timeline of english literature

  • 450

    Old English 450-1066

    Old English 450-1066
    English literature dates back to the period of the Germanic tribes. The Saxons and the Angles, in the period of the invasion where the Celts remained. The invasion begins with William the conqueror of Norman origin, when he conquers the lands today known as England.
  • Period: 450 to 480


    Epic poem written in the 18th century, recounting heroic feats
  • 666

    Middle English

    The Middle English period sees a great transition in the tongue, culture and lifestyle of England and results in what we can recognize today as a form of "modern" English.
  • Period: 731 to 735

    Old Testament rendering 731

    Cistercienses and friars had the task of interpreting the Holy Bible
  • Period: 871 to 899

    Anglo Saxon Chronicles

    Chronicles and poems were written in the period of Alfred the great in wessex
  • Period: 937 to 940

    Battle of brunanburh

    Recounts the battle of the Norse against the kingdom of Wessex and the victory of King Athelstan over the Vikings
  • Period: 960 to 1000

    Caedmon manuscript

    compilation of texts and poems by caedmon
  • Period: 991 to 1000

    Battle of Maldon

    tells the story of the imminent attack of the Vikings on the Anglo-Saxon island and their defeat against these
  • 1066

    Middle English 1066-1500

    Middle English  1066-1500
    The Middle English period sees a great transition in the tongue, culture and lifestyle of England and results in what we can recognize today as a form of "modern" English.
  • Period: 1330 to 1400


    One of the first poets to write English literature of Irish origin.
  • Period: 1368 to 1400

    Geoffrey Chaucer

    Famous poetry writer such as:
    the Book of the Duchess, 1368
    Anelida and Arcite,1370
    The House of Fame, 1374
    the Legend of Good Women, 1380-1385
    troilus and Crisey, 1385
    Parlement of Foules, 1400
  • Period: 1368 to 1426

    Thomas Hoccleve

    Writer famous for his heroic texts:
    Hoccleve's Works, 1368
    The regiment of princes, 1426
    The Bureaucratic Muse, 1426
  • Period: 1370 to 1400

    William Langland

    Famous poetry writer such as:
    Piers Plowman, 1370
  • Period: 1400 to 1500

    John Gower

    Famous poetry writer with works such as:
    Vox Clamantis, 1408
    Mirour de lOmme,1410
    Confessio Amantis, 1420
    Chronicle tripertita, 1430
    The Canterbury Tales, 1483
    The Decameron, 1492
  • Period: 1400 to 1500

    poet perla's

    Pearl poet. Anonymous poetry writer known as the "pearl poet", is author of works like Sir Gawain, The Green nigth. Its date of writing and publication is unknown.
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Period: 1420 to 1460

    john lydgate

    Writer of books dedicated to the upper class:
    Troy Book, 1420
    Fall of Princes, 1460
  • Period: 1463 to 1500

    John Skelton

    Famous poetry writer with works such as:
    Boke de los Thre Foles, 1463
    Boke de Phyllyp Sparowe ,1500
  • 1500

    English Renaissance 1500 - 1660

    English Renaissance 1500 - 1660
    The so called modern age or renaissance. This period is often subdivided into four parts, including the Elizabethan Age (1558-1603), the Jacobean Age (1603-1625), the Carolina Age (1625-1649), and the Commonwealth Period (1649-1660).
  • Period: 1500 to

    Christopher Marlowe

    English playwright, wrote notable works such as:
    Dido, Queen of Carthage, 1585–1587
    Doctor Faustus,1588–1592
    The Massacre at Paris, 1593 - 1594
    The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, 1587–1588
  • 1558

    Elizabethan Age (1558-1603)

    Elizabethan Age (1558-1603)
    The golden age of English drama. Its most famous writers are: Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, Edmund Spenser, Sir Walter Raleigh and, of course, William Shakespeare.
  • Period: 1564 to

    William Shakespeare

    His early plays were mainly comedies and histories and these works remain regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608
    Hamlet, 1602
    King Lear, 1606
    Othello, 1616
    Macbeth, 1623
  • Jacobean Age 1603-1625

    Jacobean Age 1603-1625
    Jacobean Age is named after the reign of James I. Includes works by John Donne, Shakespeare, Michael Drayton, John Webster, Elizabeth Cary, Ben Jonson and Lady Mary
  • Period: to

