List of ages in english literature
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A Brief Overview of British Literary Periods
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Although historians have delineated the eras of British literature in different ways over time, common divisions are outlined below. This period of literature dates back to their invasion along with the Jutes of Celtic England circa The era ends in , when Norman France, under William, conquered England. Much of the first half of this period, prior to the seventh century, at least, had oral literature. The era extends to around As with the Old English period , much of the Middle English writings were religious in nature; however, from about onward, secular literature began to rise. The Elizabethan Age was the golden age of English drama.
English literature , the body of written works produced in the English language by inhabitants of the British Isles including Ireland from the 7th century to the present day. The major literatures written in English outside the British Isles are treated separately under American literature , Australian literature , Canadian literature , and New Zealand literature. English literature has sometimes been stigmatized as insular. Yet in the Middle Ages the Old English literature of the subjugated Saxons was leavened by the Latin and Anglo-Norman writings , eminently foreign in origin, in which the churchmen and the Norman conquerors expressed themselves. From this combination emerged a flexible and subtle linguistic instrument exploited by Geoffrey Chaucer and brought to supreme application by William Shakespeare. During the Renaissance the renewed interest in Classical learning and values had an important effect on English literature, as on all the arts; and ideas of Augustan literary propriety in the 18th century and reverence in the 19th century for a less specific, though still selectively viewed, Classical antiquity continued to shape the literature. All three of these impulses derived from a foreign source, namely the Mediterranean basin.
This article is focused on English-language literature rather than the literature of England , so that it includes writers from Scotland , Wales , the Crown dependencies , and the whole of Ireland , as well as literature in English from countries of the former British Empire , including the United States. However, until the early 19th century, it only deals with the literature of the United Kingdom , the Crown dependencies and Ireland. It does not include literature written in the other languages of Britain. The English language has developed over the course of more than 1, years. Beowulf is the most famous work in Old English, and has achieved national epic status in England, despite being set in Scandinavia. However, following the Norman conquest of England in , the written form of the Anglo-Saxon language became less common.