History of English Literature.

  • Period: 450 to 1066

    Old Eglish Period.

    Also called Anglo-Saxon literature, this period includes the literature written in Old English in the Anglo-Saxon England from the VII century until the decades after the Norman Conquest of 1066. This literature consists mainly of sermons, lives of saints, Biblical translations, Anglo-Saxon chronicles, works of narrative history, laws, testaments, grammar works, medicine, geography and poetry; more than 400 manuscripts of this era are known, of which 189 are considered principal.
  • 658

    "Cædmon's Hymn"

    "Cædmon's Hymn"
    This is a short poem in Old English, composed by Cædmon, a cow-herder supposedly illiterate that according to Bede, could sing in honor of God the Creator, using words he had never heard before. This story was composed between 658 and 680, is one of the oldest poems recorded in the era of Old English. It is also one of the oldest samples of the Germanic alliterative verse.
  • 960

    "Exeter Book"

    "Exeter Book"
    Also known as Codex Exoniensis, it is an anthology of Anglo-Saxon poetry. It is one of the four main codices of Anglo-Saxon literature, along with the Vercelli Book, the Nowell Codex and the Cædmon manuscript. The precise dates on which it was written and compiled are unknown, although the proposed dates range between 960 and 990. Within its content there is a wide variety of poetic works of all kinds of things, including riddles, Christian or mundane poems, writings, etc.
  • 975


    It is an epic poem that consists of 3,182 alliterative lines. It is said that its date of composition dates between 975 and 1025, the name of its author is unknown, since this was anonymous. The story takes place in Scandinavia, where the hero of the Geats faces different difficulties killing monsters, until one of them hurts him to death and his assistants incinerate the body and raise a tower in his memory. The full story survives in the manuscript known as the Codex Nowell.
  • Period: 1066 to 1500

    Middle English Period

    This period is divided into four general edges: "The early period" after the Norman conquest of England, Law French became the standard language of courts, parliament, and polite society. "The thirteenth century", English language regained prestige and replaced French and Latin in Parliament and courts."The fourteenth century" works of English literature began once again to appear, and "The fifteenth century" William Caxton helped to standardize the language and expand the vocabulary.
  • 1180


    It is a Biblical exegesis written in verse by a monk called Orm (Ormin) due to the particular phonetic spelling used by the author, the work retains details of the English pronunciation of the Middle English era. The Ormulum consists of the explanation of Christian teachings in each of the texts used at Mass throughout the ecclesiastical calendar. The purpose was to provide an accessible text in English for the benefit of less educated believers.
  • 1290

    Havelok the Dane

    Havelok the Dane
    Havelok is the second oldest surviving romance written in English, after King Horn; It is believed that it was composed somewhere between 1280-1310. The poem is notable for its interest in law and legal practice and its exploration of ideal royalty, as well as for its detailed description of the life of the working class in Lincolnshire of the 13th century.
  • 1400

    The Canterbury Tales

    The Canterbury Tales
    It is a collection of 24 stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer, The stories are presented as part of a storytelling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together from London to Canterbury to visit the sanctuary of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. The prize for this contest is a free meal at the Tabard Inn in Southwark upon his return.
  • Period: 1500 to

    English Renaissance Period

    In this period the dominant artistic forms were literature and music, which is what sets it apart from the Italian Renaissance, where the visual arts were much more significant. This Era is divided into three parts, "Elizabethan" during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (from 1558-1603) the "Jacobean" during the reign of King James I (from 1603-1625) and "Carolina" during reign of King Charles I (from 1625-1653). Elizabethan era is usually regarded as the height of the English Renaissance.
  • 1549

    Book of Common Prayer.

    Book of Common Prayer.
    It contains several prayer books used in the Anglican Communion and other Christian churches related to Anglicanism. It was the first prayer book that included complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English. It contained information such as prayers for morning, afternoon, evening, orders as communion, baptism, comfirmation, marriage, funeral service, epistle and gospel for Sunday service, among others.
  • 1569

    On Monsieur's Departure

    On Monsieur's Departure
    It is an Elizabethan poem attributed to Elizabeth I, apparently about the failure of her marriage negotiations with the Duke of Anjou, Francis (the youngest son of King Henry II of France) although it is also attributed to the alleged romance she had with the 1st Earl of Leicester Robert Dudley. The queen wrote several poems based on her life in the era where polite love was the European tradition and this work portrays a victim of unrequited love.
  • The Faerie Queene

    The Faerie Queene
    It is an English poem written by Edmund Spenser, the style of this poem is notable for its form, since it is one of the longest poems of the English language and in it the author invented the verse form known as the "Spenser stanza ". The poem follows several gentlemen as a means to examine different virtues, this is considered an allegorical work and according to the author the objective of the text was "to model a gentleman or a noble person in a virtuous and gentle discipline.
  • Period: to

    Puritan Period

    In this period the literature was direct and focused on offering instruction from a biblical point of view, it was based on a first-person narrative since they addressed writing from a personal point of view (Journals, diaries and daily experiences) transmitting thoughts about themselves. In this era, writing was not thought of as entertainment but as a tool to reach people with the history of God. Puritan literature took the form of a sermon, poem, letter or a historical narrative.
  • Paradise Lost

    Paradise Lost
    Written by John Milton, The work is essentially about the problem of evil and suffering in the sense of answering the question of why a good and almighty God decides to allow them when it would be easy to avoid them. Here he has the purpose of "justifying God's ways" by responding through a psychological description of the main protagonists of the poem, whose attitudes end up revealing the hopeful message that lies behind The loss of the original paradise
  • The Pilgrim's Progress

    The Pilgrim's Progress
    It is an allegorical novel by John Bunyan, the full title is "The Pilgrim's Progress from this world to that which is to come, delivered under the similitude of a dream". In the story the protagonist is called Cristiano, and most of the characters are called by their most obvious characteristic. He recounts the journey of Christian through his life, seeking salvation through Jesus.
  • Magnalia Christi Americana

    Magnalia Christi Americana
    Written by Cotton Mather, this writing consists of seven books gathered in two volumes and details the religious development of Massachusetts and other colonies near New England. The main parts of the book include the author's descriptions of Salem's witch trials, in which he criticizes court methods and tries to distance himself from those events, among the most notable stories of the work is the escape of Hannah Dustan.
  • Period: to

    Restoration Age Period

    In this period are the styles of literature that focus on a celebration or reaction to the restored court of Charles II. It is a literature that includes extremes, since it covers titles of various subjects, from sexual comedies to testimonial Christian writings. One of its greatest exponents is John Dryden, with this pioneer of literary criticism the essay became a periodic form of art and thus the beginning of textual criticism took place.
  • The Country Wife

    The Country Wife
    It is a restoration comedy written by William Wycherley. The work was controversial for its sexual explicitness even in its own time. It is about a man having fun with married women and the arrival in London of an inexperienced young "country wife", also that the only cure for the implicit condition that the man claimed to suffer was that a surgeon drastically reduced the reach of his male stature and, therefore, would not pose a threat to any man's wife.
  • To His Coy Mistress

    To His Coy Mistress
    Written by Andrew Marvell, this poem is considered one of Marvell's best and is possibly the best-known carpe diem poem in English. The poem's speaker begins by addressing a woman he describes hates being compromised by the limitations of a normal life. In the second stanza, he regrets how short human life is, in the last stanza, he urges the woman arguing that by loving each other with passion, both will make the most of the short time they have to live.
  • Sodom

    Sodom is an obscene drama from the Restoration closet, attributed to John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, although its authorship is in dispute due to poor allocation of evidence. The play begins with Bolloxinion, King of Sodom, authorizing same-sex sodomy as an acceptable sexual practice within the kingdom. With this the court and the country are reduced to erotic madness. At the end Bolloxinion declares his intention to retreat to a cave and die in the act of sodomizing his favorite.
  • The Way of the World

    The Way of the World
    It is a work written by William Congreve. The work focuses on the two lovers Mirabell and Millamant, so that they can marry and receive the full dowry of Millamant, Mirabell must receive the blessing of Ladyilla's aunt, unfortunately, Ladyilla is a very bitter woman who despises Mirabell and wants her his own nephew, Sir Wilfull, marries Millamant. Meanwhile, Lady Wishfort, a widow, wants to get married again and has her eyes on a Mirabell uncle, the rich Sir Rowland.
  • Period: to

    18th Century Period

    In this period we see mainly literature such as poetry, drama, satire and novels. This era is divided into two parts, that of the "Augustinian Literature" (from 1700-1750) and the "Age of Sensibility" (from 1750-1798). In the 18th century the development of the modern novel was seen as a literary genre , during this time the subgenres of the novel were the "epistolary novel", the "sentimental novel" and the "libertine novel". One of its best known exponents is Daniel Defoe.
  • A Tale of a Tub

    A Tale of a Tub
    Written by Jonathan Swift, it is a parody that deepens the morals and ethics of the English. It is an allegory of three brothers. Each brother represents one of the main branches of Christianity in the West. The brothers have inherited three coats from their father, and they have their will to guide them. The narrative is an apology for the refusal of the Anglican church to alter its practice in accordance with Puritan demands and its continued resistance to ally with the Roman church.
  • Robinson Crusoe

    Robinson Crusoe
    It is a novel by Daniel Defoe, the book is presented as an autobiography of the main character a castaway who spends 28 years in a remote tropical desert island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued. It is believed that the story is based on the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on a Pacific island called "Más a Tierra", now part of Chile, which was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966.
  • Lyrical Ballads

    Lyrical Ballads
    It is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, generally regarded as the beginning of the English romantic movement in literature. The immediate effect on critics was modest, but it became and remains a milestone, changing the course of literature and poetry in English. Most of the poems in the 1798 edition were written by Wordsworth, with Coleridge contributing only four poems to the collection (although these made up about a third of the book).
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience

    Songs of Innocence and of Experience
    It is an illustrated collection of poems by William Blake. "Innocence" and "Experience" are definitions of consciousness that rethink Milton's mythical existential states of "Paradise" and "Fall." This world sometimes affects childhood itself, and in any case it is known through "experience", a state of being marked by the loss of child vitality, fear and inhibition, social and political corruption, and for the multiple oppression of the Church, State and the ruling classes.
  • Period: to

    Romanticism Period

    In this period there were major social changes in England due to the depopulation of the countryside and the rapid development of overcrowded industrial cities. Romanticism is generally seen as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, also as a revolt against the social norms of the Age of Enlightenment. In this Era, Romantic Poetry and Romantic Novel predominate, one of its greatest exponents is William Blake.
  • The Lay of the Last Minstrel

    The Lay of the Last Minstrel
    Is a poem by Walter Scott. In the poem, Lady Margaret, the "Flower of Teviot" is loved by Baron Henry of Cranstown, an ally of the Ker Clan, but there is a deadly enmity between the two border clans of Scott and Ker, which has resulted in the recent murder of Lady Margaret's father, by the Kers on High Street in Edinburgh. Margaret's widowed mother, Lady Janet, hates the Ker clan as a result, and remains firm in denying her consent to any suggestion of marriage between lovers.
  • Period: to

    Victorian Period

    Unlike Romanticism where poetry was the dominant genre, in this Era the novel is more important. This period occurs during the reign of Queen Victoria. Charles Dickens, Robert Browning and Alfred Tennyson are some of its greatest exponents, there are problems with the classification of Victorian literature since the first works of this era and the later ones had more in common with the writers of the Edwardian period.
  • Vanity Fair

    Vanity Fair
    It is a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, which follows the life of Becky Sharp and Emmy Sedley in the midst of their friends and family during and after the Napoleonic Wars. It reflects both his satirization of British society of the early nineteenth century and the numerous illustrations drawn by Thackeray to accompany the text. The subtitle "A novel without hero", reflects Thackeray's interest in the deconstruction of the conventions of his time regarding literary heroism.
  • Middlemarch

    It is a novel by George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans). Takes place in the fictional city of Middlemarch, and follows several different stories that intersect with a large cast of characters. Topics include the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism, self-interest, religion, hypocrisy, political reform and education. Despite the comic elements, Middlemarch is a work that encompasses historical events and examines the reactionary views of a community facing unwanted change.
  • Jude the Obscure

    Jude the Obscure
    It is a Thomas Hardy novel. Its protagonist, Jude Fawley, is a young working-class, bricklayer, who dreams of being a scholar. The other main character is his cousin, Sue Bridehead, who is also his main love interest. The novel refers in particular to questions of class, education, religion, morality and marriage.
  • Period: to

