English Poetry Periods

Characteristics of Hebrew Poetry
No rhyme, uses effective repetition, metaphor, long sustained metaphor, parallel structure. Themes of love and religion.

Time Period of Anglo-Saxon Poetry
5th c. to 1100c. AD. Coincided with old English.

Anglo Saxon poetry characteristics
Alliteration, no end rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, litotes, mood of loneliness and despair, kennings, military exploits, personal heroism, never romantic love, hardships of life, companionship in mead halls.

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Anglo Saxon poetry examples
Beowulf and The Wanderer

Middle English time period
1343-1400. Middle english language spoken

Middle English examples
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Middle English Characteristics
difficult to characterize, end rhyme, couplets, all devices, religion as an important theme, sex (romantic and graphic), all people, etc.

Elizabethan Poetry time period
1564-1616. Early Modern English.

Elizabethan Poetry examples

Elizabethan Poetry characteristics
All subjects and techniques. Sonnets. Considered the “classical” period of english poetry.

No free verse. Early renaissance.

17th Century Poetry (The Metaphysical Period) examples
John Donne, Milton, the Cavalier Poets.

17th century characteristics
Sex and Religion and how the two define each other. Techniques admired by modern critics like TS Eliot. Accuracy of observation, objective correlation, hardness of imagery, originality, freshness, scientific attempt to objectify emotion. Sex Frankly dealt with. Combination of head and heart.

18th Century – Age of reason examples
Swift Pope and Johnson.

18th Century characteristics
emphasis on reason, lots of satire, politics, personalities. Exactness of form- rhymed couplets, even meter. no lyricism, emotionalism. Representative man more important than individualized or eccentric man.

Romantic Period Time Period
First half of 19th century

Romantic period examples
Keats, Shelly, Wordsworth, Byron, Coleridge, Poe, Whitman, Dickinson.

Romantic Period characteristics
All Techniques, use of I, personal subjects, age of feeling, common man, God in nature, romantic love, emphasis on personal vivid imagery, extremely subjective. Reaction against the reason and order of the 18th.

Great variations. Intense, full of feeling, unusual, bizarre, supernatural, and ancient themes.

Victorian time period
2nd half of 19th century. Known as the age of Tennison.

Victorian characteristics
Feelings, morbid and gloomy in tone. Melancholy.

Grief and Death as favorite subjects. Thwarted romantic love. sentimentality. overdone emotion.

absence of hard, concrete imagery, careful observation. Moralizing, didactic-ism. personal heroism.

Modern time period
1890-1945. Post modern is 1945 to present.

Modern time period examples
the obscure poets, the Eliot school, the new critics. A forerunner was Gerard Manly Hopkins.

Modern time characteristics
goes back to 17th century emphasis on accuracy of observation, objectifying emotion, distate for emotionalism, all devices used but free verse especially. Distorted symtax, ellipsis, fresh striking figures, frankness of diction, avoiding romantic pretty words. Post modern does so with “more style and grace”.