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Periods Of Literary History

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Vera Skocic

on 19 August 2017

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Transcript of Periods Of Literary History



a.k.a The Middle Ages

The Enlightenment

These periods are spans of time in which literature shared intellectual, linguistic, religious, and artistic influences.

In the Western tradition, the early periods of literary history are roughly as follows below:

Periods Of Literary History
Around year 450 new invaders arrive in the Celtic England. it is the Germanic tribes Angles, Saxons and Jutes. The anglo-saxon tribes rule until the conquest of England by the Norman-French "William the Conqueror" in 1066.

People use the phrase “Middle Ages” to describe Europe between the fall of Rome and the beginning of the Renaissance in the 15th century.

At the beginning, England was under the rule of Roman Empire, and Latin was the language of power.

The Canterbury Tales
by Geoffrey Chaucer

...is a significant work as it is considered a determining factor for English to develop into a national language,
Middle English.

The Canterbury Tales
is a collection of 20 stories which give a realistic picture of medieval society, often with a touch of satire and humour.

After the Norman invasion, there were linguistic,
social, and cultural changes and also changes in the literature.

French was introduced as the language of the royal court and in the law.

A range of literary genres emerged, including chivalric romances, religious songs, folk ballads, drama, morality and miracle plays.
Queen Elizabeth saves England from both Spanish invasion and internal
squabbles at home.

The Elizabethan era was a period marked by developments in English commerce, nationalism, exploration, and maritime power.
The Elizabethan Age is considered a great age in literary history, particularly for drama.

The early works of Shakespeare, Marlowe and other playwrights mark Elizabeth's reign.

Considered the greatest English-speaking writer in history and known as England’s national poet, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) has had more theatrical works performed than any other playwright.

Birth of democracy and liberalism

The French Revolution 1789-1799
The American Constitution 1789

The Age of Sensibility anticipates the Romantic period.

By the end of the 18th century there is a return to emotion... The Age of Sensibility focused upon instinct, feeling, imagination, and sometimes the sublime.
Many writers in the Romantic period emphasized feeling and imagination and looked toward nature for insight into the divine.

(Percy B. Sh
elley, Keats, Lord Byron...)

The Romantic period also featured significant innovations in the
form like the Gothic fiction (Mary Shelley, E.A. Poe ...)

VICTORIAN PERIOD and The 19th Century (1832-1901)

Other famous writers are Charles Dickens, , George Eliot and Oscar Wilde...

In America, writers like Mark Twain flourish, as do early free verse poets like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.

Shakepeare's influence on the English language
Early Modern English
He introduced nearly 3000 new words!
The Elizabethan Theatre
I. Early Tudor Period (1485-1558)

II. Elizabethan Period (1558-1603)

III. Jacobean Period (1603-1625)

How did Middle English sound?
Listen to a part of the Prologue in The Canterbury Tales;
The narrator opens with a description of the return of spring. He describes the April rains, flowers and birds. Around this time of year, the narrator says, people begin to feel the desire to go on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral.
Canterbury Tales, part 1: Wife of Bath
among the best-known of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
It provides insight into the role of women in the Late Middle Ages.

the Middle Ages
the Renaissance
the Enlightenment
the Romantic Age
the Victorian Age
the Twentieth Century

is the oldest epic written in Old English, dated between 8th - 11th century. In more than 3,000 lines, it tells the fictitious story of the hero Beowulf from southern Sweden who fights monsters and dragons in order to bring safety to his own and other people.
An important religious and political restructuring was initiated by Henry VIII. When the Pope refused to give his consent to Henry’s divorce, Henry cut all ties to the Church of Rome. He formed the Church of England and made himself the supreme head.
Henry VIII:s daughter Elizabeth takes over the throne of England in 1558.

The Enlightenment
starting point of the middle class
more people were literate
good manners
restraint, self-control, and common sense
formal style and elegance
coffee houses, tea, chocolate
Also called the Age of Reason...

Rationalism (logic; reason as source of knowledge)
Empirism (knowledge comes through experience)
Criticism (critical thinking, argumentation)
Egalitarianism (everybody is born equal)
Deism (rejection of organized religion)

Neoclassical architecture
Female Writers
Writing during the early period of Queen Victoria's reign also includes sentimental novels.

Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters belong to the late Romanticists and early Victorian writers.
Late 18th century

The Twentieth Century

Historical backdrop to a new literary movement Modernism
Fall of the British Empire after 1901
World War I
Post-war disillusionment
Depression in the 30s

a mix of literary styles
new narrative techniques
new themes
Post-modernism is a movement that follows modernism; Second World War and later.
It is breaking rules and experimenting with text (Virginia Woolf, James Joyce...)

New novel types: detective novels, fantasy etc

Yet Modernism continues throughout the century and many of the modern classic novels are written, for ex.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, The Catcher In the Rye, 1984...

Some modern classics are written:
The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, The Old Man and the Sea...
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