English Literature Timeline

Timeline created by teachervanessatapia
In History
  • 731

    The Venerable Bede

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

    Beowulf

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

    The material of the Eddas

    The material of the Eddas
    The material of the Eddas, taking shape in Iceland, derives from earlier sources in Norway, Britain and Burgundy
  • 1300

    Duns Scotus

    Duns Scotus
    Duns Scotus, known as the Subtle Doctor in medieval times, later provides humanists with the name Dunsman or dunce
  • 1340

    William of Ockham

    William of Ockham
    William of Ockham advocates paring down arguments to their essentials, an approach later known as Ockham's Razor
  • 1367

    Piers Plowman.

    Piers Plowman.
    A narrator who calls himself Will, and whose name may be Langland, begins the epic poem of Piers Plowman
    One of four new yeomen of the chamber in Edward III's household is Geoffrey Chaucer
  • 1375

    The courtly poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    The courtly poem 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
  • 1387

    100 Canterbury Tales

    100 Canterbury Tales
    Chaucer begins an ambitious scheme for 100 Canterbury Tales, of which he completes only 24 by the time of his death
  • 1469

    Morte d'Arthur

    Morte d'Arthur
    Thomas Malory, in gaol somewhere in England, compiles Morte d'Arthur – an English account of the French tales of King Arthur
  • 1510

    Christian humanism

    Christian humanism
    Erasmus and Thomas More take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism
  • 1524

    The Bible into English

    The Bible into English
    William Tyndale studies in the university at Wittenberg and plans to translate the Bible into English
  • 1549

    English prayer book

    English prayer book
    The first version of the English prayer book, or Book of Common Prayer, is published with text by Thomas Cranmer
  • 1564

    Marlowe and Shakespeare

    Marlowe and Shakespeare
    Marlowe and Shakespeare are born in the same year, with Marlowe the older by two months
  • 1567

    The Book of Common Prayer and the New Testament

    The Book of Common Prayer and the New Testament
    The Book of Common Prayer and the New Testament are published in Welsh, to be followed by the complete Bible in 1588
  • 1582

    William Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway

    William Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway
    The 18-year-old William Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Tamburlaine the Great

    Tamburlaine the Great
    Marlowe's first play, Tamburlaine the Great, introduces the swaggering blank verse of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama
  • The Faerie Queene

    The Faerie Queene
    English poet Edmund Spenser celebrates the Protestant Elizabeth I as The Faerie Queene
  • Richard III

     Richard III
    After tentative beginnings in the three parts of Henry VI, Shakespeare achieves his first masterpiece on stage with Richard III
  • HAMLET

    HAMLET
    Shakespeare's central character in Hamlet expresses both the ideals of the Renaissance and the disillusion of a less confident age
  • Version of the Bible

     Version of the Bible
    James I commissions the Authorized version of the Bible, which is completed by forty-seven scholars in seven years
  • The Tempest

    The Tempest
    Shakespeare's last completed play, The Tempest, is performed
  • William Shakespeare dies

    William Shakespeare dies
    John Smith publishes A Description of New England, an account of his exploration of the region in 1614 William Shakespeare dies at New Place, his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, and is buried in Holy Trinity Church
  • John Donne

    John Donne
    John Donne, England's leading Metaphysical poet, becomes dean of St Paul's
  • John Heminge and Henry

    John Heminge and Henry
    John Heminge and Henry Condell publish thirty-six Shakespeare plays in the First Folio
  • The temple, George Herbert

    The temple, George Herbert
    George Herbert's only volume of poems, The Temple, is published posthumously
  • John Milton's Lycidas

    John Milton's Lycidas
    John Milton's Lycidas is published in memory of a Cambridge friend, Edward King
  • The poems of Massachusetts

    The poems of Massachusetts
    The poems of Massachusetts author Anne Bradstreet are published in London under the title The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America
  • Paradise Lost, John Milton

    Paradise Lost, John Milton
    Paradise Lost is published, earning its author John Milton just £10
  • Diary From Samuel Pepys

