THE EVOLUTION OF GENRES: A Sideways Look at Literature

Explore the books, the writers, the events, and the movements across centuries that made genre fiction what it is today.

Welcome to the companion timeline to my work-in-progress about the evolution of genres. ;xNLx;;xNLx;To toggle between 2D and 3D views, click on the round icon in the lower left of your screen. Maneuver about with cursor or the slider at the bottom.;xNLx;;xNLx;Feel free to link to and share this timeline! ;xNLx;;xNLx;Visit me at [KENPELHAM.COM](http://www.KENPELHAM.COM);xNLx;;xNLx;;xNLx;;xNLx;;xNLx;;xNLx;* * *;xNLx;;xNLx;All text, copyright 2018 by Ken Pelham. Unauthorized copying or use of the material herein without the author's consent is prohibited. ;xNLx;All images used are either public domain images or used with the permission of the rights holder.

0476-06-30 00:00:00

Fall of Rome

Ordoacer enters and conquers the City of Rome. Generally considered to be the end of the Western Roman Empire.

0500-01-01 00:00:00

FOLK TRADITIONS

Fairy tales, tall tales, and folklore, of all cultures, often referred by the German word Märchen, date back millennia.

0500-01-01 00:00:00

MEDIEVAL

With the collapse of Rome, legends, myths, and folk tales of the lands of Europe continued to be passed along orally, and with time many found a home in writing. But the great majority of written literature was religious and theological in nature, as the few literate persons around tended to be found in churches and monasteries.

0626-06-30 00:00:00

WOODBLOCK PRINTING INVENTED, 626-649, Tang Dynasty, China

Woodblock printing is known to have existed in China as long ago as 220 AD. The first known use of the technique for printing literature dates to the Tang Dynasty, in the 7th century AD... a good eight centuries before the Gutenberg press.

0750-01-01 00:00:00

THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, multiple authors

Arabian tales of wonder and imagination, composed beginning sometime in the 8th century.

0793-06-08 20:12:01

First of the Viking Raids

The beginning of a long era of domination.

0850-06-30 00:00:00

INVENTION OF GUNPOWDER, China

Huŏ yào, or "fire medicine," gunpowder was invented by alchemists ironically looking for an elixir to prolong life. By the year 1000, it was used in military weapons.

0868-05-11 04:53:42

DIAMOND SUTRA, Author Unknown

Containing teachings of the Buddha, the Chinese edition of Diamond Sutra is, according to the British Library, "the earliest complete survival of a printed, dated book." This book was printed nearly 600 years before the invention of the Gutenberg press, using the wood block technique developed by the Chinese in the 7th century.

0960-06-30 00:00:00

Sung Dynasty of China Founded

The Sung Dynasty ushers in an era of progressive arts, philosophy, and literature.

1000-01-01 00:00:00

"Beowulf," author unknown

The epic poem that is the oldest known in the English language. Heroic deeds and monsters galore!

1066-10-14 00:00:00

Battle of Hastings

William the Conqueror leads the Normans to victory over the English, and the introduction of French vocabulary shifts Old English to Middle English.

1100-01-31 04:41:36

"The Song of Roland," author unknown

Written probably between 1040 and 1115, "The Song of Roland" remains the oldest surviving major work of French literature.

1200-06-01 02:28:14

THE SONG OF THE NIBELUNGS, author unknown

An epic poem in Middle High German, relating the deeds of the dragon-slayer Siegfried.

1215-06-15 20:33:11

The Magna Carta

Churchmen and barons convene to curb the abuses of power of King John, and create the document that will become one of the foundations of democratic government.

1300-02-01 02:28:14

The RENAISSANCE

The first stirrings of the Renaissance began in the early 14th century in Italy, most notably in Florence. Thinkers embraced the knowledge of Classical Greece, and set upon a path of humanism, science, and art. The movement soon spread around the Continent.

1308-03-01 11:10:27

DIVINE COMEDY, Dante Alighieiri

The preeminent work of Italian Renaissance literature, an epic poem in three parts, INFERNO, PURGATORIO, AND PARADISO.

1325-06-30 20:33:11

Founding of the Aztec capital

The Aztecs found their capital, Tenochtitlan, on the site of what would later become Mexico City.

1330-07-01 14:41:47

The Black Death

Bubonic plague sweeps out of China and burns through India and Europe.

1370-06-30 00:00:00

PIERS PLOWMAN, William Langland (?)

Allegorical prose poem attributed to William Langland.

1380-06-30 12:17:56

SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, The "Pearl Poet"

An alliterative verse poem of chivalry, SIR GAWAIN dates to the late 14th-century.

1389-06-01 05:06:02

THE CANTERBURY TALES, Geoffrey Chaucer

The high point of Middle English literature.

1439-03-01 11:10:27

PRINTING PRESS INVENTED by Johannes Gutenberg

The game-changer of Western literature. Books were no longer of the single or two variety, each copied by hand. A book, once written, could be copied without limit.

