Myhc 24232

English Literature Timeline

  • Period: 450 to 1066

    Old English

    It begins with the invasion of Celtic England by Germanic tribes c.450 and lasts until the conquest of England by the Norman-French William the Conqueror in 1066. The earliest written works in Old English, were probably composed orally at first, and may have been passed on from speaker to speaker before being written.
  • 800


    Old English literature is mostly chronicle and poetry – lyric, descriptive but chiefly narrative or epic. The greatest Old English poem is a long epic called Beowulf, whose author is unknown. Major Writers or Works Poetry: Beowulf, The Wanderer, The Seafarer Prose: Writings of Alfred the Great.
  • 950

    The material of the Eddas

    The material of the Eddas, taking shape in Iceland, derives from earlier sources in Norway, Britain and Burgundy
  • Period: 1066 to 1500

    Middle English

    Social background: the Norman conquest under William, Duke of Normandy, the battle of Hastings in 1066; the mark of establishment of feudalism.
    After the Norman invasion, there were linguistic, social, and cultural changes and also changes in the literature. In the 15th century, literature aimed at a popular audience grew.
    A range of genres emerged, including chivalric romances, secular and religious songs, folk ballads, drama, morality and miracle plays.
  • 1367

    William Langland - Geoffrey Chaucer

    William Langland - Geoffrey Chaucer
    A narrator who calls himself Will, and whose name may be Langland, begins the epic poem of Piers Plowman.
    One of four new yeomen of the chamber in Edward III's household is Geoffrey Chaucer, writer of the "Tales" another series of stories told by different narrators that offers a snapshot of late medieval cultural diversity. Perhaps the most surprising thing about these early British works is their graphic content and crude sexual content.
  • 1375

    Sir Gawain

    The courtly poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells of a mysterious visitor to the round table of King Arthur.
  • 1469

    Thomas Malory

    Thomas Malory
    Thomas Malory, in gaol somewhere in England, compiles Morte d'Arthur – an English account of the French tales of King Arthur.
  • Period: 1500 to

    English Renaissance

    The Renaissance marks the transition from the medieval to the modern world. The period is characterized by a rebirth among English elite of classical learning, a rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman authors, and a recovery of the ancient Greek spirit of scientific inquiry.The new outlook places emphasis on Man rather than on God.
  • 1510

    Thomas More

    Thomas More
    Erasmus and Thomas More take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism
  • 1549

    The first version of the English prayer book

    The first version of the English prayer book
    The first version of the English prayer book, or Book of Common Prayer, is published with text by Thomas Cranmer
  • 1564

    Marlowe and Shakespeare

    Marlowe and Shakespeare
    Marlowe and Shakespeare are born in the same year, with Marlowe the older by two months
  • 1567

    The Bible

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

    The Faerie Queene
    English poet Edmund Spenser celebrates the Protestant Elizabeth I as The Faerie Queene
  • Shakespeare - Hamlet

    Shakespeare - Hamlet
    Shakespeare's central character in Hamlet expresses both the ideals of the Renaissance and the disillusion of a less confident age
  • Ben Jonson - The Masque of Blackness

    Ben Jonson - 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

    John Donne
    John Donne, England's leading Metaphysical poet, becomes dean of St Paul's
  • Period: to


    In this era, England was ruled by Parliament and Oliver Cromwell, and then briefly by his son, Richard, until 1659.
    Theatres were closed on moral and religious grounds. While drama did not flourish, significant examples of nonfiction prose and poetry were written during this period.
  • Samuel Pepys

    Samuel Pepys
    On the first day of the new year Samuel Pepys gets up late, eats the remains of the turkey and begins his diary
  • Period: to

    The Restoration Era

    The Restoration era begins with the crowning of Charles II and the restoration of the Stuart line in 1660 and ends around 1700. A great change in literature happened after Charles II became king. After a period of closing, the theatres were reopened and new forms of drama appeared.
  • John Milton

    John Milton
    Paradise Lost is published, earning its author John Milton just £10
  • Samuel Pepys ends his diary

