HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

  • 730

    ENGLISH CHURCH AND PEOPLE

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

    BEOWULF

    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 THE EDDAS

    The material of the Eddas, taking shape in Iceland, derives from earlier sources in Norway, Britain and Burgundy
  • 1300

    DUNS SCOTUS

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

    OCKHAM'S RAZOR

    William of Ockham advocates paring down arguments to their essentials, an approach later known as Ockham's Razor
  • 1367

    THE FIRST NARRATOR

    A narrator who calls himself Will, and whose name may be Langland, begins the epic poem of Piers Plowman
  • 1367

    GEOFFREY CHAUCER

    One of four new yeomen of the chamber in Edward III's household is Geoffrey Chaucer
  • 1375

    SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT

    The courtly poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells of a mysterious visitor to the round table of King Arthur
  • 1385

    TROILUS AND CRISEYDE POEM´S

    Chaucer completes Troilus and Criseyde, his long poem about a legendary love affair in ancient Troy
  • 1387

    100 CANTERBURY TALES

    Chaucer begins an ambitious scheme for 100 Canterbury Tales, of which he completes only 24 by the time of his death
  • 1469

    MORTE D´ ARTHUR

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

    CHRISTIAN HUMANISM

    Erasmus and Thomas More take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism
  • 1524

    TRANSLATE THE BIBLE INTO ENGLISH

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

    BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER

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

    MARLOWE AND SHAKESPEARE: TWO GREAT WRITERS

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

    THE BOOK OF COMMON AND THE NEW TESTAMENT

    The Book of Common Prayer and the New Testament are published in Welsh, to be followed by the complete Bible in 1588
  • MARLOWE´S FIRST PLAY

    Marlowe's first play, Tamburlaine the Great, introduces the swaggering blank verse of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama
  • THE FAERIE QUEENE

    English poet Edmund Spenser celebrates the Protestant Elizabeth I as The Faerie Queene an epic poem with a fantastic allegory that paid homage to the Tudor house and Elizabeth I of England. He is recognized as one of the first architects of modern English verse and is considered one of the best poets in the English language.
  • HAMLET

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

    James I commissions the Authorized version of the Bible, which is completed by forty-seven scholars in seven years
  • WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE FROM WRITER TO ACTOR

    William Shakespeare's name appears among the actors in a list of the King's Men
  • THE MASQUE OF BLACKNESS

    Ben Jonson escribe The Masque of Blackness, la primera de sus muchas máscaras para la corte de James I
  • SHAKESPEARE´S SONNETS

    Shakespeare's sonnets, written ten years previously, are published
  • GEORGE BERKELEY AND THE PRINCIPLE OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE

    25-year-old George Berkeley attacks Locke in his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
  • A DESCRIPTION OF NEW ENGLAND

    John Smith publishes A Description of New England, an account of his exploration of the region in 1614
  • METHAPHYSICAL POET

    John Donne, England's leading Metaphysical poet, becomes dean of St Paul'
  • JOHN MILTON´S LYCIDAS

    John Milton's Lycidas is published in memory of a Cambridge friend, Edward King
  • THE POEMS OF MASSACHUSETTS

    The poems of Massachusetts author Anne Bradstreet are published in London under the title The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America
  • THE COMPLEAT ANGLER

    Devoted fisherman Izaak Walton publishes the classic work on the subject, The Compleat Angler
  • JOHN MILTON´S PARADISE LOST

    Paradise Lost is published, earning its author John Milton just £10
  • THE PILGRIM´S PROGRESS

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

    John Locke publishes his Essay concerning Human Understanding, arguing that all knowledge is based on experience
  • ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE AGUSTAN AGE

    The Augustan Age begins in English literature, claiming comparison with the equivalent flowering under Augustus Caesar
  • GEORGE BERKELEY AND HIS ATTACKS TO THE PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE

    25-year-old George Berkeley attacks Locke in his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
  • ALEXANDER POPE´S RAPE OF THE LOCK

    Alexander Pope's Rape of the Lock introduces a delicate vein of mock-heroic in English poetry
  • DANIEL DEFOE´S ROBINSON CRUSOE

    Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, with its detailed realism, can be seen as the first English novel
  • DAVID HUME´S HUMAN NATURE

    David Hume publishes his Treatise of Human Nature, in which he applies to the human mind the principles of experimental science
  • THOMAS GRAY´S ELEGY

    English poet Thomas Gray publishes his Elegy written in a Country Church Yard
  • DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

    Samuel Johnson publishes his magisterial Dictionary of the English Language
  • TRISTAM SHANDY

    Laurence Sterne publishes the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy, beginning with the scene at the hero's conception
  • JAMES BOSWELL AND SAMUEL JOHNSON

    James Boswell meets Samuel Johnson for the first time, in the London bookshop of Thomas Davies
  • ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA

    A Society of Gentlemen in Scotland begins publication of the immensely successful Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

    English historian Edward Gibbon publishes the first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • SONGS OF INNOCENCE

    William Blake publishes Songs of Innocence, a volume of his poems with every page etched and illustrated by himself
  • TAM O´ SHANTER

    Scottish poet Robert Burns publishes Tam o' Shanter, in which a drunken farmer has an alarming encounter with witches
  • THE RIGHTS OF MAN

    Thomas Paine publishes the first part of The Rights of Man, his reply to Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • AGE OF CHRISTIANITY

    Thomas Paine publishes his completed Age of Reason, an attack on conventional Christianity
  • BALLADS

    English poets Wordsworth and Coleridge jointly publish Lyrical Ballads, a milestone in the Romantic movement
  • JERUSALEM

    William Blake includes his poem 'Jerusalem' in the Preface to his book Milton
  • LADY OF THE LAKE

