History of English Literature.

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In History
  • 731

    Year 731

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

    Year c.800

    Year 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

    Year c. 950

    Year c. 950
    The material of the Eddas, taking shape in Iceland, derives from earlier sources in Norway, Britain and Burgundy
  • 1300

    Year c. 1300

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

    Year c. 1340

    Year c. 1340
    William of Ockham advocates paring down arguments to their essentials, an approach later known as Ockham's Razor
  • 1367

    Year c. 1367

    Year c. 1367
    A narrator who calls himself Will, and whose name may be Langland, begins the epic poem of Piers Plowman
  • 1375

    Year c. 1375

    Year c. 1375
    The courtly poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells of a mysterious visitor to the round table of King Arthur
  • 1385

    Year 1385

    Year 1385
    Chaucer completes Troilus and Criseyde, his long poem about a legendary love affair in ancient Troy
  • 1387

    Year c. 1387

    Year c. 1387
    Chaucer begins an ambitious scheme for 100 Canterbury Tales, of which he completes only 24 by the time of his death
  • 1469

    year 1469

    year 1469
    Thomas Malory, in gaol somewhere in England, compiles Morte d'Arthur – an English account of the French tales of King Arthur
  • 1500

    16th and 17th centuries

    Middle English gave way to modern English during the Middle Ages, and Britain produced many great authors during the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • 1510

    Year 1510

    Year 1510
    Erasmus and Thomas More take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism
  • 1524

    Year 1524

    Year 1524
    William Tyndale studies in the university at Wittenberg and plans to translate the Bible into English
  • 1549

    Year 1549

    Year 1549
    The first version of the English prayer book, or Book of Common Prayer, is published with text by Thomas Cranmer
  • 1564

    Year 1564

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

    Year 1567

    Year 1567
    The Book of Common Prayer and the New Testament are published in Welsh, to be followed by the complete Bible in 1588
  • 1582

    Year 1582

    Year 1582
    The 18-year-old William Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Year 1587

    Year 1587
    Marlowe's first play, Tamburlaine the Great, introduces the swaggering blank verse of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama
  • Year 1590

    Year 1590
    English poet Edmund Spenser celebrates the Protestant Elizabeth I as The Faerie Queene
  • Year 1592

    Year 1592
    After tentative beginnings in the three parts of Henry VI, Shakespeare achieves his first masterpiece on stage with Richard III
  • Year 1601

    Year 1601
    Shakespeare's central character in Hamlet expresses both the ideals of the Renaissance and the disillusion of a less confident age
  • Year 1604

    Year 1604
    James I commissions the Authorized version of the Bible, which is completed by forty-seven scholars in seven years
  • Year 1605

    Year 1605
    Ben Jonson writes The Masque of Blackness, the first of his many masques for the court of James I
  • Year 1606

    Year 1606
    The satirical voice of the English playwright Ben Jonson is heard to powerful effect in Volpone
  • Year 1609

    Year 1609
    Shakespeare's sonnets, written ten years previously, are published
  • Year c. 1611

    Year c. 1611
    Shakespeare's last completed play, The Tempest, is performed
  • Year 1616

    Year 1616
    John Smith publishes A Description of New England, an account of his exploration of the region in 161
  • Year 1621

    Year 1621
    John Donne, England's leading Metaphysical poet, becomes dean of St Paul's
  • Year 1623

    Year 1623
    John Heminge and Henry Condell publish thirty-six Shakespeare plays in the First Folio
  • Year 1633

    Year 1633
    George Herbert's only volume of poems, The Temple, is published posthumously
  • Year 1637

    Year 1637
    John Milton's Lycidas is published in memory of a Cambridge friend, Edward King
  • Year 1650

    Year 1650
    The poems of Massachusetts author Anne Bradstreet are published in London under the title The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America
  • Year 1653

    Year 1653
    Devoted fisherman Izaak Walton publishes the classic work on the subject, The Compleat Angler
  • Year 1660