    Francis Bacon

    English philosopher known as Mr. Verulamio. Contribution to the scientific method and scientific research.
    Novum Organum, 1630 y 1650
    Francis Bacon's philosophy
    influenced the drafting of the Napoleonic Code
  • Period: to

    John Donne

    Metaphysical poet who wrote:
    Six Sermons,1634
    Fifty Sermons,1649
    Paradoxes, Problemes, Essayes, Characters, 1652
    Essayes in Divinity, 1651
    Sermons Never Before Published, 1661
    John Donne's 1622 Gunpowder Plot Sermon, 1606
  • Period: to

    Elizabeth Cary

    English poet, playwright, translator and historian. She is the first known woman to have written and published an original play in English.
    The mirror of the world, 1598
    The Tragedy of Mariam, 1613
    The History of the Life, Reign and Death of Edward II, 1680
  • Period: to

    King James Version

    Bible translation english
  • Carolina Age 1625-1649

    Carolina Age 1625-1649
    It begins with the reign of Carlos I its most prominent authors are: John Milton, Robert Burton y George Herbert
  • Period: to

    John Milton

    English poet and essayist, wrote famous works such as:
    On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, 1629
    Paradise Lost, 1667
    The exercise of the magistracy and the reign, 1649
    Treaty of civil power in ecclesiastical causes, 1659
    Paradise Regained, 1671
  • Period: to

    Robert Burton

    English writer and fellow of Oxford University, best known for his encyclopedic book The Anatomy of Melancholy, 1621
  • Period: to

    George Herbert

    English poet, orator and priest, who wrote metaphysical poems of religious depth such as the temple.
  • Commonwealth period 1649-1660

    Commonwealth period 1649-1660
    Period between the end of the English Civil War and the restoration of the Stuart monarchy, countless writers who went against the Catholic Church were persecuted. The political writings of John Milton and Thomas Hobbes appeared.
  • Period: to

    Thomas Hobbes

    English philosopher considered one of the founders of modern political philosophy.
    His best known work is Leviathan (1651), where he laid the foundations of contractual theory, which was highly influential in the development of Western political philosophy.
  • Period: to

    Andrew Marvell

    British poet, satirist and MP, wrote famous poems like To His Coy Mistress.
  • Puritan 1653- 1660

    Puritan 1653- 1660
    English Protestants of the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Catholic practices, arguing that the Church of England had not been completely reformed and should become more Protestant.
  • Period: to

    Elizabethan puritan movement

    Clash with the authorities of the Church of England, and its temporarily effective suppression as a political movement in the 1590s by judicial means. The Elizabethan puritan movement written by Patrick Collinson
  • Period: to

    puritan jacobino

    The Calvinist era begins by John Calvin, when he opposed the Catholic Church and the Anabaptists and criticized the Catholic mass and that is why his followers broke with the Anglican Church.
  • Restoration age 1660 - 1700

    Restoration age 1660 - 1700
    It is written about the last years of the reign of the House of Stuart in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The term refers to a series of works, with a relatively homogeneous style, that focus on the celebration or rejection of the restored court of Charles II.
  • Period: to

    John Dryden

    English poet, literary critic, and playwright, who dominated literary life in English Restoration England to such an extent that it came to be known as the Dryden Age.
    Of Dramatic Poesy, 1668
    The Wild Gallant, 1663
    The Hind and the Panther, 1687
    The Conquest of Granada ,1670
  • Period: to

    John Wilmot

    Count John Wilmot was a famous English writer and poet, known as the libertine in 2004 they made a movie called the libertine. his works were only published after his death.
    Sodom, or the Quintessence of Debauchery, 1700
  • Period: to

    William Wycherley

    English playwright and poet, whose works are typical of English Restoration literature.
    Love in a Wood, or St. James's Park, 1671
    The Gentlemen Dancing Master, 1672
    The Plain-Dealer, 1674
    The Country Wife, 1675
  • Period: to

    John Bunyan

    English Christian writer and preacher, famous for his novel The Pilgrim's Progress. he wrote famous Christian works, for which he is remembered with a festival on August 30 and on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church on August 29.
    Grace Abounding to the chief of sinners, 1666
    The Life and Death of Mr. Badman, 1680
    The Holy War, 1682
  • 18th century

