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ENGLISH LITERATURE TIMELINE

  • 731

    BEGINNINGS

    BEGINNINGS
    731
    The Venerable Bede, in his monastery at Jarrow, completes his history of the English church and people.
  • 800

    EPIC POEM OF BEOWULF

    EPIC POEM OF BEOWULF
    c. 800

    Beowulf, 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 EDDAS

    THE MATERIAL OF EDDAS
    950
    The material of the Eddas, taking shape in Iceland, derives from earlier sources in Norway, Britain, and Burgundy.
  • 1300

    DUNS SCOTUS

    DUNS SCOTUS
    c. 1300
    Duns Scotus, known as the Subtle Doctor in medieval times, later provides humanists with the name Dunsman or dunce.
  • 1340

    OCKHAM'S RAZOR: "THE SIMPLEST SOLUTION IS MOST LIKELY THE RIGHT ONE"

    OCKHAM'S RAZOR: "THE SIMPLEST SOLUTION IS MOST LIKELY THE RIGHT ONE"
    c. 1340
    William of Ockham advocates paring down arguments to their essentials, an approach is later known as Ockham's Razor. This scholastic philosopher and theologian who used ​preference for simplicity to defend the idea of divine miracles. It is sometimes paraphrased by a statement like "the simplest solution is most likely the right one".
  • 1367

    MEDIEVAL POEM "PIERS PLOWMAN"

    MEDIEVAL POEM "PIERS PLOWMAN"
    c. 1367
    A narrator Will Langland begins the epic poem of Piers Plowman. The poem accounts for three visions the protagonist has when he falls asleep.
  • 1375

    ARTHURIAN STORIES: SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT

    ARTHURIAN STORIES: SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT
    c. 1375
    The courtly poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells of a mysterious visitor to the round table of King Arthur
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English chivalric romance. It is one of the best known Arthurian stories, with its plot combining two types of folk motifs, the beheading game and the exchange of winnings.
  • 1387

    CANTERBURY TALES

    CANTERBURY TALES
    c. 1387
    Chaucer begins an ambitious scheme for 100 Canterbury Tales, of which he completes only 24 by the time of his death. ​The tales (mostly written in verse, although some are in prose) are presented as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral.
  • 1469

    MORTE d'ARTHUR

    MORTE d'ARTHUR
    1469

    Thomas Malory, in gaol somewhere in England, compiles Morte d'Arthur – an English account of the French tales of King Arthur.
    Le Morte d'Arthur is a reworking by Sir Malory of existing tales about the legendary King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table.
  • 1510

    DESIDERIUS ERASMUS AND THOMAS MORE

    DESIDERIUS ERASMUS AND THOMAS MORE
    1510

    Desiderius Erasmus and Thomas More take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism. They were two Renaissance humanist writers and two main leaders of the Protestant Reformation. They argued for open-mindedness, moderation,​ and tolerance, as well as the enhancement of public welfare.
  • 1549

    BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER

    BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER
    1549

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

    TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT
    1587

    Christopher Marlowe's first play, Tamburlaine the Great, introduces the swaggering blank verse of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. This play is loosely based on the life of the Central Asian emperor, Timur (Tamerlane/Timur the Lame, d. 1405). The play is a milestone in Elizabethan public drama; it marks a turning away from the clumsy language and loose plotting of the earlier Tudor dramatists, and a new interest in fresh and vivid language, memorable action, and intellectual complexity.
  • SHAKESPEARE: RICHARD III

    SHAKESPEARE: RICHARD III
    1592

    After tentative beginnings in the three parts of Henry VI, Shakespeare achieves his first masterpiece on stage with Richard III.
    It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign of King Richard III of England.[1] The play is grouped among the histories in the First Folio and is most often classified as such.
  • HAMLET

    HAMLET
    1601

    Shakespeare's central character in Hamlet expresses both the ideals of the Renaissance and the disillusion of a less confident age.
    It is Shakespeare's longest play with 30,557 words. Set in Denmark, the play depicts Prince Hamlet and his revenge against his uncle, Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father in order to seize his throne and marry Hamlet's mother.
  • JHON SMITH: DESCRIPTION OF NEW ENGLAND

