British literature is very well known and some of British authors are considered as the best authors of particular genre. We can start with Geoffrey Chaucer and his famous Canterbury Tales, later William Shakespeare who was one of the greatest dramatists of all time.  John Milton and his Paradise Lost are known all over the world. In the 18th century there is Daniel Defoe and his Robinson Crusoe. Later there are Jane Austin, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, and many other. The 20th century brought many great novelists such as Agatha Christie who is, by the way, the best-selling novelist of all time, George Orwell or Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. There is also one very famous Scottish novelist, Arthur Conan Doyle, who was the creator of Sherlock Holmes. The 21st century is the century of fantasy writers e.g. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis or J.K. Rowling whose Harry Potter brought children back to reading. Now some names from British colonies which has to be mentioned, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, etc.

18th century

Literature became popular among the middle class .


Daniel Defoe and his novel Robinson Crusoe. This book is based on really story of a Scottish sailor. The hero, Robinson Crusoe, shipwrecks on a lonely island.


Jonathan Swift and his Gullivers Travels.


Romanticism (2nd half of the 18th century – 1st third of the 19th century)


Literature of this period is inspired with the Middle Ages time.


Sir Walter Scott His novels are Waverley and Ivanhoe. The stories are very good but the books are too long for modern readers.


Victorian Age (Critical Realism, 2nd half of the 19th century)


The period of realism show life from a quite different view than romanticism.


Charles Dickens his novels David Copperfield or Oliver Twist. Oliver Twist is the story of a poor orphan who runs away from unhappy teachings, falls into the hands of a group of thieves, after many adventures, he find happiness and receives – the property left to him by unknown parents. Dickens was a master of showing the life of the lower classes.


The big personality of the Victorian Era was Oscar Wilde, one of the most famous dramatists in a history. His the most famous play is “The Importance of Being Earnest”





Colonial Times – There are two branches


Native Americans – they talked myths legends, tales

Colonists – The first settlers who came there were Puritans.They often cited from the Bible.


Period of New Nation


After the American revolution in 1775 – 1783

The most important writer was  Benjamin Franklin.


Edgar Allan Poe was a poet and a short-story writer. He founded sience-fiction and detective story. His best poem is the Raven and his short stories are the Black Cat or the Pendulum.


Lost Generation


Ernest Hemingway – The old man and the Sea,  a short poetic novel about a poor old fisherman who wants catches  a huge fish.


Beat Generation


They don’t want to conform, critisize society. They try to find the spontanous and alternative way how to write. They find it in alkohol, drugs and travelling.


J.D. Salinger, Jack Kerouac, Allen Gindsberg, Henry Miller