History of english literature

Chronological overview of English literature

  • 450

    Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Period (450-1066)

    Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Period (450-1066)
    Prose: translation of legal, medical, or religious texts; use of dialects: Northumbrian, Kentish, West Saxon, Mercian; Oral tradition, and the translation of religious texts.
    Works: Beowulf , The Dream of the Rood, The Battle of Maldon.
    Authors: Caedmon, Cynewulf.
  • 1066

    Middle English Period

    Middle English Period
    Cultural life was influenced by the church. Anonymous writers. Allegorical fable, verse, secular lyrics. Medieval times.
    Works: The Canterbury Tales, The Lays and Fables
    Authors: Geoffrey Chaucer, Marie de France
  • 1500

    The Renaissance

    The Renaissance
    Faith in the nobility of man-Humanism. A positive willingness lo learn and explore. It was believed to be the rebirth of ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Comedy, drama, scepticisms.
    Works: The Faerie Queene, On Monsieur’s Departure, Book of Common Prayer, Hamlet.
    Authors: Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare,Thomas Wyatt
  • The Neoclassical Period

    The Neoclassical Period
    It’s characterized by order, accuracy, and structure (control). Inspired by the classical art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Dominance of Materialism and Empirical science. Restoration of drama.
    Works: All for love, Gulliver's travel, Lives of poets
    Authors: John Drayden, John Locke, Aphra Ben, William Cowper
  • The Romantic Period

    The Romantic Period
    French Revolution, Gothic era, Glorification of Nature, Awareness and Acceptance of Emotions, Celebration of Artistic Creativity and Imagination, Emphasis on Aesthetics Beauty, Themes of solitude, Focus on Exoticism and History, Spiritual and Supernatural Elements, Vivid sensory descriptions; Poems, verses, and lyrics.
    Works: Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude, Prometheus Unbound, Edinburgh Review.
    Authors: William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Godwin.
  • The Victorian Period

    The Victorian Period
    Industrial Revolution, proliferation of women writers, novels, from Romanticism to Realism; politics to passion; Optimism to pessimism.
    Works: Vanity Fair, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Wuthering Heights.
    Authors: Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Samuel Butler.
  • The Edwardian Period and The Georgian Period

    The Edwardian Period and The Georgian Period
    Elegance and luxury among the rich and the powerful. World War One. Revolutionary movements: post-impressionism, cubism, expressionism, futurism. Constructivism and Dadaism movements. Use of metaphoric, symbolism in writings.
    Works: Shakespearean Tragedy, Peter Pan, The Clayhanger trilogy The First Wives Tale;
    Authors: E.M. Forster, Joseph Conrad, Ralph Hodgson, John Masefield.
  • The Modern Period

    The Modern Period
    Individualism, experimentation, symbolism, absurdity, formalism, and relativism. Theory of psychoanalysis and irrational philosophy. Know as “The lost generation”.
    Works: Ulysses, Sons and Lovers, The Man of Property.
    Authors: David Herbert Lawrence, John Galaworthy, James Joyce
  • Contemporary English Period

    Contemporary English Period
    Structuralism, deconstruction, poststructuralism, postmodernism, postcolonialism, and magic realism.
    Main Focus: horrors of war, genocide, life experiences, real-life themes, alienation, transformation, consumption & relativity of truth.
    Works: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, In a Dark, Dark Wood
    Authors: Ruth Ware, Neil Gaiman