Period: 450 to 1066
OLD ENGLISH (450 - 1066)Invasion of Celtic England by two Germanic tribes: the Angles and the Saxons, along with the Jutes.
Had oral literature. A lot of the prose.
Was a translation of something else or otherwise legal, medical, or religious in nature.
Some works, such as Beowulf and those by period poets Caedmon and Cynewulf, are important.
Epic poetry begins as oral art.
Period: 1066 to 1500
MIDDLE ENGLISH (1066 - 1500)Huge transition in the language, culture, and lifestyle of England and results “modern” (recognizable) English.
writings were religious in nature.
Around 1350 onwards, secular literature began to rise.
Important characters: Chaucer, Thomas Malory, and Robert Henryson.
Notable works include "Piers Plowman" and "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight."
Period: 1500 to
THE RENAISSANCE (1500 - 1660)This period is often subdivided into four parts:
- The Elizabethan Age (1558–1603)
- The Jacobean Age (1603–1625)
- The Caroline Age (1625–1649)
- The Commonwealth Period (1649–1660).
Period: 1558 to
ELIZABETHAN AGE (1558–1603)Age of English drama.
Figures:Christopher Marlowe,Francis Bacon,Edmund Spenser,Sir Walter Raleigh,and William Shakespeare.
THE NEOCLASSICAL PERIOD (1600–1785)Subdivided into ages: The Restoration (1660–1700)
The Augustan Age (1700–1745)
The Age of Sensibility (1745–1785).
JACOBEAN AGE (1603–1625)Is named for the reign of James I.
It includes the works of John Donne,Shakespeare, Michael Drayton,John Webster,Elizabeth Cary,Ben Jonson and Lady Mary Wroth.
The King James translation of the Bible.
THE CAROLINE AGE (1625–1649)Covers the reign of Charles I (“Carolus”).
Notable figures: John Milton, Robert Burton and George Herbert.
COMMONWEALTH PERIOD (1649–1660)Was so named for the period between the end of the English Civil War and the restoration of the Stuart monarchy.
John Milton and Thomas Hobbes’ political writings appeared and, while drama suffered.
Prose writers such as Thomas Fuller, Abraham Cowley, and Andrew Marvell published prolifically.
THE RESTORATION (1660–1700)Restoration comedies (comedies of manner) the talent of playwrights like William Congreve and John Dryden.
Satire, became quite popular, as evidenced by the success of Samuel Butler.
AUGUSTAN AGE (1700–1745)Poet: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu noted for challenging stereotypically female roles.
Daniel Defoe was also popular.
THE AGE OF SENSIBILITY (1745–1785).Sometimes referred to as the Age of Johnson.
Edmund Burke, Edward Gibbon, Hester Lynch Thrale, James Boswell, and, of course, Samuel Johnson.
Ideas such as neoclassicism, a critical and literary mode, and the Enlightenment.
Novelists: Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Tobias Smollett, and Laurence Sterne as well as the poets William Cowper and Thomas Percy.
THE ROMANTIC PERIOD (1785–1832)The publication William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s book Lyrical Ballads.
Ends with the passage of the Reform Bill (which signaled the Victorian Era) and with the death of Sir Walter Scott.
The works 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.
Gothic era (between 1786–1800) writers Matthew Lewis, Anne Radcliffe, and William Beckford.
THE VICTORIAN PERIOD (1832–1901)Named for the reign of Queen Victoria. Poets: Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Matthew Arnold.
advancing the essay form. Prose fiction: 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)Named for King Edward VII.
Classic novelists such as Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, and Henry James.
Notable poets such as Alfred Noyes and William Butler Yeats; and dramatists such as James Barrie, George Bernard Shaw, and John Galsworthy.
THE GEORGIAN PERIOD (1910–1936)Refers to the reign of George V.
Poets, such as Ralph Hodgson, John Masefield, W.H. Davies, and Rupert Brooke.
The themes and subject matter tended to be rural or pastoral in nature, treated delicately and traditionally rather than with passion or with experimentation.
THE MODERN PERIOD (1914–?)notable writers:
- novelists James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Dorothy Richardson, Graham Greene, E.M. Forster, and Doris Lessing; the poets W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Seamus Heaney, Wilfred Owens, Dylan Thomas, and Robert Graves.
- Dramatists Tom Stoppard, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Frank McGuinness, Harold Pinter, and Caryl Churchill.
New Criticism: Woolf, Eliot, William Empson.
THE POSTMODERN PERIOD (1945–?)Poststructuralist literary theory and criticism developed.
Writers of the period include Samuel Beckett, Joseph Heller, Anthony Burgess, John Fowles, Penelope M. Lively, and Iain Banks.