Literature of the Middle Ages is defined as both Literature of the Middle Ages and Medieval Literature. The greatest difference between the literature of this period and all other periods is its vast time frame. Medieval literature spans from the seventh century through the fifteenth century. Also unlike all other periods, literature of this period did not follow any particular movement (like those of the Romantics, Realists, or Naturalists). While Beowulf is typically recognized as the oldest text of this period, others argue that Caedmon's Hymn is the oldest. Texts of the period encompassed heroic tales (Beowulf), morality tales (Chaucer's Canterbury Tales), and History Tales (the Gawain Poet).
As vast as the span of years are the characteristics and literary culture. Much like other genres, literature of this period focused upon social, religious, technological, and political changes.