Historical Context of Literature

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Anglo-Saxon Period (AD 449 - 1066)

- Literary people during the time were Caedmon and Venerable Bede

- Types of literature and techniques include the Beowulf, caesuras, alliteration, repetition and 4 beat rhythm

- Language influences of the time were from Germanic literature and Latin

- Social history -> Christianity spreads literacy, monks preserve Christian and classical literature, Roman alphabet, oral tradition unites different people

- Poetry -> Raymond Wilson Chambers and the 'Beowulf poet' who was anonymous

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Medieval Ages (AD 1066 - 1485)

- Literary people included Bede, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer and Gawain Poet, William Langland, Sir Thomas Malory and John Skelton

- Types of literature included ballads, romantic literature, religious literature and poems in general

- Language influences came from France (William the Conqueror) and Latin (reign of King Henry IV)

- Social history -> Trading increases due to Crusades, William the Conqueror became King in 1066 and Henry 3rd was crowned King in 1154

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Renaissance Period (1485 - 1660)

- Literary people included William Shakespeare, Robert Southwell, John Donne, Robert Herrick and John Milton

- Types of literature included sonnets, tragedies, comedies, histories and metaphysical poetry

- Language influences came from the end of the medieval ages due to the Renaissance because it symbolised a revolt against spiritual authority which meant a bigger focus on beauty

- Social history -> Renaissance (social and culltural change)

- Poetry included 'Sonnet CXXX' and 'Love that doth Reign'

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Neoclassical Period (1660 - 1798)

- Literary people included John Milton, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, John Bunyan and Alexander Pope

- Types of literature included parodies, essays, satire, letters, fables, melodramas and rhyming with couplets

- Languages influences were from the styles of the Romans and Greeks

- Social history -> Industrial revolution began and farming life declined

- Poetry included 'A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General'

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Romanticism Period (1798 - 1832)

- Literary people included Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Robert Burns, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel TC, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and John Keats

- Types of literature include lyrical ballads, imaginative freedom, natural environments, loose forms, introspection and sonnets

- Language influences came from William Wordsworth because he influenced others and each and every writer was an individualist

- Social history -> Napoleon rises to power in France

- Poetry included 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' and 'Kubla Khan'

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Victorian Period (1832 - 1900)

- Literary people included Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Elliot, Oscar Wilde, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Darwin, Charlotte Bronte, Robert Browning

- Types of literature included political novels, detective novels, serialized, elegies, poetry, dramatic monologues, drama comedies and magazines

- Language influences came primarily from the Industrial Revolution as it had a huge impact on England

- Social history -> Queen Victoria was in power in the UK, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and there were poor conditions for the working class (Industrial Revolution)

- Poetry included 'Spellbound' by Emily Bronte and 'Break, break, break' by Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Modern/Postmodern Period (1900 - 1980)

- Literary people included James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, DH Lawrence, George Orwell, William Butler Yeats and Bernard Shaw

- Types of literature included free verse, epiphanies, speeches, memoirs, novels, stream of consciousness, detached, unemotional, humorless and present tense

- Language influences included the cultural depression, focus on social life and modernism

- Social history -> WW1, WW2, British colonies demand independence

- Poetry included 'The wasteland' by TS Elliot and 'Snow man' by Wallace Stevens

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