    JHON SMITH: DESCRIPTION OF NEW ENGLAND
    1616

    John Smith publishes A Description of New England, an account of his exploration of the region in 1614.
  • GEORGE HERBERT

    GEORGE HERBERT
    1633

    George Herbert's only volume of poems, The Temple, is published posthumously. His poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets, and he is recognized as "one of the foremost British devotional lyricists".
  • THE TENTH MUSE

    THE TENTH MUSE
    1650

    The poems of Massachusetts author Anne Bradstreet are published in London under the title The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America.
  • PARADISE LOST: JOHN MILTON

    PARADISE LOST: JOHN MILTON
    1667

    Paradise Lost is published, earning its author John Milton just £10.
    It is an epic poem in blank verse. ​It is considered by critics to be Milton's major work, and it helped solidify his reputation as one of the greatest English poets of his time.
  • THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS

    THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
    1678

    Part I of The Pilgrim's Progress, written during John Bunyan's two spells in Bedford Gaol, is published and is immediately popular. ​It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious, theological fiction in English literature.
  • JOHN LOCKE, HUMAN UNDERSTANDING

    JOHN LOCKE, HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
    1690

    John Locke publishes his Essay concerning Human Understanding, arguing that all knowledge is based on experience. Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism". Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory.
  • THE AUGUSTAN AGE

    THE AUGUSTAN AGE
    1702

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

    GEORGE BERKELEY
    1710

    25-year-old George Berkeley attacks Locke in his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.
  • DANIEL DEFOE' ROBINSON CRUSOE

    DANIEL DEFOE' ROBINSON CRUSOE
    1719

    Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, with its detailed realism, can be seen as the first English novel. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is presented as an autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer)—a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical desert island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers, before ultimately being rescued.
  • GULLIVER'S TRAVELS

    GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
    1726

    Jonathan Swift sends his hero on a series of bitterly satirical travels in Gulliver's Travels. This four-part satirical work is a keystone of English literature, it was one of the books that gave birth to the novel form, though it did not yet have the rules of the genre as an organizing tool. A parody of the then-popular travel narrative, Gulliver’s Travels combines adventure with savage satire, mocking English customs and the politics of the day.
  • DAVID HUME

    DAVID HUME
    1739

    David Hume publishes his Treatise of Human Nature, in which he applies to the human mind the principles of experimental science.
    Hume was a ​Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism.
  • DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

    DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
    1755

    Samuel Johnson publishes his magisterial Dictionary of the English Language. Its principles dominated English lexicography for more than a century. This two-volume work surpassed earlier dictionaries not in bulk but in the precision of definition.
  • ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA

    ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA
    1768

    A Society of Gentlemen in Scotland begins publication of the immensely successful Encyclopaedia Britannica. Since its founding, the Encyclopædia Britannica has relied upon both outside experts and its own editors with various subject-area proficiencies to write its entries. Those entries are then fact-checked, edited, and copyedited by Britannica editors, a process intended to ensure that the articles meet Britannica’s long-held standards for readability and accuracy.
  • DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

    DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
    1776

    English historian Edward Gibbon publishes the first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. This book is divided into two parts. The first half covers about 300 years to the end of the empire in the West, about 480 CE; in the second half nearly 1,000 years are compressed. Gibbon viewed the Roman Empire as a single entity in undeviating decline from the ideals of political and intellectual freedom. For him, the material decay of Rome was the effect and symbol of moral decadence.
  • WILLIAM BLAKE: SONGS OF INNOCENCE

    WILLIAM BLAKE: SONGS OF INNOCENCE
    1789

    William Blake publishes Songs of Innocence, a volume of his poems with every page etched and illustrated by himself. It was Blake’s first great demonstration of “illuminated printing,” his unique technique of publishing both text and hand-colored illustrations​ together. The rhythmic subtlety and delicate beauty of both his lyrics and his designs created rare harmony on his pages.
  • MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT

    MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT
    1792

    English author Mary Wollstonecraft publishes a passionately feminist work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Wollstonecraft’s work argued that the educational system of her time deliberately trained women to be frivolous and incapable. She posited that an educational system that allowed girls the same advantages as boys would result in women who would be not only exceptional wives and mothers but also capable workers in many professions.
  • LYRICAL BALLADS: ROMANTIC MOVEMENT

    LYRICAL BALLADS: ROMANTIC MOVEMENT
    1798

    English poets Wordsworth and Coleridge jointly publish Lyrical Ballads, a milestone in the Romantic movement. The appearance of this is often designated by scholars as a signal of the beginning of English Romanticism.
  • THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL

    THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL
    1805

    Walter Scott publishes The Lay of the Last Minstrel, the long romantic poem that first brings him fame. Scott based his poem on the old Scottish Border legend of the goblin Gilpin Horner. The poem is structured as a frame story. Its narrator, who is living during the late 17th century, is the last of the ancient line of minstrels.
  • SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

    SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
    1811

    English author Jane Austen publishes her first work in print, Sense and Sensibility, at her own expense. This novel was published anonymously in three volumes and it became a classic. The satirical, comic work offers a vivid depiction of 19th-century middle-class life as it follows the romantic relationships of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.
  • OZYMANDIAS

    OZYMANDIAS
    1818

    Percy Bysshe Shelley publishes probably his best-known poem, the sonnet Ozymandias. One of Shelley’s most famous short works, the poem offers an ironic commentary on the fleeting nature of power. It tells of a ruined statue of Ozymandias (the Greek name for Ramses II of Egypt, who reigned in the 13th century BCE), on which is inscribed, “Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Around the statue, “The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
  • FRANKESTEIN: MARY SHELLEY

    FRANKESTEIN: MARY SHELLEY
    1818

    Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein, or The​ Modern Prometheus, a Gothic tale about giving life to an artificial man. That novel tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a hideous sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20.[2] Her name first appeared in the second edition published in Paris in 1821.
  • CHARLES DICKENS

    CHARLES DICKENS
    1836

    24-year-old Charles Dickens begins monthly publication of his first work of fiction, Pickwick Papers (published in book form in 1837).
    Charles Dickens considered the greatest of the Victorian era. His many volumes include such works as A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend.
  • BENJAMIN DISRAELI: CONINGSBY

    BENJAMIN DISRAELI: CONINGSBY
    1844

    In his novel, Conings by Benjamin Disraeli develops the theme of Conservatism uniting 'two nations', the rich and the poor.
    Coningsby follows the fortunes of Harry Coningsby, the orphaned grandson of the marquis of Monmouth. It also traces the waning of the Whigs and the Tories and the nascency of the Conservative party. Above all, Coningsby is a tribute to a political group called “Young England,” which hoped for an alliance of the nobility and the common people.
  • FRIEDRICH ENGELS

    FRIEDRICH ENGELS
    1845

    Friedrich Engels, after running a textile factory in Manchester, publishes The Condition of the Working Class in England.
    Engels, a German socialist philosopher, the closest collaborator of Karl Marx in the foundation of modern communism. They co-authored​ The Communist Manifesto (1848), and Engels edited the second and third volumes of Das Kapital after Marx’s death.
  • THESAURUS OF ENGLISH WORDS AND PHRASES

    THESAURUS OF ENGLISH WORDS AND PHRASES
    1852

    London physician Peter Mark Roget publishes his dictionary of synonyms, the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases which is a comprehensive classification of synonyms or verbal equivalents that is still popular in modern editions.
  • CHARLES DARWIN

    CHARLES DARWIN
    1859

    Charles Darwin puts forward the theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species, the result of 20 years' research. This English naturalist whose scientific theory of evolution by natural selection became the foundation of modern evolutionary studies. An affable country gentleman, Darwin at first shocked religious Victorian society by suggesting that animals and humans shared a common ancestry.
  • EAST LYNNE

    EAST LYNNE
    1861

    Mrs Henry Wood publishes her first novel, East Lynne, which becomes the basis of the most popular of all Victorian melodramas.
    Wood wrote this sensational and extremely popular East Lynne (1861), as a melodramatic and moralizing tale of the fall of virtue. Translated into many languages, it was dramatized with great success, and its plot has been frequently imitated in popular fiction.
  • ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN THE WONDERLAND

    ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN THE WONDERLAND
    1862

    Oxford mathematician Lewis Carroll tells 10-year-old Alice Liddell, on a boat trip, a story about her own adventures in Wonderland.
    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, widely beloved British children’s book by Lewis Carroll. With its fantastical tales and riddles, it became one of the most popular works of English-language fiction. It was notably illustrated by British artist John Tenniel.
  • DAS KAPITAL: KARL MARX

    DAS KAPITAL: KARL MARX
    1867

    The first volume of Das Kapital was published in Hamburg. One of the major works of the 19th-century economist and philosopher Karl Marx, in which he expounded his theory of the capitalist system, its dynamism, and its tendencies toward self-destruction. He described his purpose as to lay bare “the economic law of motion of modern society.” The second and third volumes, edited by his collaborator Friedrich Engels, were published posthumously in 1885 and 1894.
  • THOMAS HARDY

    THOMAS HARDY
    1874

    English author Thomas Hardy has his first success with his novel Far from the Madding Crowd. This English novelist and poet who set much of his work in Wessex, his name for the counties of southwestern England.
  • HENRY JAMES: DAISY MILLER

    HENRY JAMES: DAISY MILLER
    1879

    Henry James's story Daisy Miller, about an American girl abroad, brings him a new readership.
    The book’s title character is a young American woman traveling in Europe with her mother. There she is courted by Frederick Forsyth Winterbourne, an American living abroad. Daisy Miller uses the contrast between American innocence and European sophistication as a powerful tool with which to examine social conventions.
  • TREASURE ISLAND

    TREASURE ISLAND
    1883

    Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure story, Treasure Island, features Long John Silver and Ben Gunn. Treasure Island, classic adventure novel serialized in the magazine Young Folks from October 1881 to January 1882 under the title The Sea-Cook; or, Treasure Island and published in book form in 1883. Although not the first book about pirates, Treasure Island is considered by many to be the best.
  • SHERLOCK HOLMES

    SHERLOCK HOLMES
    1887

    Sherlock Holmes features in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first novel, A Study in Scarlet. Holmes is a fictional character as the prototype for the modern mastermind detective. As the world’s first and only “consulting detective,” he pursued criminals throughout Victorian and Edwardian London, the south of England, and continental Europe. Holmes made a singular impact upon the popular imagination and has been the most enduring character of the detective story.
  • OSCAR WILDE

    OSCAR WILDE
    1891

    Oscar Wilde, Irish wit, poet, and dramatist whose reputation rests on his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and on his comic masterpieces Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). He was a spokesman for the late 19th-century Aesthetic movement in England, which advocated art for art’s sake, and he was the object of celebrated civil and criminal suits involving homosexuality and ending in his imprisonment (1895–97).
  • H.G. WELLS

    H.G. WELLS
    1895

    H.G. Wells publishes The Time Machine, a story about a Time Traveller whose first stop on his journey is the year 8027.
    H.G. Wells, English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian best known for such science fiction novels as The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds and such comic novels as Tono-Bungay and The History of Mr. Polly.
  • DRACULA: BRAM STOKER

    DRACULA: BRAM STOKER
    1897

    English author Bram Stoker publishes Dracula, his gothic tale of vampirism in Transylvania. Dracula, a ​Gothic novel, that was the most popular literary work derived from vampire legends and became the basis for an entire genre of literature and film.
  • JOSEPH CONRAD

    JOSEPH CONRAD
    1900

    Joseph Conrad publishes his novel Lord Jim about a life of failure and redemption in the far East. This English novelist and short-story writer, whose works include the novels Lord Jim (1900), Nostromo (1904), and The Secret Agent (1907) and the short story “Heart of Darkness” (1902). During his lifetime Conrad was admired for the richness of his prose and his renderings of dangerous life at sea and in exotic places. A writer of complex skill and striking insight.
  • PETER PAN

    PETER PAN
    1904

    J.M Barrie's play for children Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up has its premiere in London. Although the title character first appeared in Barrie’s novel The Little White Bird (1902), he is best known as the protagonist of Peter Pan. The play​ was often revised, and the definitive version in five acts was published in 1928. The work added a new character to the mythology of the English-speaking world in the figure of Peter Pan, the eternal boy.
  • DUBLINERS: JAMES JOYCE

