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English literature
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William Shakespeare
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Thomas Pynchon is American, V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad, and Vladimir Nabokov was Russian, but all are considered important writers in the history of English literature. In other words, English literature is as diverse as the varieties and dialects of English spoken around the world in countries originally colonized by the British. In academia, the term often labels departments and programs practicing English studies in secondary and tertiary educational systems. Despite the variety of authors of English literature, the works of William Shakespeare remain paramount throughout the English-speaking world. Until the early 19th century, this article deals with literature from Britain written in English; then America starts to produce major writers and works in literature. In the 20th century America and Ireland produced many of the most significant works of literature in English, and after World War II writers from the former British Empire also began to challenge writers from Britain. Additional information on literature in English from countries other than the UK and Ireland can be found in see also below. Contents * 1 Old English literature: 450-1100 * 2 Middle English literature: 1100-1500 * 3 English Renaissance: 1500-1660 * 3.1 Elizabethan and Jacobean period (1558-1625) * 3.2 Late Renaissance: 1625-60 * 4 Neo-Classical Period: 1660-1798 * 4.1 Restoration Age: 1660-1700 * 4.2 Augustan literature (1700-1750) * 4.3 Age of sensibility: 1750-1798 * 5 19th century literature * 5.1 Romanticism (1798-1837) * 5.2 Victorian literature (1837-1901) * 5.2.1 The Victorian novel * 5.2.1.1 Genre fiction * 5.2.2 Victorian poetry * 5.2.3 Victorian drama * 6 English literature since 1901 * 6.1 1901-1939 Modernism * 6.2 1940 to the 21st Century * 6.2.1 American * 6.3 Post-modern literature * 6.4 20th century genre literature * 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References * 10 External links| Old English literature: 450-1100

Main article: Old English literature

The first page of Beowulf
Old English literature, or Anglo-Saxon literature, encompasses literature written in Old English in Anglo-Saxon England, in the period after the settlement of the Saxons and other Germanic tribes in England after the withdrawal of the Romans and "ending soon after the Norman Conquest" in 1066; that is c.1100-50.[1] These works include genres such as epic poetry, hagiography, sermons, Bible translations, legal works, chronicles, riddles, and others.[2] In all there are about 400 surviving manuscripts from the period.[3] Oral tradition was very strong in early English culture and most literary works were written to be performed.[4] Epic poems were thus very popular, and some, including Beowulf, have survived to the present day. Much Old English verse in the extant manuscripts is probably adapted from the earlier Germanic war poems from the continent. When such poetry was brought to England it was still being handed down orally from one generation to another. Old English poetry falls broadly into two styles or fields of reference, the heroic Germanic and the Christian. The Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity after their arrival in England. [5].The most popular and well-known of Old English poetry is alliterative verse, which uses accent, alliteration, the quantity of vowels, and patterns of syllabic accentuation. It consists of five permutations on a base verse scheme; any one of the five types can be used in any verse. The system was inherited from and...
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