History of English Literature

From its humble beginnings to the global phenomenon it is today, the history of English literature is a fascinating journey through time and culture. In this article, we will discuss the ages of English literature and The English literature periods in detail.

History of English Literatue Books

There are some books in the market that are easily available in the market and are reliable source for history of English Literature. Some of the names are:

  1. Routledge History of English Literature
  2. History of English Literature Edward Albert
  3. The Short Oxford History of English Literature
  4. History of English Literature B.R. Mulick
  5. A History of English Literature by Michael Alexander

An outline history of English literature

Below is a brief history of English literature. Literature serves as a reflection of society, and the experiences, challenges, and values of people shape the themes, styles, and perspectives found in literary works. The history of English literature is divided into 10 periods.

  1. Old English (487-1100)
  2. Middle English (1100-1400)
  3. The Renaissance Age (1400-1600)
  4. Puritan Age in Literature (1600-1650)
  5. The Restoration, The Age of Enlightenment (1650-1800)
  6. The Romantic Age, Romanticism (1800-1835)
  7. The Victorian Age in Literature (1837-1901)
  8. Modernism (1900-1945)
  9. Postmodernism (1946-)

1. Old English Literature

The roots of English literature trace back to the Old English period, when Anglo-Saxons settled in England after the fall of the Roman Empire. Composed primarily of epic poems and heroic sagas, this era is exemplified by the epic poem “Beowulf.” Written in a language that is almost unrecognizable as English today, these early literary works were passed down through oral tradition, celebrating the bravery and values of the Anglo-Saxon people.

(a) Famous Works of Old English Literature

Here are some famous poets and their works from the Old English period:

  1. Caedmon: Often considered one of the earliest English poets, Caedmon is known for his hymn-like poem “Caedmon’s Hymn.” It also praises the creator and showcases the early use of Old English in poetic form.
  2. The Epic of Beowulf: An anonymous epic poem, “Beowulf” is one of the most famous works of Old English literature. It narrates the heroic deeds of the warrior Beowulf as he battles monsters and dragons.
  3. Cynewulf: An Old English poet whose identity remains uncertain, Cynewulf is also famous for his religious poetry. He had written poems like “The Fates of the Apostles” and “Christ II.”
  4. The Exeter Book: A manuscript containing a variety of Old English poems, riddles, and elegies. Notable works within the Exeter Book include “The Wanderer,” “The Seafarer,” and a collection of riddles.
  5. The Vercelli Book: Another manuscript with a collection of Old English poetry, it includes works like “The Dream of the Rood,” a religious poem about the crucifixion from the perspective of the cross.
  6. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: While not a single work by one poet, this historical record contains entries in Old English verse and prose. It chronicles the history of England from its early days to the 12th century.
  7. Aldhelm: A scholar and writer, Aldhelm composed Latin and Old English poetry. His works include “Riddles” and “The Prose De Virginitate,” which include Latin and Old English sections.
(b) England in Anglo Saxons Time
  1. Migration and Settlement. The Anglo-Saxon period began with the arrival of Germanic tribes, including the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, who migrated to England from continental Europe. They settled in various regions and established kingdoms.
  2. Kingdoms and Heptarchy. England was divided into several small kingdoms, collectively known as the Heptarchy. Key kingdoms included Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria, East Anglia, Kent, Essex, and also Sussex. These kingdoms often competed and sometimes united against external threats.
  3. Language and Culture. Old English, a Germanic language, was spoken during this period. The Anglo-Saxons brought with them their own cultural practices, literature, and traditions, which blended with existing Celtic influences.
  4. Religion and Conversion. The Anglo-Saxons initially practiced paganism, with gods like Odin and Thor. However, Christianity began to spread in the 6th and 7th centuries.
  5. Monasteries and Learning. Monasteries played a crucial role in preserving knowledge and culture. Monks transcribed manuscripts, including religious texts and works of literature, helping to shape early English literature.
  6. Social Structure. Society was hierarchical, with kings and nobles at the top, followed by warriors (thanes), freemen, and slaves (thralls).
  7. Agriculture and Economy. The economy was primarily agrarian, with farming and trade being key activities. The production of food and goods for local consumption was also essential for the sustenance of the kingdoms.
  8. Art and Craftsmanship. The Anglo-Saxons were skilled artisans, producing intricate metalwork, jewelry, and illuminated manuscripts.
  9. Invasions and Viking Raids. Towards the later part of the Anglo-Saxon period, England faced raids and invasions from Viking groups, disrupting the stability of the kingdoms and leading to conflicts.
  10. End of the Period. The Anglo-Saxon period concluded with the Norman Conquest in 1066, when William the Conqueror of Normandy, France, defeated King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. This event marked the beginning of the Middle Ages in England.

