized worldwide.
    1) White Teeth (2000)
    2) The Autograph Man (2002)
    3) On Beauty (2015)
  • Suzanne Collins

    Suzanne Collins
    She is an American author well known for making the trilogy of books known as "The Hunger Games." This writer specializes in creating novels about science fiction and dystopias.