Ages of English Literature

Ages of English Literature – BCS, NTRCA and other BD govt job Preparation – 2021

Spread the love

Ages of English Literature 

Ages of English Literature is very important for any kind of BD Govt job Preparation. There are many questions comes from this chapter. So everybody should read this very attentively.

Open book with mystic bright light Free Vector

Ages of English Literature For BCS, NTRCA and Other BD Jobs Preparation

More Information of the Ages of English Literature:

  1. Old English (Anglo-Saxon Period): 450–1066
  2. Middle English Period: 1066-1500
  • Anglo Norman Period (1066-1350)
  • The Age of Chaucer (1350-1400)
  • Barren Age (1400-1485)
  1. The Renaissance Period (1500-1660)
  • Preparation for the Renaissance (1500-1558)
  • Elizabethan Age (1558-1603)
  • Jacobean Age (1603-1625)
  • Caroline Age (1625-1649)
  • Commonwealth Period (1649-1660)
  1. Puritan Period (1620-1660)
  2. The Neoclassical Period (1660-1798)
  3. The Restoration Period (1660-1700)
  4. The Augustan Period (Age of Pope) (1700-1745)
  5. The Age of Sensibility (Age of Johnson) – (1745-1798)
  6. The Romantic Period (1798-1832)
  7. The Victorian Period (1832-1901)
  8. The Pre-Raphaelites (1848-1860)
  9. Aestheticism and Decadence (1880-1901)
  10. The Modern Period (Till the world war -II) – (1901-1939)
  • The Edwardian Period (1901-1910)
  • The Georgian Period (1910-1939)
  1. The Postmodern Period: Mid-20th century (1939-Till Date)


Important Information on Different Ages 

🔰 Old English (Anglo Saxon Period): 450–1066

Anglo-Saxon Period in English Literature is very important to read. Every year some questions comes from this topic, Anglo-Saxon Period at BCS, Banks or other bd govt Jobs.

Summery of The Anglo Saxon Period

→ The Anglo Saxon Period is called The Old English Period.

→ The Saxons were a Germanic tribe

→ English is a West Germanic Language.

→ Literature was oral in this period

→ In the 5th century the Jute, Angles and Saxons came to England from Germany and defeated the English tribes. From that time began the Anglo-Saxon era.

→ The first epic of this period is ‘Beowulf’ (poem)

→ Venerable Bade’ was the 1st historian in English literature

→ Venerable Bade was the ‘Father of English learning’.

→ King Alfred the great is sometimes regarded as ‘The founder of English prose’.

→ Alfred the Great was a pioneer in education and literature from 871 to 901 and was instrumental in preserving the Anglo Saxon Chronicle.


Some writers and their works in The Anglo Saxon Period

Caedmon and Cynewulf are two poets of the Anglo Saxon era.

→ Anglo Saxon poetry was influenced by Christianity.

→ Anglo Saxon people were mainly warriors, hunters and travelers.

Beowulf was one of the first long poems in English. It was written anonymously.

→ Beowulf consists of 3200 lines of two parts in the style of an epic.

→ In Beowulf The first part deals with hero’s fight with Grendel and the second part deals with hero’s fight with Dragon.

→ Beowulf is called The Earliest Epic in England.

→ Beowulf was written around 650. (The first and most successful epic in Bengali literature is Michael Madhusudan’s ‘Meghnad Badh-181’).

→ Beowulf is a Herioc Epic. There were 3162 lines. The protagonist of the epic is named Beowulf.

Other Poems in this era: The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Husband’s Message, The Wife’s Lament, Traveler



Caedmon, Poet of The Anglo Saxon Period

→ Caedmon is a seventh-century poet.

→ Cadman was born in 638 and died in 635.

→ Cadman was a shepherd and lived in a place called Whitby.

→ Cadman did not even know how to read and write.

→ Cadman was called Earliest Poet / first known poet in English Literature.

→ Cadman is also called the Father of English Sacred Song.

→ Cadman wrote in the Anglo-Saxon language.

→ Cadman is called Milton of the Anglo Saxon era.

→ Cadman’s poems are Hymn of Caedmon and Paraphrase.

→ The most famous of Cadman’s books is Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum.

