English literature


  • Period: 500 to 1100

    Old English

    It is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England.
  • 731


    He was an English Benedictine monk at the monastery of St. Paul, known in the Ecclesiastical History of the English People and for his biblical commentaries and exegetical
  • 800


    the first great work of Germanic literature, mingles the legends of Scandinavia with the experience in England of Angles and Saxons
  • 950

    The material of the Eddas

    Taking shape in Iceland, derives from earlier sources in Norway, Britain and Burgundy
  • Period: 1100 to 1500

    Middle English

  • 1300

    Duns Scotus

    Known as the Subtle Doctor in medieval times, later provides humanists with the name Dunsman or dunce
  • 1340

    William of Ockham

    He advocates paring down arguments to their essentials, an approach later known as Ockham's Razor
  • Period: 1340 to 1400

    Geoffrey Chaucer

    He is considered the most important English poet of the Middle Ages, his most famous work: The Canterbury Tales
  • 1375

    Poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    That poem shows a great part of the characteristics of the literature of this era and about the history of King Arthur.
  • 1469

    Thomas Malory

    He compiles Morte d'Arthur – an English account of the French tales of King Arthur
  • 1476

    William Caxton

    He was the first person to introduce a printing press into England. From that moment, the vernacular literature began to flourish.
  • Period: 1500 to

    Modern English

    Modern English evolved from Early Modern English which was used from the beginning of the Tudor period until the Interregnum and Restoration in England.[6] The works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible are considered to be in Modern Englis
  • Period: Jan 1, 1501 to

    Anglican Reformation

    The Anglican Reformation inspired the production of a proper liturgy that led to the Book of Common Prayer, a key influence in English literature.
  • 1510

    Erasmus and Thomas More

    Take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism
  • 1524

    William Tyndale

    He studies in the university at Wittenberg and plans to translate the Bible into English
  • 1549

    English prayer book

    The first version of the English prayer book, or Book of Common Prayer, is published with text by Thomas Cranmer
  • 1567

    Publishment of New Testament and Book of common prayer

    The Book of Common Prayer and the New Testament are published in Welsh, to be followed by the complete Bible in 1588
  • Hamlet

    Shakespeare's central character in Hamlet expresses both the ideals of the Renaissance and the disillusion of a less confident age
  • King James Bible

    Beginning of one of the most important projects in the history of translation in England. The play became the standard Bible for the Church of England
  • The Masque of Blackness

    Ben Jonson writes The Masque of Blackness, the first of his many masques for the court of James I
  • John Donne

    England's leading Metaphysical poet, becomes dean of St Paul's
  • The Temple

    George Herbert's only volume of poems, The Temple, is published posthumously
  • The Augustan Age

    The Augustan Age begins in English literature, claiming comparison with the equivalent flowering under Augustus Caesar
  • Robinson Crusoe

    Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, with its detailed realism, can be seen as the first English novel
  • Jonathan Swift

    Jonathan Swift sends his hero on a series of bitterly satirical travels in Gulliver's Travels
  • Treatise of Human Nature

    David Hume publishes his Treatise of Human Nature, in which he applies to the human mind the principles of experimental science
  • Tristram Shandy

    Laurence Sterne publishes the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy, beginning with the scene at the hero's conception
  • Castle of Otranto

    English author Horace Walpole provides an early taste of Gothic thrills in his novel Castle of Otranto
  • Period: to

    Romantic literature in English

    Various dates are given for the Romantic Period but one of the most accepted is with the publishing of William Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads in 1798 is taken as the beginning, and the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 as its end.
  • Period: to


    It has its origins in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in Europe and North America, and is characterized by a very self-conscious break with traditional ways of writing, in both poetry and prose fiction
  • Charles Dickens, his first work

    With 24-year-old Charles Dickens begins monthly publication of his first work of fiction, Pickwick Papers (published in book form in 1837)
  • Period: to

    Victorian literature

    It was preceded by Romanticism and followed by the Edwardian era (1901–1910). While in the preceding Romantic period, poetry had been the dominant genre, it was the novel that was most important in the Victorian period.
  • Charles Kingsley

    English author Charles Kingsley publishes an improving fantasy for young children, The Water-Babies
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

    Lewis Carroll publishes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a development of the story he had told Alice Liddell three years earlier
  • Culture and Anarchy

    English author Matthew Arnold publishes Culture and Anarchy, an influential collection of essays about contemporary society
  • New English Dictionary

    Oxford University Press publishes the A volume of its New English Dictionary, which will take 37 years to reach Z
  • Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock Holmes features in Conan Doyle's first novel, A Study in Scarlet
  • The Wanderings of Oisin

    23-year-old Irish author William Butler Yeats publishes his first volume of poems, The Wanderings of Oisin
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

    Oscar Wilde publishes his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray in which the ever-youthful hero's portrait grows old and ugly
  • Dracula

    English author Bram Stoker publishes Dracula, his gothic tale of vampirism in Transylvania
  • Over the Brazier

    Robert Graves publishes his first book of poems, Over the Brazier
  • The Man with Two Left Feet

    Jeeves and Bertie Wooster make their first appearance in P.G. Wodehouse's The Man with Two Left Feet