    Year 1660
    On the first day of the new year Samuel Pepys gets up late, eats the remains of the turkey and begins his diary
  • Year 1667

    Year 1667
    Paradise Lost is published, earning its author John Milton just £10
  • Year 1669

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

    Year 1678
    Part I of The Pilgrim's Progress, written during John Bunyan's two spells in Bedford Gaol, is published and is immediately popular
  • Year 1688

    Year 1688
    Aphra Behn's novel Oroonoko makes an early protest against the inhumanity of the African slave trade
  • Year 1690

    Year 1690
    John Locke publishes his Essay concerning Human Understanding, arguing that all knowledge is based on experience
  • 18th century

    Were the growth of the essay and the satire and the earliest examples of the novel.
  • Year 1702

    Year 1702
    The Augustan Age begins in English literature, claiming comparison with the equivalent flowering under Augustus Caesar
  • Year 1709

    Year 1709
    The Tatler launches a new style of journalism in Britain's coffee houses, followed two years later by the Spectator
  • Year 1710

    Year 1710
    25-year-old George Berkeley attacks Locke in his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
  • Year 1712

    Year 1712
    Alexander Pope's Rape of the Lock introduces a delicate vein of mock-heroic in English poetry
  • Year 1719

    Year 1719
    Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, with its detailed realism, can be seen as the first English novel
  • Year 1726

    Year 1726
    Jonathan Swift sends his hero on a series of bitterly satirical travels in Gulliver's Travels
  • Year 1739

    Year 1739
    David Hume publishes his Treatise of Human Nature, in which he applies to the human mind the principles of experimental science
  • Year 1747

    Year 1747
    Samuel Richardson's Clarissa begins the correspondence that grows into the longest novel in the English language
  • Year 1749

    Year 1749
    Henry Fielding introduces a character of lasting appeal in the lusty but good-hearted Tom Jones
  • Year 1751

    Year 1751
    English poet Thomas Gray publishes his Elegy written in a Country Church Yard
  • Year 1755

    Year 1755
    Samuel Johnson publishes his magisterial Dictionary of the English Language
  • Year 1758

    Year 1758
    James Woodforde, an English country parson with a love of food and wine, begins a detailed diary of everyday life
  • Year 1759

    Year 1759
    Laurence Sterne publishes the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy, beginning with the scene at the hero's conception
  • Year 1762

    Year 1762
    Fingal, supposedly by the medieval poet Ossian, is a forgery in the spirit of the times by James MacPherson
  • Year 1763

    Year 1763
    James Boswell meets Samuel Johnson for the first time, in the London bookshop of Thomas Davies
  • Year 1764

    Year 1764
    English historian Edward Gibbon, sitting among ruins in Rome, conceives the idea of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • Year 1768

    Year 1768
    A Society of Gentlemen in Scotland begins publication of the immensely successful Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Year 1770

    Year 1770
    17-year-old Thomas Chatterton, later hailed as a significant poet, commits suicide in a London garret
  • Year 1773

    Year 1773
    Oliver Goldsmith's play She Stoops to Conquer is produced in London's Covent Garden theatre
  • Year 1774

    Year 1774
    Encouraged by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine emigrates to America and settles in Philadelphia
  • Year 1776

    Year 1776
    English historian Edward Gibbon publishes the first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • Year 1777

    Year 1777
    Richard Brinsley Sheridan's second play, The School for Scandal, is an immediate success in London's Drury Lane theatre
  • Year 1789

    Year 1789
    William Blake publishes Songs of Innocence, a volume of his poems with every page etched and illustrated by himself
  • Year 1790

    Year 1790
    Anglo-Irish politician Edmund Burke publishes Reflections on the Revolution in France, a blistering attack on recent events across the Channel
  • Year 1791

    Year 1791
    Scottish poet Robert Burns publishes Tam o' Shanter, in which a drunken farmer has an alarming encounter with witches
  • Year 1792

    Year 1792
    English author Mary Wollstonecraft publishes a passionately feminist work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Year 1794

