English Literature

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  • Period: 450 to 1066

    Old English

    Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southern and eastern Scotland. What survives through writing represents primarily the literary record of Anglo-Saxon.
  • Period: 1066 to 1500

    Middle English

    Describes the dialects of English in the history of the English language between the High and Late Middle Ages, Middle English developed from Late Old English in Norman England and was spoken throughout the Plantagenet era. The more standardized Old English language was fragmented, localized, and, for the most part, improvised.
  • Period: 1500 to

    English Renaissance

    The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England from the early 16th century to the early 17th century. England had a strong literary tradition in the English vernacular , which gradually increased as the use of printing in English became common in the mid-16th century. This tradition of literature written in the English vernacular began in large part with the call of the Protestant Reformation.
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    Puritanism, begun in England in the 17th century, was a radical Protestant movement to reform the Church of England. The idea of a Puritan poet may seem a bit contradictory, as the Puritans disagreed with the practice of using metaphors and verbal flourishes in speech and writing, with their beliefs in God.
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    Restoration Age

    The term is used to denote roughly homogeneous styles of literature that focus on a celebration of or reaction to the restored court of Charles II. The period witnessed news becoming a commodity, the essay becoming a periodic art form, and the beginnings of textual criticism .
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    18th Century

    During the 18th century, literature reflected the worldview of the Age of Enlightenment (or Age of Reason): a rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political and economic problems that promoted a secular worldview and a general sense of progress and perfectibility.
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    It has its roots in eighteenth-century poetry, the Gothic novel, and the novel of sensibility. 6] This includes the graveyard poets, who were several pre-Romantic English poets writing in the 1740s and later, whose works are characterized by their somber meditations on mortality, "skulls and coffins, epitaphs and worms" in the context of the graveyard.
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    Refers to English literature during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). English writing of this era reflects the great transformation in most aspects of English life, from significant scientific, economic, and technological advances to changes in class structures and the role of religion in society.
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    Modern Literature

    Modernism experimented with literary form and expression, as exemplified by Ezra Pound's maxim "Make it new." This literary movement was driven by a conscious desire to change traditional modes of representation and express the new sensibilities of its time.
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    Post Moderns

    Was a form of literature characterized by the use of metafiction, unreliable narration, self-reflection, intertextuality, and often thematizing both historical and political themes.
  • Period: to


    It is literature with its setting generally after World War II. Typical characteristics of the contemporary period include reality-based stories with strong characters and a believable story. The settings generally remain in the current or modern era, so futuristic and science fiction novels are rarely included in this category.