→ Cadman’s also wrote- i. Genesis, ii. Exodus, iii. Judith.


 Cynewulf (770-840):

→ Juliana is one of his famous poems.

→ He is considered ‘the Author of Christ’.

→ His notable literary works: i. Christ ii. Juliana iii. Elene iv. The Fates of the Apostles. (The destiny of the disciples of Jesus Christ).

Prose or History-based Writing:

→ Prose or history-based works of this period can be said to be quite rich

→ Notable prose writers: Adam Bede, Alfric, Wulfstan, and King Alfred, The Great.

Adam Bede/ Saint Venerable Bede (673-735):

Saint Venerable Bede- Anglo Saxon period

Another Name: Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable

→ He is called “The Father of English Learning” and

→ he is also known as “First historian in English Language.”

→ He has written ‘The Ecclesiastical History of the English’ 

→ He received the title “Doctor of the Church”.



→ Alfric introduced new genres in prose. He wrote Catholic Homilies.


Wulfstan At the beginning of the eleventh century he was the Arch-Bishop of York. In the church he gave many sermons or sermons. These are excellent specimens of English prose of the time.

King Alfred the Great (849-899):

Alfred the Great – Great Prose writer at The Anglo Saxon Period

→ King Alfred, The Great was a great prose-writer.

→ He reigned over England from 871 to 901.

→ He rearranged education and supervised the compilation of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. This book by Emperor Alfred is the first in history and also the first in prose.

→ He authored another book, The Consolation of Philosophy.

→ He was sometimes regarded as the “Founder of English Prose”.

→ He was the king of Wassex.


🔰 The Medieval / Middle English Period in English Literature (1066-1500)

The term Middle English literature refers to the literature written in the form of the English language known as Middle Eng., from the late 12th century until the 1470s. During this time the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based Eng. became widespread and the printing press regularized the language.

The medieval history of English literature begins with the Norman Conquest by Norman Duke and William the Conqueror.

He occupied England in 1066. As a result, the reign of the Normans began in England. The history of English literature is called the Middle Ages, the period from 1066 to 1500.

The Middle English Period is divided into three small parts: 

  1. The Anglo-Norman Period (1066-1340): (Anglo-Norman period) 
  2. The Age of Chaucer (1340-1400): (The period of Chaucer) 
  3. Age of Barren or Dark Age (1400-1500)


Some important facts of the Middle English Period: –

⇒ This period is also called the Barren / Dark Ages as no information is available about the beginning of the Middle English Period (1400-1500 years). (Dark Ages of Bengali Literature 1200-1350).

⇒ On 15 June 1215, the Magna Carta was passed, which reigned in the power of the king in England. (Magna Charta in Bengali is 6-point. Six-point demand in 1966)

⇒ The English Parliament was established in 1295.

⇒ In the 11th-13th centuries, a religious war called Crusade was organized between Muslims and Christians.

⇒ Due to Black Death, the feudal system is broken.

⇒ In 1476 William Caxton founded the Printing Press.

⇒ Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492 in search of waterways to India.

⇒ Vasco-da-Gama arrived in India in 1498.

⇒ During this period Copernicus proved that the Sun is the center of all planets.

⇒ Love, Chivalry, and Religion are the three topics that can be noticed more in the literature of this time.

⇒ The famous Oxford and Cambridge universities were established during this Anglo-Norman era to expand religious education.

⇒ Oxford University was founded in 1168 in Oxford City.

⇒ Cambridge University was founded in 1209 in Cambridge City.

⇒ Petrarch is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the “Dark Ages”.

⇒ “The Canterbury Tales” was written by John Wycliffe

⇒ “The new testament” was written by – John Wycliffe

⇒ John Wycliffe was called “The Morning Star of the Reformation”

⇒ John Wycliffe was the first to translate the Bible into English.

⇒ John Wycliffe is called “ Father of English prose (গদ্য)/First prose writer in English (আলফ্রেড দ্য গ্রেড নাম না থাকলে)

⇒ John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, seminary professor at Oxford. He was an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood (পৌরহিত্য) during the 14th century.

⇒ John Wycliffe’s followers, known as the Lollards, were later hailed for their anti-pope movement, the Protestant Reformation.


⇒ Geoffrey Chaucer was a representative poet of the 14th century.

⇒ Chaucer was the first to write poetry in pure English.

⇒ Geoffrey Chaucer was simultaneously a diplomat, philosopher, bureaucrat, royal adviser, and ambassador. The Age of Chaucer (1340-1400) is named after him.

Canterbury Tales is his best book of poetry. It was first published in 148. It is a collection of 24 stories with 16,000 lines of poetry. His other famous book is The Nun’s Priest’s Tale.


→ the Father of English Poem / Poetry.

→ The Father of English Literature

→ The Father of English Language

→ The Morning Star of the Renaissance

→ The First National Poet

→ Grandfather of English Novels.


Major works of Geoffrey Chaucer:

→ Translation of Roman de la Rose, possibly extant as The Romaunt of the Rose

→ The Book of the Duchess

→ The House of Fame

→ Anelida and Arcite

→ Parlement of Foules

→ Translation of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy as Boece

→ Troilus and Criseyde

→ The Legend of Good Women

→ The Canterbury Tales

→ A Treatise on the Astrolabe


Short poems of Geoffrey Chaucer

→ An ABC

→ Chaucers Wordes unto Adam, His Owner Scriveyn (disputed)

→ The Complaint unto Pity

→ The Complaint of Chaucer to his Purse

→ The Complaint of Mars

→ The Complaint of Venus

→ A Complaint to His Lady

→ The Former Age

→ Fortune

→ Gentiles

→ Lak of Steadfastness

→ Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan

→ Lenvoy de Chaucer a Bukton

→ Proverbs

→ Balade to Rosemounde

→ Truth

→ Womanly Noblesse

Spurious works of Geoffrey Chaucer:

→ The Pilgrim’s Tale – written in the 16th century with many Chaucerian allusions

→ The Plowman’s Tale or The Complaint of the Ploughman – a Lollard satire later appropriated as a Protestant text

→ Pierce the Ploughman’s Crede – a Lollard satire later appropriated by Protestants

→ The Ploughman’s Tale – its body is largely a version of Thomas Hoccleve’s “Item de Beata Virgine”

→ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” – frequently attributed to Chaucer, but actually a translation by Richard Roos of Alain Chartier’s poem

→ The Testament of Love – actually by Thomas Usk

→ Jack Upland – a Lollard satire

→ The Floure and the Leafe – a 15th-century allegory

 ⇒ Sir Thomas Malory’s famous prose book is called Morte D’Arthur. It was published in 1485 by William Caxton. It was the first major of prose fiction in English Literature. This is the first romance in prose of English literature.

***  King Morte D’ Arthur নামে বিখ্যাত কবিতা লিখেছেন  Victorian যুগের কবি Alfred Tennyson

Dante is called the “Father of the Italian Language”. & “The supreme Poet of Italy”.

Famous Epic of Dante –  “The Divine Comedy (Originally called Comedia)

⇒ Petrarch is traditionally called the “Father of Humanism,” and considered by many to more generally be the “Father of the Renaissance.” 

⇒ During this period, English writers followed famous Italian poets such as Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. 

⇒ Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio These three famous Italian poets are collectively called The Three Crowns / The Three Fountains.

⇒ কবি মেচন্দ্র বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় Dante এর The Divine Comedy অবলম্বনে তাঁর বিখ্যাত ছায়াময়ী কাব্য রচনা করেন। “Inferno” (the First part of The Divine Comedy) is a famous poem of Dante. Inferno means Hell (Inferno মানে নরক) এটি একটি বিখ্যাত কবিতা।


⇒ Roger Bacon (1214-1292) was a famous literary person Anglo-Norman Period. Opus Majus is his famous book. Roger Bacon is also called the father of modern science). 

⇒ This is the era of English Dramas called Miracle Play, Mystery Play, Interlude..

William Langland is the presumed author of a work of Middle English alliterative verse generally known as Piers Plowman, an allegory with a complex variety of religious themes.

⇒ Famous Anthology, Vision of Piers Plowman written by William Langland, was also a social satire and perhaps it was the first great English satire.


Some important literary works of the Middle English Period

  • Dante
  • Sir John Mandeville
  • John Wycliffe
  • William Langland
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Sir Thomas Malory
  • John Lydgate
  • William Dunbar


Important Literary Works in the middle English Period


Name Of the Writer Birth Death Literary Works Title
Dante 1265 1321 The Divine Comedy (Originally called Comedia) EPIC The Father of the Italian Language.
Inferno (Famous Poem) The supreme Poet of Italy
Sir John Mandeville     Travels of Sir John Mandeville  
John Wycliffe 1328 31 December 1384 (aged 56) The Last Age of the Church (1356) Morning Star of the Reformation
De Logica (“On Logic”) 1360 Evening Star of Scholasticism
De Universalibus (“On Universals”) 1368 Reformation of English Church
De Dominio Divino (1373) Father of English prose
De Mandatis Divinis (1375)  
De Statu Innocencie (1376)  
De Civili Dominio (1377)  
Responsio (1377)  
De Ecclesia (“On the Church”) 1378  
De veritate sacrae scripturae (On the Truthfulness of Holy Scripture) 1378  
On the Pastoral Office 1378  
De apostasia (“On Apostasy”) 1379  
De Eucharistia (On the Eucharist”) 1379  
Objections to Friars (1380)  
The last age of the pope (1381)  
William Langland 1332 1386 Vision of Piers Plowman (Famous Anthology / কাব্যগ্রন্থ)  
Geoffrey Chaucer 1340s

London, England

25 October 1400 (aged 56–57)

London, England

The House of Fame (Poems) The First great modernist
Troilus and Criseyde(Poems) Father of English Language
The Parliament of Fowls(Poems) Father of English Literature
The Book of the Duchess(Poems) First Humorist in English Literature
The Legend of Good Women(Poems) Father of English Modern Poetry
Roman de la Rose(Poems) The first English story-teller
The Story of Griselda(Poems) The Morning Star of the Renaissance
Anelida and Arcite(Poems) The First National Poet
  Grandfather of English Novels.
Sir Thomas Malory c. 1415

Warwickshire, England

14 March 1471

Newgate Prison, London, England

Morte D’ Arthur (Famous Prose)  
John Lydgate     Troy Book  
      The Story of Thebes  
William Dunbar     The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins  



🔰 The Renaissance Period (1500-1660)

Elizabethan Period:

Duration: 1558-1603

✅ Named after the name of Queen Elizabeth-I

✅ Focused on remote, wonderful & beautiful aspects

✅ This is also called an age of original romanticism

✅ Also called Golden Age of English Literature

✅ Elizabethan Tragedy is centered on – Revenge

✅ The most important Elizabethan prose writers were John Lyly and Thomas Nashe.

✅ Lyly is an English writer, poet, dramatist, playwright, and politician, 

✅ Lyly best known for his books Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) and Euphues and His England (1580). 

✅ Lyly’s play Love’s Metamorphosis is a large influence on Love’s Labour’s Lost

✅ Nashe is considered the greatest of the English Elizabethan pamphleteers.

✅ Nashe was a playwright, poet, and satirist, who is best known for his novel The Unfortunate Traveller

✅ George Puttenham (1529–1590) was a 16th-century English writer and literary critic

✅ The Arte of English Poesie (1589) written by George Puttenham

List of writers of this period

  • John Donne (1572–1631)
  • Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
  • Thomas Middleton (1580–1627)
  • John Webster (c. 1580–c. 1634)
  • John Lyly (1553 or 1554 – 1606)
  • Thomas Nashe (November 1567 – c. 1601)
  • George Puttenham (1529–1590)
  • Thomas Wyatt (1503–42)
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1516/1517–47)
  • Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–99)
  • Sir Philip Sidney (1554–86)
  • Thomas Campion (1567–1620)
  • Christopher Marlowe, 
  • William Shakespeare, 
  • John Milton
  • Thomas Dekker (c. 1570–1632)
  • Robert Greene (c. 1558–1592) 
  • Francis Bacon

 Jacobean Period:

  • Duration: 1603-1625
  • Named after James-I
  • The playwrights of that time followed Classical rules.
  • Metaphysical poetry began to be composed at this time।

List of writers of this period

  • Ben Johnson
  • John Webster
  • John Donne
  • George Herbert
  • Robert Herrick

Caroline Period:

Duration: 1625-1649

✅ Named after Charles-I

✅ Metaphysical Poetry becomes most popular

✅ Types of writings: Sermons, history, pamphlets, philosophical prose


List of writers of this period

  • John Milton
  • Donne
  • Herbert
  • Vaughan

 Commonwealth Period:

✅ Duration: 1649-1660

✅ In English literature, the Commonwealth period is called the Puritan interregnum.