    Diary From Samuel Pepys
    Samuel Pepys ends his diary, after only writing it for nine years
  • Aphra Behn's

    Aphra Behn's
    Aphra Behn's novel Oroonoko makes an early protest against the inhumanity of the African slave trade
  • The Augustan Age

    The Augustan Age
    The Augustan Age begins in English literature, claiming comparison with the equivalent flowering under Augustus Caesar
  • The Principles of Human

    The Principles of Human
    25-year-old George Berkeley attacks Locke in his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
  • Gulliver's Travels

    Gulliver's Travels
    Jonathan Swift sends his hero on a series of bitterly satirical travels in Gulliver's Travels
  • Treatise of Human Nature

    Treatise of Human Nature
    David Hume publishes his Treatise of Human Nature, in which he applies to the human mind the principles of experimental science
  • Samuel Richardson's Clarissa

    Samuel Richardson's Clarissa
    Samuel Richardson's Clarissa begins the correspondence that grows into the longest novel in the English language
  • Love of food and wine

    Love of food and wine
    James Woodforde, an English country parson with a love of food and wine, begins a detailed diary of everyday life
  • Castle of Otranto

    Castle of Otranto
    English historian Edward Gibbon, sitting among ruins in Rome, conceives the idea of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire English author Horace Walpole provides an early taste of Gothic thrills in his novel Castle of Otranto
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica

    Encyclopaedia Britannica
    A Society of Gentlemen in Scotland begins publication of the immensely successful Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Thomas Chatterton, suicided

    Thomas Chatterton, suicided
    17-year-old Thomas Chatterton, later hailed as a significant poet, commits suicide in a London garret
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
    English historian Edward Gibbon publishes the first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Scottish economist Adam Smith analyzes the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations
  • The Rights of Man

    The Rights of Man
    Scottish poet Robert Burns publishes Tam o' Shanter, in which a drunken farmer has an alarming encounter with witches Thomas Paine publishes the first part of The Rights of Man, his reply to Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • Lyrical Ballads

    English poets Wordsworth and Coleridge jointly publish Lyrical Ballads, a milestone in the Romantic movement Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' is published in Lyrical Ballads
  • The Lay of the Last Minstrel

    The Lay of the Last Minstrel
    Walter Scott publishes The Lay of the Last Minstrel, the long romantic poem that first brings him fame
  • Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein

     Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein
    Percy Bysshe Shelley publishes probably his best-known poem, the sonnet Ozymandias Two of Jane Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, are published in the year after her death Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, a Gothic tale about giving life to an artificial man
  • Book of Nonsense

    Book of Nonsense
    Edward Lear publishes his Book of Nonsense, consisting of limericks illustrated with his own cartoons After marrying secretly, the English poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett go abroad to live in Florence The three Brontë sisters jointly publish a volume of their poems and sell just two copies
  • David Copperfield

    David Copperfield
    Charles Dickens begins the publication in monthly numbers of David Copperfield, his own favourite among his novels
  • Maud

    Maud
    Tennyson publishes a long narrative poem, Maud, a section of which ('Come into the garden, Maud') becomes famous as a song English author Anthony Trollope publishes The Warden, the first in his series of six Barsetshire novels
  • Charles Darwin puts forward the theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species, the result of 20 years' research

    Charles Darwin puts forward the theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species, the result of 20 years' research
    Charles Darwin puts forward the theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species, the result of 20 years' research In On Liberty John Stuart Mill makes the classic liberal case for the priority of the freedom of the individual Samuel Smiles provides an inspiring ideal of Victorian enterprise in Self-Help, a manual for ambitious young men Edward FitzGerald publishes The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, romantic translations of the work of the Persian poet
  • Victorian melodramas

    Victorian melodramas
    Mrs Henry Wood publishes her first novel, East Lynne, which becomes the basis of the most popular of all Victorian melodramas
  • George Eliot publishes Middlemarch

