Besides the literature of American, there is also the literature of English. Different from American literature, English has more periods, begin from Old Age until Contemporary Age. It will be explained clearly bellow.
i. The Old English Literature
The old English period was the period that began in the 7th century. The process of making England happened in this period. This period also the time when the Roman Empire’s invasion occurred. The period that also called Anglo-Saxon covered the literature using old English language. Beowulf was the most famous and the oldest poem of this period. Other great literary works were The Wanderer, The Battle of Maldon, and the Seafarer. Actually, the creator of those literary works still unknown.
ii. The Early Middle English Literature
The Early Middle English was started from 1006 to 1485. In this period happened the forming of Norman and Angevin dynasties. Also, the fight between the king, nobles, clergy, and many people had occurred in this early Middle English period. Besides, this period had shown some wars that happened both at home and abroad. Not only that, the development of intelligence such as the increasing of the religious, enthusiasm, the romance spirit, the sympathy for women and poor people, and many others, had been the great influences for the literature in this period. There were some popular works existed such as La3amon’s Brut, Robert of Gloucester, The Ormulum, and many more. Unfortunately, most of the literary works are common with unknown writers.
iii. The Later Middle English Literature
The Later Middle English period began from 1350 to 1450. In this period had occurred the greater part of Edward III’s govern. It had influenced the rise of social and intelligence of the literature, for example, the Black Death, an awful disaster. In this period, the standardization of English Language had to follow the standard of the East Midland speech. Besides, a curious ‘modern’ appeared in this period, which there were a sharper of criticism, the interest of humans’ affair and so on. The development of the prose style also existed in this era.
The most popular author in this period was Geoffrey Chaucer, that known as the father of English. One of his most famous literary work is The Romaunt of the Rose, a poem written in octosyllabic couplets.
iv. The Renaissance Literature
The Renaissance period occurred during the 15th and 16th century. The “renaissance” means reborn of the learning. It concludes, in this era, there was a movement from the mid to the modern world. In this period happened the efforts of the thinkers and savants in riding the feudalist ideas, to introduce the new idea of interest of the bourgeoisie and to make the early church which incurred the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church get its purity back.
The curiosity of classical literature and the human activities was the great movements of the Renaissance period. One of the famous authors in this period was Thomas More. His literary work is Utopia, the political system of a fictitious ideal island nation. It was published in 1516.
v. The Elizabethan Literature
The Elizabethan era was begun in 1558 when the Elizabeth I became queen and ended in 1603 when she died. There were several changes happened during this period. First, protestant reformation, or the movement of the European Christian created by Protestants, had been admitted in this era. Second, most people really disagree with the abuse of power acted by most political leaders in this period. It had led the poor people to be repressed. Third, because of the great desire of controlling land, the war between the government and monarch could not be avoided.
During the Elizabethan period, the art, culture, and literature had been influenced by Renaissance. It brought the intelligence for this era. Many authors had created their literary work such as plays, dramas, and poems. One of the most well-known writers of this era was Shakespeare. He had made some plays, drama, and poems during his life. Venus and Adonis, the poem created in six-line stanzas, became one of his literary works.
vi. The Seventeenth Literature: Puritan
The Puritan age started during the accomplishment of Charles I in 1625 until 1688. This period was signed by English people that divided into two parts. Those who established the monarch with the theory of the king’s distinctive right were called the Royalists and for those who fight for the human’s right and for the Parliament’s right were called Puritans. The puritan people appeared caused by their desire to make the Church of England became pure again. Actually, the Puritan people came from the Christian Catholic. Because of they disagreed with the Catholic’ life, so they move from their previous religion and make their own, christen Protestant. From the word, “Protestant” describes that they “protest” or rebelled the Catholic.
This period also had its own authors. One of the most writers of this era was John Milton. His great work was “Paradise Lost”, a poem with religious belief which stressed the puritan sight. It was published in 1667.
vii. The Seventeenth Literature: Restoration
The restoration period happened during 1660 to 1689. It was begun when King Charles II restored the English, Scottish, and Irish monarchies. This age involved interregnum, the wars of those three kingdoms followed by the protectorate. The word “Restoration” explains both the proper occurrence when the monarchy was restored and when the establishment of the new political settlement happened. In Charles II’s hands, the atmosphere of England became well again which the English literature had come back, France’s culture acculturated with England’s culture, knowledge of the society increased, and the new poets were rising.