    Year 1794
    William Blake's volume Songs of Innocence and Experience includes his poem 'Tyger! Tyger! burning bright'
  • Year 1795

    Year 1795
    Thomas Paine publishes his completed Age of Reason, an attack on conventional Christianity
  • Year 1797

    Year 1797
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge says that while writing Kubla Khan he is interrupted by 'a person on business from Porlock'
  • Year 1798

    Year 1798
    English poets Wordsworth and Coleridge jointly publish Lyrical Ballads, a milestone in the Romantic movement
  • 19th century

    the Romantic movement, which emphasized nature and emotion, produced great poetry such as that of William Wordsworth, Lord Byron and John Keats.
  • Year 1804

    Year 1804
    William Blake includes his poem 'Jerusalem' in the Preface to his book Milton
  • Year 1805

    William Blake includes his poem 'Jerusalem' in the Preface to his book Milton
  • Year 1810

    Year 1810
    Walter Scott's poem Lady of the Lake brings tourists in unprecedented numbers to Scotland's Loch Katrine
  • Year 1811

    Year 1811
    Percy Bysshe Shelley is expelled from Oxford university for circulating a pamphlet with the title The Necessity of Atheism
  • Year 1812

    Year 1812
    The first two cantos are published of Byron's largely autobiographical poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, bringing him immediate fame
  • Year 1813

    Year 1813
    Pride and Prejudice, based on a youthful work of 1797 called First Impressions, is the second of Jane Austen's novels to be published
  • Year 1818

    Year 1818
    Percy Bysshe Shelley publishes probably his best-known poem, the sonnet Ozymandias
  • Year 1819

    Year 1819
    Byron begins publication in parts of his longest poem, Don Juan an epic satirical comment on contemporary life
  • Year 1820

    Year 1820
    English poet John Keats publishes Ode to a Nightingale, inspired by the bird's song in his Hampstead garden
  • Year 1821

    Year 1821
    English poet John Keats dies in Rome at the age of twenty-five
  • Year 1824

    Year 1824
    12-year-old Charles Dickens works in London in Warren's boot-blacking factory
  • Year 1832

    Year 1832
    English author Frances Trollope ruffles transatlantic feathers with her Domestic Manners of the Americans, based on a 3-year stay
  • Year 1836

    Year 1836
    24-year-old Charles Dickens begins monthly publication of his first work of fiction, Pickwick Papers (published in book form in 1837)
  • Year 1837

    Year 1837
    Charles Dickens' first novel, Oliver Twist, begins monthly publication (in book form, 1838)
  • Year 1842

    Year 1842
    English poet Robert Browning publishes a vivid narrative poem about the terrible revenge of The Pied Piper of Hamelin
  • Year 1843

    Year 1843
    Ebenezer Scrooge mends his ways just in time in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol
  • Year 1844

    Year 1844
    In his novel Coningsby Benjamin Disraeli develops the theme of Conservatism uniting 'two nations', the rich and the poor
  • Year 1845

    Year 1845
    Friedrich Engels, after running a textile factory in Manchester, publishes The Condition of the Working Class in England
  • Year 1846

    Year 1846
    Edward Lear publishes his Book of Nonsense, consisting of limericks illustrated with his own cartoons
  • Year 1847

    Year 1847
    English author William Makepeace Thackeray begins publication of his novel Vanity Fair in monthly parts (book form 1848)
  • Year 1848

    Year 1848
    Branwell, Emily and Anne Brontë die within a period of eight months
  • Year 1849

    Year 1849
    Charles Dickens begins the publication in monthly numbers of David Copperfield, his own favourite among his novels
  • Year 1850

    Year 1850
    Alfred Tennyson's elegy for a friend, In Memoriam, captures perfectly the Victorian mood of heightened sensibility
  • Year 1852

    Year 1852
    London physician Peter Mark Roget publishes his dictionary of synonyms, the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases
  • Year 1854

    Year 1854
    Within six weeks of the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea, Tennyson publishes a poem finding heroism in the disaster
  • Year 1857

