History of English Literature

Timeline created by KathleenRamos
In History
  • Period:
    450
    to
    1066

    Old English Literature

    This period of old literature also called "Anglo-Saxon" dates back to their invasion of Celtic England circa 450. The era ends in 1066 when Norman France, under William. It included 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 Example: the poem Beowulf and longest is King Alfred's (849–899) 9th-century translation of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy.
  • 731

    The Venerable Bede

    The Venerable Bede
    The Venerable Bede, in his monastery at Jarrow, completes his history of the English church and people Examples:
    His most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum). Around 701 he was writing his first works, of metric art De schematibus et tropis; both were intended for use in teaching.
  • 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 For example: Yet the poem is so infused with a Christian spirit that it lacks the grim fatality of man. It is also part of the broader tradition of heroic poetry.
  • 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.
  • Period:
    1066
    to
    1500

    Middle English literature

    Here, the written form of the Anglo-Saxon language became less common. a huge transition in the language, culture, and lifestyle of England give results in what we can recognize today as a form of “modern” (recognizable) English. From about 1350 onward, secular literature began to rise. characters like Chaucer, William Langland, Thomas Malory, and Robert Henryson were seen. Example: Notable works include "Piers Plowman" and "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." and "the Mirroir de l'Omme".
  • 1078

    Anselm includes in his Proslogion his famous 'ontological proof' of the existence of God.

    Anselm includes in his Proslogion his famous 'ontological proof' of the existence of God.
    Most of the arguments for God’s existence rely on at least one empirical premise. For example, the “fine-tuning” version of the design argument depends on empirical evidence of intelligent design; in particular, it turns on the empirical claim that, as a nomological matter, that is, as a matter of law, life could not have developed if certain fundamental properties of the universe were to have differed even slightly from what they are.
  • 1300

    Duns Scotus

    Duns Scotus
    Duns Scotus, known as the Subtle Doctor in medieval times, later provides humanists with the name Dunsman or dunce.
    Duns Scotus appears to have been in Oxford by 1300, as he is listed among a group of friars for whom the provincial superior of the English ecclesiastical province (which included Scotland) requested faculties from the Bishop of Lincoln for the hearing of confessions. He began lecturing on Peter Lombard's Sentences at the prestigious University of Paris towards the end of 1302.
  • 1340

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

    William of Ockham advocates paring down arguments to their essentials, an approach later known as Ockham's Razor
    Ockham is an empiricist who defends that the only source of knowledge is sensible experience, and the intuitive method as a way to reach the truth.
    For example, Ockham's razor is the principle of economy or the principle of parsimony both in methodological and philosophical terms attributed to the Franciscan friar. According to him, "all things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the most likely."
  • 1367

    A narrator who calls himself Will, and whose name may be Langland, begins the epic poem of Piers Plowman

    A narrator who calls himself Will, and whose name may be Langland, begins the epic poem of Piers Plowman
    The poem, a mix of theological allegory and social satire, concerns the narrator/dreamer's quest for the true Christian life in the context of medieval Catholicism. For example: Piers Plowman is considered by many critics to be one of the greatest works of English literature of the Middle Ages.There exist three distinct versions of the poem, which scholars refer to as the A-, B-, and C-texts. The B-text revises and extends the A-text by over four thousand lines.
  • 1375

    The courtly poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells of a mysterious visitor to the round table of King Arthur

    The courtly poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells of a mysterious visitor to the round table of King Arthur
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight uses humor in order to critique the ancient tradition of courtly love, therefore illustrating how courtly love evolved over time into the modern conception of marriage. For example: Courtly love is referred to a relationship that was between two lovers, not necessarily a husband and wife.
  • 1385

    Chaucer completes Troilus and Criseyde, his long poem about a legendary love affair in ancient Troy

    Chaucer completes Troilus and Criseyde, his long poem about a legendary love affair in ancient Troy
    It´s an epic poem in Middle English written by Geoffrey Chaucer that tells the tragic story of the lovers Troilus and Chryseid with the siege of Troy as a backdrop.
    For example, It was composed using the English royal rhyme (the Spanish Seventh, from ABABBCC scheme).
    It leaves a moral on the transience of worldly pleasures and the deficiency of paganism
  • Period:
    1500
    to

