British Literature Periods

Deor’s Lament; The Wife’s Lament; and “The Seafarer”
Old English PeriodPoems which represent the poems before the coming of Christianity.

Rhythm, Kennings, Alliteration and Repetition are key features of them.

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Beowulf
Old English PeriodAnonymous author, around 750 A.D.Contains both pagan and christian elements.Hrothgar is attacked by Grendel.

Beowulf is summoned. He slays Grendel, fights with his mother and dies while fighting with a dragon.

The Dream of the Rood
Old English PeriodIt is an example of Christian poetry. It is a poem about the crucifixion as told by the cross itself.

Caedmon’s Hymn
Old English PeriodIt is an example of Christian poetry. Caedmon was an uneducated herdsman.

He couldn’t compose impromptu songs, embarrassed. One day he dreamt of this poem. It is about creation.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicles
Old English PeriodKing Alfred the Great translated the Latin works into Old English.Beginning of English prose

Pearl Poet, William Langlard, Geoffrey Chaucer
Middle English PeriodThe three great poets of the 14th century.

John Wycliffe
Middle English PeriodHe translated the Bible into English

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Middle English PeriodPearl PoetThe challenge-The knightly quest-The temptation-The return blow

The Canterbury Tales
Middle English PeriodGeoffrey ChaucerPilgrims’ stories + a prologuethe medieval characters are described vividly

Morte D’arthur
Middle English PeriodSir Thomas MaloryA combination of French Arthurian legends and the medieval alliterative poem “Morte Arthure”

mystery plays
Middle English PeriodDrama was no longer under control of church, but topics were still religious. Plays which were based on bible.

miracle plays
Middle English PeriodDrama was no longer under control of church, but topics were still religious. Plays, which were based on the lives of saints.

Everyman,The Castle of Perseverance, Mankind, Magnyfycence
Middle English PeriodMorality plays which were allegorical: personified abstract concepts such as beauty, gluttony, virtue and vice.

Lyrics
Middle English PeriodPopular song common in medieval literature.Short melodic poems which express intense personal emotion.

Ballads
Middle English PeriodPopular song common in medieval literature.Poems which tell stories of mostly folk origin.

Sir Thomes More, Sir Thomas Elyot, Roger Ascham
Renaissance Period3 famous prose writers of Renaissance England.

All influenced by Erasmus.

Utopia
Renaissance PeriodSir Thomas More’s best known work.Traveler Raphael meets More and tells about his adventures in the Utopia.It is a satire.

Arcadia, The defense of Poesy, Astrophel and Stella
Renaissance PeriodImportant works of Sir Philip Sidney

A report of the truth of the fight about the isles of AcoresThe discovery of the large, rich, beautiful empire of GuianaThe history of the world
Renaissance PeriodImportant works of Sir Walter Raleigh

fiction and chronicles
Renaissance PeriodPopular prose in Rennaissance period.

It is a genre quite different from modern novels, and accounts of travels and historical events.

Lyly, Greene, Nashe, Holinshed, Hakluyt, Purchas
Renaissance PeriodImportant fiction and chronicle writers.Their work inspired Shakespeare and Coleridge

Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes
Renaissance PeriodThose times, philosophy was only a type of literature, not a discipline of its own.These two philosophers wrote in English, rather than Latin.

Early 17th century prose stylists.
Renaissance PeriodRobert Burton, Izaak Walton, John SeldenThey turned away from the artificial style of Lyly and Sidney, helping to fashion a new kind of precise English prose.

The Character Writers
Renaissance PeriodJoseph Hall, Sir Thomas Overbury, John EarleThey wrote short sketches of various human “types”

Sir Thomas Wyatt
Renaissance PeriodOne of the two typical Tudor poets of the early renaissance.

Influenced by Petrarchan sonnets: 14 lines, octaves and sestetscourtly love as subject

Henry Howard: Earl of Surrey
Renaissance PeriodOne of the two typical Tudor poets of the early renaissance.an aristocrat poet like Wyatt.He used blank verse, the unrhymed iambic parameter, for the first time in English literature.