    Year 1857
    In Tom Brown's Schooldays Thomas Hughes depicts the often brutal aspects of an English public school
  • Year 1859

    Year 1859
    Samuel Smiles provides an inspiring ideal of Victorian enterprise in Self-Help, a manual for ambitious young men
  • Year 1859

    Year 1859
    English author George Eliot wins fame with her first full-length novel, Adam Bede
  • Year 1860

    Year 1860
    George Eliot publishes The Mill on the Floss, her novel about the childhood of Maggie and Tom Tulliver
  • Year 1861

    Year 1861
    Mrs Henry Wood publishes her first novel, East Lynne, which becomes the basis of the most popular of all Victorian melodramas
  • Year 1862

    Year 1862
    Oxford mathematician Lewis Carroll tells 10-year-old Alice Liddell, on a boat trip, a story about her own adventures in Wonderland
  • Year 1863

    Year 1863
    English author Charles Kingsley publishes an improving fantasy for young children, The Water-Babies
  • Year 1865

    Year 1865
    Lewis Carroll publishes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a development of the story he had told Alice Liddell three years earlier
  • Year 1866

    Year 1866
    Algernon Swinburne scandalizes Victorian Britain with his first collection, Poems and Ballads
  • Year 1867

    Year 1867
    The first volume of Das Kapital is completed by Marx in London and is published in Hamburg
  • Year 1869

    Year 1869
    English author Matthew Arnold publishes Culture and Anarchy, an influential collection of essays about contemporary society
  • Year 1871

    Year 1871
    George Eliot publishes Middlemarch, in which Dorothea makes a disastrous marriage to the pedantic Edward Casaubon
  • Year 1872

    Year 1872
    Lewis Carroll publishes Through the Looking Glass, a second story of Alice's adventures
  • Year 1874

    Year 1874
    English author Thomas Hardy has his first success with his novel Far from the Madding Crowd
  • Year 1875

    Year 1875
    After spending much time in Europe in recent years, Henry James moves there permanently and settles first in Paris
  • Year 1876

    Year 1876
    English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins develops a new verse form that he calls 'sprung rhythm'
  • Year 1878

    Year 1878
    21-year-old Joseph Conrad, a Polish subject, goes to sea with the British merchant navy
  • Year 1879

    Year 1879
    Henry James's story Daisy Miller, about an American girl abroad, brings him a new readership
  • Year 1881

    Year 1881
    The Aesthetic Movement and 'art for art's sake', attitudes personified above all by Whistler and Wilde, are widely mocked and satirized in Britain
  • Year 1883

    Year 1883
    Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure story, Treasure Island, features Long John Silver and Ben Gunn
  • Year 1884

    Year 1884
    Oxford University Press publishes the A volume of its New English Dictionary, which will take 37 years to reach Z
  • Year 1885

    Year 1885
    Explorer and orientalist Richard Burton begins publication of his multi-volume translation from the Arabic of The Arabian Nights
  • Year 1886

    Year 1886
    Thomas Hardy publishes his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge, which begins with the future mayor, Michael Henchard selling his wife and child at a fair
  • Year 1887

    Year 1887
    Sherlock Holmes features in Conan Doyle's first novel, A Study in Scarlet
  • Year 1889

    Year 1889
    23-year-old Irish author William Butler Yeats publishes his first volume of poems, The Wanderings of Oisin
  • Year 1890

    Year 1890
    Scottish anthropologist James Frazer publishes The Golden Bough, a massive compilation of contemporary knowledge about ritual and religious custom
  • Year 1891

    Year 1891
    Thomas Hardy publishes his novel Tess of the Durbervilles, with a dramatic finale at Stonehenge
  • Year 1892

    Year 1892
    Bernard Shaw's first play, Widowers' Houses, deals with the serious social problem of slum landlords
  • Year 1894

    Year 1894
    Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book surrounds the child Mowgli with a collection of vivid animal guardians
  • Year 1895