    English Renaissance

    The Renaissance was subdivided into four parts:
    Elizabethan Age (1558–1603), It was the golden age of English drama. Example: among its most notable figures is William Shakespeare.
    The Jacobean Age (1603–1625), it was named for the reign of James I.
    The Caroline Age (1625–1649), the Age covers the reign of Charles I. Example of figures as: John Milton.
    The Commonwealth (1649–1660). It was named for the period between the end of the English Civil War and the restoration of the Stuart monarchy.
  • 1510

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

    Erasmus and Thomas More take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism
    At the time of the Renaissance in Northern Europe
    there were many important changes, for example: • invention of the printing press (c. 1450)
    • Erasmus and Thomas More take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism. (1510) Christian humanism regards humanist principles like universal human dignity, individual freedom and the importance of happiness as essential and principal components of the teachings of Jesus.
  • 1549

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

    The first version of the English prayer book, or Book of Common Prayer, is published with text by Thomas Cranmer
    Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by other Christian churches historically related to Anglicanism. The original book, published in 1549 in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English Reformation following the break with Rome. The work of 1549 was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English.
  • Period: to

    Restoration Age

    After the Restoration in 1660, when Charles II came to the throne, there was a complete repudiation of the Puritan ideals and way of living. In English literature the period from 1660 to 1700 is called the period of Restoration, because monarchy was restored in England, and Charles II, the son of Charles I who had been defeated and beheaded, came back to England from his exile in France and became the King there was restoration of Poetry, Prose and Drama.
  • Paradise Lost is published, earning its author John Milton just £10

    Paradise Lost is published, earning its author John Milton just £10
    Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton (1608–1674). The first version, published in 1667, consisted of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse. For example:The poem concerns the biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
  • Samuel Pepys ends his diary, after only writing it for nine years

    Samuel Pepys ends his diary, after only writing it for nine years
    He was an administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament who is most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. His diary begins as: Up very betimes, and so continued all the morning with W. Hewer, upon examining and stating my accounts, in order to the fitting myself to go abroad beyond sea, which the ill condition of my eyes...
  • Period: to

    18th century

    Europe in the 18th century began in the Age of Enlightenment and the Age of Sensitivity (moving towards romanticism). European literature of the 18th century refers to literature (poetry, theater, satire, and novel) produced in Europe during this period.The 18th century saw the development of the modern novel as a literary genre. For example, many candidates for the first English novel date from this period, of which Daniel Defoe's 1719 Robinson Crusoe is probably the best known.
  • Francis Hopkinson's popular ballad The Battle of the Kegs describes an ingenious American threat to the British navy

    Francis Hopkinson's popular ballad The Battle of the Kegs describes an ingenious American threat to the British navy
    This ballad was occasioned by a real incident. Certain machines, in the form of kegs, charged with gunpowder, were sent down the river to annoy the British shipping then at Philadelphia. The danger of these machines being discovered, the British manned the wharves and shipping, and discharged their small arms and cannons at everything they saw floating in the river, during the ebb tide. For example, It is a part of the ballad: Strange things I ’ll tell which late befell

    In Philadelphia city.
  • William Blake publishes Songs of Innocence, a volume of his poems with every page etched and illustrated by himself

    William Blake publishes Songs of Innocence, a volume of his poems with every page etched and illustrated by himself
    It was originally a complete work first printed in 1789. It´s a conceptual collection of 19 poems, engraved with artwork. This collection mainly shows happy, innocent perception in pastoral harmony. For example:
    The Songs are now often studied for their literary merit alone, but they were originally produced as illuminated books, engraved, hand-printed, and colored by Blake himself.
  • US author Joel Barlow publishes his mock-heroic poem The Hasty Pudding, inspired by a dish eaten in 1793 in France

    US author Joel Barlow publishes his mock-heroic poem The Hasty Pudding, inspired by a dish eaten in 1793 in France
    The poem, on the literal level, celebrates the simple life exemplified in the new America by hasty pudding (or cornmeal mush). In three cantos (the principal division known from epic and heroic poetry) he celebrates the mythical origin of corn, its production, and its consumption within the homely setting of the American farmer. For example, According to Leo Lemay, Barlow's poem "concerns literature, mythology, politics, and culture"
  • Period: to

    Romanticism

    Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. Romanticism arrived later in other parts of the English-speaking world.
    The time period ends with the passage of the Reform Bill (which signaled the Victorian Era) and with the death of Sir Walter Scott.
    For example this era includes the works of such juggernauts as Wordsworth, William Blake, Lord Byron, John Keats, Thomas De Quincey, Jane Austen among other.
  • Washington Irving uses the fictional Dutch scholar Diedrich Knickerbocker as the supposed author of his comic History of New York

