History of English Literature

By vikttor
  • 450

    450 – 1066 Old English

    450 – 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

    800 Beowulf

    800 Beowulf
    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

    950 The material of the Eddas

    950 The material of the Eddas
    The material of the Eddas, taking shape in Iceland, derives from earlier sources in Norway, Britain and Burgundy
  • 1367

    1367 William Langland - Geoffrey Chaucer

    1367 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

    1375 Sir Gawain

    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

    1469 Thomas Malory

    1469 Thomas Malory
    Thomas Malory, in gaol somewhere in England, compiles Morte d'Arthur – an English account of the French tales of King Arthur.
  • 1510

    1510 Thomas More

    1510 Thomas More
    Erasmus and Thomas More take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism
  • 1549

    1549 The first version of the English prayer book

    1549 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

    1564 Marlowe and Shakespeare

    1564 Marlowe and Shakespeare
    Marlowe and Shakespeare are born in the same year, with Marlowe the older by two months
  • 1567

    1567 The Bible

    1567 The Bible
    The Book of Common Prayer and the New Testament are published in Welsh, to be followed by the complete Bible in 1588
  • 1590 The Faerie Queene

    1590 The Faerie Queene
    English poet Edmund Spenser celebrates the Protestant Elizabeth I as The Faerie Queene
  • 1601 Shakespeare - Hamlet

    1601 Shakespeare - Hamlet
    Shakespeare's central character in Hamlet expresses both the ideals of the Renaissance and the disillusion of a less confident age
  • 1605 Ben Jonson - The Masque of Blackness

    1605 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
  • 1621 John Donne

    1621 John Donne
    John Donne, England's leading Metaphysical poet, becomes dean of St Paul's
  • 1660 Samuel Pepys

    1660 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
  • 1667 John Milton

    1667 John Milton
    Paradise Lost is published, earning its author John Milton just £10
  • 1669 Samuel Pepys ends his diary

    1669 Samuel Pepys ends his diary
    Samuel Pepys ends his diary, after only writing it for nine years
  • 1678 John Bunyan

    1678 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
  • 1702 The Augustan Age

    1702 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.
  • 1744 The Age of Sensibility

    1744 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.
  • 1777 Richard Brinsley Sheridan

    1777 Richard Brinsley Sheridan
    Richard Brinsley Sheridan's second play, The School for Scandal, is an immediate success in London's Drury Lane theatre
  • 1798 Wordsworth and Coleridge

    1798 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
  • 1842 Robert Browning

    1842 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.
  • 1850 Alfred Tennyson

    1850 Alfred Tennyson
    Alfred Tennyson's elegy for a friend, In Memoriam, captures perfectly the Victorian mood of heightened sensibility
  • 1889 William Butler

    1889 William Butler
    William Butler
    23-year-old Irish author William Butler Yeats publishes his first volume of poems, The Wanderings of Oisin
  • 1892 Bernard Shaw

    1892 Bernard Shaw
    Bernard Shaw's first play, Widowers' Houses, deals with the serious social problem of slum landlords
  • 1907 James Joyce

    1907 James Joyce
    James Joyce completes the 15 short stories eventually published in 1914 as Dubliners
  • 1914 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce

    1914 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
  • 1915 Virginia Woolf

    1915 Virginia Woolf
    The English writer Virginia Woolf publishes her first novel, The Voyage Out
  • 1945 George Orwell

    1945 George Orwell
    In George Orwell's fable Animal Farm a ruthless pig, Napoleon, controls the farmyard using the techniques of Stalin
  • 1954 Dylan Thomas

    1954 Dylan Thomas
    Dylan Thomas's 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood, is broadcast on BBC radio, with Richard Burton as narrator
  • 1966 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

    1966 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard, is produced at the Edinburgh Festival