    DUBLINERS: JAMES JOYCE
    1907

    James Joyce completes the 15 short stories eventually published in 1914 as Dubliners.
    James Joyce,(born February 2, 1882, Dublin, Ireland—died January 13, 1941, Zürich, Switzerland), Irish novelist noted for his experimental use of language and exploration of new literary methods in such large works of fiction as Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939).
  • D.H. LAWRENCE

    D.H. LAWRENCE
    1911

    D.H. Lawrence's career as a writer is launched with the publication of his first novel, The White Peacock. D.H. Lawrence, author of novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, and letters. His novels Sons and Lovers (1913), The Rainbow (1915), and Women in Love (1920) made him one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century.
  • VIRGINIA WOLF

    VIRGINIA WOLF
    1915

    The English writer Virginia Woolf publishes her first novel, The Voyage Out. She is best known for her novels, Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927), Woolf also wrote pioneering essays on artistic theory, women’s writing, and the politics of power. A fine stylist, she experimented with several forms of biographical writing, composed painterly short fictions, and sent to her friends and family a lifetime of brilliant letters.
  • AGATHA CHRISTIE

    AGATHA CHRISTIE
    1920

    The Belgian detective Hercule Poirot features in Agatha Christie's first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. ​This English detective novelist and playwright whose books have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into some 100 languages.
  • T.S. ELIOT

    T.S. ELIOT
    1922

    American-born poet T.S. Eliot publishes The Waste Land, an extremely influential poem in five fragmented sections. Poet, playwright, literary critic, and editor, a leader of the Modernist movement in poetry. Eliot exercised a strong influence on Anglo-American culture from the 1920s until late in the century. His experiments in diction, style, and versification revitalized English poetry, and in a series of critical essays,​ he shattered old orthodoxies and erected new ones.
  • RADCLYFFE HALL

    RADCLYFFE HALL
    1928

    Radclyffe Hall's novel The Well of Loneliness is the first to deal openly with a lesbian subject. Hall was educated at King’s College, London, and then attended school in Germany. She began her literary career by writing verses, which were later collected into five volumes of poetry
  • ALDOUS HUXLEY

    ALDOUS HUXLEY
    1932

    British author Aldous Huxley gives a bleak view of a science-based future in his novel Brave New World. English novelist and critic gifted with an acute and far-ranging intelligence whose works are notable for their wit and pessimistic satire. He remains best known for one novel, Brave New World (1932), a model for much dystopian science fiction that followed.
  • ROBERT GRAVES: I, CLAUDIUS

    ROBERT GRAVES: I, CLAUDIUS
    1934

    I, Claudius is ghost-written by Robert Graves. The book is an autobiographical memoir by the Roman emperor Claudius, who is a son of a Roman general, a nephew of the emperor Tiberius, and a great-nephew of the emperor Augustus. Physically weak, afflicted with stammering, and inclined to drool, Claudius is an embarrassment to his family. The benefits of his seeming ineffectuality are twofold: he becomes a scholar and historian, fascinated with the intrigues of his contemporaries.
  • JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES

    JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES
    1936

    John Maynard Keynes defines his economics in The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. Economist, journalist, and financier, best known for his economic theories (Keynesian economics) on the causes of prolonged unemployment. His most important work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, advocated a remedy for economic recession based on a government-sponsored policy of full employment.
  • ENID BLYTON

    ENID BLYTON
    1942

    English children's author Enid Blyton introduces the Famous Five in Five on a Treasure Island. She was a prolific and highly popular British author of stories, poems, plays, and educational books for children.
  • ANIMAL FARM: GEORGE ORWELL

    ANIMAL FARM: GEORGE ORWELL
    1945

    In George Orwell's fable Animal Farm a ruthless pig, Napoleon, controls the farmyard using the techniques of Stalin. it is a political fable based on the events of Russia’s Bolshevik revolution and the betrayal of the cause by Joseph Stalin. The book concerns a group of barnyard animals who overthrow and chase off their exploitative human masters and set up an egalitarian society of their own.
  • C.S. LEWIS: NARNIA