The Elizabethan poets
Renaissance PeriodAn extraordinary period of creativity in poetry occurred during the latter years of Elizabeth’s reign and the early years of James I. There were aristocratic poets (courtly lyricists) and students at Oxford and Cambridge (University Wits)

The Cavalier poets
Renaissance PeriodThey followed Ben Johnson and they supported the King.Influenced by Latin poets Horace and Ovid.Ignored the sonnet form and wrote in short lines, idiomatic diction, and urbane wit.

Metaphysical poetry
Renaissance PeriodJohn DonneIt mingled passion and intellect using imagery allusions based on philosophy, geography and astronomy. (unusual imagery for traditional situations)

The indifferent, The flea, The ecstasy, A valediction forbidding mourning
Renaissance PeriodJohn DonneMetaphysical poems

Paradise Lost
Renaissance PeriodJohn MiltonEpic poem which tells the story of the fall of the rebel angels from heaven, satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the garden of eden

Commonwealth poets
Renaissance PeriodDuring the commonwealth period (1649-1660), even the poets were divided into opposing camps: the “parlimentarians” and the “royalists”

To his coy mistress
Renaissance PeriodAndrew MarvellA well known parlimentarian poet, he wrote this carpe diem poem which focuses on the theme of seizing the day

Interludes
Renaissance PeriodPre-shakespearean drama.Although didactic like mystery and miracle plays, these were more comic and realistic and the heroes more individualized. e.g.

Henry Medwall, John Heywood

Academic comedy and Academic tragedy(Acdemic plays)
Renaissance PeriodPre-shakespearean dramaplays performed by student actors in schools

Court drama
Renaissance PeriodPre-shakespearean dramaplays performed in holiday seasons for the queen

Public drama
Renaissance PeriodIt began by the first theater building built by James Burbage in 1576. The plays had these features:-girls disguised as boys (Lyly: Galathea)-romantic comedy (Greene: The old wive’s tale)-revenge tragedy (Kyd: The Spanish tragedy)-violence

The tragedy of King Richard IIIThe Tragedy of King Richard IIThe First Part of Henry IVThe Second Part of Henry IVThe Life of Henry V
ShakespeareRenaissance PeriodHis history plays which focused ont he nature of kingship and the qualities of a good king.

The comedy of errorsThe two gentlemen of veronaLove’s labour’s lostA midsummer night’s dreamThe taming of the shrewThe merchant of VeniceThe merry wives of WindsorMuch ado about nothingAs you like itTwelfth Night or what you willAll’s well that ends wellMeasure for MeasureTrolius and CressidaPericles, prince of TyreCymbelineThe winter’s taleThe tempest
ShakespeareRenaissance PeriodHis comedies in various types such as masque fantasies, romantic comedy, farces and problem comedies.

The tragedy of Titus AndronicusThe tragedy of Romeo and JulietThe tragedy of Julius CaesarThe tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of DenmarkThe tragedy of King LearThe tragedy of Machbeth
ShakespeareRenaissance PeriodHis tragedies

Christopher MarloweBen Johnson
Renaissance PeriodThese are other Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists. (other than Shakespeare)

The restoration age and the neo-classical period (18th c)
When Charles II was restored to the throne, he promoted worldly pleasures. But 1665 a plague and 1666 a great fire hit London: seemed as divine vengeance. Moreover, they lost some colonies=poverty 18th c=neo-classical periodadvancements in physical sciences: divine order in universecorrectness more important than creativityaristotle’s ideas of the unity of time,place and action

The Graveyard School
The first half of 18th century highly logical, philosophical, etc.

