Historians have divided English literature into periods for convenience. The numbers, dates or the names of the periods sometimes vary. The following list follows the prevalent practice of listing:

450-1066 Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Period

(From the invasion of the Celtic England by Germanic tribes to the conquest of England in 1066 by the Norman French)

Anglo Saxon Period- Chronology

Anglo Saxon Period- Chronology

Poetry was written in the vernacular – Anglo Saxon – called Old English

Beowulf – the greatest of Germanic epics

Caedmon and Cynewulf wrote on religious and biblical themes

Alfred the Great translated several books of Latin prose into Old English, and also recorded the important events in England.

1066-1500 Middle English Period

About 1500 – the standard literary language took the form of “modern English”

1100-1350 – the non-Latin literature was produced in the French dialect (by the invades who were then the ruling class of England)

The important work of this period was Guillaume de Lorris’ and Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose

Later on, the narrative vernacular – middle English – became the literary language especially for religious writings

The secular literature became more popular in the second half of the 14th century. This was the age of Chaucer and John Gower. Remarkable works of this time were William Langland’s great religious and satirical poem Piers Plowmen, and Thomas Malory’s the famous prose romance called Morte d’ Arthur.

The 15th century poets: “Scottish Chaucerians”

King James I and Robert Henryson occupied chief position.

15th century was remarkable for popular literature addressed to the upper class. It was the age of excellent songs and of folk ballads, and was the time of the miracle and morality plays.

1500-1600 The Renaissance (Early Modern) Period
1558-1603 Elizabethan Age
1603-1625 Jacobean Age
1625-1649 Caroline Age
1649-1660 Commonwealth Period
1600-1785 The Neo-classical Period
1660-1700 Restoration Period
1700-1745 The Augustan Age
1745-1783 The Age Of Sensibility
1785-1830 The Romantic Period
1832-1901 The Victorian Period
1848-1860 The Pre-Raphaelites
1880-1901 Aestheticism and Decadence
1901-1910 The Edwardian Period
1910-1914 The Georgian Period
1914- The Modern Period
1945- Post Modernism

33 Responses to “Periods Of English Literature”

  1. rita roswita duyo Says:

    thanks for such a nice reminder of e-lit (rita roswita duyo, lecturer of e-lit in YPUP college at Makassar, indonesia)

  2. dasharatham Says:

    Thank you very much for uploading the information about the history of English language and literature which will be very useful for many learners like me

  3. Adanuson Moses Says:

    Further breakdown of the periods is highly needed

  4. Shweta Sharma Says:

    Its really helpful and interesting to go through such informative blog

  5. Shweta Sharma Says:

    information about periods of english literature can be helpful in order to understand english literature better thank u for that

  6. Harish jat Says:

    It is very helpful for competitive exams and to go deep in the history of eng. Lit.

  7. Harish sesma Says:

    It provides the way to go deep in the history of eng.lit.

  8. venus Says:

    the work is great but i’m disappointed because u didn’t continue your discussion about the renaissance period up to the postmodernism..hahaizt..

  9. IMDAD MALIK Says:


  10. shweta dutt Says:

    it was here my problem of sorting out the exact chronological order of different periods of English literature is solved.thanks

  11. Zahiski Says:

    It is to be happy to be know of the periods of English Literature. May it to be helping others as it to be helping me. :)

  12. kanmani Says:

    hi this is kanmani. thank u ..its really useful for me to remember the period.

  13. Swati Says:

    Thanks a lot. just n time when i was runnig short of time to make a list :)

  14. Sondip mondal, teacher Says:

    thank you so much for uploading the chronological periods of the history of english literature. it would be nice if you could also mention some of the important writers and a few of their works. it would help me to know exactly where the writer belongs to.

  15. arif shan Says:

    thanks for such a nice information.its very helpful for students like me……

  16. abrar Says:

    bro, i was just concern abt my NET preparation,may be this could helpful

  17. Hubert OVODE Says:

    Thanks 4 making this information available online, I Really appreciate

  18. vishakha kherwa Says:

    hi….i m vishakha…..really very useful…..thanks.

  19. Dharam Says:

    Thank you for this information i want this and u give me so thank u………

  20. ashish Says:

    thanks for uploading such a informative blog.

  21. chander Says:

    Thanks fo the data u have made avilable . This hats off for ur great work. once again thanks

  22. brednni Says:

    i thank 4 giving me a chronological order

  23. md.golam mostafa Says:

    such remady may help all the interesting learndrs like me.
    thanks 4this

  24. Hi I am Praveen kumar (student of Allahabad University) nd i’m too happy to know about the periods of English Literature so thank u for providing me such a information………

  25. Esan Oyeniyi Omoloju Says:

    The best way through which the works of literature can be better understood; it’s the period or age of the writing…

  26. dilip chavan Says:

    thanks a lot for giving period wise record of english literature

  27. Suresh prajapati Says:

    thanx for providing this authentic and credible information

  28. Tharushi Asela Says:

    i’m interest about english litrature.So i think it’s very useful for me

    1. Tharushi Asela Says:

      and thanks for entering the details about English literature

  29. Twig Says:

    Thanks uploading this periods system of English literature.

  30. kapil Says:

    few more information could have been added but nice

  31. Tanuja Says:

    thank you very much for such great datas

  32. linus rai Says:

    very useful…nice work

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