History of English Literature

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In History
  • Period:
    450
    to
    1066

    Anglo-Saxon Literature

    Encompasses the surviving literature written in Old English in Anglo-Saxon England, in the period after the settlement of the Saxons and other Germanic tribes in England (Jutes and the Angles) c. 450, after the withdrawal of the Romans, and "ending soon after the Norman Conquest" in 1066. These works include genres such as epic poetry, hagiography, sermons, Bible translations, legal works, chronicles and riddles. In all there are about 400 surviving manuscripts from the period.
  • Period:
    1066
    to
    1500

    Middle English Literature

    After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the written form of the Anglo-Saxon language became less common. Under the influence of the new aristocracy, French became the standard language of courts, parliament, and polite society. As the invaders integrated, their language and literature mingled with that of the natives, and the Norman dialects of the ruling classes became Anglo-Norman.
  • Period:
    1500
    to

    English Renaissance Literature

    After William Caxton introduced the printing press in England in 1476, vernacular literature flourished. The Reformation inspired the production of vernacular liturgy which led to the Book of Common Prayer (1549), a lasting influence on literary language. The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England dating from the late 15th to the 17th century.
  • Period:
    Nov 17, 1558
    to

    Elizabethan England Literature

    The Elizabethan Era, which is generally considered one of the golden ages in English literature, was a great boom in literature, particularly in the area of the tragedy. William Shakespeare emerged from this period as a poet and playwright never seen before. Other important playwrights of the era of Elizabeth include Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont. Sir Philip Sidney (1554 –1586)
  • Period: to

    Augustan Literature

    During the 18th century literature reflected the worldview of the Age of Enlightenment (or Age of Reason): a rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues that promoted a secular view of the world and a general sense of progress and perfectibility. Led by the philosophers who were inspired by the discoveries of the previous century by people like Isaac Newton and the writings of Descartes, John Locke and Francis Bacon.
  • Period: to

    Age of Sensibility Literature

    This period is known as the Age of Sensibility, but it is also sometimes described as the "Age of Johnson". Samuel Johnson (1709–1784), often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history"
  • Period: to

    Romanticism English Literature

    Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century.
    The Romantic period was one of major social change in England and Wales, because of the depopulation of the countryside and the rapid development of overcrowded industrial cities, that took place in the period roughly between 1750 and 1850.
  • Period: to

    Victorian England Literature

    Victorian literature is that produced during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) or the Victorian era. It forms a link and transition between the writers of the romantic period and the very different literature of the 20th century. The 19th century is often regarded as a high point in British literature.
  • Period: to

    Edwardian English Literature

    Edwardian writers like E.M. Forster, Joseph Conrad, and H.G. Wells built upon the social conscience of Victorian era (1837-1901), writers such as Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte. Edwardian era writers focused on the bigger picture: subversive ideas were presented metaphorically, symbolically, and in opposition to the liberating force of nature.
  • Period: to

    English Literary Modernism

    Developed in the early twentieth-century out of a general sense of disillusionment with Victorian era attitudes of certainty, conservatism, and belief in the idea of objective truth. The movement was influenced by the ideas of Charles Darwin (1809–1882), Ernst Mach (1838–1916), Henri Bergson (1859–1941), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900).
  • Period: to

    Post–Modernism Literature

    Postmodern literature is both a continuation of the experimentation championed by writers of the modernist period (relying heavily, for example, on fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators, etc.) and a reaction against Enlightenment ideas implicit in Modernist literature. Among postmodern writers are the Americans Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote and Thomas Pynchon.