Major Literary Movements in British Literature

Time Period Dates Author/ Major Pieces Beowulf “The Seafarer” History Themes/Philosophies/Ideas juxtaposition of church and pagan worlds at first the people were warriors from invading outlying areas: Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Danes Christianity helps literacy to spread introduces Roman alphabet to Britain Many Battles fought Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Warriors and battle oral tradition helps unite diverse peoples and their myths

Old English/AngloSaxon Period 449-1066

Crusades bring money to Britain Henry III is king. William the Conqueror crowned in 1066.

Chivalry – Knights of the Round Table Courtly Love

Middle English Period (The Medieval Period) 1066-1485

* William Shakespeare Macbeth

War of the Roses ends Gutenberg Printing Press is developed

Stresses life on earth and human potential on earth Science calls religion into question

The Renaissance 1485-1660

* Christopher Marlowe

Elizabeth I is queen James I succeeds Elizabeth I The Globe Theatre is built

Major Literary Movements in British Literature

Major Literary Movements in British Literature
Time Period Dates Author/ Major Pieces Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal” and Gulliver’s Travels John Locke Age of Reason
Novelists: Jane Austen, Mary Shelley William Wordsworth,

Historical Context Locke’s treatise on govt is published Industrial Revolution begins

Themes/Ideas/Philosophies emphasis on reason and logic stresses harmony, stability, wisdom belief that man is basically evil

Neoclassical Period (The Restoration) 1660-1798 Romanticism 1798 – 1832

Napoleon Rises to power Railroads begin to run The middle class gets representation in parliament

Society is evil, not man Recognizes the beauty of nature Focus on the “sublime” – nature has power over man Introduces gothic elements – terror/horror

Major Literary Movements in British Literature

Major Literary Movements in British Literature
Time Period Dates Author/ Major Pieces
Charles Dickens Thomas Hardy George Eliot Oscar Wilde, Darwin

Historical Context
Known as the long period of peace Libraries are popular Victoria is Queen Rise of the sweatshop British Empire loses 1 million soldiers to World War I Winston Churchill leads Britain through WW II, and the Germans bomb England directly British colonies demand independence

Philosophies/Ideas/Themes Struggle between the newly forming middle class and the landed gentry

Victorian Period 1832-1900

Modern/Post Modern Period of Literature 1900-1980

William Golding, Lord of the Flies George Orwell, 1984

lonely individual fighting to find peace and comfort in a cruel world loss of the hero in literature-rise of the antihero

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