The second half highly emotional, melancholy (precursor of romantic age)

comedy of manners
Restoration PeriodA type of drama in which artificial values of the society (e.g. good form is better than ethics and morality) are criticized.

heroic plays
Restoration PeriodA type of drama which is also called restoration tragedy. They are more integrated in plot because they follow the time, place and action unity

Weeping comedy
Restoration PeriodA popular type of drama in early 18th century. Also called sentimental comedy

Satiric ballad operaanti-sentimental plays
Restoration PeriodRevival of satirical comedy of manners by John Gay Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Sheridan

Pilgrim’s Progress
Restoration PeriodJohn BunyanIt is the most successful allegory.

It was translated into nearly every language.

Essay of Dramatic Poesy
Restoration PeriodJohn DrydenHe defends the English drama against French drama.

Gulliver’s Travels
Restoration PeriodJohnathan SwiftAn allegorical satire in which society is criticized through symbols

Joseph Addison and Richard Steele
Restoration PeriodThese two prose writers wrote in periodicals which became very popular.

People of London gathered in coffee houses and read their essays.

Robinson Crusoe
Restoration PeriodDaniel DefoeThe first novel in English.

The fortunes and misfortunes of Moll FlandersA journal of the plague year
Restoration PeriodDaniel DefoeHis other novels (than Robinson Crusoe)

Pamela
Restoration PeriodSamuel RichardsonIt is written in the epistolary novel form (letters) It is about how Pamela managed to marry her master.

Henry FieldingTobias Smollet
Restoration PeriodTwo writers who preferred picaresque novel form.Writers of Shamela (burlesque of Pamela) and Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, etc.

Alexander Pope
Restoration PeriodIn “An essay on criticism” he defines true witHe is also famous for his satires

Rape of the lockThe dunciadEpistle to Dr.Arbuthnot
Restoration PeriodAlexander PopeHis satires (mock-epic poetry)

James Boswell
Restoration PeriodThe shakespeare of biographies.

e.g. The life of Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson
Restoration PeriodHe published “The dictionary of English language” which fixed English spelling and established a standard for definition. Boswell wrote his biography

The pre-romantic poets
Restoration PeriodIn the latter half of the 18th c. poets began to turn away from the rationalistic Neoclassical norms and limiting couplet verse form.

They turned to the picturesque aspects of nature, melancholy of emotions, and the virtues of rural life.

The Romantic Period
The period between the years 1798 and 1832. In this period, England turned to an urban industrial society from a rural and agricultural society. This period witnessed the American revolution, the French revolution and the Industrial revolution.

William BlakeRobert BurnsWilliam WordsworthSamuel Taylor ColeridgeLord ByronPercy Bysshe ShelleyJohn Keats
Romantic PeriodGreat poets of this period.Generally made reference to the nature, saw the barbaric past in a new light.

The Prelude
Romantic PeriodWilliam WordsworthThe greatest poem of the 19th century. It is a great poetic blank-verse autobiography.

Supernatural poems and conversational poems
Romantic PeriodSamuel Taylor ColeridgeHe wrote about supernatural things and personal meditations

Lord Byron
Romantic PeriodHe wrote in many forms from dramatic poems, to comic epic (Don Juan) to satires and poetic travelogues.

Lord ByronShelley Keats
Romantic PeriodGreat poets of this period.

Personal essay
Romantic PeriodAlthough poetry was the most important literary medium int his period, the essayists DeQuincey, Hazlitt and Lamb abandoned traditions of the formal essay for this more impressionistic, less structured essay that disclosed more of the personality of the writer.

Sense and SensibilityPride and PrejudiceEmma
Romantic PeriodJane AustenShe wrote novel of manners in a satiric way.

historical novels by Sir Walter Scott
Romantic Periodnovels that told virtues of the past. “Waverly novels”The Antiquary, Old mortality, Rob Roy, The Heart of the Midlothian, Ivanhoe, Kenilworth are some examples

The Victorian Period
1837-1901 England became a major imperial power. This period saw many industrial advancements from steam engines to railways, ships, printing presses and telegraph.

In the political arena, socialism became a political force. Church was under attack by both the Oxford movement and Darwin’s theory.Novel was most popular. Poets believed that improving readers morals was the aim, and Drama did not develop beyond melodrama.

