Cambridge Literature Timeline

A timeline of writers, historical figures, events and literary contexts related to the Cambridge English Tripos.

1000-02-01 00:00:00

Beowulf

Epic poem composed by anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet between 8th-cent and 11th-cent.

1066-10-14 00:00:00

The Battle of Hastings

The Battle of Hastings, leading to the Norman conquest of England.

1079-12-01 00:00:00

Pierre Abelard

1080-09-16 01:01:27

William of Malmesbury

Historian and hagiographer.

1086-04-16 23:39:35

Domesday Book completed

A record of the great inquest or survey of the lands of England made by order of William the Conqueror in 1086.

1100-01-01 12:58:13

Wace

Norman poet. (c. 1100-after 1171)

1100-12-01 00:00:00

Geoffrey of Monmouth

Author of a Latin history of Britain and Bishop of St Asaph, Wales.

1128-01-13 03:55:31

Alan of Lille

French theologian and poet.

1179-02-16 14:59:43

Snorri Sturluson

Icelandic historian, author, poet, scholar, and politician.

1203-10-30 21:12:28

Layamon (early c13th)

Priest and poet. Writer of the Brut chronicle, one of the longest Middle English poems (over 16,000 lines).

1215-06-05 20:38:02

The Vulgate Cycle

A group of Arthurian romances in French prose.

1215-06-05 20:38:02

King John seals Magna Carta

The Magna Carta established for the first time the principle that everybody, including the king, was subject to the law.

1230-04-19 03:42:35

Ancrene Wisse (early c13th)

Also know as the Ancrene Riwle. A treatise on the rules and duties of monastic life. Written for three sisters by a chaplain in about 1230.

1265-08-13 01:14:15

Dante

Italian poet, writer of the Divine Comedy.

1291-05-05 10:47:53

Chretien de Troyes (late c12th)

Writer of courtly romances, lived in northern France in the second half of the twelfth century.

1292-06-06 10:27:49

Marie de France (late C12th)

12th century French poet.

1304-03-14 18:37:24

Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca)

Italian poet and humanist Francesco Petrarca, known in English as Petrarch.

1313-12-01 00:00:00

Giovanni Boccaccio

Italian poet and writer of treatises and prose works.

1325-11-28 07:56:02

John Gower

Poet.

1332-12-01 00:00:00

William Langland

Poet.

1343-01-01 05:01:45

Geoffrey Chaucer

Poet. Author of The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Legend of Good Women, Troilus and Criseyde, and The Canterbury Tales.

1343-02-15 07:59:29

Julian, of Norwich

English anchoress and mystic. Author of a text known as Revelations of Divine Love, or The Showings of the Love of God, the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman.

1347-06-05 20:38:02

The Black Death

The first two waves of plague, between 1347 and 1352 and then in the years around 1360, cut the population of Europe by roughly one-third, and it stayed low for a century afterwards.

1370-06-05 20:38:02

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

1370-12-01 00:00:00

Thomas Hoccleve

Poet.

1373-10-14 00:43:58

Margery Kempe (born c.1373)

Author of The Book of Margery Kempe (although dictated to two priests). The first autobiography in English.

1378-09-02 02:05:17

The Cloud of unknowing (latter half c14th)

An anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century.

1395-08-23 08:39:25

Pearl Poet

The unknown author of a manuscript known as 'Cotton Nero A.x'. The manuscript contains a collection of Middle-English poems, including Pearl, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, and Cleanness.

1415-12-01 00:00:00

Sir Thomas Malory (died 1471)

Author of Le Morte Darthur.

1430-12-01 00:00:00

Robert Henryson

One of the Scottish 'makars' or poets celebrated by William Dunbar.

1454-06-05 20:38:02

Gutenberg Bible

First book printed with movable type. Copies were available in 1454 or 1455.

1459-02-18 12:16:22

William Dunbar

Scots medieval poet.

1466-12-01 00:00:00

Desiderius Erasmus

Dutch humanist and theologian.

1469-05-03 00:00:00

Niccolo Machiavelli

Italian Renaissance historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer.

1478-02-18 23:19:26

Sir Thomas More

English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and Renaissance humanist. Utopia, published in 1516,

1483-11-10 00:00:00

Martin Luther

Catalyst of the Protestant Reformation. Protestant theologian and religious reformer.

1485-12-01 00:00:00

Reign of Henry VII

1485–1509

1489-01-01 00:00:00

Thomas Cranmer

Leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I.

1500-01-01 00:00:00

Nicholas Ridley

Bishop of London and protestant martyr. Burned at the stake as one of the Oxford Martyrs during the Marian Persecutions.

1503-01-01 00:00:00

Sir Thomas Wyatt

Poet.

1509-07-10 09:50:26

John Calvin

Theologian

1509-12-01 00:00:00

Reign of Henry VIII

1509–1547

1512-02-15 14:25:34

Katherine Parr

Queen of England and Ireland, sixth consort of Henry VIII. Author of the first English prose work to be published by a woman under her own name.

1514-12-31 00:00:00

Andreas Vesalius

Flemish/Netherlandish anatomist, physician, and author of De humani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body). Founder of modern human anatomy.

1515-01-01 00:00:00

Roger Ascham

English humanist & writer.

1526-06-05 20:38:02

William Tyndale’s Bible the first printed in English

Translated by William Tyndale (c. 1494–1536). Tyndale was the first to translate the New Testament into English from the Greek text.

1529-01-01 00:00:00

George Puttenham

English writer, poet, and literary critic.

1530-01-01 00:00:00

George Gascoigne

English court poet.

1536-11-29 23:39:37

Dissolution of the Monasteries

Thomas Cromwell (1485–1540) served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540, and was a key figure in the English Reformation.

1545-08-29 10:38:35

The Council of Trent affirms the Vulgate as official Latin translation

The Vulgate, St. Jerome's fourth-century Latin translation of the Bible, affirmed as official Latin Bible by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent (1545–63).

Cambridge Literature Timeline

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