    Washington Irving uses the fictional Dutch scholar Diedrich Knickerbocker as the supposed author of his comic History of New York
  • Pride and Prejudice, based on a youthful work of 1797 called First Impressions, is the second of Jane Austen's novels to be published

    Pride and Prejudice, based on a youthful work of 1797 called First Impressions, is the second of Jane Austen's novels to be published
    Pride and Prejudice is a romantic novel of manners written by Jane Austen in 1813. The novel follows the character development of Elizabeth Bennet, the dynamic protagonist of the book who learns about the repercussions of hasty judgments and comes to appreciate the difference between superficial goodness and actual goodness. For example, Its humour lies in its honest depiction of manners, education, marriage, and money during the Regency era in Great Britain.
  • English author William Hazlitt publishes Table Talk, a two-volume collection that includes most of his best-known essays

    English author William Hazlitt publishes Table Talk, a two-volume collection that includes most of his best-known essays
    Table-Talk is a collection of essays by the English cultural critic and social commentator William Hazlitt. It was originally published as two volumes, the first of which appeared in April 1821 y el Volumen II in 1822 Examples:
    The essays deal with topics such as art, literature and philosophy.
    Duncan Wu has described the essays as the "pinnacle of [Hazlitt's] achievement", and argues that Table-Talk and The Plain Speaker (1826) represent Hazlitt's masterpiece.
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem 'Old Ironsides' prompts a public response that saves the frigate from the scrapyard

    Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem 'Old Ironsides' prompts a public response that saves the frigate from the scrapyard
    It´s a poem written by American writer Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. on September 16, 1830, as a tribute to the 18th-century USS Constitution. For example: The poem was one reason that the frigate was saved from being decommissioned, and it is now the oldest commissioned ship in the world that is still afloat.
  • American novelist William Gilmore Simms publishes Guy Rivers, the first of his series known as the Border Romances

  • In The American Scholar Ralph Waldo Emerson urges his student audience to heed their own intellectuals rather than those of Europe

    In The American Scholar Ralph Waldo Emerson urges his student audience to heed their own intellectuals rather than those of Europe
    This address was delivered at Cambridge in 1837, before the Harvard Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, a college fraternity composed of the first twenty-five men in each graduating class. Example: The society has annual meetings, which have been the occasion for addresses from the most distinguished scholars and thinkers of the day.
  • Period: to

    The Victorian

    This period is named for the reign of Queen Victoria, who ascended to the throne in 1837, and it lasts until her death in 1901. It was a time of great social, religious, intellectual, and economic issues, heralded by the passage of the Reform Bill, which expanded voting rights, women was active and the novel became the leading literary genre in English. The period has often been divided into two phases, that of the Pre-Raphaelites (1848–1860) and that of Aestheticism and Decadence (1880–1901).
  • The first issue of the quarterly magazine The Dial is issued by the Transcendentalists meeting at Ralph Waldo Emerson's home

    The first issue of the quarterly magazine The Dial is issued by the Transcendentalists meeting at Ralph Waldo Emerson's home
    On this day in 1840 the first issue of the Transcendentalist magazine "The Dial" was published in Boston. The moving force behind this "journal in a new spirit" was Ralph Waldo Emerson, the man who stood at the center of Transcendentalism. The subject of the quarterly publication — the first genuinely original journal published in the United States — was, Emerson wrote, the "state of life and growth [that] is now . . . arriving."
  • Branwell, Emily and Anne Brontë die within a period of eight months

    Branwell, Emily and Anne Brontë die within a period of eight months
    In 1848-49, three of the four famous Brontë siblings died within an eight month period. Branwell, the only brother, was the first to die, succumbing to chronic bronchitis on Sept. 24, 1848 at the age of 31. Branwell's health was also depleted by years of alcohol and opiate abuse.
  • US author Nathaniel Hawthorne bases his novel The House of the Seven Gables on a curse invoked against his own family

    US author Nathaniel Hawthorne bases his novel The House of the Seven Gables on a curse invoked against his own family
    The novel follows a New England family and their ancestral home. In the book, Hawthorne explores themes of guilt, retribution, and atonement, and colors the tale with suggestions of the supernatural and witchcraft. The setting for the book was inspired by the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, a gabled house in Salem, Massachusetts, belonging to Hawthorne's cousin Susanna Ingersoll, as well as ancestors of Hawthorne who had played a part in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
  • 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
    On the Origin of Species published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Darwin's book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. Example: Darwin included evidence that he had collected on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.
  • The first volume of Das Kapital is completed by Marx in London and is published in Hamburg