The Middle English Period (c. 1066-1500)

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought French influences and marked the transition from Old English to Middle English. During this period, Geoffrey Chaucer emerged as a prominent figure with his masterpiece, “The Canterbury Tales.” This collection of stories, written in Middle English, offered a vivid portrayal of medieval society’s diversity and complexities. As the language continued to evolve, so did the themes and styles in Anglo-Norman literature.

Comparison of Old English and Middle English Literature

Aspect Old English Literature Middle English Literature
Time Period Approx. 450 – 1150 AD Approx. 1150 – 1500 AD
Language Primarily Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Transition to Middle English
Major Works Beowulf, Anglo-Saxon Chronicles Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Themes Heroism, Fate, Christian Elements Chivalry, Courtly Love, Social Realism
Literary Style Epic Poetry, Alliteration Rhymed Verse, Prose
Influence Strong Germanic and Scandinavian influences French and Latin influences
(a) Famous Works in Anglo Norman Period in Literature

Here are some notable literary works from that era:

  1. “Roman de Rou” by Wace. This work is a historical poem that narrates the history of the Normans and the ancestry of the dukes of Normandy.
  2. “Lais” by Marie de France. Marie de France, a poet of Breton origin, composed a collection of lais (short narrative poems) that revolve around themes of courtly love, magic, and chivalry.
  3. “Tristan and Iseult” (various versions). The tale of Tristan and Iseult, a classic romance involving love, adventure, and tragedy, was retold in various Anglo-Norman versions during this period. These stories contributed to the development of medieval romance literature.
  4. “Lanval” by Marie de France. This lai tells the story of Lanval, a knight who falls in love with a fairy lady. The lai explores themes of love, loyalty, and the otherworldly.
  5. “The Owl and the Nightingale”. This Middle English debate poem is one of the earliest recorded examples of literature in that language. It presents a lively and humorous dispute between two birds, discussing various aspects of human behavior and the world.
  6. “Aucassin and Nicolette”. This medieval French romance, though not originally Anglo-Norman, was known and enjoyed in England during this period. It tells the tale of the love between Aucassin and Nicolette, featuring themes of adventure and cross-cultural love.
  7. “Chanson de Roland” (The Song of Roland). This Old French epic poem, although not written in Anglo-Norman, was widely known and influenced Anglo-Norman literature. It celebrates the heroics of Roland in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.
  8. Legal and Religious Texts. The Anglo-Norman period also produced various legal documents, charters, and religious works, reflecting the administrative and spiritual concerns of the time.
(b) England during Anglo Norman Period

Here’s an overview of England during the Anglo-Norman period:

  1. Norman Conquest. The period began with the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, led by William the Conqueror. The Battle of Hastings resulted in Norman rule and the establishment of a Norman aristocracy.
  2. Feudal System. The Normans introduced a feudal system, where land was granted in exchange for military service. This system solidified the power of the aristocracy.
  3. Language and Culture. The Norman aristocracy spoke Old Norman, a variant of Old French. This linguistic influence led to the gradual merging of Old Norman and Old English, which contributed to the development of Middle English.
  4. Architecture. The Normans introduced Romanesque architecture. Iconic Norman structures like the Tower of London and Durham Cathedral were built during this period.
  5. Legal and Administrative Changes. The Normans implemented legal and administrative reforms. The Domesday Book, a detailed survey of England’s land and resources, was created to assess taxation and land ownership.
  6. Cultural Exchange. The Anglo-Norman period saw the blending of Norman courtly traditions with Anglo-Saxon culture. Moreover, this fusion influenced literature, art, music, and societal norms.
  7. Chivalry and Courtly Love. The ideals of chivalry and courtly love, prevalent in Norman society, influenced the aristocracy’s behaviors and literary themes.
  8. Religious Life. The Church continued to hold significant influence. Ecclesiastical architecture thrived, and the Normans rebuilt or expanded many churches and cathedrals.
  9. Monasticism. Monks played a crucial role in copying manuscripts, preserving knowledge, and educating the clergy.
  10. Urbanization. Urban centers grew during this period, as towns and trade centers expanded.
  11. Literature and Manuscripts. Anglo-Norman literature flourished, reflecting both Norman and Anglo-Saxon cultural influences.
  12. End of the Period. The works of Geoffrey Chaucer and other writers marked the shift toward a more unified English language and literature.

