Rhyme and Reason; literature timeline


The Old English Period

500 - 1066

Romans withdrew in 410 -> Germanic invaders ; Angles, Saxons, Jutes -> in 739 the Scandinavian attack began -> first they robbed, then they stayed -> vikings controlled the Danelaw -> 11th century; danish kings -> 1042 Edward the Confessor got the crown

The Middle English Period

1066 - 1500

1066 -> Edward the CConfessor died -> Harold Godwinson claimed the crown -> Duke William of Normady crossed the channe; -> battle of Hastings -> William the Conquer king ->french rule: feudal system ->upper circles spoke french, commoners English
-> 14th century English reestablished but changed:
* words from french
* Alliteration -> End rhyme (in literature)
* war -> more elegant; women! -> ballads and Romances, courtly love
* hero -> knight; had courage and manners (towards women) : Arthurian legends

The Renaissance

1500 - 1660
  • rebirth; renewed interes Roman & Greek culture
  • art an thought; humanist

  • collective attitude (group) -> individual attitude (self)

  • individual attitued -> art no longer anonymous + Reformation & rise of protestants

  • theocentric -> antropocentric (man-centred)

  • life on earth preperation for death -> enjoy before death
    (memento mori) -> (carpe diem)

  • dogmatic believe; the church nows everything, they tell the truth -> critcal investigation; intelectual independence

  • intelectual independence -> printing press, galilei, experiments, SCIENCE!

Neoclassical period/augustan period/age of reason

1660 - 1800
  • classiccism; revivial of Greek/Latin literature and culture
  • prosperity
  • reason; common sense
  • utopia; perfect world
  • satire; ridicule (by the lower classes)

Romantic Period

1800 - 1830
  • industrial revolution; very poor or rich
  • lyrical ballads
  • imagination/subjective
  • elements; nature, supernatural,love, dissapointment, idealization, child and innocencce, exotic cultures

Victorian Age

1830 - 1900
  • Britain at height of its power
  • First industialized country
  • Big gap between rich and poor; child labour
  • reformals of society needed
  • religion questioned (origin of species by charles Darwin)
  • Age of the novel; adressed social wrongs (reform needed)



  • date unknown
  • orally passed
  • germanic poetry; no rhyme ...........................no rhythmical pattern ...........................line devided in 2 half lines; contained 2 stressed syllables ...........................2/3 of stressed syllables have Alliteration

Sir Patrick Spense

  • date unknown
  • ballad
  • story; noblemen from Scotland go to Norway for the marriage of the kings Daughter to the Norwegian king. Quarells -> they want to take the duaghter back. They all die in a shipwreck

Geoffrey Chaucer; Canterbury Tales

  • written between 1386–1395, unfinished (intent: 120 stories)
  • story; group of pilgrims on their way to visit Thomas Becket's grave, they hold a storytelling competition
  • general prologue and prologue per tale
  • characters have several dimensions
  • good insight in medieval society

Henry Howard; Consolation

  • courtly love poetry
  • he is in love with a woman that doesn't love him back
  • a lot of imagery with weather conditions

Edmend Spenser; Amoretti, Sonnet LXXV

  • momento mori
  • humble lover

John Donne; The Sun Rising

  • metaphysical poetry; intelectual effort, reaction, equal 'we'
  • sun symbolizes time, he attacks it because now they need to do stuff
  • underlying conceit (ccomparison between 2 unlike things); he compares the bed to the world

William Shakespeare; Hamlet

  • story; Hamlet (prince of Denmark) sees the ghost of his fater who tells him he did not die of a snake's bite, but was killed by Claudius, who has married his mother. is dad wants Halet to avenge him. He is in mental confusion -> monologue 'to be or not to be' in which he meditates on the subjects of life and death

Christopher Marlowe; The Tragical History of Dr Faustus

  • monologues
  • Story; Dr Faustus has acquired all intelligence -> bored -> makes a deal with the devil; he gets 24 years of ulimited (magical) power in return for his soul

William Shakespeare; MacBeth

  • fatal flaw; ambition
  • magic; 3 witches, ghost of Banquo
  • comic relief
  • violence & revenge
  • prohecy; Macbeth shall be King
  • villain; lady Macbeth
  • story; Scottish general Macbeth gets a prohecy that he will be king.Driven by ambition and his wife, he kills the king. Later he becomes paranoid and eventually he dies.

Sir John Suckling; Why So Pale and Wan

  • cavelier poetry; makes fun of courtly love
  • asks why he is so quite. If talking doesn't make her happy, will being quite do it?

Daniel Defoe; Robinson Crusoe

  • story; man strands on a deserted island
  • character; works hard, economical
  • style; produced as auto-biography/reality

Jonathan Swift; Gulliver's travels

  • story; Lumel Gulliver travels to strange countries with giants and dwarfs
  • satire; ridicules society
  • judges on the abuse of power

The Lyrical ballads

  • often seen as beginning of Romantic period
  • by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
  • includes 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • story; old sailer tells a wedding-guest about a disastrous voyage
  • supernatural

William Wordsworth; It is a Beauteous Evening Calm and Free

  • nature, man & child innocence
  • personification
  • Wordsworth walks along the river with daughter (of a french woman) and enjoys the sunset

William Wordsworth; the Solitary Reaper

  • nature poem
  • the sight of a girl working on the lands in the Scottish Highlands

Jane Austen; Pride and Prejudice

  • story; 5 sisters. One, Elizabeth Bennet falls for Mr. Darcy
  • uses a lot of irony
  • common sense

Charles Dickens; Oliver Twist

  • story; about an orphan that runs away from the orphanage and gets into a lot of trouble
  • irony
  • social wrongs

Emiliy Brontë; Wuthering Heights

  • story; Foundling Heathcliff is raised by Mr Earnshaw and falls in love with his daughter, who marries someone else.
  • tragic

Charlotte Brontë; Jane Eyre

  • Jane Eyre is sent to an orphanage and later falls in lvoe with her boss Mr. Rochester
  • Religion important
  • social wrongs