    Year 1895
    Oscar Wilde is sent to Reading Gaol to serve a two-year sentence with hard labour after being convicted of homosexuality
  • Year 1896

    Year 1896
    English poet A.E. Housman publishes his first collection, A Shropshire Lad
  • Year 1897

    Year 1897
    Somerset Maugham publishes his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, based on the London life he has observed as a medical student
  • Year 1898

    Year 1898
    Henry James publishes The Turn of the Screw in a collection of short stories
  • Year 1899

    Year 1899
    E. Nesbit publishes The Story of the Treasure Seekers, introducing the Bastable family who feature in several of her books for children
  • Year 1900

    Year 1900
    Joseph Conrad publishes his novel Lord Jim about a life of failure and redemption in the far East
  • 20th century

    Saw the rise of modernism, a movement characterized by stylistic experimentation and the questioning of traditional values.
  • Year 1901

    Year 1901
    Rudyard Kipling's experiences of India are put to good use in his novel Kim
  • Year 1902

    Year 1902
    John Masefield's poem 'Sea Fever' is published in Salt-Water Ballads
  • Year 1903

    Year 1903
    Henry James publishes The Ambassadors, the second of his three last novels written in rapid succession
  • Year 1904

    Year 1904
    J.M Barrie's play for children Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up has its premiere in London
  • Year 1905

    Year 1905
    Bernard Shaw has two new plays opening in London in the same year, Major Barbara and Man and Superman
  • Year 1906

    Year 1906
    E. Nesbit publishes The Railway Children, the most successful of her books featuring the Bastable family
  • Year 1907

    Year 1907
    Edmund Gosse publishes Father and Son, an account of his difficult relationship with his fundamentalist father, Philip Gosse
  • Year 1908

    Year 1908
    The Welsh poet W.H. Davies has a success with The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp, his account of life on the road and in dosshouses
  • Year 1909

    Year 1909
    The heroine of H.G. Wells' novel Ann Veronica is a determined example of the New Woman
  • Year 1910

    Year 1910
    Rudyard Kipling publishes If, which rapidly becomes his most popular poem among the British
  • Year 1911

    Year 1911
    G.K. Chesterton's clerical detective makes his first appearance in The Innocence of Father Brown
  • Year 1912

    Year 1912
    Walter De la Mare establishes his reputation with the title poem of his collection The Listeners
  • Year 1913

    Year 1913
    D.H. Lawrence publishes a semi-autobiographical novel about the Morel family, Sons and Lovers
  • Year 1914

    Year 1914
    American-born poet Thomas Stearns Eliot crosses the Atlantic to England, making it his home for the rest of his life
  • Year 1915

    Year 1915
    D.H. Lawrence's novel about the Brangwen family, The Rainbow, is seized by the police as an obscene work
  • Year 1916

    Year 1916
    Robert Graves publishes his first book of poems, Over the Brazier
  • Year 1917

    Year 1917
    Jeeves and Bertie Wooster make their first appearance in P.G. Wodehouse's The Man with Two Left Feet
  • Year 1918

    Year 1918
    Rebecca West publishes her first novel, The Return of the Soldier
  • Year 1919

    Year 1919
    In The Economic Consequences of the Peace Maynard Keynes publishes a strong attack on the reparations demanded from Germany
  • Year 1920

    Year 1920
    The Belgian detective Hercule Poirot features in Agatha Christie's first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles
  • Year 1921

    Year 1921
    Ludwig Wittgenstein publishes his influential study of the philosophy of logic, Tractatus Logico Philosophicus
  • Year 1922

    Year 1922
    American-born poet T.S. Eliot publishes The Waste Land, an extremely influential poem in five fragmented sections
  • Year 1923

    Year 1923
    Bernard Shaw's play Saint Joan has its world premiere in New York
  • Year 1924

    Year 1924
    E.M. Forster's novel A Passage to India builds on cultural misconceptions between the British and Indian communities
  • Year 1925

    Year 1925
    English writer Ivy Compton-Burnett finds her characteristic voice in her second novel, Pastors and Masters
  • Year 1926

