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English literature


The term English literature can mean:



Genres of English literature parallel several of the genres of literature in general,and include:


English literature emerged as a recognisable entity only in the medieval period, when the English language itself becamedistinct from the Norman and Anglo-Saxon dialects which preceded it. See also the article Old English poetry . The first great identifiable individual inEnglish literature, the poet Geoffrey Chaucer , wrote the Canterbury Tales , a popular work of the period whichreaders still enjoy today.

Following the introduction of a printing press into the England by William Caxton in 1476 , the Elizabethan era saw a great flourishing of literature, especially in the field of drama . William Shakespeare stands out inthis period as a poet and playwright asyet unsurpassed.

The English novel did not become a popular form until the 18th century . Some readers suggest (erroneously) that Daniel Defoe 's Robinson Crusoe (1719)claims a place as the first novel in English .

The following two centuries continued a huge outpouring of literary production, including novels, poetry, and drama, all ofwhich forms remain strong in the present-day English literary culture.

For information on the English language prior to the 16th century , see Middle English and OldEnglish .

Some suggested literary periods:

Pre-modern (medieval)

Early modern (renaissance)

Elizabethan literature
Jacobean literature
Caroline literature
Literature of the Commonwealth and Protectorate
Neoclassical literature
Restoration literature
Augustan literature

Age of Sensibility

Victorian literature
Edwardian literature
Georgian literature
Modern literature
Post-Modern literature

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