    George Eliot publishes Middlemarch
    George Eliot publishes Middlemarch, in which Dorothea makes a disastrous marriage to the pedantic Edward Casaubon
  • Henry James's early novel Roderick Hudson

    After spending much time in Europe in recent years, Henry James moves there permanently and settles first in Paris
    Henry James's early novel Roderick Hudson is serialized in the Atlantic Monthly and is published in book form in 1876
  • French-born artist and author George du Maurier publishes his novel Trilby Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book surrounds the child Mowgli with a collection of vivid animal guardians

    French-born artist and author George du Maurier publishes his novel Trilby  Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book surrounds the child Mowgli with a collection of vivid animal guardians
    French-born artist and author George du Maurier publishes his novel Trilby
    Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book surrounds the child Mowgli with a collection of vivid animal guardians
  • Oscar Wilde

    Oscar Wilde
    Oscar Wilde's most brilliant comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest is performed in London's St. James Theatre
    Oscar Wilde loses a libel case that he has brought against the marquess of Queensberry for describing him as a sodomite
    Oscar Wilde is sent to Reading Gaol to serve a two-year sentence with hard labour after being convicted of homosexuality
    H.G. Wells publishes The Time Machine, a story about a Time Traveller whose first stop on his journey is the year 802701
  • Henry James publishes The Turn of the Screw in a collection of short stories

    Henry James publishes The Turn of the Screw in a collection of short stories
    Henry James moves from London to Lamb House in Rye, Sussex, which remains his home for the rest of his life
    H.G. Wells publishes his science-fiction novel The War of the Worlds, in which Martians arrive in a rocket to invade earth
    Henry James publishes The Turn of the Screw in a collection of short stories
  • LORD JIM

    LORD JIM
    Joseph Conrad publishes his novel Lord Jim about a life of failure and redemption in the far East
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein

    Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Ludwig Wittgenstein moves to Cambridge to study philosophy under Bertrand Russell Walter De la Mare establishes his reputation with the title poem of his collection The Listeners
  • Bull-dog Drummond

    Bull-dog Drummond
    Sapper's patriotic hero makes his first appearance, taking on the villainous Carl Peterson in Bull-dog Drummond D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love, a continuation of the family story in The Rainbow, is published first in the USA The Belgian detective Hercule Poirot features in Agatha Christie's first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles
  • The Waves

    The Waves
    Virginia Woolf publishes the most fluid of her novels, The Waves, in which she tells the story through six interior monologues
  • Famous Five in Five on a Treasure Island

    Famous Five in Five on a Treasure Island
    English children's author Enid Blyton introduces the Famous Five in Five on a Treasure Island
  • The Day of the Triffids

    The Day of the Triffids
    British author John Wyndham creates a dark fantasy in his novel The Day of the Triffids A Question of Upbringing begins Anthony Powell's 'A Dance to the Music of Time' British art historian Nikolaus Pevsner undertakes a massive task, a county-by-county description of The Buildings of England
  • Benjamin Britten's War Requiem

    Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, setting poems by Wilfred Owen, is first performed in the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral
    British author Doris Lessing publishes an influential feminist novel, The Golden Notebook
    British author P.D. James's first novel, Cover Her Face, introduces her poet detective Adam Dalgleish
    Anthony Burgess publishes A Clockwork Orange, a novel depicting a disturbing and violent near-future
  • British economist Ernst Friedrich Schumache

    British economist Ernst Friedrich Schumache
    British economist Ernst Friedrich Schumacher publishes an influential economic tract, Small is Beautiful Martin Amis, son of Kingsley Amis, publishes his first novel, The Rachel Papers
  • The Sea, the Sea

    The Sea, the Sea
    Iris Murdoch publishes The Sea, the Sea, and wins the 1978 Booker Prize English author Andrew Motion publishes his first collection of poems, The Pleasure Steamers British author Ian McEwan publishes his first novel, The Cement Garden
  • The satanic verse

    The satanic verse
    Ayatollah Khomeini declares a fatwa against Salman Rushdie for his Satanic Verses British physicist Stephen Hawking explains the cosmos for the general reader in A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to Black Holes
  • Trilogy on the British