The Renaissance (c. 14th-17th centuries)

The Renaissance was a time of great cultural and intellectual transformation in Europe, and English literature flourished as well. The works of playwrights like William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe revolutionized drama with their exploration of human nature, political intrigue, and also complex characters. Shakespeare’s plays like “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Macbeth” remain timeless classics that continue to resonate with audiences across the globe.

(a) Famous authors in The Renaissance Age in Literature

Here are some notable authors and their works from the Renaissance period:

William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Shakespeare’s works explore themes of love, power, human nature, and the complexities of the human experience. Some of his most famous works include:

“Romeo and Juliet”




“King Lear”

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

“Sonnet” sequence

Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593).A contemporary of Shakespeare, Marlowe’s works are famous for their passionate language and exploration of themes such as power, ambition, and the supernatural. Some of his famous works include:

“Doctor Faustus”


“The Jew of Malta”

John Milton (1608-1674). A major figure in English literature, Milton’s works reflect his political and religious beliefs. His epic poem “Paradise Lost” is a profound exploration of human nature, free will, and the fall of humanity.

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599). Spenser’s works are allegorical in their nature and elaborate verse. His most famous work is “The Faerie Queene,” an epic poem.

Sir Thomas More (1478-1535). More’s influential work “Utopia” is a fictional exploration of an ideal society. He also wrote religious and philosophical treatises, and his execution for opposing King Henry VIII’s break from the Catholic Church elevated him as a martyr.

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586). Sidney’s “Astrophel and Stella” is one of the earliest and most significant English sonnet sequences, exploring themes of love and desire. He also wrote “The Defence of Poesy,” a significant work on literary theory.

Ben Jonson (1572-1637). Some of his notable works include “Volpone” and “Every Man in His Humour.”

Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542) and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547). These poets introduced the sonnet form to English literature. Wyatt and Surrey’s sonnets contributed to the development of English poetry during the Renaissance.

The Puritan Age in English Literature: Piety and Prudence

The Puritan Age in English literature, spanning from the late 16th century to the mid-17th century, is a period characterized by religious fervor, moral introspection, and a distinctive literary style. This era, deeply influenced by the Puritan movement, marked a significant shift in the themes, values, and literary expressions of the time.

The Puritan Movement and Its Influence

The Puritan movement was a religious and social reform movement that emerged in England during the 16th century. Puritans sought to “purify” the Church of England from what they saw as remnants of Roman Catholicism. They emphasized a strict interpretation of the Bible, personal piety, and a disciplined moral life. These ideals also profoundly impacted the cultural and literary landscape of the era.

(a) Themes and Characteristics

Puritan literature often reflected the movement’s core beliefs and values. Therefore, works from this period typically emphasized the following themes:

1. Religious Devotion: The primary focus of Puritan literature was religious faith and devotion. Therefore, writers sought to convey the importance of a personal relationship with God, often through introspective and emotional expressions.

2. Morality and Virtue: Puritan authors emphasized moral integrity, virtue, and the battle against sin. Their works often served as cautionary tales, warning against the dangers of straying from the righteous path.

3. Plain and Direct Language: Puritan literature was known for its plain and straightforward language. Authors aimed to communicate their messages clearly and directly, avoiding elaborate or ornate styles.

4. Allegory and Symbolism: Many Puritan works employed allegory and symbolism to convey spiritual truths. Common symbols included the journey, wilderness, and the battle between good and evil.

5. Didacticism: Puritan writers often had didactic intentions – they aimed to instruct and educate their readers in matters of faith, morality, and proper conduct.

(b) Prominent Figures and Works

Several notable figures emerged during the Puritan Age, contributing to the development of this distinct literary tradition:

1. John Bunyan: Bunyan is best known for his allegorical work “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” This narrative follows the journey of a character named Christian as he navigates the challenges of the spiritual life, using vivid imagery and allegory.

2. Anne Bradstreet: Often regarded as the first American poet, Bradstreet’s poetry explored themes of faith, family, and the struggles of life. Her work “The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America” was published in 1650.

3. John Milton: Although his most famous work, “Paradise Lost,” was written after the Puritan Age, Milton’s influence on Puritan thought is notable. His epic poem explored themes of human disobedience, divine justice, and the fall of humanity.

The Enlightenment and the Restoration Age (c. 18th-19th centuries)

The Enlightenment brought a shift towards reason, science, and individualism, which greatly impacted literature. Satirical works, essays, and novels that critiqued societal norms emerged during this time. The Romantic era followed, emphasizing emotion, nature, and the sublime. Poets like William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Lord Byron expressed their emotions and beliefs through lyricism and imagination.

(a) Famous Works in The Enlightenment Age

Here are some notable works from the Enlightenment period:

  1. “Candide” by Voltaire (1759): This satirical novella by Voltaire is a scathing critique of the optimism prevalent in society during the Enlightenment.
  2. “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” by John Locke (1689): This foundational work by Locke explores the nature of human knowledge, perception, and understanding.
  3. “The Social Contract” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762): Rousseau’s treatise explores the relationship between individuals and the state, advocating for a social contract based on the general will.
  4. “Encyclopedia” (Encyclopédie) edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert (1751-1772): This comprehensive reference work aimed to disseminate knowledge across various disciplines and promote rational thinking. It also played a crucial role in spreading Enlightenment ideas.
  5. “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift (1729): This satirical essay addresses social and economic issues through a darkly humorous proposal to address overpopulation and poverty in Ireland.
  6. “The Spirit of the Laws” by Montesquieu (1748): Montesquieu’s treatise on political theory discusses the separation of powers and the importance of checks and balances within government systems.
  7. “Emile, or On Education” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762): This work presents Rousseau’s ideas on education and child-rearing, emphasizing the importance of allowing children to develop naturally and explore their own interests.
  8. “On Crimes and Punishments” by Cesare Beccaria (1764): Beccaria’s treatise advocated for the reform of the criminal justice system, promoting the idea of proportional punishment and opposing torture and capital punishment.
  9. “Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded” by Samuel Richardson (1740): This novel is often considered one of the earliest examples of the novel genre and explores themes of virtue, social class, and morality.
(b) England during The Enlightenment

This era was marked by the rise of reason, scientific inquiry, and the spread of Enlightenment ideals that advocated for individual rights, liberty, and rational governance. Here’s an overview of England during the Enlightenment:

  1. Intellectual Awakening: The Enlightenment emphasized reason, empiricism, and scientific inquiry as the foundations of knowledge and progress. Philosophers and thinkers sought to challenge traditional beliefs and superstitions with empirical evidence and logical reasoning.
  2. Scientific Advancements: The scientific revolution played a crucial role during this period. Pioneers like Isaac Newton made groundbreaking discoveries in physics, mathematics, and optics, influencing the way people understood the natural world.
  3. Empiricism and Rationalism: Philosophers like John Locke and David Hume emphasized empiricism, which held that knowledge is derived from sensory experiences. Rationalism also flourished, advocating for the use of reason and critical thinking in understanding the world.
  4. Philosophical Ideas: Enlightenment thinkers promoted the ideals of individual rights, religious tolerance, freedom of thought, and the separation of church and state.
  5. Literary and Artistic Expression: Literature, poetry, and art during this period often reflected Enlightenment themes. Satire, social criticism, and philosophical inquiry were common elements in literary works.
  6. Coffeehouses and Salons: Coffeehouses became hubs of intellectual exchange, where discussions on philosophy, politics, and science took place.
  7. Political Developments. Ideas about limited government, social contracts, and the rights of individuals laid the groundwork for constitutional reforms and the rise of parliamentary power.
  8. Literary Figures: Prominent writers and essayists like Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and Daniel Defoe explored Enlightenment ideas in their works.
  9. Industrial and Economic Changes: The Enlightenment era witnessed the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, which brought advancements in technology, urbanization, and changes in the economic structure.