  • Bret Harte's comic ballad Plain Language from Truthful James acquires a popular alternative title, The Heathen Chinee

    Bret Harte's comic ballad Plain Language from Truthful James acquires a popular alternative title, The Heathen Chinee
    The narrative of the poem focuses on a Chinese immigrant character named Ah Sin who is playing the card game euchre with two white men. Truthful James, one of the men who narrates the poem, observes that the other white man, Bill, is cheating with a stacked deck, and with cards up his sleeve. They both seemed to think Ah Sin was childlike and did not understand the game. Concludes their opponent is also cheating, Nye fights Ah Sin and discovers he has several decks hidden in his clothes.
  • Joel Chandler Harris publishes Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings, the first of many Uncle Remus volumes

    Joel Chandler Harris publishes Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings, the first of many Uncle Remus volumes
  • 9-year-old Daisy Ashford imagines an adult romance and high society in The Young Visiters

    9-year-old Daisy Ashford imagines an adult romance and high society in The Young Visiters
    It is a short "society novel" written by Miss Daisy Ashford at the age of nine. The notebook contains the novel that was rediscovered by her in adult life and sent by a friend to Frank Swinnerton, the English novelist, critic, editor, and essayist. It was an immediate bestseller because its childlike vision of high society (dukes and earls who are "taxed" and reside in the "Crystall Pallace") and its strongly romantic plot make it an attractive and enduring folk play.
  • US author Stephen Crane cannot find a publisher for his first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, so issues it privately

    US author Stephen Crane cannot find a publisher for his first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, so issues it privately
    Crane's first novel was the 1893 Bowery tale Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, generally considered by critics to be the first work of American literary Naturalism. He won international acclaim in 1895 for his Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage, which he wrote without having any battle experience.
  • US social scientist Thorstein Veblen publishes The Theory of the Leisure Class, an attack on capitalist exploitation and 'consumerism'

    US social scientist Thorstein Veblen publishes The Theory of the Leisure Class, an attack on capitalist exploitation and 'consumerism'
    In 1899, Veblen published his first and best-known book, titled The Theory of the Leisure Class. This did not immediately improve Veblen's position at the University of Chicago. He requested a raise after the completion of his first book, but this was denied. Example: Historians of economics regard Veblen as the founding father of the institutional economics school. Contemporary economists still theorize Veblen's distinction between institutions and technology, known as the Veblenian dichotomy.
  • Period: to

    Modern Literature

    The modern period traditionally applies to works written after the start of World War I. Common features include bold experimentation with subject matter, style, and form, encompassing narrative, verse, and drama. English literary modernism arose out a general sense of disillusionment with Victorian era attitudes of certainty, conservatism, and belief in the idea of objective truth. Some of the most notable writers were the novelists James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Lawrence,G. Greene, among others.
  • Edith Wharton's published her first full-length novel, The Valley of Decision

    Edith Wharton's published her first full-length novel, The Valley of Decision
    The Valley of Decision is a 1945 film directed by Tay Garnett. Based on Marcia Davenport's 1942 novel of the same name, it is set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1870s. It tells the story of a young Irish house maid who falls in love with the son of her employer, a local steel mill owner. The romance between Paul and Mary is endangered when Mary's family and friends, all steel mill workers, go on strike against Paul's father.
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein moves to Cambridge to study philosophy under Bertrand Russell

    Ludwig Wittgenstein moves to Cambridge to study philosophy under Bertrand Russell
    In 1908 he began his studies in aeronautical engineering at Manchester University where his interest in the philosophy of pure mathematics led him to Frege. Upon Frege's advice, in 1911 he went to Cambridge to study with Bertrand Russell.
  • The US architectural critic Lewis Mumford publishes The Story of Utopias, the first of his many influential works

    The US architectural critic Lewis Mumford publishes The Story of Utopias, the first of his many influential works
    Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) was a prolific American intellectual, eminently self-taught, who reflected extensively on science and technology, as well as on issues related to urbanism, territory, etc. For example:
    It´s true that Mumford sets out with this book an objective that stands out by itself: to introduce us to those most relevant utopias of all time, from Plato's Republic to some of the numerous proposals that were made in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • H.G. Wells publishes The Shape of Things to Come, a novel in which he accurately predicts a renewal of world war

