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PERIODS IN HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

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Jillian Bentley

on 25 August 2016

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Transcript of PERIODS IN HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

PERIODS IN HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE
ANGLO SAXON PERIOD (499-1066)
HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND
Life centered on ancestral tribes or clans.
At first the people were warriors from invading outlying areas: Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Danes. Later they were agricultural.

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME
Strong Belief in fate.
Admiration of heroic warriors who prevail in battle.
Oral tradition helps unite diverse people and their myths.

MAIN AUTHOR/S AND MOST REPRESENTATIVE WORKS
The greatest Old English Poem is a long epic called
"Beowulf"
, whose author is unknown.
MIDDLE ENGLISH PERIOD (1066-1485)
HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND
Crusades Bring the development of a money economy for the first time in Britain.
The Norman conquest: William the Conqueror crowned King in 1066.
The mark of establishment of feudalism.
Henry II crowned King in 1154 and brings a judicial system, royal courts, juries and chivalry to Britain.

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME
It was a period of massive social change, burgeoning nationalism, international conflict, terrible natural disaster.
Church instructs its people through the morality and miracle plays.
The Catholic Church became the most powerful institution of this period.

MAIN AUTHOR/S AND MOST REPRESENTATIVE WORKS
The most important poet of the time is Geoffrey Chaucer. His greatest work is "
Canterbury Tales".

HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND
The Dark Ages and the Black Death are still in people’s minds.
Weakening of nobility; rising of bourgeoisie; weakening of the power of church.
The discovery of America is an opening to the New World (1492).
This period follows the introduction of the printing press into England.
The English Renaissance is divided in three periods: Elizabethan period (1558-1603); Jacobean period (1603–1625); Late Renaissance (1625-1660).

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME
The Queen Elizabeth great advocate of peace and order.
Renaissance spirit: rejuvenation, enthusiasm, and experimentation.
The Golden Age of English literature thanks to the printing press which helps stabilize English as a language and allows more people to read a variety of literature.
Belief in the right to enjoy the beauty of the life.

MAIN AUTHOR/S AND MOST REPRESENTATIVE WORKS
William Shakespeare:
one of the greatest playwrights of all times. Variety of genres: histories, tragedies, comedies and the late romances, or tragicomedies.
His best works include
Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello
, and
Merchant of Venice.
Another important poet of this period is
Edmund Spenser
, author of
The Faerie Queen.



THE RENAISSANCE (1485-1660)
HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND
The period begins with the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 bringing Charles II from his exile in France. He brings with him the indulgent and artistic ways of Louis XIV’s court.
The period is often called the Age of Reason.
In 1700 the Act of Settlement prohibits a Catholic from being king or queen.
Period of political and military unrest, British naval supremacy, economic growth, the rise of the middle class, colonial expansion, the rise of literacy, the birth of the novel and periodicals, etc.

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME
Artistic ideals should be order, logic, restrained emotion and accuracy.
The government guaranties natural rights of life, liberty and property.
In this period people also emphasize studying the English language.
Literature was didactic, self-examination was important (hence diaries and letters).

MAIN AUTHOR/S AND MOST REPRESENTATIVE WORKS
The most important poet after the Elizabethan period is
John Milton
. His greatest work is the epic
Paradise Lost
.
Another major representatives of this age are
John Dryden

(Astraea Redux)
and
Alexander Pope

(An Essay on Criticism)
who was for a generation ‘’the poet’’ of a great nation.








HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND
The shift in the dominant ideology consequence of socio-historical changes, as the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution.
Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor of France in 1804 and led the French army in a conquest of Europe, but was defeated by Britain.
Radicalism in Britain grew and led to protest movements and demands of electoral reform.
Another immensely important determinants on the poetry of the nineteenth century would be the European imperialism, the colonialism, the trans-Atlantic slavery, and the racism.

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME
Rejection of the premises of reason, calm, order, rationality and general / abstract thought that epitomized the neoclassicism (or Age of Reason) of the 1700s.
Values were given to subjectivity, individuality, irrationality, the Imagination, the personal, the emotional, the visionary, the spontaneous and the transcendental.
The romantics hoped to transform the world into a new Golden Age through the power of the imagination.

