Ch 28: British Literature

About This Chapter

Use the following lesson to learn about British Literature, including key authors, periods and themes. This lesson may be especially helpful for teachers who work with students in grades 6-12.

British Literature - Chapter Summary

This chapter opens with an introduction to world literature, including translation, and provides students with an overview of the major authors, styles and works found in historic British literature. You'll become familiar with a number of elements that can influence literary language, including those associated with culture, history, region and religion. In particular, you'll also learn about the historical context behind Old and Middle English medieval literature.

In addition, the chapter can also help you recognize the literary devices used in historical British fiction, as well as identify the unique characteristics of specific literary genres and movements. If you are a teacher, the lesson may also help you find new ways to teach this subject and assess your students' knowledge of the material. This chapter is designed to provide you with a solid introduction to the following periods and authors:

  • Victorian literature (Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Alfred Lord Tennyson)
  • William Shakespeare
  • Renaissance literature (Christopher Marlowe and Edmund Spenser)
  • Romantic prose (Jane Austen, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Mary Shelley and Sir Walter Scott)
  • Literary modernism
  • 17th- and 18th- century British literature (John Milton, Alexander Pope and others)
  • Restoration comedy theatre of the 1700s

Our online video tutorials are taught by experienced and knowledgeable instructors. They provide busy students with an entertaining and informative way to acquire information and include online self-assessment quizzes that can help you test your own knowledge of the material. Additional features include lesson transcripts, links to key terms and video tags that allow you to re-visit a video's main points.

8 Lessons in Chapter 28: British Literature
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Introduction to Victorian Literature: Overview of Themes, Style, and Authors

1. Introduction to Victorian Literature: Overview of Themes, Style, and Authors

Victorian literature is literature written in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, or roughly from 1837 -1901. It is largely characterized by the struggle of working people and the triumph of right over wrong.

Introduction to Shakespeare: Life and Works

2. Introduction to Shakespeare: Life and Works

This video provides a crash course introduction to William Shakespeare's life, plays, and poetry. From 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' to 'The Tempest', we'll give you a timeline of his works and quick descriptions of what you need to know to identify them.

Introduction to Renaissance Literature: Characterizing Authors and Works

3. Introduction to Renaissance Literature: Characterizing Authors and Works

Chances are, you've heard of the term 'Renaissance' before, but do you know what it means? Watch this video to learn about how this artistic movement forever altered England and the way we look at literature.

Introduction to Romantic Prose: Overview of Authors and Works

4. Introduction to Romantic Prose: Overview of Authors and Works

Romantic prose exists in novels, short stories and essays written during the Romantic period, specifically in England. The Romantic period lasted from about 1800 to 1840.

Introduction to Medieval Literature: Old English, Middle English, and Historical Context

5. Introduction to Medieval Literature: Old English, Middle English, and Historical Context

We'll go over some quick medieval history to situate some of the major literary works of the time period. We're going from Caedmon and Beowulf, writing in Old English, all the way up to Sir Thomas Malory's collections of the Arthur myths in late Middle English.

Overview of Literary Modernism: Authors, Context, and Style

6. Overview of Literary Modernism: Authors, Context, and Style

This video provides an introduction to the literary movement known as Modernism. Encompassing such writers as James Joyce, T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf, Modernism developed out of a sense that the art forms of the late nineteenth-century were inadequate to describe the condition of Europe after World War I.

Introduction to 17th- and 18th-Century Literature: Major Authors and Works

7. Introduction to 17th- and 18th-Century Literature: Major Authors and Works

A lot can happen in 200 years, as you'll see on our lesson that introduces you to British literature of the 17th and 18th centuries. Go from Shakespeare to the invention of the novel to the introduction of a prominent dictionary in our video below!

Restoration Comedy: Theatre of the 1700s

8. Restoration Comedy: Theatre of the 1700s

Despite their name, Restoration comedies have nothing to do with fixing up a theater. Rather, these were shockingly explicit works that were created after almost two decades of live performances being outlawed in England. Watch our video lesson to learn about this surprising and hilarious time in English theatrical history.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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