History makes literature and literature preserves the history.

M. Faseeh Ul Hassan

Literary Movements

Literary movements  serve as a tool to split literature into classes of different philosophical, aesthetic or topical features, as contrary to divisions by genre or period. Like different categorizations, literary movements give language for examining and discussing literary pieces.

The most important and prominent periods and movements of the English literature are described below.

1. Medieval Ages (5CE-13CE)

Middle Periods, the period in European history from the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century CE to the period of the Renaissance. The Middle Periods, or medieval time, is the period in the European history and is generally believed to have started with the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 and to have lasted about times until about 1450– the period of Renaissance.

Dark Ages

Some researchers understand Europe as having been plunged into darkness once the Roman Empire fell in around five hundred AD. The Middle Ages are usually as aforementioned to be dark due to a supposed lack of scientific and cultural advancement. Life was terribly laborious within the Middle Ages. Only a few individuals knew to read or write. Their lack of information usually drove them to irrational or superstitious beliefs. Throughout this age, feudalism was the dominant form of government.

2. Renaissance (14CE-17CE)

Renaissance is the period in the European history extending from 14th century to 17th century. It is regarded as the bridge between the Middle ages and Modern history. This new thought appeared in art, literature, politics and science. It is also called as the fervent period of European cultural, artistic and economic rebirth.

Also read: The Renaissance detailed article.

3. Enlightenment Era (17CE-19CE)

Enlightenment era (also called the Age of Reason) was associate intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the concepts in Europe throughout the seventeenth to nineteenth century.

A large number of  books, essays, inventions, scientific discoveries, laws, wars and revolutions were produced in The Enlightenment era. The French and American Revolutions were directly impressed by Enlightenment ideals and severally marked the height of its influence and therefore the starting of its decline. The Enlightenment ultimately paved way for 19th-century Romanticism.

Also Read : Enlightenment Era detailed article.

4. Romanticism (1780-1832)

Romanticism arose as the artistic and philosophical revolt against the Enlightenment and Neoclassicism. Romanticism also played its role as abridge between the enlightenment’s promotion of commerce, reason and liberty and the Victorian experience of industrialization and empire. It was characterized by the emphasis on the emotion and individual as well as the glorification of all the past and nature.

Romanticism originated as the creative and philosophical revolt against the Enlightenment and Neoclassicism. Romanticism additionally vie its role to reduce the enlightenment’s promotion of commerce, reason and liberty and also the Victorian expertise of industrial enterprise and empire. It absolutely was characterized by the stress on the feeling and individual along with the glorification of all the past and nature.

William Wordsworth is the founder of this movement to rehabilitate the joy of nature and human dignity.

Also read: Romanticism Era detailed article.

Important Features
  • The joys and tribulations of day to day life.
  • The love of unspoiled natural world.
  • The value of individual.
  • Imagination, memory and importance of emotions.

5. Victorian Era ( 1837-1901)

Victorian Era associated with the rule of the Queen Victoria in England. This period is remembered as the rich era due to its writings. Queen Victoria ruled England for almost 4 decades and colonialism started in her reign. Science also started to develop and technology came to its breath.

Also read: Victorian Era detailed article.

One side of the England was lit while at the same time , the other hand England was also known for the “Time of Darker Forces”. London was under darkness as the gangs were at large and the poor child were taught to beg and pocket picking. Robberies and murders were common in that period.

Charles Dickens was the famous prose writer of that era who is always found highlighting the social issues of the England. His novels include– Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Great Expectations, Tale of the two cities, etc. He is also known as the social reformer and social historian.

6. Naturalism

Naturalism is a literary movement that started in the late 19th century. It is a genre that started as a movement in literature, film, theater, and art. It is a sort of maximum realism. This movement recommended the roles of family, social conditions, and setting in shaping human character. Naturalism suggests a philosophical pessimism during which writers use scientific techniques to depict individuals as objective and impartial characters.

Also see: Naturalism detailed article.

7. Realism

Realism, a movement in art, that started within the middle of the nineteenth century in France, and later outspread to the whole world. Realism entered literature at nearly at constant time. Its real objective was to uproot what’s known as ‘fantastic and romantic’ in literature and art, to insert what’s real.

Also read: Realism detailed article.

In literature, writers use realism as a literary technique to explain story components, like setting, characters, themes, etc., while not elaborating imagery, or figurative language, like similes and metaphors. Through realism, writers justify things while not using ornamental language. Realism is something contrary to romanticism and idealism.

8. Beat Of Generations (1950s)

Beat Generation was a group of authors whose work explored and affected the American culture in the post-war era that eventually lead to a literary movement. Most of their work was published and become popular in 1950s. Making a spiritual quest, exploration of Eastern and American religions, refusal of economic materialism, sexual liberation and exploration, experimentation with psychedelic drugs, rejection of standard narrative values were the central elements of Beat culture. .

Also read: Beat Generation detailed article.

9. Modernism

Modernism is related to the series of cultural movements that took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They enclosed transforming developments in design, art, music, literature, and applied techniques. Modernism blossomed between 1860s and 1940s; ideally until 1945 once war II terminated. Throughout that period, plenty of importance was given to literary works. Also, this movement paid plenty of significance to original works, like paintings, sculpture, architecture, and poetry. In fact, during this period original art was thought-about a primary creation.

Also read: Modernism detailed article.


Postmodernism is a vast movement that developed within the mid-to-late twentieth century across different fields including philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a shift from modernism. The term is more typically applied to explain what postmodernists hold to be the historical era following up-to-datedness and also the tendencies of this era.

Actually, post modernism is often outlined by the perspective of irony, skepticism, or rejection towards ideologies and various tenets of theological doctrines, including the objective notions of reason, human attribute, social progress, among others. Moreover, this movement is related to colleges of thought like deconstructionism and post structuralism.

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One Reply to “10 Important Literary Periods And Movements”

  1. Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.
    Your wordpress site is very sleek.
    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!

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