History of English Literature

Timeline created by Claudia Celis
In History
  • -500 BCE

    Old English

    • 5th Century A.D.
    • Descended from the language spoken by the North Germanic
    tribes settle in England.
    • No writing, only runes.
    • Learned Latin alphabet from Roman missioners.
    • First composed orally.
    • Some early writers: Cædmon, Ælfric and King Alfred.
    • Mostly chronicle and poetry - lyric, descriptive but chiefly
    narrative or epic.
    • Considered a dead language.
  • 1066

    Middle English and Chaucer

    • 1066 to 1500 A.D.
    • Appeared ideas and themes from French and Celtic
    • Appears Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), introduces the iambic
    pentameter line, the rhyming couplet and other rhymes used in
    Italian poetry, his greatest work is mostly narrative poetry, like
    Troilus and Criseyde and The Canterbury Tales.
    • The anonymous Pearl and Gawain and the Green Knight
    • William Langlands' Piers Plowman.
  • 1460

    Tudor lyric poetry

    • Modern lyric poetry in English begins in the early 16th
    • Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542) introduces the sonnet and a
    range of short lyrics.
    • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547) develops blank
    • Reign of Elizabeth appeared:
    • Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) with Astrophil and Stella
    • Edmund Spenser (1552-1599) with Faerie Queene
    • Sir Walter Ralegh (1552-1618)
    • Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616) with his sonetes.
  • 1500

    Metaphysical poetry

    • Elizabethan era.
    • John Donne (1572-1631) lyric poet.
    • Movement characterize by the preoccupation with the big
    questions of love, death and religious faith.
    • George Herbert (1593-1633).
    • Andrew Marvell (1621-1678).
    • Henry Vaughan (1621-1695).
    • Writers called metaphysical poets.
  • 1576

    Renaissance drama

    • 16th century
    • Marlowe used the five act structure and the medium of blank
    verse to write his plays: Tamburlaine; Dr. Faustus; Edward II
    and The Jew of Malta.
    • Shakespeare developed plays using this five act structure and
    blank verse.
    • John Webster (1580-1625) with The Duchess of Malfi and The
    White Devil.
    • Develop of Jacobean style, excessively violent.
    • Cyril Tourneur (1575-1626) with The Revenger's Tragedy.
  • Epic poetry

    • Developed during the mid 18th century.
    • Characterized by the epic poetry, biblical epic, comic parody of
    the epic form, mock-heroic,
    • John Milton (1608-1674) with Paradise Lost.
    • John Dryden (1631-1700)
    • Alexander Pope (1688-1744) with The Rape of the Lock
    • The neo-classical poet Thomas Gray (1716-1771) with Elegy
    Written in a Country Churchyard.
  • Restoration comedy

    • Characterize with the comic drama, dealing with issues of
    sexual politics among the wealthy and the bourgeois.
    • Developed of plays for a serious examination of
    contemporary morality.
    • William Wycherley (1640-1716) with The Country Wife.
  • Prose fiction and the novel

    Characterized by novelists, with satires in verse and prose, Gulliver's Travels. Daniel Defoe with Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders. Samuel Richardson Pamela (1740). Henry Fielding (1707-54) Joseph Andrews and Tom
    Jones. Laurence Sterne (1713-68),Tristram Shandy. Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Jane Austen 1775-1817), with Northanger Abbey.
    Novelists characterized with the historical romanticism and the established, urbane classical views. Gothic. Mary Shelley (1797-1851),Frankenstein.
  • Romanticism

    Philosophical and literary movement where prevalence the senses or passions against the intellect and of the individual against the consensus. William Blake (1757-1827). The poets William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) published a volume entitled Lyrical Ballads, in 1798. Robert Burns (1759 1796) writes lyric verse in the dialect of lowland Scots, author of Auld Lang Syne. John Keats (1795-1821). Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). Lord Byron (1788-1824).
  • Victorian poetry

    • Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).
    • Robert Browning (1812-1889).
    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861).
    • Christina Rossetti (1830-1894).
    • Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889).
  • The Victorian novel.

    • 19th century
    • Presented the interest of the state to bring literature to the masses and educate them.
    • Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
    • Great novels of the era are Great Expectations, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend and Little Dorrit.
    • Anthony Trollope (1815-82),
    • Wilkie Collins (1824-89), with The Moonstone.
    • William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-63) with Vanity Fair.
  • Early modern writers

    Henry James (1843-1916). Pole Joseph Conrad (1857-1924), The Portrait of a Lady, Heart of Darkness, Nostromo and The Secret Agent. R.L. Stevenson (1850-94),Kidnappe, Treasure Island, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900),The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Portrait of Dorian Gray. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950). H.G. Wells (1866-1946), The History of Mr. Polly. E.M. Forster (1879-1970), Pygmalion, Howard's End, A Room with a View and A Passage to India.
  • Early 20th century poets.

    • I World War
    • W.B. (William Butler) Yeats (1865-1939)
    • T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot (1888-1965), with The Waste Land (1922) and Four Quartets (1943).
    • Thomas Hardy
    • Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936),
    • A.E. Housman (1859-1936)
    • Edward Thomas (1878-1917)
    • Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)
    • Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)
    • Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
    • Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918).
  • Poetry in the later 20th century

    • Period between the two great wars.
    • Revival of romanticism in poetry.
    • W.H. (Wystan Hugh).
    • Auden (1907-73).
    • Louis MacNeice (1907-63).
    • Cecil Day-Lewis (1904-72).
    • Seamus Heaney (b. 1939).
    • Dylan Thomas (1914-53).
    • Seamus Heaney (b. 1939).