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Books, English Literature from 7th to 21st Century and Writing Style.

MJ is a qualified educationist. Having studied in different institutions, he obtained his Master degrees in English literature and TEFL.


Books, Literature, and Writing


Before the beginning of the 5th to 7th century, Europe was completely sunk into intellectual darkness. There was no considerable intellectual activity during this era. So in the 7th century a spark of intellectual activity burst out in Germanic tribes, and they started to write in different forms of literature.

The written works of arts in the form of poetry, drama, novel, and prose; produced in the English language and saved in books by notable writers, living in Britain’s islands from the 7th century to the present day are called literature. The summary of these works is appended below:-

1. The Old English period

2. The early Middle English period

3. Later Middle English period and early Renaissance period

4. The Renaissance period

5. The restoration period

6. The 18th-century literature

7. The Romantic period

8. The post-Romantic and Victorian period

9. 20th and 21st-century literature.

Old English Literature

If we trace English literature, it started with the settlement of Anglo-Saxons, which was around the 7th to 11th century AD. The first long narrative poem was Beowulf. The first epic poem is considered Beowulf and other famous works of art related to old English were Genesis, Exodus, Wanderer, Wife’s lament, and Husband's Message. The famous writers were Caedmon and Cynewulf.

Early Middle / Medieval English Literature (14th to 15th Century)

The most prominent writer of this period is Geoffrey Chaucer, due to his early works in English literature, he is called the father of English literature. His ‘Canterbury Tales’ reflects courtly love. He drew the life-like picture of all characters, associated with the English court. His other works: ‘The House of Fame’, ‘The Book of Duchess’. He served in the English court, from where he got his ideas. The other notable writer of this era is William Langland, his works contain religious and secular ideas, especially in Pier's Plowman.

Morality and miracle plays were also written during this age. Morality plays are mostly performed in churches.

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Renaissance / Elizabethan Age (16th to 17th Century)

The Elizabethan Age is also called the golden age of English literature. This age produced a gallery of English writers. Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard have major contributions to composing different types of poetry. Sir Thomas created Sonnets and Henry Howard’s Blank Verse, later used by Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, and John Milton. During this era, so many works of literary masterpieces and genius were written. Edmund Spenser is a famous poet of this era, his famous poem, Faerie Queene, an epic poem, and fantastical allegory, was published in 1579 ‘The Shepherds Calander’ which contains 89 sonnets is very famous. Moreover, Sir Philip Sydney, Ben Johnson, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Lyly, George Peele, and Christopher Marlowe are some of the prominent names of medieval English literature.

Then came the era of metaphysical poetry. The term was used by Samuel Johnson and later composed by John Donne in his poetry.

Sir Francis Bacon wrote many intellectual essays. He introduced a philosophy; it is the right of a clever man to cheat the simpleton and a new style of pithy, pointed, and pregnant in his essays.

Nichols Udall’s Ralph Roister started playwriting. The shining star of the Golden age is William Shakespeare, who wrote 38 plays; tragedies, and comedies, his famous plays are; Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night, As you Like it, and Romeo and Juliet. John Milton, Thomas Kid, and George Peele also contributed to the age of Elizabethan.

Restoration Age (17th to 18th Century)

This age is replete with political upheavals. Most of the literature written during this era reflects the turmoil. John Dryden is a literary figure who wrote a famous heroic poem, Mac Flecknoe. He also wrote mock poems and essays to attack his contemporaries. The traveller and deserted village by Oliver Goldsmith were very famous. John Milton's famous works are Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Robert Burns, William Blake, and Thomas Gray are names who also contributed to literature writing. John Locke wrote many essays which are full of philosophical ideas.

The restoration period (18th Century) of the history of English literature has also brought political literature and the advent of novel writing. Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift were eminent political writers. Daniel Defoe wrote ‘Robinson Crusoe’, the first narrative in prose writing, called a novel. Jonathan Swift wrote ‘Gulliver Travels, which satirizes the political system of that time. The four travels show excellent works of art by the writer.

During the restoration period, so many genres of prose fiction and poetry were experimented with. The most important features of these works are personal feelings and romanticism. The eminent figures of this era are; William Wordsworth, William Blake, John Keats, Samuel Coleridge, Shelly, and Byron. The romantic thoughts of these poets brought a revolution in literature.

The late 20th century was the era of novel writing. Some novelists wrote about political upheavals like the French Revolution, e.g. ‘Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. They also created interest, suspense, and entertaining features in their novels. The other famous novelists of this era are; Horace Walpole, Mathew Lewis, Ann Radcliffe, and Mary Shelly Gothic novelists. The other form of novel writing, which depicts the personal affairs of the individuals is Jane Austin's ‘Pride and Prejudice, ‘Emma’, ‘Persuasion’, ‘Northanger Abbey, etc.

20th Century Literature / Modern

The greatest names who contributed to the narrative writing (novel) of this century are George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, John Galsworthy, George Orwell, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and D.H. Lawrence. In 20th-century poetry, TS Eliot, Thomas Hardy, G.M. Hopkins, William Butler Yeats, and George Bernard Shaw are popular names in English poetry. The writers belonging to the modern age are Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, etc.


Reading and writing are interrelated with each. One cannot write beautifully unless has gone through the written works of notable writers. Today’s writing has assumed its own style, grammar and spelling are dominant features of today’s literature, then come thoughts and ideas.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Mohammad Jamshaid

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