is a work of art in words. It carries an influential and durable significance
through beauty or emotional power. It offers the reader, the essential insights
into the nature of human desires and feelings. The primordial framework of
literature was in the oral form. Later on, it was put into writing. Other forms
also include plays, novels, short stories, epics etc. Epistles, orations,
journals were also considered to be works of literature given that they were
is used as a tool by a writer to express his/ her thoughts, hopes and fears.
Some writers try to change the world that they live in, by being rebellious
with their words and also influence people to feel and think in the same way as
they do. Works are written not only to be read during the period the writer
live in but also for the time after. The
target audience are indigenous to different locales and not of a certain age
use certain themes in their writings that appeal to them and also their readers.
Some of the commonly used themes are
love, death, morality, religion etc. Often, writers seek inspiration from the
works of other writers and develop them further.
in England emerged during as early as 8th century with the
settlement of the Anglo Saxons and lasted until the 12th century .The
era was formally known as the Old English period. The Old English literature
consisted of sermons, biblical translations, translated Latin manuscripts,
Christian poetry etc. However the writers of the period were hard to find. The
acclaimed Anglo Saxon poetry was Beowulf
(written anonymously). Apart from Beowulf, the surviving examples of the oldest
English poetry belonged to Caedmon and Cynewulf.
Middle English period began by the end of 12th century. Geoffrey
Chaucer (1343- 1400) was the well known forerunner in the history of English
literature. He was considered to be the father of English literature. His Canterbury Tales still remain to be one
of the most famous works of all time. His contemporary poets were William
Langland, John Gower.
came the Early Modern period. This period was a pivotal period for the
development of Modern English. William Shakespeare was a prominent writer who
paved way for such progress. Therefore this period was also called The Age of
Shakespeare. Other noteworthy poets, writers, dramatists of the time were
Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, University Wits et al. The remarkable
accomplishment during the Early Modern period was the publication of the Authorized
Version of Bible by King James I.
Late Modern period made a tremendous turn in the course of English Literature.
Writers like Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope etc. had much to contribute to this advancement. Puritan
writer John Milton mainly focused on religion. His Paradise Lost is an epic poetry that talks about the downfall of
mankind and the birth of sin. Dryden and Pope were significant prose writers of
the period. Novel was established as a genre of literature in the time of
Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding. Romanticism and Naturalism became the trend
during the Age of Wordsworth. Wordsworth, S T Coleridge, Byron, Shelley were
the important poets who were born during that era. Periodicals came into
fashion with the efforts of Joseph Addison and Richard Steele. English
Literature continued to grow throughout the Age of Tennyson, Age of Hardy
gradually reaching its peak in the present age.
Literature began with the advent of the New Colonists who started writing for
the benefits of the native readers in England. The Literature of New England
was solely focused on building up moralistic ideologies amongst the colonists
directing them to lead life in a virtuous path.
approach of American Revolution and the spirit of independence was influenced
by the social and economic changes in the Nation. This improved state of nation
comprised of a set of remarkable writers like Thomas Jefferson , Alexander Hamilton
and the like. The then multifaceted President Benjamin Franklin promoted
American Literature through his own writings and also through newspaper and
on, American Literature started attaining recognition in Europe through the extraordinary
writings of Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper. American
Transcendentalism became deeply rooted by the efforts of Ralph Waldo Emerson
and Henry David Thoreau. The main concentration was on inculcating the
principles of reformation with relation to society , education and
19th century was a period of histories. Writers like Francis
Parkman, George Bancroft started reflecting the reality through the characters
in their books in a humorous way. This became a very popular medium amongst the
general public. Then came Edgar Allan Poe who gained more audience in the
European continent through his works of horror and mystery. Many other works
had symbolic significance and exhibited the exact atmosphere of the nation.
increasing conflict between the North and the South and the Civil war resulted
in the rise of Regional Literature. At the end of the war, literature had attracted
a massive audience of all masses. Regionalism was perfectly reflected in the
works of Mark Twain , most significantly in his Huckleberry Finn. Drama after the Civil War and the early 20th
century relied upon the plays of Shakespeare and the works of other continental
playwrights. American fiction became the voice of protest and doubt. Naturalism
and Realism was then preached through the works of Stephen Crane and his
mid 19th century , predominantly publicized poetry .Poets like
Dickinson and Ezra Pound etc, brought out a revolution in poetry. Imagism was
majorly employed in writings of that period. For years after World War I, there
continued to be rebellions. Therefore the writers built “New Literature”.
Realism, Symbolism were prevalent in most works. Ernest Hemingway and his
contemporaries incorporated new forms and ideas in their works. Eugene O’Neill
became a widely noted dramatist of the era. Theatre was enriched with comedies,
reform plays ,histories and tragedies which was further developed by other
dramatists like Tennessee Williams.