History of English Literature

  • Period: 450 to 1066

    Old Enlgish

    Old English or Anglo-Saxon is the earliest historical form of the English Language
  • 731

    The Venerable Bede

    The Venerable Bede
    The Venerable Bede, in his monastery at Jarrow, completes his history of the English church and people
  • 991

    Battle of Maldon

    Battle of Maldon
    This is a work of uncertain date, celebrating the Battle of Maldon of 991, at which the Anglo-Saxons failed to prevent a Viking invasion
  • 1000


    is the most famous work in Old English, and has achieved national epic status in England, despite being set in Scandinavia.
  • 1001

    First Novel

    First Novel
    Japanese author Murasaki Shibubi produces, in The Tale of Genji, a book which can be considered the world's first novel
  • Period: 1067 to 1500

    Middle English

    The event that began the transition from Old English to Middle English was the Norman Conquest of 1066
  • 1307

    The Divine Comedy

    The Divine Comedy
    Dante, in exile from Florence, begins work on The Divine Comedy - completing it just before his death, 14 years later
  • 1375

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    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

    Troilus and Criseyde
    Chaucer completes Troilus and Criseyde, his long poem about a legendary love affair in ancient Troy
  • Period: 1501 to

    English Renaissance

    It was a cultural and artistic movement in England dating from the late 15th century to the early 17th century.
  • 1524

    Plans to translate the Bible into English

    Plans to translate the Bible into English
    William Tyndale at Wittenberg.
  • Period: 1558 to

    Elizabethan Period

    The Elizabethan era is the epoch in the Tudor period of the history of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
  • Period: to

    Jacobean Period

    The Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), who also inherited the crown of England in 1603 as James I.
  • King James version of the Bible

    King James version of the Bible
    James I commissions the Authorized version of the Bible, which is completed by forty-seven scholars in seven years
  • Shakespeare's sonnets

    Shakespeare's sonnets
    Shakespeare's sonnets, written ten years previously, are published
  • Period: to

    Caroline Period

    The Caroline or Carolean era refers to the era in English and Scottish history during the Stuart period that coincided with the reign of Charles I, Carolus being Latin for Charles.
  • Period: to

    Puritan Period

    The Puritans were a religious collective who can be said to have invented their identity by means of the word.
  • Period: to

    Restoration Age

    It corresponds to the last years of the direct Stuart reign in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.
  • Period: to

    18th Century Period

    The 18th century saw the development of the modern novel as literary genre, in fact many candidates for the first novel in English date from this period, of which Daniel Defoe's 1719 Robinson Crusoe is probably the best known.
  • Period: to

    Augustan Period

    is a style of British literature produced during the reigns of Queen Anne, King George I, and George II in the first half of the 18th century and ending in the 1740s, with the deaths of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift, in 1744 and 1745, respectively.
  • Period: to

    Age of Sensibility

    The sentimental novel or "novel of sensibility" is a genre which developed during the second half of the 18th century. It celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment, sentimentalism, and sensibility.
  • Period: to


    was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century.[78] Romanticism arrived later in other parts of the English-speaking world.
  • Frankenstein is pubished

    Frankenstein is pubished
    Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, a Gothic tale about giving life to an artificial man
  • Period: to

    Victorian Era

    It was in the Victorian era that the novel became the leading literary genre in English.Women played an important part in this rising popularity both as authors and as readers.
  • The origin of Species by Charles Darwin

    The origin of Species by Charles Darwin
    Charles Darwin puts forward the theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species, the result of 20 years' research
  • Beatrix Potter

    Beatrix Potter
    Beatrix Potter publishes at her own expense The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • Period: to

    Modern Literature

    English literary modernism developed in the early twentieth-century out of a general sense of disillusionment with Victorian era attitudes of certainty, conservatism, and belief in the idea of objective truth.The movement was influenced by the ideas of Charles Darwin
  • Period: to

    Post Modernism

    Postmodern literature is both a continuation of the experimentation championed by writers of the modernist period (relying heavily, for example, on fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators, etc.) and a reaction against Enlightenment ideas implicit in Modernist literature.
  • James Bond

    James Bond
    Ian Fleming's first novel, Casino Royale
  • Stephen Hawking

    Stephen Hawking
    Stephen Hawking explains the cosmos for the general reader in A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to Black Holes
  • Period: to


    In the later decades of the 20th Century, the genre of science fiction began to be taken more seriously because of the work of writers such as Arthur C. Clarke's (2001: A Space Odyssey), Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Heinlein, Michael Moorcock and Kim Stanley Robinson.