One of the most famous writers that had a very great influence on the literature development in this age was John Dryden. There are several masterpieces written during his life such as “The Conquest of Granada”, a very great heroic play, “Marriage A-la-Mode”, his great tragicomedy, and many other.
viii. The Eighteenth-Century Literature
Same as its name, the Eighteenth Century period happened during the 18th century. The 18th century period of English literature also known as the Classical Age or the Augustan Age. The Classical Age that came from the root word “classic” applied to the highest rank reached by the writers. Because of their actions in following the old writers’ methods that were very simple and glorious, the writers of this age called Classical writers. Besides, during this age, the writers protest the superfluous and fancy writing style of the previous ages, the Elizabethan and Puritan ages. So, they asked all the literary works such as poetry, drama, and prose have to follow the proper rule. While, the Augustan age means King George I’s purpose to be appealed to the first Roman Emperor, Augustus Caesar, when the admiration of the poetry and arts was really great.
During this period, the works were not only copied but also parodied. The literature of this age also signed by its philosophical, scientific, and rational spirit characteristics. One of the greatest authors in this era was Alexander Pope, the major figure of the poetry. He wrote some literary works such as Essay on Criticism and The Rape of the lock, two of his Pastorals, etc.
ix. The Romanticism
The romantic period of English literature happened at the end of the 18th century. There were two essential revolutions in this age, The Revolution of French (1789-1794) and The Revolution of English Industrial. In the Romantic period, the individual was seen to be the center of life in the literary and philosophical theory. Besides, the literary and philosophical theory also put the individual at the center of art. The imaginary of poetic not only taken from nature but also taken from dominant subject matter.
One of the well-known writers in this age was William Wordsworth, born on April 07, 1770. His famous poem was “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, written in 1804, and his autobiographical poem, “The Prelude”, published after his death in 1850.
x. The Victorian Literature
The Victorian age emerged in 1830-1901. This period was the reign of Queen Victorian occurred, begun on June 20, 1837, and ended when she died on Jan 22, 1901. Victoria determined to be queen in her 18th age. When starting her responsibility as a queen, she thought that she was lack of experiences, so he asked Lord Melbourne to be her secretary. But it did not work, the situation changed worse. After that, she wanted Albert, a Germany’s prince to help her that finally became her husband. Then, during that time the environment became well. All problems solved. Also, Victorian and her husband had made a change in education, prosperity, and industry. Not only that, they really encouraged the rise of arts and sciences.
This period also has its own authors. One of them is Robert Browning, born at Camberwell. “Pauline” was his first work, an introspective poem that denoted Sally’s great impact.
xi. Modern English Literature
Modern English Literature happened at the beginning of the 20th century (1900-1950). There were several great events occurred in this period. For instance; 1. Countries had not been headed by the empires, but they began to be independent, 2. People had not been led by kings, but by the government, 3. Industrialism, technological, and sciences rise very fast, 4. Post-Impressionism became the movement of art in Europe that influenced the literature, 5. World War One broke the society. It also changed the literature during this time, 6. Women’s Rights began to be strengthened, 7. Many people get stressed because of lost jobs, 7. After celebrating the World War One, people liked to party and drink more. They did not even care about the banning of alcohol, 8. World War two happened again, 9. The World war had made the people became individual, and 10. There were radio and cinema that made the publishing of literary works became easier and more modern. All of those events had affected the change of the literature.
Two of most popular writers in this age was David Herbert Lawrence and T.S Eliot. David Herbert who was a novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic, and painter, had written his best novel, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”. While, T.S Eliot was a poet, playwright, literary critic, and editor, had been well known with his poet entitled “The Waste Land”.
xii. Contemporary English Literature
Contemporary English Literature started after the World War II. Globalization has made many literary works in this period came from many areas such as Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Also, much of the works emphasized the real-life story. The literary work in this age included novel, poetry, flash fiction, short stories, slam poetry, plays, memoirs, and autobiography. Because of the trend of movie adaptions from books or novels and of the rapid growth of the technology happened, many directors and writers in this age worked together to make the story of the writers’ works live on the screen.
One of the most popular authors in the contemporary age is Isabel Allende, a Chilean-American author. She wrote, “House of Spirits” (1982), a novel as a letter for his dying grandfather.