    18th century
    The England of the eighteenth century, ahead of the rest of Europe politically, socially and economically, replaced France in continental hegemony. The two most prominent literary phenomena of this time are the consolidation of the novel on its way to modernity and the pre-romantic affirmation of sentiment.
  • Period: to

    Daniel Defoe

    English writer, journalist and pamphleteer, known worldwide for his novel Robinson Crusoe. He is recognized for promoting the novels of the English genre.
    A Letter to a Dissenter from his Friend at the Hague 1688
    The Life of Captain Singleton 1720
    The Political History of the Devil 1726
  • Period: to

    Jonathan Swift

    Irish satirical writer, with his books he criticizes trips to the new world with works such as Gulliver's Travels 1726. Curiously, the lirbus is usually read as children's literature, eliminating the last two parts, the most terrible.
    Cadenus and Vanessa, 1726
    On the Conduct of the Allies, 1711
    A Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation, 1731
  • Period: to

    Alexander Pope

    Author of the burlesque epic,The Rape of the Lock 1713, one of the most recognized writers of the 18th century, noted particularly for his translations of Homer, his edition of the Works of Shakespeare and his satirical, philosophical and moral poetry.
    The Works of Shakespeare, 1723
    Essay on Man, 1734
    The Prologue to the Satires, 1735
  • Period: to

    Laurence Sterne

    Irish writer and comedian, famous for his work Tristam Shandy which is a metastory.
    Mr Yorick's Sermons 1769
    Sentimental journey through France and Italy, 1768
  • Romantic 1798 1837

    Romantic 1798 1837
    English romanticism begins after the rejection of bourgeois and industrialized society, to escape into the rural landscape, the historical past or exotic countries, in turn also begins the Gothic movement of medieval or exotic setting, with crimes, moonlit nights, mysteries . One of its main authors is Mary Shelley, who writes Frankenstein.
  • Period: to

    Mary Shelley

    British writer, playwright, essayist and biographer. Known for her novel Frankenstein. She also edited promoted the works of her husband, the romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley.
    Mathilda, 1819
    Lodore, 1835
  • Period: to

    William Blake

    British poet, painter and printmaker. Although he remained largely unknown throughout his life, Blake's work is held in high regard today. Thanks to his poems considered works of art.
    Dante's hell "artwork"
    All Religions are One, 1788
    The Emanation of The Giant Albion (Jerusalén), 1820
    The French Revolution, 1791
  • Period: to

    William Collins

    English novelist, playwright and author of short stories. He is considered one of the creators of the detective novel genre, characterized by mystery and fantasy. his most relevant works
    Rambles Beyond Railways, 1851
    Mr. Wray's Cash Box, 1852
    Dead end street, 1867
    Poor Miss Finch, 1872
  • Victorian 1837 - 1901

    Victorian 1837 - 1901
    This period is named after the reign of Queen Victoria, who ascended to the throne in 1837, and lasts until her death in 1901. It was a time of great social, religious, intellectual and economic problems, due to the reforms that expanded the law to vote.
  • Period: to

    Charles Dickens

    British writer, known for his most famous fictional characters in the world and considered by many to be the best novelist of the Victorian.
    David Copperfield, 1849
    Little Dorrit, 1855
    Christmas Tales, 1943
    The Cricket of the Hearth, 1845
    Oliver Twist, 1837
  • Period: to

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Victorian era writer who was noted for her poetry. She campaigned for the abolition of slavery and her work helped influence the reform of the child labor legislation.
    the Sonnets of the Portuguese, 1850
    The windows of the Guidi house, 1851
    Aurora Leigh, 1856
  • Period: to

    John Ruskin

    Writer, art critic, sociologist, artist and social reformer, one of the great essayists of the time. he wrote works considered magnificent.
    Political Economy of Art, 1857
    Modern Painters, 1860
    The Wild Olive Crown, 1866
    The Amiens Bible, 1880
  • Period: to

    William Makepeace Thackeray

    English realism novelist, illustrator and journalist.
    Thackeray is renowned for his style of character portraits and his use of satire.
    The Yellowplush Papers, 1837
    Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo, 1847
    The Orphan of Pimlico, 1876
  • Modern literature 1901 1940

    Modern literature 1901 1940
    The modern period is known for the works written after the First World War. Its characteristics are attributed to the way in which verse and drama are narrated with famous works, recognized all over the world.
  • Period: to

