Téma: British literature
THE MIDDLE AGES
The oldest literally monument of the Anglo-Saxon period is the old Germanic legend about Beowulf. It is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Old English literature. It is a heroic poem about the strong pagan hero Beowulf.
During Middle Ages Roman Catholic Church was strongly criticized by John Wycliffe – professor of Oxford University. With his students he translated the whole Bible into English.
THE RENAISSANCE AND HUMANISM
The beginning of the Renaissance in literature is marked by Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales is a collection of twenty-six short stories. It is not finished, the plan was 120 stories. This collection represents society in the 14th century.
The greatest personality of the English Renaissance is William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare was revolutionary in a lot of things. As an example, he owned The Globe theatre and he allowed women to come and watch plays.
John Milton is the main figure of this period. He was one of the first who stated in his work that a king who was a tyrant and not worthy of ruling should be legally punished. His most famous work is Paradise lost.
In the 18th century became literature popular among the middle class.
The most famous writer of this period was Daniel Defoe. He was writer, traveller and journalist. He wrote more than five hundred books. His most famous work about Robinson Crusoe, who shipwrecked on a lonely island.
The romantic period is known especially for its poetry.
Sir Walter Scott was Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet. He is the founder of the historical novel.
VICTORIAN AGE – 19TH CENTURY
The Victorian Age produced great novels criticizing various evils of the society.
Charles Dickens and is marked as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. He described the life of poor people in England in the 19th century. He himself suffered in his childhood and his experience can be found in his works. His major novels are: David Copperfield or Oliver Twist.
THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY
Thomas Hardy together with David Herbert Lawrence, represents the naturalistic trend in literature. He understands hard life of common people and hates brutal egoism of the rich. His work is ironical and pessimistic.
David Herbert Lawrence was the son of a miner, so he knew well the cruelty and humiliation of the working people. This was shown in many novels like Sons and Lovers.
Oscar Wilde was criticized by London society and even put to prison for homosexuality. The rest of his life he spent in France. He wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray, excellent drama in which he unveils deeper levels of human character.
From this period I would choose two writers.
J. R. R. Tolkien wrote famous fantasy novels as Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings.
George Orwell wrote allegory novels criticizing totalitarian society like Animal Farm or Nineteen Eighty-Four.