    C.S. LEWIS: NARNIA
    1950

    C.S. Lewis gives the first glimpse of Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
    Lewis Irish-born scholar, novelist, and author of about 40 books, many of them on Christian apologetics, including The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity. His works of greatest lasting fame may be the Chronicles of Narnia, a series of seven children’s books that have become classics of fantasy literature.
  • IAN FLEMING: JAMES BOND

    IAN FLEMING: JAMES BOND
    1953

    James Bond, agent 007, has a license to kill in Ian Fleming's first novel, Casino Royale. Fleming is a suspense-fiction novelist whose character James Bond, the stylish, high-living British secret service agent 007, became one of the most successful and widely imitated heroes of 20th-century popular fiction.
  • GRAHAM GREENE

    GRAHAM GREENE
    1955

    Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American is set in contemporary Vietnam and foresees troubles ahead. Greene English novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and journalist whose novels treat life’s moral ambiguities in the context of contemporary political settings.
  • J.R.R. TOLKIEN: THE LORD OF THE RINGS

    J.R.R. TOLKIEN: THE LORD OF THE RINGS
    1955

    British philologist J.R.R. Tolkien publishes the third and final volume of his epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings. This English writer and scholar who achieved fame with his children’s book The Hobbit (1937) and his richly inventive epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings (1954–55).
  • HAROLD PINTER

    HAROLD PINTER
    1959

    Harold Pinter's second play in London's West End, The Caretaker, immediately brings him an international reputation
  • JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH

    JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
    1961

    British author Roald Dahl publishes a novel for children, James and the Giant Peach, written for his own children, was a popular success, as was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), which was made into the films Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). His other works for young readers include Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970; film 2009), Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, The Enormous Crocodile (1978), and The Witches (1983).
  • JOHN LE CARRE

    JOHN LE CARRE
    1963

    English author John Le Carré publishes a Cold-War thriller The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Le Carre is an​ English writer of suspenseful, realistic spy novels based on a wide knowledge of international espionage.
  • MICHAEL HOLROYD

    MICHAEL HOLROYD
    1968

    English biographer Michael Holroyd completes his two-volume life of Lytton Strachey. This writer and editor knew​ for his meticulous, scholarly biographies of Lytton Strachey, Augustus John, and George Bernard Shaw.
  • SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL : ERNST FRIEDRICH SCHUMACHER

    SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL : ERNST FRIEDRICH SCHUMACHER
    1973

    British economist Ernst Friedrich Schumacher publishes an influential economic tract, Small is Beautiful. ​In his book, he argued that capitalism brought higher living standards at the cost of deteriorating culture. His belief that natural resources should be conserved led him to conclude that bigness—in particular, large industries and large cities—would lead to the depletion of those resources.
  • NIKOLAUS PEVSNER

    NIKOLAUS PEVSNER
    1974

    German-born British art historian Nikolaus Pevsner completes his monumental 46-volume Buildings of England. He studied at various German universities and taught at Göttingen University (1929–33) before moving to England to escape Nazism. He is best known for his writings on architecture, especially his 46-volume series of county-by-county guides, The Buildings of England (1951–74), one of the great achievements of 20th-century art scholarship.
  • PETER SHAFFER'PLAYS

    PETER SHAFFER'PLAYS
    1979

    Peter Shaffer's play about Mozart, Amadeus, has its premiere in London. This British playwright of considerable range who moved easily from farce to the portrayal of human anguish.
  • SALMAN RUSHDIE

    SALMAN RUSHDIE
    1981

    Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children uses the moment of India's independence to launch an adventure in magic realism. Indian-born British writer whose allegorical novels examine historical and philosophical issues by means of surreal characters, brooding humor​, and an effusive and melodramatic prose style. His treatment of sensitive religious and political subjects made him a controversial figure.
  • JULIAN BARNES

    JULIAN BARNES
    1984

    English author Julian Barnes publishes a multi-faceted literary novel, Flaubert's Parrot. This British critic and author of inventive and intellectual novels about obsessed characters curious about the past.
  • STEPHEN HAWKING