Carlyle, Newman and Mill
Victorian PeriodThe prose writers of this period.

Arnold, Ruskin and Pater
Victorian PeriodThe major critics of this period.

The Bronte sisters
Victorian PeriodThree sisters who had to use male pseudonyms to publish poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell.Jayne Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey belong to them.

Pickwick PapersOliver TwistDavid CopperfieldGreat Expectations
Victorian PeriodCharles DickensSocial criticism here is interlaced with humor.

George Eliot
Victorian PeriodHer real name is Mary Ann Evans. She used a male pseudonym. She is accepted as the first modern novelist.

Samuel BatlerLewis CarolGeorge Meredith
Victorian PeriodNovelists opposed to Victorianism.

In the latter part of this era, three authors wrote innovative novels that opposed the sentimentality and moral pretentiousness of Victorians.Erewhon (nowhere arranged); Alice in wonderland and The Egoist are some examples

Thomas Hardy
Victorian PeriodHis novels focused mainly on the struggle of the individual against the forces that govern the world.

Oscar Wilde
Victorian PeriodHe was one of the proponents of the “art for art’s sake” movement. he mainly wrote comedies of manners such as Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest.

Lord Tennyson
Victorian PeriodHe was made Lord for his poems. He was a moralist, a romantic lyricist and a morbid mystic.

Pre-Raphaelite Poets
Victorian PeriodA group of painters and poets dedicated to carrying on romantic revolt against academic painting, they also romanticized the medieval past.

Algernon Charles Swinburne
Victorian PeriodHe rebelled against Victorian period (his contemporaries) He emphasised freedom and attracted young rebels of his time. He was a Pagan and a Freedom fighter.

John GlasworthyHerbert George WellsArnold Bennett
20th CenturyThe three novelists that satirized the materialistic society and the bad conditions of the poor. appealed to middle class most. social criticism

Joseph ConradJames JoyceVirginia WoolfDavid Herbert Lawrence
20th CenturyThese novelists experimented with form and language in different ways.

Huxley and WaughGeorge Orwell and Sir William GoldingEdward Morgan Forster and Graham Greene
20th CenturyThese novelists criticized the society, wrote satires, and depicted characters search of a meaning in the chaotic world.

Lord of the Flies
20th CenturySir William GoldingIt tells the story of a group of boys who fall on a deserted island after a plane crash. Although they attempt to have democracy, they end up with savagery. (cruelty of humans)

Robert Graves and J.R.

R. Tolkien

20th CenturyHistory and mythology novels.

Poets of World War I
20th CenturyBrooke, Housman and OwenThey had a pessimistic worldview

William Butler Yeats
20th CenturyHis life began with aesthetic period(creation and revelation of beauty) continued with mask period (terse and simple poems like wearing a mask) ended with prophetic poet period (creative period)

T.S.

Eliot

20th CenturyHe is an American who became a British subject and the dominant proponent of the modernist poetry. His poetry influenced virtually every poet since 1920s.

modernist poets
20th CenturyDame Edith Sitwell and Dylan ThomasThey hoped for faith and love to replace cruelty, used surrealistic imagery

The “New Signatures” poets
20th CenturyAuden and SpenderThey published together in a volume called with that name. They were greatly influenced by Hopkins, Eliot and Owen, and they added Marxism to the Modernist creed.

Poets of “The Movement”
20th CenturyLarkin, Fuller and DavieThey used a conversational style and wrote about everyday trivia. They did not have any political interest.

George Bernard Shaw
20th CenturyGreat playwright of this time.

In his more than 50 plays he sought to provoke his audiences intellectually by making them laugh.

Nationalist Irish dramatists
20th CenturyJohn Millington Synge and Sean O’CaseyThey blend tragedy and comedy. They are Irish nationalists.

Samuel Beckett
20th CenturyThe starter of the theatre of the absurd.e.

g. Waiting for GodotHarold Pinter, Tom Stoppard and Athol Fugard followed him.