Cambridge Literature Timeline

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

Anne Brontë

Novelist and poet. Author of Agnes Grey (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848).

Thomas Nashe

Playwright, poet, and satirist.

Richard Burbage

Stage actor at the Globe Theatre.

Francis Drake Circumnavigates Globe

Francis Drake leaves Plymouth to fight against the Spanish on the Pacific Coast of America, is unable to find way back to the Atlantic and becomes first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.

Storming of the Bastille

Flashpoint in the French Revoultion, the Bastille, a state political prison, attacked by a mob.

Captain James Cook

British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Voyages to Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

Siegfried Sassoon

British First World War poet and memoirist.

Ronald Firbank

British novelist.

Edmund Spenser

Poet. Author of The Faerie Queene (1590 & 1596).

Joseph Hall

English bishop and writer.

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.

Nicholas Ridley

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

Sir Thomas Wyatt


Christopher Marlowe

English playwright and poet.

George Gascoigne

English court poet.

Roger Ascham

English humanist & writer.

Fulke Greville, Baron Brooke

Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman.

John Fletcher

Jacobean playwright.

Thomas Heywood

English dramatist.

Sir Francis Bacon

Lord Chancellor of England between 1618 and 1621, statesman, philosopher, lawyer, and the author of essays.

Henry Peacham

Illustrator and author of The Compleat Gentleman.

Nicholas Ferrar

English scholar, courtier, businessman and man of religion. Responsible for publishing George Herbert's The Temple.

Francis Quarles

Poet. Author of emblem book 'Emblems' (1635).

James Shirley

Dramatist, poet and writer of masques and entertainments.

Sir John Suckling


Jeremy Taylor

English churchman and religious writer.

Thomas Fuller

English churchman and historian.

John Milton

Poet and polemicist. Author of Paradise Lost (1667).

Samuel Pepys

An administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament who is most famous for his detailed private diary kept from 1660 until 1669.

Andrew Marvell

Metaphysical poet, satirist and politician.

John Dryden

Poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who was made England's first Poet Laureate in 1668. A dominant figure in Restoration literature.

Laurence Sterne

Novelist. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759) A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (1768)

The Neoclassical Period

Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome.

Romantic Period

Victorian Period

The Edwardian Period

The Georgian Period

Matthew Prior

Poet and diplomat.

John Byrom

Poet and hymn writer.

John Duncombe

Church of England clergyman and writer.

Christopher Smart


William Wordsworth


Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Poet, critic, theologian, journalist and philosopher.

Byron, George Gordon Byron


William Hayley

Poet and biographer.

Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron

Novelist, dramatist and statesman.

William Makepeace Thackeray

Novelists and satirical writer.

Alfred Tennyson


Charles Kinglsey

Social reformer, historian and novelist.

William Cory

English poet, schoolmaster, translator, pedagogue and pamphleteer.

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