English Literature (most relevant authors and works up to 20th century)

  • Period: 450 to 1066

    Old English Period

    The Old English period (Anglo-Saxon period): language from the middle of the 5th to the beginning of the 12th century.
  • 500

    Four ballads

  • 673


  • 800


  • 975

    The Seafarer

  • 1000

    The Wanderer

  • Period: 1066 to 1500

    Middle English Period

    Middle English: diverse forms of the English language in use between the late 11th century and the 1480s.
  • 1072

    The Exeter Book

  • 1343

    Geoffrey Chaucer

    Canterbury Tales
  • 1455

    The Gutenberg Bible

  • 1477

    Sir Thomas More

    Utopia (1516)
  • Period: 1500 to

    The Renaissance

    This period is often subdivided into four parts, including the Elizabethan Age (1558–1603), the Jacobean Age (1603–1625), the Caroline Age (1625–1649), and the Commonwealth Period (1649–1660).
  • 1552

    Edmund Spenser

    The Faerie Queene (1590-1596)
  • 1564

    Christopher Marlowe

    Doctor Faustus (1604)
  • 1564

    William Shakespeare

    Henry VI, Richard III, Hamlet, Sonnets, The Tempest (1592-1611)
  • Period: to

    The Neoclassical Period

    The Neoclassical period is subdivided into ages, including The Restoration (1660–1700), The Augustan Age (1700–1745), and The Age of Sensibility (1745–1785).
  • Jonathan Swift

    Gulliver's Travels (1726)
  • William Blake

    Songs of Innocence (1789), Songs of Experience (1794)
  • William Wordsworth

    Lyrical Ballads (1798)
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    Lyrical Ballads (1798)
  • Jane Austen

    Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  • Period: to

    The Romantic Period

    The beginning date for the Romantic period is often debated. Some claim it is 1785, immediately following the Age of Sensibility. Others say it began in 1789 with the start of the French Revolution, and still others believe that 1798, the publication year for William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s book Lyrical Ballads is its true beginning.
    The time period ends with the passage of the Reform Bill (which signaled the Victorian Era) and with the death of Sir Walter Scott.
  • Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron)

    She Walks in Beauty (1814), When We Two Parted (1817)
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley

    Queen Mab (1813)
  • John Keats

    Ode on a Grecian Urn (1819), Ode to a Nightingale (1819)
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne

    The Scarlet Letter (1850)
  • Edgar Allan Poe

    The Black Cat (1834), The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)
  • William Makepeace Thackeray

    Vanity Fair (1848)
  • Charles Dickens

    Oliver Twist (1837), A Christmas Carol (1843), David Copperfield (1849), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860)
  • Charlotte Brontë

    Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846), Jayne Eyre (1847)
  • Emily Brontë

    Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846), Wuthering Heights (1847)
  • Mary Ann Evans (pen name George Eliot)

    The Mill on the Floss (1860)
  • Walt Whitman

    Leaves of Grass (1855)
  • Anne Brontë

    Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1847), Agnes Grey (1847)
  • Period: to

    The Victorian Period

    This period is named for the reign of Queen Victoria, who ascended to the throne in 1837, and it lasts until her death in 1901. It was a time of great social, religious, intellectual, and economic issues, heralded by the passage of the Reform Bill, which expanded voting rights. The period has often been divided into “Early” (1832–1848), “Mid” (1848–1870) and “Late” (1870–1901) periods or into two phases, that of the Pre-Raphaelites (1848–1860) and that of Aestheticism and Decadence (1880–1901).
  • Thomas Hardy

    Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891)
  • Oscar Wilde

    The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), The Importance of Being Earnest (1899)
  • George Bernard Shaw

    Pygmalion (1912)
  • Joseph Conrad

    Heart of Darkness (1899)
  • Rudyard Kipling

    The Jungle Book (1894)
  • William Butler Yeats

    The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems (1889)
  • H. G. Wells

    The War of Worlds (1898)
  • Stephen Crane

    The Red Badge of Honour (1895)
  • James Joyce

    Dubliners (1914), Ulysses (1921)
  • Virginia Woolf

    A Room of One's Own (1929)
  • Aldous Huxley

    Brave New World (1932)
  • William Faulkner

    The Sound and the Fury (1929)
  • Period: to

    The Edwardian Period

    This period is named for King Edward VII and covers the period between Victoria’s death and the outbreak of World War I.
  • Samuel Beckett

    Waiting for Godot (1949)
  • Period: to

    The Georgian Period

    The Georgian period usually refers to the reign of George V (1910–1936).
  • Period: to

    The Modern Period

    The modern period traditionally applies to works written after the start of World War I. Common features include bold experimentation with subject matter, style, and form, encompassing narrative, verse, and drama. W.B. Yeats’ words, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” are often referred to when describing the core tenet or “feeling” of modernist concerns.
  • Doris Lessing

    The grass is singing (1950), The golden notebook (1062)
  • Allen Ginsberg

    Howl (1956)
  • Period: to

    The Postmodern Period

    The postmodern period begins about the time that World War II ended. Many believe it is a direct response to modernism. Some say the period ended about 1990, but it is likely too soon to declare this period closed.
  • Terry Pratchett

    Discworld (1983)
  • J. K. Rowling

    Harry Potter (1997-2007)