    STEPHEN HAWKING
    1988

    British physicist Stephen Hawking explains the cosmos for the general reader in A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to Black Holes. English theoretical physicist whose theory of exploding black holes drew upon both relativity theory and quantum mechanics. He also worked with space-time singularities.
  • ALAN BENNETT: REGENERATION

    ALAN BENNETT: REGENERATION
    1991

    Regeneration is the first volume of English author Pat Barker's trilogy of novels set during World War I. His work fearlessly scrutinized the British class system, propriety, and England’s north-south cultural divide with results that were simultaneously chilling and hilarious.
  • IRVINE WELSH: TRAINSPOTTING

    IRVINE WELSH: TRAINSPOTTING
    1993

    Scottish author Irvine Welsh publishes his first novel, Trainspotting: It took as its subject matter the drug-taking scene of that time and was written in a street demotic which gave the novel added grit and a sense that these were real, contemporary lives.
  • TED HUGHES

    TED HUGHES
    1997

    The poems forming Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters describe his relationship with Sylvia Plath. ​English poet whose most characteristic verse is without sentimentality, emphasizing the cunning and savagery of animal life in harsh, sometimes disjunctive lines.
  • J.K. ROWLING: HARRY POTTER

    J.K. ROWLING: HARRY POTTER
    1997

    A schoolboy wizard performs his first tricks in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. J.K. Rowling is the British author who created the popular and critically acclaimed Harry Potter series (seven books published between 1997 and 2007), about a lonely orphan who discovers that he is actually a wizard and enrolls in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
  • PHILLIP PULLMAN'S TRILOGY

    PHILLIP PULLMAN'S TRILOGY
    2000

    The Amber Spyglass completes Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials. This British author of novels for children and young adults who is best known for the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials (1995–2000).
  • ZADIE SMITH

    ZADIE SMITH
    2000
    Zadie Smith, (born October 27, 1975, London, England), British author known for her treatment of race, religion, and cultural identity and for her novels’ eccentric characters, savvy humor, and snappy dialogue. She became a sensation in the literary world with the publication of her first novel, White Teeth, in 2000. ​She has been a tenured professor in the Creative Writing faculty of New York University since September 2010.
  • MARK HADDON

    MARK HADDON
    2003
    Mark Haddon (born 28 October 1962) is an English novelist, best known for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003). He won the Whitbread Award, the Dolly Gray Children's Literature Award, Guardian Prize, and a Commonwealth Writers Prize for his work.
  • KAZUO ISHIGURO: NEVER LET ME GO

    KAZUO ISHIGURO: NEVER LET ME GO
    2005
    Kazuo Ishiguro, a Japanese-born British novelist known for his lyrical tales of regret fused with subtle optimism. In 2017 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his works that “uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” Ishiguro's 2005 novel, Never Let Me Go, was named by Time as the best novel of the year, and was included in the magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005.
  • NEIL GAIMAN: THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

    NEIL GAIMAN: THE GRAVEYARD BOOK
    2008
    Neil Gaiman, in full Neil Richard Gaiman, (born November 10, 1960, Portchester, Hampshire, England), British writer who earned critical praise and popular success with richly imagined fantasy tales that frequently featured a darkly humorous tone.
    His works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.
  • HILARY MANTEL

    HILARY MANTEL
    2009
    Hilary Mantel, an ​English writer known for her bleakly comic, socially probing novels set in a wide range of contemporary and historical milieus.
    She has twice been awarded the Booker Prize, the first for the 2009 novel Wolf Hall, a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell's rise to power in the court of Henry VIII, and the second for the 2012 novel Bring Up the Bodies, the second instalment of the Cromwell trilogy.
  • KEN FOLLETT: FALL OF GIANTS

    KEN FOLLETT: FALL OF GIANTS
    2010
    Ken Follet is a Welsh author who Many of his books have achieved high ranking as bestseller​: Edge of Eternity, Fall of Giants, A Dangerous Fortune, Lie Down with Lions, Triple, Winter of the World, and World Without End.
    Follett's novels, followed the fates of five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English and Welsh - as they moved through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for women's suffrage.