Timelines to Visualize History

A Project by the Department of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics, University of Düsseldorf

Overview for "Prose"

Begin End Event Description Keywords
672 735


The catholic monk Bede was an influential author and scholar. His most famous work is the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, written in the early 8th-century, in which he gives an account of the invasion of Britain by Germanic tribes. After his death, Bede was recognized as one of the leading scholars of his age and came to be known as one of the Church Fathers. He reportedly composed Bede's Death Song, on his death-bed and his works alone account for almost half the manuscripts of OE poetry.
Literature, Old English Period, Poetry, Prose
931 933

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a truly impressive and justly famous successor to the world history of Roman extraction. King Alfred had a it compiled from earlier sources covering the years from Christ's birth to 892; it becomes a fuller historical report for the 9th century, and is today one of our most important sources for Anglo-Saxon history as a whole.
Literature, Old English Period, Political, Prose
980 1020

Ælfric & Wulfstan

Ælfric & Wulfstan were important writers of late West-Saxon prose, and were mainly inspired by the Benedictine Reform and the bigger, unified England. Ælfric was an abbot and a second-generation reformer who wrote a Latin grammar and many other works of prose. Wulfstan was Archbishop of York and wrote many sermons and designed laws for Æthelred.
Literature, Old English Period, Prose, Religious
1086 -

Doomsday Book

William the Conqueror gave orders to compile a great survey of all the landed possessions in England in 1086 which should provide the king with reliable assessment of taxes due to the crow. This Domesday Book is an inventory of England which made it easier to track taxes. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest administrative achievements of the Middle Ages.
Literature, Middle English Period, Political, Norman Conquest, Prose
1154 -

Peterborough Chronicle

After the Norman Conquest, the new Norman-speaking ruling class appreciated their own French literature and was probably not very much inclined to have native English literature written down in expensive manuscripts. There is only one exception: The Peterborough Chronicle, i.e. a version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. It is an annal, meaning that each year's events are recorded in an entry. It is a text typical of a transitional period. The language and style are still late Old English, though with many Middle English features.
Literature, Middle English Period, Prose
1342 1402

John of Trevisa

John of Trevisa, sometimes called John de Trevisa or John Trevisa, was a contemporary of Chaucer. He was a prolific translator, an is best know for his translation of Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon, a universal history.
Literature, Middle English Period, Poetry, Prose
1343 1400

Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer is the most prominent writer of Middle English literature. Chaucer's best know work is The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories told by a fictitious group of pilgrims on their way from London to the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury. Chaucer is infamous for not adhering to the stereotypical genres of the time, and he often combined features of several genres in many of his Canterbury Tales.
Literature, Middle English Period, Poetry, Prose
1370 1449

John Lydgate

Lydgate's work shows a great variety in content and style: from long translations to brief occasional poems and a short prose work. He is best known for his translations from French and Latin, like The Troy Book (1412-21), The Pilgrimage of the Life of Man (1426) and The Siege of Thebes, where he presents himself as a Canterbury pilgrim, who is asked by Chaucer's pilgrims to tell his tale. His indebtedness to Chaucer is shown in his allegories. e.g. The Temple of Glass.
Literature, Middle English Period, Poetry, Prose