The Romantic Age in Literature/ Romanticism

The Romantic Age in literature, which flourished during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was a period of profound artistic, literary, and intellectual change. Characterized by a focus on emotion, imagination, nature, and individualism, the Romantic movement marked a departure from the rationalism of the Enlightenment.

(a) Famous Works of The Romantic Age

Notable poets of the Romantic Age include:

  1. William Wordsworth. Popular for his emphasis on nature and introspection in works like “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” and “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.”
  2. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Co-author of “Lyrical Ballads” and author of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”
  3. Lord Byron. Famous for his adventurous life and works like “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” and “Don Juan.”
  4. Percy Bysshe Shelley. Also popular for his visionary and philosophical poems, including “Ozymandias” and “Prometheus Unbound.”
  5. John Keats. Famous for his sensual and evocative poetry, including “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode on a Grecian Urn.”

Novelists of the Romantic Age: Some prominent novelists of this era include Mary Shelley (“Frankenstein”), Jane Austen (“Pride and Prejudice”), and Sir Walter Scott (“Waverley”).

(b) England during Romanticism

Here’s an overview of the Romantic Age in literature:

  1. Emphasis on Emotion and Imagination: Romantic literature celebrated the power of emotions and the imagination as valuable sources of truth and creativity. Writers also sought to evoke intense feelings in their readers and explore the complexities of human sentiment.
  2. Nature and the Sublime: Nature was a central theme in Romantic literature. Writers revered the natural world as a source of inspiration, solace, and spiritual connection. They often depicted nature as awe-inspiring and transcendent, exploring the concept of the sublime.
  3. Individualism and Introspection: Romantic authors celebrated individuality and the uniqueness of each person’s experience. They also delved into the complexities of human psychology, often exploring inner thoughts, dreams, and desires.
  4. Rejection of Industrialization: As the Industrial Revolution transformed society, Romantic writers often critiqued the negative impact of industrialization on the environment, society, and human relationships. They yearned for a simpler, more authentic way of life.
  5. Escapism and Supernatural: Many Romantic works embraced elements of fantasy, the supernatural, and the mystical. This allowed writers to explore alternate realities and challenge the boundaries of what was considered “real.”
  6. Nationalism and Folklore: Romantic writers celebrated their countries’ cultures and traditions, often drawing from national myths, legends, and folklore. They sought to capture the essence of their nations’ identities and histories.
  7. Revival of Medieval and Gothic Elements: The Romantic movement saw a resurgence of interest in medieval and also Gothic themes. Authors were drawn to the mystery, drama, and emotional intensity associated with these historical periods.
  8. Exoticism and Orientalism: Romantic writers were intrigued by exotic settings, cultures, and traditions. They often incorporated elements of far-off lands, reflecting their fascination with the unknown and the “other.”

The Victorian Age in English Literature

The Victorian era was marked by the reign of Queen Victoria and a strong moralistic approach to literature. Charles Dickens, famous for novels like “Great Expectations” and “A Tale of Two Cities,” depicted the harsh realities of industrialization and also social inequality. Meanwhile, authors like the Brontë sisters explored themes of gender roles and individualism in their works such as “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights.”

(a) Famous authors and their works in The Victorian Era Literature

Here are some notable authors and their works from the Victorian Age:

  1. Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Dickens is one of the most famous Victorian novelists, also famous for his vivid characters, social criticism, and memorable storytelling. Some of his notable works include:
    • “Oliver Twist”
    • “David Copperfield”
    • “Great Expectations”
    • “A Tale of Two Cities”
    • “Bleak House”
  2. Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855). Charlotte Brontë’s novels explore themes of love, independence, and the position of women in society. Her most famous work is:
    • “Jane Eyre”
  3. Emily Brontë (1818-1848). Emily Brontë’s only novel is a masterpiece of gothic and romantic literature:
    • “Wuthering Heights”
  4. George Eliot (1819-1880). The pen name of Mary Ann Evans, Eliot’s novels delve into complex moral and psychological themes. Some of her renowned works are:
    • “Middlemarch”
    • “The Mill on the Floss”
  5. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928). Hardy’s novels also explore the harsh realities of rural life and human relationships. Notable works include:
    • “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”
    • “Far from the Madding Crowd”
    • “Jude the Obscure”
  6. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900). Famous for his wit and also his theatrical works, Wilde’s writing often challenges societal norms and conventions. Some of his famous works include:
    • “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
    • “The Importance of Being Earnest”
  7. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894). Stevenson’s adventure novels continue to captivate readers of all ages. His well-known works include:
    • “Treasure Island”
    • “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”
    • “Kidnapped”
  8. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936). Although extending into the early 20th century, Kipling’s writings often reflect Victorian values and imperialistic themes. His notable works include:
    • “The Jungle Book”
    • “Kim”
  9. Lewis Carroll (1832-1898). Moreover, Carroll’s whimsical and imaginative works have left an enduring impact on children’s literature. His most famous works include:
    • “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”
    • “Through the Looking-Glass”