    Trilogy on the British
    Racing Demon launches a trilogy on the British establishment by English playwright David Hare
  • English novelist Sebastian Faulks publishes Birdsong

    English novelist Sebastian Faulks publishes Birdsong
    English novelist Sebastian Faulks publishes Birdsong, set partly in the trenches of World War I Vikram Seth publishes his novel A Suitable Boy, a family saga in post-independence India Scottish author Irvine Welsh publishes his first novel, Trainspotting
  • Ted Hughes's Birthday

    Ted Hughes's Birthday
    The poems forming Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters describe his relationship with Sylvia Plath
  • Copenhagen

    Copenhagen
    Michael Frayn's play Copenhagen dramatizes the visit of Werner Heisenberg to Niels Bohr in wartime Denmark
  • Philip Pullman's trilogy

    Philip Pullman's trilogy
    The Amber Spyglass completes Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials
  • Period:
    1,200 BCE
    to
    455

    The Classical Period (1200 BCE - 455 CE)

    I. HOMERIC or HEROIC PERIOD
    (1200-800 BCE)
    II. CLASSICAL GREEK PERIOD
    (800-200 BCE)
    III. CLASSICAL ROMAN PERIOD
    (200 BCE-455 CE)
    IV. PATRISTIC PERIOD
    (c. 70 CE-455 CE)
  • Period:
    455
    to
    1485

    II. The Medieval Period (455 CE-1485 CE)

    I. THE OLD ENGLISH (ANGLO-SAXON) PERIOD
    (428-1066 CE)
    II. THE MIDDLE ENGLISH PERIOD
    (c. 1066-1450 CE)
  • Period:
    1485
    to

    III. The Renaissance and Reformation (1485-1660 CE)

    I. Early Tudor Period
    (1485-1558)
    II. Elizabethan Period
    (1558-1603)
    III. Jacobean Period
    (1603-1625)
    IV. Caroline Age
    (1625-1649)
    V. Commonwealth Period/Puritan Interregnum
    (1649-1660)
  • Period: to

    IV. The Enlightenment (Neoclassical) Period (1660-1790 CE)

    I. Restoration Period
    (1660-1700)
    II. The Augustan Age
    (1700-1750)
    III. The Age of Johnson
    (1750-1790)
  • Period: to

    V. The Romantic Period (1790-1830 CE)

    Romantic poets wrote about nature, imagination, and individuality in England. Some Romantics include Coleridge, Blake, Keats, and Shelley in Britain and Johann von Goethe in Germany. Jane Austen also wrote at this time, though she is typically not categorized with the male Romantic poets. In America, this period is mirrored in the Transcendental Period from about 1830-1850. Transcendentalists include Emerson and Thoreau.
  • Period: to

    VI. The Victorian Period and the 19th Century (1832-1901 CE)

    Writings from the period of Queen Victoria's reign include sentimental novels. British writers include Elizabeth Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, and the Brontë sisters. Pre-Raphaelites, like the Rossetti siblings and William Morris, idealize and long for the morality of the medieval world.
  • Period: to

    VII. The Modern Period (1914-1945 CE)

    In Britain, modernist writers include W. B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Dylan Thomas, W. H. Auden, Virginia Woolf, and Wilfred Owen. In America, the modernist period includes Robert Frost and Flannery O'Connor as well as the famous writers of The Lost Generation (also called the writers of The Jazz Age, 1914-1929) such as Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner.
  • Period: to

    VIII. The Postmodern Period (1945 - onward)

    T. S. Eliot, Morrison, Shaw, Beckett, Stoppard, Fowles, Calvino, Ginsberg, Pynchon, and other modern writers, poets, and playwrights experimented with metafiction and fragmented poetry.
    Marquez's One Hundred Years of SolitudeMagic Realists such as Gabriel García Márquez, Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Günter Grass, and Salman Rushdie flourished with surrealistic writings embroidered in the conventions of realism.