1485-06-15 00:00:00

LE MORTE D'ARTHUR, Sir Thomas Malory

The ancient tales of King Arthur collected and retold by Malory.

1492-10-12 00:00:00

Columbus Reaches the New World

Although 14,000 years too late to have "discovered" the New World, Columbus opened it to European conquest, reshaping the world.

1522-09-06 00:00:00

Magellan completes circumavigation of the planet

1533-07-01 00:00:00

Spain defeats the Incan Empire

Francisco Pizarro's conquistadors overwhelm the unprepared Incas in Peru.

1543-06-30 00:00:00

ON THE REVOLUTIONS OF THE HEAVENLY SPHERES, Nicolaus Copernicus

Copernicus overturns the Ptolemaic view of the cosmos.

1588-06-30 00:00:00

THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS, Christopher Marlowe

FAUSTUS sets a new standard for English language drama.

1588-07-01 00:00:00

DEFEAT OF THE SPANISH ARMADA

An English fleet under Lord Howard of Effingham, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir John Hawkins crushes the planned invasion by Spain.

1593-06-30 00:00:00

RICHARD III, William Shakespeare

KIng Richard III schemes and murders his way to power.

1595-07-01 18:34:56

ROMEO AND JULIET, William Shakespeare

The timeless tragedy of star-crossed lovers...

1596-01-01 00:00:00

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, William Shakespeare

Fairy magic!

1599-06-30 00:00:00

HENRY V, William Shakespeare

Against all odds in the battlefields of France...

1602-01-01 00:00:00

HAMLET, William Shakespeare

A complex tale of murder, revenge, and paralyzing self-doubt.

1605-06-30 00:27:28

DON QUIXOTE, Miguel de Cervantes

An aging gentleman of Spain decides that the time has come for a return to the heroics and chivalry of old.

1606-01-01 00:00:00

MACBETH, William Shakespeare

Ambition and murder amid the trappings of horror and the supernatural.

1607-07-01 08:04:35

L'ASTREE, Honore' d'Urfe'

The first French novel, a pastoral love story. Hugely popular across Europe in its day, it ran 5,399 pages long.

1610-03-15 00:41:12

SIDEREUS NUNCIUS, Galileo Gallilei

Galileo publishes his first astronomical findings.

1611-01-01 00:00:00

THE TEMPEST, William Shakespeare

Shipwreck, magic, mad man, and monster...

1623-06-30 10:29:12

FIRST FOLIO, William Shakespeare

The first collected publication of Shakespeare's plays, seven years after his death.

1631-03-31 17:49:38

Death of John Donne

Although forgotten for a couple of centuries, metaphysical poet John Donne became a dominant figure among English writers for a good thirty years following his death.

1643-06-30 00:00:00

Louis XIV becomes King of France

At the age of five, Louis XIV, "the Sun King," assumes the crown, and becomes absolute ruler at age 24. He creates the opulence of Versailles, and rules for 72 years.

1657-06-30 00:00:00

COMICAL HISTORY OF THE STATES AND EMPIRES OF THE MOON, Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano tells the story of his fantastical trip to the moon.

1665-06-30 00:00:00

THE ENGLISH ROGUE, Richard Head

Stop snickering at the author's name and appreciate his contributions to literature. THE ENGLISH ROGUE became a hit in England and was among the first English novels to be translated into a Continental languare, in this case, German.

1667-08-01 00:00:00

PARADISE LOST, John Milton

Milton's retelling of Adam and Eve and civil war, in the tradition of the heroic epic poem.

1687-06-30 00:00:00

PHILOSOPHIAE NATURALIS PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICUS, Sir Isaac Newton

Newton constructed the foundation of modern physics with the PRINCIPIA, one of the single most important breakthroughs in all of science.

1689-06-30 00:00:00

Peter the Great

Peter I seizes power in Russia.

1700-01-01 22:11:09

THE ENLIGHTENMENT

The Age of Enlightenment saw a sea change in philosophical outlook, placing a premium on reason above all. A flourishing of democratic thought, science, separation of church and state, tolerance, and constitutional government took hold in Europe and America.

1712-06-30 02:04:18

FIRST PRACTICAL STEAM ENGINE, James Newcomen

1719-04-25 00:00:00

ROBINSON CRUSOE, Daniel Defoe

The classic tale of shipwreck and survival. Considered by most to be the first true English novel.

THE EVOLUTION OF GENRES: A Sideways Look at Literature

Launch
Copy this timeline Login to copy this timeline 3d

Contact us

We'd love to hear from you. Please send questions or feedback to the below email addresses.

Before contacting us, you may wish to visit our FAQs page which has lots of useful info on Tiki-Toki.

We can be contacted by email at: hello@tiki-toki.com.

You can also follow us on twitter at twitter.com/tiki_toki.

If you are having any problems with Tiki-Toki, please contact us as at: help@tiki-toki.com

Close

Edit this timeline

Enter your name and the secret word given to you by the timeline's owner.

3-40 true Name must be at least three characters
3-40 true You need a secret word to edit this timeline

Checking details

Please check details and try again

Go
Close