The Middle Ages
The oldest literatury monument of the Anglo-Saxon period is the old Germanic legend about Beowulf. During these ages Roman Catholic Church was stongly criticised by John Wycliffe, a profesor of Oxford University. With his students he translated the Bible into English.
The Renaissance and Humanism
The most important person of this period was the author of Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer. It’s a brilliant portrait of 30 pilgrims who travelled to Canterbury and each of them tells 4 stories. The greatest personality of these ages is William Shakespeare.
John Milton is the main figure of this period. His masterpiece is Paradise Lost which is about the revolt of Satan against Heaven and God.
Jonathan Swift’s most popular work is Gulliver’s Travels. Gulliver’s travelling through imaginary countries. Swift criticizes politics in England. Daniel Defoe was a politician, traveller and journalist. His most famous work is Robinson Crusoe. Robinson, shipwrecked on a lonely island.
Emphasis emotions and passions. Sir Walter Scott is a founder of historical novel. His romantic novels are Ivanhoe and Waverley. The best English romantic poets are William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, Lord George Gordon Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Very popular is Byron’s main work Child Harold’s Pilgrimage.
19th Century - Victorian Age (Critical Realism)
Among the best authors of this period belong Emily Brontё and her novel Wuthering Heights and Charlotte Brontё with the novel Jane Eyre. Charles Dickens described poor people. His novels are David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. William Thackeray wrote novels against snobbery. His main novel is Vanity Fair. Robert Lewis Stevenson wrote romantic adventurous stories: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island. Oscar Wilde was from Dublin. He wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray.
The First Half of the 20th Century
Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. He wrote short stories about India, the sea, the jungle and its animals – The Jungle Book. John Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize in 1932 – Forsyte Saga. James Joyce – Dubliners. George Bernard Shaw – Pygmalion, Widower’s Houses.
William Golding, a Nobel Prize winner is famous for his Lord of Flies (A legyek ura). The other famous authors belong George Orwell and Agatha Christie.
Samuel Becket was also awarded the Nobel Prize. He’s important both for drama and prose. His famous play is Waiting for Godot.
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