Chronology of Eras in British Literature

CHRONOLOGY OF LITERARY ERAS WITH MAJOR AUTHORS LISTED. (If anonymous, only name of work listed.)

MIDDLE AGES: up to ca. 1400

  • Anglo-Saxon

The Dream of the Rood

Beowulf

  • Anglo-Norman England

Legendary histories of Britain.

  • Middle English: 1066 to around 1400

Sir Gawain and the Greene Knight

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales.

Julian of Norwich

Mystery Plays

Sir Thomas Malory, Morte Darthur.

RENAISSANCE:  1400 Р1660

  • Sixteenth Century

Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sonnets.

The English Bible

Book of Common Prayer

Edmund Spencer, The Faerie Queen.

Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella.

William Shakespeare, the Plays and Sonnets.

  • Early to mid-Seventeenth Century:

John Donne, poetry.

Ben Jonson, poetry.

George Herbert, poetry.

Andrew Marvell, poetry.

John Milton, Paradise Lost.

RESTORATION

  • 1660 – 1700:

John Dryden, poetry / criticism / satire.

Aphra Behn, drama / prose

AGE OF REASON / ENLIGHTENMENT

  • 1700 – 1785:

Jonathan Swift, poetry / prose, satire.

Alexander Pope, poetry.

Samuel Johnson, poetry / prose, satire

James Boswell, prose, biography.

Thomas Gray, poetry.

Frances Burney, prose.

THE ROMANTIC PERIOD

  • 1785 – 1830

THE VICTORIAN AGE

  • 1830 – 1901

MODERNISM

  • 1901 – 1945

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