    Year 1926
    Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and the others make their first appearance in A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Year 1927

    Year 1927
    Anglo-Irish author Elizabeth Bowen publishes her first novel, The Hotel
  • Year 1928

    Year 1928
    Set in a World War I trench, the play Journey's End reflects the wartime experiences of its British author, R.C. Sherriff
  • Year 1929

    Year 1929
    English author J.B. Priestley has an immediate success with his first novel, The Good Companions
  • Year 1930

    Year 1930
    English author W.H. Auden's first collection of poetry is published with the simple title Poems
  • Year 1931

    Year 1931
    Virginia Woolf publishes the most fluid of her novels, The Waves, in which she tells the story through six interior monologues
  • Year 1932

    Year 1932
    British author C.S. Lewis publishes a moral parable, The Screwtape Letters, about the problems confronting a trainee devil
  • Year 1933

    Year 1933
    In Down and Out in Paris and London English author George Orwell writes a sympathetic account of the people he meets on hard times
  • Year 1934

    Year 1934
    In A Handful of Dust Evelyn Waugh sends his hero Tony Last to a disastrous fate, far away in the Amazon rain forest
  • Year 1935

    Year 1935
    British publisher Allen Lane launches a paperback series to which he gives the name Penguin Books
  • Year 1936

    Year 1936
    Terence Rattigan's first play, French without Tears, is performed in London
  • Year 1937

    Year 1937
    George Orwell reveals the harsh realities of contemporary British life in The Road to Wigan Pier
  • Year 1938

    Year 1938
    In Homage to Catalonia George Orwell describes his experiences fighting for the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War
  • Year 1939

    Year 1939
    Irish author Flann O'Brien publishes his first novel, At Swim-Two-Birds
  • Year 1940

    Year 1940
    Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman is rejected by numerous publishers before becoming, decades later, his best-known novel
  • Year 1941

    Year 1941
    British author Rebecca West publishes an account of Yugoslavia, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
  • Year 1942

    Year 1942
    English children's author Enid Blyton introduces the Famous Five in Five on a Treasure Island
  • Year 1944

    Year 1944
    The separate poems forming T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets are brought together for the first time as a single volume, published in New York
  • Year 1945

    Year 1945
    In George Orwell's fable Animal Farm a ruthless pig, Napoleon, controls the farmyard using the techniques of Stalin
  • Year 1946

    Year 1946
    Titus Groan begins British author Mervyn Peake's trilogy of gothic novels
  • Year 1947

    Year 1947
    J.B. Priestley challenges audiences with An Inspector Calls, a play in which moral guilt spreads like an infection
  • Year 1948

    Year 1948
    Christopher Fry's verse drama The Lady's Not For Burning engages in high-spirited poetic word play
  • Year 1949

    Year 1949
    George Orwell publishes Nineteen Eighty-Four, a novel set in a terrifying totalitarian state of the future, watched over by Big Brother
  • Year 1950

    Year 1950
    British author Doris Lessing publishes her first novel, The Grass is Singing
  • Year 1951

    Year 1951
    A Question of Upbringing begins Anthony Powell's 'A Dance to the Music of Time'
  • Year 1952

    Year 1952
    Evelyn Waugh publishes Men at Arms, the first novel in the Sword of Honour trilogy based on his wartime experiences
  • Year 1953

    Year 1953
    English author L.P. Hartley sets his novel The Go-Between in the summer of 1900
  • Year 1954

    Year 1954
    Dylan Thomas's 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood, is broadcast on BBC radio, with Richard Burton as narrator
  • Year c. 1955

    Year c. 1955
    Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American is set in contemporary Vietnam and foresees troubles ahead
  • Year 1956

    Year 1956
    English poet Ted Hughes marries US poet Sylia Plath
  • Year 1957

    Year 1957
    English author John Braine publishes his first novel, Room at the Top
  • Year 1958

    Year 1958
    Harold Pinter's first play in London's West End, The Birthday Party, closes in less than a week
  • Year 1959

