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English literature
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English literature

English literature can mean:

Table of contents
1 Genres
2 History
3 External link


Genres of English literature include:


English literature emerges as a recognisable entity only in the medieval period, when the English language itself becomes distinct from the Norman and Anglo-Saxon dialects which preceded it. See also the article Old English poetry. The first great identifiable individual in English literature, the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote the Canterbury Tales, a popular work of the period which readers still enjoy today.

Following the introduction of a printing press into the country by William Caxton in 1476, the Elizabethan era saw a great flourishing of literature, especially in the field of drama. William Shakespeare stands out in this period as a poet and playwright as yet unsurpassed.

The English novel did not become a popular form until the 18th century. Some readers claim (erroneously) that Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719) claims a place as the first novel in English.

The following two centuries continued a huge outpouring of literary production, including novels, poetry, and drama, all of which forms remain strong in the present-day English literary culture.

For information on the English language prior to the 16th century, see Middle English and Old English.

Some suggested literary periods:

Pre-modern (medieval)

Early modern (renaissance)

Elizabethan literature
Jacobean literature
Caroline literature
Commonwealth literature
Neoclassical literature
Restoration literature
Augustan literature

Age of Sensibility

Victorian literature
Edwardian literature
Georgian literature
Modern literature
Post-Modern literature

External link