    H.G. Wells publishes The Shape of Things to Come, a novel in which he accurately predicts a renewal of world war
    The Shape of Things to Come is a work of science fiction by British writer H. G. Wells, published in 1933, which speculates on future events up to the year 2106. A long economic slump causes a major war that leaves Europe devastated and threatened by plague. The nations with the strongest air-forces set up a benevolent dictatorship that paves the way for world peace by abolishing national divisions, enforcing the English language, promoting scientific learning and outlawing religion.
  • Period: to

    Post–modernism

    The postmodern period begins about the time that World War II ended. It is a direct response to modernism. Some say the period ended around 1999 and early 2000. Poststructuralist literary theory and criticism developed during this time (on fragmentation, paradox, questionable narrators, etc.) For example, It`s some notable writers of the period include Samuel Beckett, Joseph Heller, Anthony Burgess, John Fowles, Penelope M. Lively, and Iain Banks. Among others authors wrote during modern period.
  • Norman Mailer has immediate success with his first novel, The Naked and the Dead, based on his military service in the Pacific

    Norman Mailer has immediate success with his first novel, The Naked and the Dead, based on his military service in the Pacific
    It published when he was 25 years old, the novel quickly became a bestseller, paving the way for other works such as The Deer Park, Advertisements for Myself and The Naked and the Dead.
    It became the first popular novel about World War II and is considered one of the greatest English-language novels. It was later adapted into a film in 1958.
    Example:
    In 1998 the Modern Library ranked The Naked and the Dead 51st on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century
  • English author Stevie Smith publishes her collection of poems Not Waving but Drowning

    English author Stevie Smith publishes her collection of poems Not Waving but Drowning
    "Not Waving but Drowning" is a poem by the British poet Stevie Smith. It was published in 1957 as part of a collection of the same title. The most famous of Smith's poems, it gives an account of a drowned man whose distressed thrashing in the water had been mistaken for waving.
    Example:
    During decades of train rides and vigils at her desk, Smith absorbed the rhythms of workday jargon, of newspaper ads, of water cooler chitchat, and set it loose on her own tasks.
  • English author Ruth Prawer Jhabwala wins the Booker Prize with her novel Heat and Dust

    English author Ruth Prawer Jhabwala wins the Booker Prize with her novel Heat and Dust
    Heat and Dust tells the story of Olivia, a beautiful woman suffocated by the decorum and social limitations of her position as the wife of an important English civil servant. Yearning for passion and independence, Olivia finds herself under the spell of the Nawab, a criminal lesser Indian prince. She later becomes pregnant and unsure of the child's paternity. Her reaction to the crisis humiliates her husband and outrages the British community, causing a scandal after his death.
  • Australian author Peter Carey's novel Oscar and Lucinda wins the Booker Prize

    Australian author Peter Carey's novel Oscar and Lucinda wins the Booker Prize
    Peter Philip Carey, Australian novelist and short story writer born in Bacchus Marsh (Victoria) on May 7, 1943. Along with JM Coetzee he has twice won the Booker Prize with the novels Oscar and Lucinda and The True Story of the Band of Kelly.
  • Louis de Bernières publishes Captain Corelli's Mandolin, a love story set in Italian-occupied Cephalonia

    Louis de Bernières publishes Captain Corelli's Mandolin, a love story set in Italian-occupied Cephalonia
    the main characters are Antonio Corelli, an Italian army captain, and Pelagia, the daughter of the local physician, Dr Iannis. An important event in the novel is the massacre of Italian troops by the Germans in September 1943. Some 1,500 Italian soldiers died in the fighting, 5,000 were massacred after surrendering, and the rest were shipped to Germany, of whom 3,000 drowned when the ship carrying them hit a mine.
  • The poems forming Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters describe his relationship with Sylvia Plath

    The poems forming Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters describe his relationship with Sylvia Plath
    Birthday Letters, published in 1998, is a collection of poetry by English poet and children's writer Ted Hughes. Released only months before Hughes's death, the collection won multiple prestigious literary awards. This collection of eighty-eight poems is widely considered to be Hughes's most explicit response to the suicide of his estranged wife Sylvia Plath in 1963, and to their widely discussed, politicized and "explosive" marriage.
  • The Amber Spyglass completes Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials

    The Amber Spyglass completes Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials
    His Dark Materials is a trilogy of fantastic novels written by the British Philip Pullman. It includes the books Northern Lights (Northern Lights, published in the United States as The Golden Compass), La daga (The Subtle Knife) and The Amber Spyglass. This trilogy is complemented by other minor works by Pullman, Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North, as well as The Book of Dust. For example, the work is aimed at a "young adult" audience for the content of Dark Matter.