    Year 1959
    Harold Pinter's second play in London's West End, The Caretaker, immediately brings him an international reputation
  • Year 1960

    Year 1960
    Paul Scofield plays Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons
  • Year 1961

    Year 1961
    British novelist Muriel Spark publishes The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, set in an Edinburgh school in the 1930s
  • Year 1962

    Year 1962
    British author P.D. James's first novel, Cover Her Face, introduces her poet detective Adam Dalgleish
  • Year 1963

    Year 1963
    English author John Le Carré publishes a Cold-War thriller The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
  • Year 1964

    Year 1964
    English author A.S. Byatt publishes her first novel, Shadow of a Sun
  • Year 1966

    Year 1966
    Irish poet Seamus Heaney wins critical acclaim for Death of a Naturalist, his first volume containing more than a few poems
  • Year 1967

    Year 1967
    A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, by English dramatist Peter Nichols, has its premiere in London
  • Year 1968

    Year 1968
    English biographer Michael Holroyd completes his two-volume life of Lytton Strachey
  • Year 1969

    Year 1969
    English novelist John Fowles publishes The French Lieutenant's Woman, set in Lyme Regis in the 1860s
  • Year 1972

    Year 1972
    English dramatist Caryl Churchill's first play, Owners, is produced in London
  • Year 1973

    Year 1973
    British economist Ernst Friedrich Schumacher publishes an influential economic tract, Small is Beautiful
  • Year 1974

    Year 1974
    German-born British art historian Nikolaus Pevsner completes his monumental 46-volume Buildings of England
  • Year 1975

    Year 1975
    English author Ruth Prawer Jhabwala wins the Booker Prize with her novel Heat and Dust
  • Year 1978

    Year 1978
    British author Ian McEwan publishes his first novel, The Cement Garden
  • Year 1979

    Year 1979
    Peter Shaffer's play about Mozart, Amadeus, has its premiere in London
  • Year 1981

    Year 1981
    Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children uses the moment of India's independence to launch an adventure in magic realism
  • Year 1982

    Year 1982
    Michael Frayn's farce Noises Off opens in London's West end
  • Year 1983

    Year 1983
    British economist Nicholas Kaldor attacks monetarism in The Economic Consequences of Mrs Thatcher
  • Year 1984

    Year 1984
    English author Julian Barnes publishes a multi-faceted literary novel, Flaubert's Parrot
  • Year 1985

    Year 1985
    British Rasta poet Benjamin Zephaniah publishes his second collection as The Dread Affair
  • Year 1987

    Year 1987
    English poets John Fuller and James Fenton collaborate in a volume of satirical poems, Partingtime Hall
  • Year 1988

    Year 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
  • Year 1990

    Year 1990
    Racing Demon launches a trilogy on the British establishment by English playwright David Hare
  • Year 1991

    Year 1991
    Alan Bennett's play The Madness of George III is performed at the National Theatre in London
  • Year 1992

    Year 1992
    English poet Thom Gunn's The Man with Night Sweats deals openly with AIDS
  • Year 1993

    Year 1993
    Scottish author Irvine Welsh publishes his first novel, Trainspotting
  • Year 1994

    Year 1994
    Louis de Bernières publishes Captain Corelli's Mandolin, a love story set in Italian-occupied Cephalonia
  • Year 1997

    Year 1997
    The poems forming Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters describe his relationship with Sylvia Plath
  • Year 1998

    Year 1998
    Michael Frayn's play Copenhagen dramatizes the visit of Werner Heisenberg to Niels Bohr in wartime Denmark
  • Year 2000

    Year 2000
    The Amber Spyglass completes Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials
  • Period:

    History of English Literature.

    In the Old English period, epic poetry, which began as an oral art, was exemplified in "Beowulf." The period is also known for its beautiful elegies, including "The Wanderer" and "The Seafarer." Old English poetry is alliterative, rather than rhyming, and is known for its use of the kenning, a compressed metaphor such as whale-road or night-stalker.