The 20th century witnessed a period of literary experimentation and also diversity. Modernist writers like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce challenged traditional narrative structures, delving into the complexities of human consciousness. The aftermath of World War I also to disillusionment, also reflected in the works of T.S. Eliot and others. Later in the century, post-colonial and multicultural voices began to shape the literary landscape, bringing new perspectives and narratives.

(a) Famous authors and their works in Modernism

The Modernist age of literature, spanning from the late 19th to the mid-20th century, was also marked by a radical departure from traditional literary forms and a focus on fragmented narratives, subjective perspectives, and a reflection of the complexities of modern life. Prominent authors and their works during this era include James Joyce’s groundbreaking “Ulysses,” which explores a single day in the lives of its characters; Virginia Woolf’s introspective “Mrs. Dalloway” and experimental “To the Lighthouse”; T.S. Eliot’s enigmatic and influential poem “The Waste Land”; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s exploration of the American Dream in “The Great Gatsby“; Franz Kafka’s surreal and existential “Metamorphosis”; and Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot,” which epitomizes the modernist emphasis on existential uncertainty. These authors and also their innovative works encapsulate the Modernist movement’s emphasis on individual consciousness, fragmented narratives, and the questioning of established norms and structures.

Postmodern Period in English Literature

The Postmodern period in English literature, emerging in the mid-20th century and extending into the present, is characterized by a departure from modernist conventions and a focus on metafiction, intertextuality, and the blurring of boundaries between reality and fiction. During this era, authors challenged traditional narrative structures and engaged with diverse perspectives. Works like Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children” employ magical realism to explore the complexities of post-colonial India, while Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” offers a dystopian reflection on gender and power dynamics.

Moreover, Don DeLillo’s “White Noise” captures the anxieties of consumerism and media saturation, and Jeanette Winterson’s “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” challenges societal norms through a coming-of-age narrative. Additionally, the works of David Foster Wallace, such as “Infinite Jest,” grapple with the overwhelming influence of technology and media. The Postmodern period in literature is characterized by a self-awareness of narrative techniques. This puts an emphasis on the plurality of perspectives, and a playful exploration of reality and fiction.

Comparison of Modernism and Postmodernism in Literature

Aspect Modernism Postmodernism
Time Period Approx. late 19th – mid 20th century Mid 20th century – present
Attitude Towards Tradition Rejection or questioning of traditional norms Playful engagement with and deconstruction of tradition
Reality Representation Objective representation of reality Subjective and fragmented representation, blurring reality and fiction
Narrative Structure Linear narrative, focus on individual experience Non-linear, metafiction, multiple perspectives
Themes Alienation, Loss, Disillusionment Parody, Intertextuality, Playfulness
Style Clean and precise language Use of pastiche, collage, and experimentation with language
Author’s Role Author as an isolated genius Author as part of a larger cultural discourse
1. What time period in English literature history is the most significant, golden period of English literature?

Ans: Elizabethan Age a.k.a. 16th to early 17th century: The Golden Age of English Literature
The Elizabethan Age, sometimes known as the Golden Age, symbolizes the most brilliant century of all the eras and brought about a notable paradigm change in the history of English literature.

2. Who is the father of English literature history?

Ans: Geoffrey Chaucer, who lived in England from the late 1340s until his death on October 25, 1400, is best remembered for his work on The Canterbury Tales. The “father of English literature” or, alternately, the “father of English poetry” have both been attributed to him.

3. Who was the first author of the English history?

Ans: The first person to chronicle the history of the English people was the Venerable Bede, the greatest scholar of early medieval Europe. This is one among the most significant historical and religious places in Europe only based on his renown.