English Literature - Chronological

The below ist the rough chronological list based on the VSI booklet. I took out the names not writing in English language, and also the ones who clearly are now not considered to be writing literature (e.g. Bede, Russell, Churchill, etc.)


The surprising thing to this list vs. the other lists (the French and the Spanish ones) are the relatively lower dominance of novels in the 20th / 21st centuries.


I also notice that the 18th century, while innovative, did not leave us with too many top works - yet very early in the 19th century the group of lyrical poets (e.g. Wordsworth) and sentimental novels (e.g. Austen) are clearly canonical.


One potential implication to the Canonical Text list is on Chaucer - its Middle English poetic narrative seems harder to justify - use of Middle English; lack of a huge poetic tradition modeled on him; Chaucer's form came from Boccaccio - if Boccaccio is not included, why Chaucer? But if he is not included, it also does not make sense to include Spenser or Donne - at least my impression is that these two are clearly considered as less 'canonical' than Chaucer is. Should Chaucer's slot be replaced by Dickens? That is the question. For now, I am not changing the canonical text list.


Below is the VSI English literature author list: (space does not signify anything!)


Beowulf : 8th century or much later? only surviving manuscript belongs to the late 10th or 11th century; recovered in the 16th; set in Scandinavia; translated into modern English in the 19th century
Langland, William: The Vision of Piers Plowman (c. 1370-90, poem)
Chaucer, Geoffrey: Canterbury Tales (written between 1386 and 1400), The Boke of the Duchesse (c. 1368) 
Malory, Thomas: Morte Darthur (15th century prose narrative)
Spenser, Edmund: Elizabethn (16th c.) poet, A View of the Present State of Ireland (political dialogue), Faerie Queene (1590-6, epic romance)  
Puttenham, George: Art of English Poesy (1589) 
Jonson, Ben: (beautiful little poem calling his lost son his 'best piece of poetry'), (poem of praise as preface to Shakespeare's First Folio), Every Man in His Humour (comedy), Volpone (1606, comedy) Works (1616, complete edition of his poems) 
Donne, John (1573-?, preacher) : 'To his mistress going to bed' (1590s), 'The Calm', 'The Storm', Satires, Songs and Sonnets, 'The Good Morrow', 'The Canonization', 'Air and Angels', Holy Sonnets, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions  
Shakespeare, William: Hamlet (First Quarto - 1603, Second Quarto - 1604, First Folio - 1623), King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, Timon of Athens, Titus Andronicus, Romeo and JulietCymbeline (c. 1610),  Richard III, Henry IV, Part One, Mucedorus (1598, revived with additions by Shakespeare's acting company in 1610), Venus and Adonis (1593, poem), Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter's Tale (1610)  
Herbert, Gorge: 'Easter Wings' (1633, poem)
Denham, John: Cooper's Hill (1642, poem, foundational text of topographical verse) 
Marvell, Andrew: (Renaissance poet) 'A Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland', 'To his Coy Mistress', 'The Garden', the 'Mower' poems, 'Upon Appleton House (all 1650/51, except for 'The Garden' which may be after 1660)
Philips, Katherine: royalist poet
Milton, John: Paradise Lost (1667), Areopagitica (1644, prose treatise), The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649, prose treatise), Comus (1637), 'Lycidas' (1638), Samson Agonistes (1671, tragedy) 
Dryden, John: sometimes called the father of English criticsm through prefaces and essays, also introduced neoclassical heroic tragedy, The State of Innocence (1677, dramatization of Milton's Paradise Lost), Annus mirabilis: the Year of Wonders, MDCLXVI (1667, heroic poem, leading to him being appointed the first Poet Laureate) 
Bunyan, John: Pilgrim's Progress (1678, first English classics to have been read alout to almost all literate children)
Steele, Richard: essays for The Tatler (1709) 
Addison, Joseph: Critical essays in The Tatler (1709) and The Spectator (1711-14)
Pope, Alexander: Essay on Man, The Dunciad,   translator of Iliad (started in 1712) and Odyssey (1726)
Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels (1726) 
Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe (1719), A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724-7) 
Smith, Adam: lectures on 'rhetoric and belles-lettres' in Edinburh in late 1740s 
Fielding, Henry: Tom Jones (1749), Joseph Andrews (1742), Shamela (1741) 
Richardson, Samuel: (author of epistolary fiction) Pamela (1740), Clarrisa (1748), Sir Charles Grandison (1753-4) 
Johnson, Samuel: Dictionary of the English Language (1755), 'Preface to Shakespeare' (part of his edition of complete plays of Shakespeare with commentary), review of Same Jenyns' A Free Enquiry into the Nature and Origin of Evil, 'Life of Alexander Pope' (part of his work Lives of Poets?), translation of traveller's tale (earliest work), The Rambler (twice-weekly), column in The Gentleman's Magazine was called Reports of the Debates in the Senate of Lilliput, 'London' (poem) 