    Virginia Woolf

    British writer, author of novels, short stories, plays and other literary works; considered one of the most prominent figures of the avant-garde Anglo-Saxon modernism of the 20th century and of international feminism.
    The voyage out, 1915
    Mrs. Dalloway, 1925
    or the lighthouse, 1927
    The new dress, 1924
    A haunted house and other short stories, 1944
  • Period: to

    Joseph Conrad

    Polish novelist who adopted English as a literary language. His works explore the vulnerability and moral instability of the human being.
    Almayer's Folly - A Story an Eastern River, 1895
    The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' - A Tale of the Sea, 1897
    he End of the Tether, 1902
    The Rover, 1923
  • Period: to

    Arthur Conan Doyle

    British writer and physician, creator of the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. He also wrote science fiction stories, historical novels, theater, and poetry.
    The Hound of the Baskervilles, novel, 1901
    The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, 1924
    The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard 1896
    The British Campaign in France and Flanders: 1914
  • Period: to

    Dorothy Richardson

    British novelist, poet and journalist.
    The lon day, 1905
    Pilgrimage, 1915
    Honey Comb, 1917
    The tunnel, 1919
  • Period: to

    Caryl Churchill

    British playwright known for dramatizing abuses of power, for using non-naturalistic techniques, and for her exploration of sexual politics and feminist themes. She is alive today.
    The Ants, radio drama, 1962
    Abortive, radio drama, 1971
    Objections to Sex and Violence, 1975
  • Post modern 1940 2000

    Post modern 1940 2000
    Post modern begins when the Second World War ends. Poststructuralist literary theory and criticism developed during this time.
  • Period: to

    Samuel Beckett

    Irish playwright, novelist, critic and poet, one of the most important representatives of 20th century literary experimentalism, within Anglo-Saxon modernism. He also stood out as a key figure in the so-called theater of the absurd.
    Happy days, 1960
    Come and Go, 1965
    Dream of Fair to Middling Women, 1992
    Molloy, 1951
    Malone dies, 1951
    The Lost Ones, 1971
    Stories and Texts for Nothing, 1954
  • Period: to

    Penelope Lively

    British novelist, who wrote outstanding post modern works, is still alive today.
    Lost Dog, 1996
    A Martian Comes to Stay, 1995
    A Stitch in Time, 1976
    Boy Without a Name, 1975
    Cleopatra's Sister, 1993
    City of the Mind, 1991
    Judgment Day, 1980
    The Presence of the Past: An introduction to landscape history, 1976
  • Period: to

    Iain Banks

    Scottish philologist, philosopher, psychologist and science fiction writer.
    Walking on Glass, 1985
    The Wasp Factory, 1984
    A Song of Stone, 1997
    Against a Dark Background, 1993
    The State of the Art, 1991
  • Period: to

    John Fowles

    Outstanding British novelist and essayist among his most outstanding works are:
    The French Lieutenant's Woman, 1969
    Daniel Martin, 1977
    To Maggot, 1985
    Lyme Regis Camera, 1990
  • Contemporary

    Contemporary English literature begins from the new millennium, until today. There are currently a variety of prominent authors but I personally consider outstanding authors.
  • Period: to

    J.R.R Tolkien

    Known for being the author of fantastic classic novels. One of the greatest works of him known worldwide is undoubtedly "The Lord of the Rings" considered one of the great works of literature. His work together with the Hobbit, were taken to the movies.
    The hobbit, developed in the Third Age of the Sun of Middle Earth.
    The Lord of the rings
    The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and other poems from The Red Book.
    Bilbo's last song
    The history of Middle Earth
    The fall of Númenor
    Morgoth's Ring
  • Period: to

    J. K. Rowling

    Joanne Rowling is known for being the author of the Harry Potter series of books with which she has surpassed close to five hundred million copies sold.
    Harry Potter saga
    An unexpected vacancy
    Troubled Blood
  • Period: to

    Ian McEwab

    Ian McEwan, is listed as one of the 50 best writers in current English literature, thanks to his outstanding novels. An active defender of human rights, he has participated in numerous acts against the war. He has won numerous awards for his work throughout his career.
    Last day of summer
    The law of the minor
    The Cockroach
    In Between the Sheets