Oliver Cromwell was the veteran leader of this period. 

✅ John Milton wrote various political writings during this period. 

✅ During this time public stage performances or theaters are closed.

✅ There was no monarchy in England at that time. The Commonwealth was introduced.

✅ When Charles I was beheaded in 1649, Oliver Cromwell came to power in England.

✅ The influence of the Renaissance era is far from over

✅ The Romanticism of the Elizabethan Period also faded a lot in this era

Notable writers of the era

Thomas Hobbies (1588-1679)

John Milton (1608-1674)

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)

Henry Vaugan

Andrew Marvell


👉Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

✅ Thomas Hobbes is called the father of modern political philosophy.

✅ His Greatest work Leviathan, he proclaimed the king’s sovereign rights in this work.

🔥 Quotation:

“Curiosity is the lust of the mind.”

“The end of knowledge is power.”

“Hell is truth seen too late.” (Leviathan)

“Scientia potentia est. Knowledge is power.” (Leviathan)

“For such is the nature of man, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; Yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other mens at a distance.” (Leviathan)

“The condition of man . . . is a condition of war of everyone against everyone”

“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry… no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

“Leisure is the mother of Philosophy”

“Life is nasty, brutish, and short”

“Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues.”

“Homo homini lupus” (Leviathan)

“The source of every crime, is some defect of the understanding; or some error in reasoning; or some sudden force of the passions. Defect in the understanding is ignorance; in reasoning, erroneous opinion.” (Leviathan)

“So that in the nature of man,

we find three principal causes of quarrel:

First, Competition;

Secondly, Dissidence;

Thirdly, Glory.

The first, maketh men invade for Gain;

the second, for Safety;

and the third, for Reputation.

The first use Violence, to make themselves Masters of other men’s persons, wives, children and cattle;

the second, to defend them;

the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue, either direct in their Persons, or by reflexion in their Kindred, their Friends, their Nation, their Profession, or their Name.” (Leviathan)

“The universe, the whole mass of things that are, is corporeal, that is to say, body, and hath the dimensions of magnitude, length, breadth and depth. Every part of the universe is ‘body’ and that which is not ‘body’ is no part of the universe, and because the universe is all, that which is no part of it is nothing, and consequently nowhere.” (Leviathan)

“No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” (Leviathan)

“Covenants, without the sword, are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all.” (Leviathan)

“For it can never be that war shall preserve life, and peace destroy it.” (Leviathan)

“For to accuse requires less eloquence, such is man’s nature, than to excuse; and condemnation, than absolution, more resembles justice.” (Leviathan)

“A great leap in the dark”

“The first and fundamental law of Nature, which is, to seek peace and follow it.”

“Now I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark”

“When all the world is overcharged with inhabitants, then the last remedy of all is war, which provideth for every man, by victory or death.”

“… it is one thing to desire, another to be in capacity fit for what we desire.” (Man and Citizen)

“God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I’m so far behind that I’ll never die”.”

“If men are naturally in a state of war, why do they always carry arms and why do they have keys to lock their doors?”

“It’s not the pace of life I mind. It’s the sudden stop at the end.”

“A man’s conscience and his judgment are the same thing, and, as the judgment, so also the conscience may be erroneous”

“Words are the counters of wise men, and the money of fools. ”

“The source of every crime, is some defect of the understanding; or some error in reasoning; or some sudden force of the passions.”

“What is the heart but a spring, and the nerves but so many strings, and the joints but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body?”

“To this war of every man against every man, this is also consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law, where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the cardinal virtues.”


 To be continued…….

You may also read – 465 One Word Substitution For (Bank, MBA, BCS, NTRCA, CAT, MAT, GMAT, SSC)

Share this Post

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,