A Brief History of English Literature

1782 Words Dec 28th, 2010 8 Pages
A brief history of English literature 1. Anglo-Saxon literature
Written in Old English c.650-c.1100. Anglo-Saxon poetry survives almost entirely in four manuscripts. Beowulf is the oldest surviving Germanic epic and the longest Old English poem; other great works include The Wanderer, The Battle of Maldon, and The Dream of the Rood. Notable prose includes the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a historical record begun about the time of King Alfred´s reign (871-899) and continuing for more than three centuries.
Authors: Caedmon (English poet), Cynewulf (English poet), Franciscus Junius, the Younger (European scholar) and John Gardner (American author)
Works: Beowulf (Old English poem), Exeter Book (Old English literature) manuscript volume of Old
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Philip's, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Universidad de Valencia. 13 October 2010 <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t142.e3806>

4. The Renaissance and Reformism
The reformation, owing both to the wishes of its academic founders and to the popular tendencies underlying it, concerned itself largely with popular preaching. It is a widespread error to assume that there was little popular preaching in the Middle Ages. It is true that there were many bishops and parish priests who shirked their canonical duties in this respect, but there was much popular instruction; there was, especially among the friars, much simple, at times even sensational, mission preaching. But the deepening of religious life that preceded the reformation led men to employ with greater diligence all means of helping others, and popular preaching was thus more widely used. Here again, both a conservative and a revolutionary tendency are observable. On the one hand, we can trace the fuller but continuous history of the older use of sermons. On the other hand, we find the tendency, seen at its strongest in Zwinglianism, to exalt the sermon above the sacraments, to put the pulpit in place of the altar. Both tendencies made the literature of sermons more popular, and more significant. But, in the literature thus revived, the
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