Aikin, John: Tutor in Belles-Lettres (=English Literature) at the Warrington Academy in 1758
Macpherson, James: Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands of Scotland, and translated from the Gaelic or Erse language (1760), Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books (1762), Temora (1763) 
Sterne, Lawrence: The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman (1759-67)
Enfield, William: tutor of Belles-Lettres at Warrington, Unitarian ministra, The Speaker: miscellaneous pieces, selected from the best English writers, and disposed under proper heads, with a view to facilitate the improvement of youth in reading and speaking (1774, anthology) 
Burney, Fanny: Camilla (1796), Evelina: a young lady's entrance into the world (1778); pioneer of 'free indirect discource', defender of the novel, influenced Jane Austen 
Lewis, MG: The Monk: A Romance (1796) 
Radcliffe, Ann: (author of romance = Gothic novels) A Sicilian Romance (1790), The Romance of the Forest (1791), The Mysteries of Udolpho, a Romance (1794), The Italian or the Confessional of the Black Penitents (1796)
Wordsworth: Lyrical Ballads (1798, 1800 with preface) includes 'The Idiot Boy', 'The Mad Mother', 'We Are Seven', The Prelude (1805, published 1850), 'Tintern Abbey', 'Michael', 'Resolution and Independence'
Aikin, Anna Letitia: John's daughter, later last name Barbauld), popular and influential poet and editor, early analyst of the novel, 50-volume anthology The British Novelists (1810)
Blake, William: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793), Songs of Innocence (1789, includes 'The Lamb'), Songs of Experience (1794, includes 'The Tyger'), Milton: A Poem (1804-11), Jerusalem ('radical British' epics)
Lamb, Charles: Tales from Shakespeare (1807, novelization for children), 'On the Tragedies of Shakespeare, considered with reference to their fitness for stage representation' (1811) 
Southey, Robert: accepted Laureateship in 1813 
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor: Biographia Literaria: Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions (1817, theory of literature, influenced by German Schlegel), Table Talk, Lyrical Ballads, with a few other poems (1798), 'The Ancient Mariner'.  
Austen, Jane: Northanger Abbey (1818), Persuasion (1818), Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park (1814), Sense and Sensibility (1811), Emma
Hazlitt, William: Characters of Shakespear's Plays (1817), Lectures on the English Poets (1818), Lectures chiefly on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (1819/20), 'My first acquaintance wtih poets' (essay), The Round Table (1817, 'Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt's essay collection'), Lectures on the English Comic Writers (1818)
Keats, John: 'Ode on a Grecian Urn', 'The Even of St Agnes' (1820)
Shelley, Percy B: 'A Defence of Poetry' (1821, essay), Adonais (poem, elegy on Keats in 19th c.), The Cenci (1819, tragedy) 
De Quincey, Thomas: Series of essays in The London Magazine (early 1820s) including 'Letters to a Young Man whose Education has been Neglected' (1823)
Byron, George: Don Juan (1819-24, burlesque epic); (failed historical tragedies) Manfred (1817), Cain (1821); Scottish Calvinist exile from the English high society 
Bronte, Charlotte: Jane Eyre
Scott, Walter: historical novelist 
Moore, Thomas: (poet) Irish Melodies (1808-34), Intolerance (1808) 
Carlyle, Thomas: Scotman, 'Signs of Times' (June 1829 in Edinburgh Review), Chartism (1840), Past and Present (1843) (the above two are pamphlets)
Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights (1847) 
Disraeli, Benjamin: (prime minister) The Wondrous Tale of Alroy (1833), Coningsby (1844), Tancred (1847), Sybil, Two Nations (1845) 
Tennyson, Alfred: Poet Laureate on Wordsworth's death; 'Charge of the Light Brigade' (poem, 4 years after becoming Laureate), In Memorian A.H.H. (1850), 'Ulysses' (1842, poem)  
Hughes, Thomas: Tom Brown's Schooldays (1857, children's literature)
Dickens, Charles: Bleak House (1853); Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy's Progress (1838); Great Expectations (1861); Nicholas Nickleby (1839); Our Mutual Friend (1865); Martin Chuzzlewit (1844), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1857) 
Eliot, George: Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life (1872) 
Lear, Edward: 'The Dong with a Luminous Nose' (1876, poem) 
James, Henry: The Portrait of a Lady (1881), 'The Art of Fiction' (1884, essay) 
Ruskin, John: lectures on Architecture (1854), The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century (1884) 
Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest (1895, comedy)
Arnold, Matthew: Victorian era critic
Potter, Beatrix: The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902, children literature), The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906)
Grahame, Kenneth: The Wind in the Willows (1908, children's literature)