MAIN AUTHOR/S AND MOST REPRESENTATIVE WORKS (2 generations of writers)
The first generation: characterized by emphasis on the self and its relationship with nature.
William Wordsworth
and
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
published a collection of poems called
Lyrical Ballads
.
The second generation: produced little prose, outside of their letters; more interested in the problems connected with the relationship between life and art.
John Keats

(Ode To a Nightingale)
,
Percy Bysshe Shelley
(Prometheus Unbound; Ode to the West Wind)
,
George Byron

(Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; She Walks in Beauty).





HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND
Realism coincided with Victorianism. Progress, expansion and mobility evoke a society preoccupied with transformations in nearly every area of daily life. The evolution of industrial society and the rise of cities enabled government activities to expand exponentially; Britain had firmly established itself as the world’s greatest trading nation and most influential economy until the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
Main facts: Huge growth in population (14 million >32 million); Improvements in technology; Changing world views.

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME
Literacy rates increased and print culture proliferated, information abounded, the circulating library took hold and a mass reading public was born.
Main facts: Attention to detail; Novel’s function was simply to report what happens, without comment or judgment; They were concerned about the fate of the common people; Conflict between those in power and the common masses of workers and the poor; Strong criticism of the society.

MAIN AUTHOR/S AND MOST REPRESENTATIVE WORKS
The novel was the main literary production for the Victorian period.
Charles Dickens
is one of the most representative writers of this period. He wrote, among other works,
Oliver twist, David Copperfield, A Tale of two Cities.
Charlotte Bronte
and her
Jane Eyre
, the struggle for basic rights and equality.
George Eliot
and her
Mill on the Floss.
Thomas Hardy
is regarded as a transitional writer. He wrote
The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Robert Louis Stevenson
who wrote the famous
Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.



HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND
In November 1918, World War Ⅰ (1914-1918) ended. During the war, Britain became much weakened. India, Egypt, Ireland and many other British colonies demanded independence. In 1929, a devastating economic crisis broke out in the capitalist world and grew more acute in the next 3 years. The Second World War broke out in 1939, and Britain was driven into it in spite of her policy of appeasement.

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME
Literary Modernism: artistic response to World War I. A lot of artists, including writers and also painters and musicians, really think that they need a new art to make sense of this new world. It was a movement of experiments in new technique in writing.
In the field of poetry, the style transformed from the original Realism to Imagism. Modernist fiction puts emphasis on the description of the characters’ psychological activities.

MAIN AUTHOR/S AND MOST REPRESENTATIVE WORKS
James Joyce
. His book,
Ulysses
, is really considered one of the most significant books that's ever been written.
Thomas Stearns Eliot
made experiments in reviving verse drama which had flourished in Shakespeare’s time. He is most famous for is a poem called
The Waste Land
.He also wrote
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
Virginia Woolf.
She's a novelist and she wrote some pretty famous things, like
Mrs. Dalloway
and
To the Lighthouse.


HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL BACKGROUND
From the austerity of the immediate post-war years to the consumerism and globalization of the present day.
Post-War literature chronicles the impact of decolonization, mass populat culture, women's liberation, postmodernism, and privatization.

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME
Four main trends define the evolution of post-war. English Literature within the cultural context of the period in Britain:
1. Intensive commercialisation of the book market.
2. The expansion of literary criticism and literary theory, brought about by the departments of English of the universties, old and new.
3. The popularisation of audio-visual narrative media.
4. The growth of English Literature written by women and by post-colonial writers.

MAIN AUTHOR/S AND MOST REPRESENTATIVE WORKS
The works of
George Orwell (
Animal Farm

and

Nineteen Eighty-four
), Samuel Beckett (
Elutheria, Waiting for Godot
), Doris Lessing (
The grass is Singing
)
and many others have explored this period in varied and fascinating ways.


THE NEOCLASSICAL PERIOD
THE ENLIGHTENMENT AGE
The Age of Reason
( 1660-1798)
ROMANTICISM (1798-1832)
The Victorian Era
REALISM (1830s-1918)
MODERN + POSTMODERN (1918-1945)
CONTEMPORARY
(1945- )
THE RENAISSANCE (1485-1660)
Full transcript