    Walter Scott's poem Lady of the Lake brings tourists in unprecedented numbers to Scotland's Loch Katrine
  • PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

    Pride and Prejudice, based on a youthful work of 1797 called First Impressions, is the second of Jane Austen's novels to be published
  • TWO OF JANE AUSTEN´S NOVELS AFTER HER DEATH

    Two of Jane Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, are published in the year after her death
  • ODE TO NIGHTINGALE

    English poet John Keats publishes Ode to a Nightingale, inspired by the bird's song in his Hampstead garden
  • ODE TO THE WEST WIND

    English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley publishes Ode to the West Wind, written mainly in a wood near Florence
  • OPIUM EATER

    English author Thomas De Quincey publishes his autobiographical Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
  • OLIVER TWIST

    Charles Dickens' first novel, Oliver Twist, begins monthly publication (in book form, 1838)
  • THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY´S STIRRING BALLADS

    English author Thomas Babington Macaulay publishes a collection of stirring ballads, Lays of Ancient Rome
  • A CHRISTMAS CAROL

    Ebenezer Scrooge mends his ways just in time in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol
  • DICTIONARY OF SYNONYMS

    London physician Peter Mark Roget publishes his dictionary of synonyms, the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases
  • ORIGINS OF SPECIES

    Charles Darwin puts forward the theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species, the result of 20 years' research
  • THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM

    Edward FitzGerald publishes The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, romantic translations of the work of the Persian poet
  • VICTORIAN MELODRAMAS

    Mrs Henry Wood publishes her first novel, East Lynne, which becomes the basis of the most popular of all Victorian melodramas
  • ALICE´S ADVENTURES

    Lewis Carroll publishes Through the Looking Glass, a second story of Alice's adventures
  • SPRUNG RHYTM

    English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins develops a new verse form that he calls 'sprung rhythm
  • TREASURE ISLAND

    Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure story, Treasure Island, features Long John Silver and Ben Gunn
  • 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´ STORIES

    Sherlock Holmes features in Conan Doyle's first novel, A Study in Scarlet
  • THE GOLDEN BOUGH

    Scottish anthropologist James Frazer publishes The Golden Bough, a massive compilation of contemporary knowledge about ritual and religious custom
  • LIZA OF LAMBETH

    Somerset Maugham publishes his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, based on the London life he has observed as a medical student
  • THE WAR OF THE WORLDS

    H.G. Wells publishes his science-fiction novel The War of the Worlds, in which Martians arrive in a rocket to invade earth
  • PETER RABBIT

    Beatrix Potter publishes at her own expense The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • COMMERCIAL PUBLICATION OF THE TALES OF PETER RABBIT

    The Tale of Peter Rabbit is published commercially, a year after being first printed by Beatrix Potter at her own expense
  • TWO NEW PLAYS IN LONDON

    Bernard Shaw has two new plays opening in London in the same year, Major Barbara and Man and Superman
  • PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA

    Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell complete a work of mathematical logic, Principia Mathematica
  • OVER THE BRAZIER

    Robert Graves publishes his first book of poems, Over the Brazier
  • THE ECONOMICS CONSEQUENCES OF THE PEACE

    In The Economic Consequences of the Peace Maynard Keynes publishes a strong attack on the reparations demanded from Germany
  • CULTURAL MISCONCEPTIONS

    E.M. Forster's novel A Passage to India builds on cultural misconceptions between the British and Indian communities
  • RURAL LIFE1926

    Patrick Abercrombie publishes The Preservation of Rural England, calling for rural planning to prevent the encroachment of towns
  • THE HOTEL

    Anglo-Irish author Elizabeth Bowen publishes her first novel, The Hotel
  • THE GOOD COMPANIONS

    English author J.B. Priestley has an immediate success with his first novel, The Good Companions
  • ROBERT GRAVES´AUTOBIOGRAPHY

    English poet Robert Graves puts behind him an England he dislikes in his autobiography, Goodbye to All That
  • CONQUISTADOR

    US poet Archibald MacLeish publishes a narrative epic, Conquistador, about the conquest of Mexico
  • PENGUIN BOOKS

    British publisher Allen Lane launches a paperback series to which he gives the name Penguin Books
  • THE THIRD POLICEMAN IS REJECTED

    Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman is rejected by numerous publishers before becoming, decades later, his best-known novel
  • AGENT 007

    James Bond, agent 007, has a licence to kill in Ian Fleming's first novel, Casino Royale
  • THE SECOND WORLD WAR

    Politician and author Winston Churchill completes his six-volume history The Second World War
  • THE QUIET AMERICAN

    Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American is set in contemporary Vietnam and foresees troubles ahead
  • JOHN BETJEMAN´S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL

    English poet John Betjeman publishes his long autobiographical poem Summoned by Bells
  • CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

    Roald Dahl publishes a fantasy treat for a starving child, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN

    English novelist Paul Scott publishes The Jewel in the Crown, the first volume in his 'Raj Quartet'
  • OWNERS

    English dramatist Caryl Churchill's first play, Owners, is produced in London
  • THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF MRS THATCHER

    British economist Nicholas Kaldor attacks monetarism in The Economic Consequences of Mrs Thatcher
  • THE THEORY OF BIG BANG

    British physicist Stephen Hawking explains the cosmos for the general reader in A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to Black Holes
  • WORLD WAR I

    Regeneration is the first volume of English author Pat Barker's trilogy of novels set during World War I
  • CAPTAIN CORELLI´S MANDOLIN

    Louis de Bernières publishes Captain Corelli's Mandolin, a love story set in Italian-occupied Cephalonia
  • HARRY POTTER

    A schoolboy wizard performs his first tricks in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • HIS DARK MATERIALS

    The Amber Spyglass completes Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials