Literature Timeline

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In History
  • 400

    The beginning of English old literature

    Venerable Bede, in his monastery in Jarrow, completes his history of the English church and people.
  • 450

    Old english 450__1066

    The time period of British history was characterizedby foreign invasions and internal struggles. This resulted in the mixing of several races, tongues and cultures.
  • 731

    The beginning of English literature

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

    legends of scandinavia

    legends of scandinavia
    Beowulf, the first great work of Germanic literature, mingles the legends of Scandinavia with the experience in England of Angles and Saxons
  • 950

    century the Vikings

     century the Vikings
    The material of the Eddas, taking shape in Iceland, derives from earlier sources in Norway, Britain and Burgundy
  • 1066

    midle English 1066__ 1500

    midle English 1066__ 1500
    . During this time the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English became widespread and the printing press regularized the language. Between the 1470s and the middle of the following century there was a transition to early Modern English. In literary terms, the characteristics of the literary works written did not change radically until the effects of the Renaissance and Reformed Christianity became more apparent in the reign of King Henry VIII.
  • 1367

    epic poem

    epic poem
    A narrator who calls himself Will, and whose name may be Langland, begins the epic poem of Piers Plowman
  • 1387


    Chaucer begins an ambitious scheme for 100 Canterbury Tales, of which he completes only 24 by the time of his death
  • 1500

    English renaissance 1500__1660

    English renaissance 1500__1660
    The term Renaissance means “Rebirth”. The movement had its origin in Italy and it gradually spread throughout Europe. The movement had significant influence over the English Literature.
  • 1549

    First sentence in English

    First sentence in English
    The first version of the English prayer book, or Book of Common Prayer, is published with text by Thomas Cranmer
  • 1567

    The Bible

    The Bible
    The Book of Common Prayer and the New Testament are published in Welsh, to be followed by the complete Bible in 1588
  • neoclassical period 1600__1785

    neoclassical period 1600__1785
    The Restoration period sees some response to the puritanical age, especially in the theater. Restoration comedies (comedies of manner) developed during this time under the talent of playwrights such as William Congreve and John Dryden.
  • Restoration comedies (comedies of manner)

     Restoration comedies (comedies of manner)
    developed during this time under the talent of playwrights such as William Congreve and John Dryden. Satire, too, became quite popular, as evidenced by the success of Samuel Butler. Other notable writers of the age include Aphra Behn, John Bunyan, and John Locke.
  • he Romantic Period (1785–1832)

    he Romantic Period (1785–1832)
    The time period ends with the passage of the Reform Bill (which signaled the Victorian Era) and with the death of Sir Walter Scott. American literature has its own Romantic period, but typically when one speaks of Romanticism, one is referring to this great and diverse age of British literature, perhaps the most popular and well-known of all literary ages.
  • the principal works

    the principal works
    This era includes the works of such juggernauts as Wordsworth, Coleridge, William Blake, Lord Byron, John Keats, Charles Lamb, Mary Wollstonecraft, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Thomas De Quincey, Jane Austen, and Mary Shelley. There is also a minor period, also quite popular (between 1786–1800), called the Gothic era.
  • The Victorian Period (1832–1901)

    The Victorian Period (1832–1901)
    It was a time of great social, religious, intellectual, and economic issues, heralded by the passage of the Reform Bill, which expanded voting rights.
  • prose fiction

    prose fiction
    found its place under the auspices of Charles Dickens, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hardy, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Samuel Butler.
  • The Edwardian Period (1901–1914)

    The Edwardian Period (1901–1914)
    This period is named for King Edward VII and covers the period between Victoria’s death and the outbreak of World War I. Although a short period (and a short reign for Edward VII),
  • classic novelists

    classic novelists
    the era includes incredible classic novelists such as Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, and Henry James (who was born in America but who spent most of his writing career in England), notable poets such as Alfred Noyes and William Butler Yeats, as well as dramatists such as James Barrie, George Bernard Shaw, and John Galsworthy.
  • The Georgian Period (1910–1936)

    The Georgian Period (1910–1936)
    Here, we refer to the former description as it applies chronologically and covers, for example, the Georgian poets, such as Ralph Hodgson, John Masefield, W.H. Davies, and Rupert Brooke. Georgian poetry today is typically considered to be the works of minor poets anthologized by Edward Marsh.
  • principal authors

    In his poem Cargoes John Masefield compares a 'dirty British coaster' with two romantic boats from the past John Buchan publishes Prester John, the first of his adventure stories H.G. Wells publishes The History of Mr Polly, a novel about an escape from drab everyday existence
    Rudyard Kipling publishes If, which rapidly becomes his most popular poem among the British
    E.M. Forster publishes Howard's End, his novel about the Schlegel sisters and the Wilcox family
  • The Modern Period (1914–?)

    The Modern Period (1914–?)
    The modern period traditionally applies to works written after the start of World War I. Common features include bold experimentation with subject matter, style, and form, encompassing narrative, verse, and drama. W.B. Yeats’ words, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold” are often referred to when describing the core tenet or “feeling” of modernist concerns
  • principal authors

    principal authors
    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 American-born poet Thomas Stearns Eliot crosses the Atlantic to England, making it his home for the rest of his life The Times Literary Supplement is published in London as an independent paper, separate from The Times
  • The Postmodern Period (1945–?)

    The Postmodern Period (1945–?)
    The postmodern period begins about the time that World War II ended. Many believe it is a direct response to modernism. Some say the period ended about 1990, but it is likely too soon to declare this period closed.
  • principal authors

    principal authors
    Louis de Bernières publishes Captain Corelli's Mandolin, a love story set in Italian-occupied Cephalonia
    1997 The poems forming Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters describe his relationship with Sylvia Plath
    A schoolboy wizard performs his first tricks in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    1998 Michael Frayn's play Copenhagen dramatizes the visit of Werner Heisenberg to Niels Bohr in wartime Denmark
    2000 The Amber Spyglass completes Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials