British literature from old age to the 19th century


Old English literature (700-1100)
Fiction was influenced by Pagan traditions, magic, Christian ideas. The masterwork of the time is the epic poem Beowulf. Also the Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were written in that time.

Medieval English literature (1100-1500)
In Medieval literature Geoffrey Chaucer is considered to be the father of English poetry. The most famous work: the Canterbury Tales

English Renaissance (1500-1600)
It’s a period between medieval and modern times. It was the time, when William Shakespeare, the greatest world’s playwright lived and worked. He wrote historical plays (Richard III.), comedies (As you like it) and tragedies (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear).

Revolution literature of 17th century (1600-1700)
A time of social change and revolution. Important playwrights included: John Fletcher and John Milton.

English literature of 18th century – Classicism (1700-1800)
Daniel Defoe became famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe – the story about a castaway on a deserted island. Jonathan Swift was especially popular with children for his Gulliver Travels.

Romantic literature (1780-1832)
A time of great technical inventions and Industrial Revolution. The representatives were Lord George Gordon Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley. The most known was Walter Scott with his most famous novel – Ivanhoe and Jane Austen with her work Pride and Prejudice.

Victorian literature (1832-1901)
The main representatives were Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde. Charles Dickens wrote novels Oliver Twist, Little Dorrit and the most famous works are: A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Oscar Wilde became famous through his fairy tales – The Happy Prince, comedies – The Importance of Being Earnest and his only novel – The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Daniel Defoe Was an English trader, writer, journalist, now most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe.  Defoe is notable for being one of the earliest proponents of the novel. He wrote more than five hundred books, pamphlets and journals on various topics. Daniel Foe (his original name) was probably born in Fore Street. Defoe later added the aristocratic-sounding „De“ to his name. he experienced some of the most unusual occurrences in English history: in 1665, 70,000 were killed by the Great Plague of London and next year, the Great Fire of London left standing only Defoe’s and two other houses in his neighbourhood. Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe  tells of a man’s shipwreck on a deserted island and his subsequent adventures. The author based part of his narrative on the story of the Scottish castaway Alexander Selkirk, who spent four years stranded in the Juan Fernández Islands.