Up to Snuff #111: Periods in Literature

Up to Snuff #111:  Periods in Literature

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Period 1

Prehistoric Cultures, Mesopotamia, Egypt

Literature:  Psalm, Genesis I-II, Mesopotamian Paralellels, Enuma Elish, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Patriarchs and The Exodus, Egyptian Monotheism, Conquest Chaos and Kingship, The Prophets, Amos, Hosea, The Book of Job, Isaiah, The Suffering Servant

Period 2

Classicism:  Greece and Rome

Literature:  The Homeric Epic (The Iliad, The Odyssey)

Literature of the Golden Age:  Greek Tragedy, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle

Literature: The Roman Epic (Virgil’s Aeneid)

Period 3

Classicism II:  The Renaissance

Sixteenth-Century Literature:   Machiavelli, Castiglione, Montaigne, Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Period 4

Classicism III:  17th and 18th Centuries

The Enlightenment

Seventeenth- Century Literature:  Moliere, Racine

Eighteenth- Century Literature:  Swift, Voltaire, Counterpoint to Rationalism

Period 5

The Celebration of Feeling, Romanticism

Literature:  Rousseau, Goethe, Wordsworth

Period 6

Christianity I

Literature:  The New Testament, St. Augustine

Period 7

Christianity II and The Middle Ages

Literature:  The Song of Roland, The Thirteenth-Century Synthesis, Dante, Chaucer

Period 8

Christianity III:  The Era of Reformation

Literature:  Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, The Counter of Reformation:  Loyola

Period 9

Realism and Materialism

Literature:  Flaubert, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Dickinson

Period 10

Modernism 1

Literature:  Conrad, Kafka, Mann, Joyce, Eliot, Faulkner

Period 11

Modernism II

Modernism and Transcendent

Literature:  Camus, Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd, Wiesel, Solzhenitsyn, Sartre, Existentialism

Period 12

Post Modernism

Literature:  Beckett, Borges, Ionesco, Handke, Nabokov, Pinter, Robbe-Grillet, Barth, Burroughs, Coover, Doctorow, Marquez, Pynchon, Shepard

The above was extracted from “Art, Ideas and Civilization,” by Jack A. Hobbs and Robert L. Duncan published on Prentice Hall.  The book places in context art juxtaposed with literature and music as all were interrelated in their respective periods.  The book presents a framework for the historical emergence of literature that played a significant role within its time period.

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