    Samuel Pepys ends his diary
    Samuel Pepys ends his diary, after only writing it for nine years
  • John Bunyan

    John Bunyan
    Part I of The Pilgrim's Progress, written during John Bunyan's two spells in Bedford Gaol, is published and is immediately popular
  • Period: to

    18th Century

    This particular period is divided in two the Augustan Literature and the Age of Sensibility.
  • The Augustan Age

    The Augustan Age
    The Augustan Age begins in English literature, claiming comparison with the equivalent flowering under Augustus Caesar.
    It was the age of Enlightenment or the age of Reason, a progressive intellectual movement, to enlighten the whole world with the light of modern philosophical and artistic idea, to celebrate reason, equality and science, call for a reference to order, reason and rules.
  • The Age of Sensibility

    The Age of Sensibility
    The Age of Sensibility anticipates the Romantic period.In contrast to the Augustan era, the Age of Sensibility focused upon instinct, feeling, imagination, and sometimes the sublime.
  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan

    Richard Brinsley Sheridan
    Richard Brinsley Sheridan's second play, The School for Scandal, is an immediate success in London's Drury Lane theatre
  • Wordsworth and Coleridge

    Wordsworth and Coleridge
    English poets Wordsworth and Coleridge jointly publish Lyrical Ballads, a milestone in the Romantic movement.
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' is published in Lyrical Ballads
  • Period: to


    This period produced authors who wrote about life, love and nature. Many of these authors found the world to be disappointing and had a melancholy bent to their works. John Keats is possibly the most famous author of this period.
  • Period: to


    The Victorian period, which lasted from the mid-1800s to the beginning of the twentieth century, includes the love poems of Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Lord Alfred Tennyson's sweeping saga of Camelot entitled "Idylls of the King," and the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure stories and novels, including his famous "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
  • Robert Browning

    Robert Browning
    English poet Robert Browning publishes a vivid narrative poem about the terrible revenge of The Pied Piper of Hamelin
    English author Thomas Babington Macaulay publishes a collection of stirring ballads, Lays of Ancient Rome.
  • Novels

    • English author William Makepeace Thackeray begins publication of his novel Vanity Fair in monthly parts (book form 1848)
    • Charlotte becomes the first of the Brontë sisters to have a novel published — Jane Eyre
    • Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights follows just two months after her sister Charlotte's Jane Eyre
  • Alfred Tennyson

    Alfred Tennyson
    Alfred Tennyson's elegy for a friend, In Memoriam, captures perfectly the Victorian mood of heightened sensibility
  • William Butler

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

    Bernard Shaw
    Bernard Shaw's first play, Widowers' Houses, deals with the serious social problem of slum landlords
  • Period: to

    Modern Literature

    Modernist English literature includes the works of William Butler Yeats, Virginia Woolfe, James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence, who all dealt with sometimes disturbing themes of death and disillusionment and pioneered new literary forms.
  • James Joyce

    James Joyce
    James Joyce completes the 15 short stories eventually published in 1914 as Dubliners
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce

    Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
    James Joyce's novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man begins serial publication in a London journal, The Egoist
    After years of delay James Joyce's Dubliners, a collection of short stories, is published
  • Virginia Woolf

    Virginia Woolf
    The English writer Virginia Woolf publishes her first novel, The Voyage Out
  • Period: to


    Present literature is refer as contemporary
  • Period: to

    Post Moderns

    In British and American literature, the postmodern period refers to literature written after WWII. The postmodern period reflects anxieties concerning, and reactions to, life in the 20th century. Postmodern works are often highly experimental and anti-conventional.
  • George Orwell

    George Orwell
    In George Orwell's fable Animal Farm a ruthless pig, Napoleon, controls the farmyard using the techniques of Stalin
  • Dylan Thomas

    Dylan Thomas
    Dylan Thomas's 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood, is broadcast on BBC radio, with Richard Burton as narrator
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard, is produced at the Edinburgh Festival