Kipling, Rudyard: Kim (1901), Something of Myself (1937), 'The English Flag' (in Barrack-room Ballads, 1892), The Jungle Book (1894), Just So Stories (1902), Puck of Pook's Hill (1906), Rewards and Fairies (1910, sequel to prior work, both as children's literature), contribution to Fletcher's History of England; Nobel winner in 1907; born in Bombay; 
Burnett, Frances Hodgson: Little Lord Fauntleroy (1885, children literature, translated into dozens of languages); The Secret Garden (1911); (both works written in U.S.); female novelist, born in England, married an American / crossed the Atlantic, divorced and remarried an Englishman
Doolittle, Hilda: (former fiancee of Ezra Pound), poems printed in Chicago's Poetry under the name H.D. "Imagiste" 
Pound, Ezra: 'In a station of the metro' (poem), 'A Few Don'ts for an Imagiste' (prose companion to the Imagist manifesto) (modernist poet)
Aldington, Richard: modernist poetry collaborator of Ezra Pound, works published in Chicago Poetry magazine in 1913
Shaw, George Bernard: Pygmalion (1913, comedy), Nobel winner in 1925 
Hardy, Thomas: Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891/2, novel), Jude the Obscure (1895), 'In Time of "the Breaking of Nations"' (1916, poem), 'Poems of 1912-13'
Owen, Wilfred: 'Strange Meeting', 'Dulce et decorum est' (poet who fought / died in WWI) 
Thomas, Edward: died in WWI, writer of lush rural prose, later poet, 'As the team's head-brass' (1916, poem) 
Eliot, TS (Thomas Stearns: poet, critic, born in US, Nobel prize in 1948, moved to England; 'Tradition and the Individual Talent' (1919), The Waste Land (1922), Murder in the Cathedral (1935, verse tragedy) 
Joyce, James: Ulysses (1922), Dubliners (1914), Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916),  
Lawrence, DH: England, my England (1922, collection of short stories); (also novelist) 
Forster, EM: Aspects of the Novel (1927), Howards End (1910) 
Graves, Robert: A Survey of Modernist Poetry (1927, co-author) 
Riding, Laura: co-author of A Survey of Modernist Poetry (1927) 
Ford, Ford Madox: Parade's End (1924-8, novel)
Miline, AA: House at Pooh Corner (1928)
Virginia Woolf: Orlando: A Biography (1928) , To the Lighthouse (1927), contributes to Times Literary Supplement, 'Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown' (essay, 1924)
Stevenson, Robert Louis: children's literature author?  
Galsworthy, John: The Forsyte Saga (nobel prize winner of 1932) 
Gregory, Augusta: translated and adapted many stories about the legendary hero Cuchulain, co-founded Irish Literary Theatre with W.B. Yeats 
Yeats, WB: Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888), The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems (1889), The Celtic Twilight (1893), The Countess Cathleen (1899, drama), On Baile's Strand (play), Cathleen Ni Houlihan (play), 'Three Movements' (poem, 1932), 1923 Nobel winner.
Auden, WH: authore of poem 'In Memory of W.B. Yeats' (1939)
Lewis, CS: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950, for children), A Preface to Pradise Lost (1942), author of Narnia novels
Orwell, George: Coming Up for Air (1939), Animal Farm (1945), Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), (novels above), Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), Homage to Catalonia (1938) (memoir and reportage above) 
Golding, William: Lord of the Flies (1954) (nobel prize winner of 1983 for his novels) 
Beckett, Samuel: Irishman dramatist (tragedy) and novelist, lived most of his life in France, wrote many works in French first before translating them into English; Waiting for Godot (1955), Endgame (1957), 1969 nobel price winner 
Dahl, Roald: part Welsh and part Norwegian origin, children literature author, James and the Giant Peach (1961, when he was resident of New York) 
Ballard, JG: novelist in 2H of 20th c., spent childhood in Chian, including several years in an internment camp, The Drowned World (1962) 
Heaney, Seamus: Death of a Naturalist (1966, poem collection), 'Digging', 'Punishment', 'Act of Union', 'The Tollund Man', Wintering Out (1972),  North (1975), 1995 Nobel winner, An Open Letter (1983)
Naipaul, VS: The Enigma of Arrival (1987); 2001 Nobel winner; A House for Mr. Biswas (1961), An Area of Darkness, India: A Wounded Civilization, India: A Million Mutinies Now (trlogy, 1964-90) 
Walcott, Derek: 1992 Nobel winner, citizen of Saint Lucia, Sea Grapes (1976, poems) which includes ' Sainte Lucie', Omeros (1990), Midsummer (1984) 
Ondaatje, Michael: The English Patient (1992)
Donaldson, Julia: The Gruffalo (1999)
Pullman, Philip: His Dark Materials (trilogy, 1995-2000)
Blackman, Malorie: Naughts and Crosses (2001) 
Johnson, Linton Kwesi: immigrant Caribbean performance poet, Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems (not sure if it is just his works, Penguin Classics, 2002) 
Pinter, Harold: 2005 Nobel winner, dramatist, also wrote early poems 
Armitage, Simon: Yorkshire poet in the 21st century, translator of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight  (in 2007), and The Alliterative Morte Arthure
Lessing, Doris: 2007 Nobel winner ('epicist') 
McEwan, Ian: On Chesil Beach (2007, novella)
Duffy, Carol Ann: first female Poet Laureate in 2009, 'Last Post' 
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