Can you share with me notes on the different literary ages/periods?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a very broad subject. Literary periods differ greatly based upon different cultures. In order to narrow the topic, this answer will include the most commonly referred to literary periods.

British Literature

449-1066 Anglo-Saxon- This period's characteristics focused upon the trust in fate, the battle between emerging Christian thought and embedded Pagan thought, and the importance of possessing values upheld by the Anglo-Saxon society and culture.

1066-1485 Medieval Period- This period's characteristics focused on morality and religion, chivalry, and nobility.

1485-1660 Renaissance (Elizabethan and Jacobean)- This period moved importance to how ones life is spent while alive (focus no longer on after life), love, and human potential.

1660-1798 Neoclassical- This period focused upon reason and logic. Authors stressed the importance of wisdom and harmony.

1798-1832 British Romantic- This period focused upon the individual and not the societal. Nature is highlighted and Gothic is introduced (stories of terror and horror).

1832-1900 Victorian- This period highlighted the conflict between the powerful and the poor, country life and city life, and lack of sexual discretion.

1900+ Modern


American Literary Periods

1650-1750 Puritan/Colonial- This period's works were instructive. Many of the works were sermons and personal narratives.

1750-1800 Age of Reason- This period was designed to impact the thoughts of the American people through persuasive writing. Other common texts were those of the political nature.

1800-1860 American Romantic- This period came about as a reaction to the Age of Reason. This period focused upon the importance of imagination and nature.

1840-1860 American Renaissance- This period focused upon the "fact" that reality is grounded in ones spirituality and the existence of sin and evil existing.

1855-1900 Realism-This period was meant to change specific problems which existed in society.

1900-1950 Modernism- This period highlighted the quest for the American Dream and optimism.

1950-Present Post-Modernism- This period broke down the boundaries made by previous periods in regards to social class.

1970+ Contemporary- The characteristics for this period are too hard to combine into one overall distinctive definition.