    Modern Literature Period

    This period is characterized by the rupture of the traditional forms of writing of poetry and prose. In this era the writers experimented with the literary form and expression to "Make it New" with the conscious desire to cancel the traditional representation and express the new sensibility of their time. Some of its greatest representatives are Sigmund Freud, Ernst Mach and Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • Pointed Roofs

    Pointed Roofs
    It is a book by Dorothy Richardson. In the plot, Miriam Henderson, the central character of Pilgrimage, is based on the author's life between 1891 and 1915. In Pointed Roofs, Miriam Henderson, seventeen, has her first adult adventure teaching English at a school that ends in Hannover, Germany Richardson herself had left home in 1891, at seventeen, to take up the position of student teacher at a school in Hanover, due to her father's financial problems.
  • Ulysses

    It is a novel by writer James Joyce. Ulysses narrates the quotations and peripatetic encounters of Leopold Bloom in Dublin in the course of an ordinary day. Ulysses is the Latinized name of Odysseus, the hero of Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey and the novel establishes a series of parallels between the poem and the novel, with structural correspondences between the characters and their experiences.
  • Mrs Dalloway

    Mrs Dalloway
    It is a novel by Virginia Woolf that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional woman of high society in England after World War I. The novel addresses Clarissa's preparations for a party she will organize that night. With an inner perspective, the story travels back and forth in time and in and out of the minds of the characters to build an image of Clarissa's life and the interwar social structure.
  • Period: to

    Post-Modern Period

    It is said that the style of this period emerged in the post-World War II era, in this period literature is characterized by the dependence of narrative techniques such as fragmentation and paradox. This type of work tends to use metafiction to undermine the authenticity of the text, it also uses a combination of themes and genres that were previously not considered suitable for literature. Some of its greatest exponents are August Strindberg, Luigi Pirandello and Bertolt Brecht.
  • The Cannibal

    The Cannibal
    It's a novel by John Hawkes, partially based on Hawkes' own experiences in the Second World War. The story is divided into three parts, told in a surreal or anti-realist way, can be summed up by saying that the two parts of the novel set in 1945 represent the material and moral wasteland created by Nazism and World War II, while the first part is He says he shows the roots of those horrors in the years of former German imperialism and the humiliating defeat of 1918.
  • Howl for Carl Solomon

    Howl for Carl Solomon
    Is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg. during a night in the Nob Hill department of Shiela Williams, then Ginsberg's girlfriend, with whom he lived. Ginsberg had the terrifying experience of seeing the facade of the Sir Francis Drake hotel in the mist of San Francisco as the monstrous face of a child-eating demon. As was his custom, Ginsberg took notes on his vision, and these became the basis of Part II of the poem.
  • Naked Lunch

    Naked Lunch
    It is a novel by writer William S. Burroughs. The book is structured as a series of loose vignettes. Burroughs stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order. The reader follows the narration of the drug addict William Lee, who acquires several aliases, from the USA. UU. To Mexico, eventually to Tangier and the Dream Zone. The cartoons are based on Burroughs' own experiences in these places and his drug addiction (heroin, morphine, majoun, Eukodol (oxycodone).
  • Period: to

    Contemporary Period

    In this period we find the literature written after the Second World War, since it refers to the current writings it is difficult to establish a fixed starting and ending point, it is a broad category from which some styles such as "Magic Realism" have emerged or postmodern writing, there is a wide variety of notable authors at this time, including Doris Lessing, Harold Pinter, William Golding, among others.
  • Atonement

    Is a British metafiction novel written by Ian McEwan about understanding and responding to the need for personal atonement. Set in three periods of time, 1935 England, World War II England and France, and current England, it covers the innocent middle mistake of a high-class girl who ruins lives, her adulthood in the shadow of that error and a reflection on The nature of writing.
  • The Tain

    The Tain
    Is a fantasy novella by British author China Miéville. The story follows Sholl, a man living in London soon after a convulsive onslaught by unearthly beings. Through introspective monologue on both sides of the fight, we learn of the history of the attacking imagos and "vampires", and the reasons behind the invasion.
  • Light

    Is a science fiction novel by M. John Harrison. The book focuses on the lives of three individuals who are linked in many ways, although in a more tangible way by the presence of a mysterious creature called The Shrander, which appears in many ways to the three characters throughout the novel. They are also linked by the Kefahuchi Tract, an anomaly of spacetime described as "a singularity without a horizon of events."