Essay by 123456789High School, 12th grade May 2004

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English literature, in the etymological sense of the word, had, so far as we know, no existence until Christian times. There is no evidence either that the heathen English had adopted the Roman alphabet, or that they had learned to employ their native monumental script (the runes) on materials suitable for the writing of continuous compositions of considerable length. It is, however, certain that in the pre-literary period at least one species of poetic art had attained a high degree of development, and that an extensive body of poetry was handed down not, indeed, with absolute fixity of form or substance from generation to generation. This unwritten poetry was the work of minstrels who found their audiences in the halls of kings and nobles. Its themes were the exploits of heroes belonging to the royal houses of Germanic Europe, with which its listeners claimed kinship. Its sentences were usually long lines, the lax rhythm of which shows that it was intended, not to be sung to regular melodies, but to be recited probably with some kind of instrumental accompaniment.

This was the start of literature than it hit the Augustan age. The Augustans tend to be focused on the correct way, and their writing tends to be very formal, however the Romantics detested this formal way and changed it focusing on nature and writing by stream of conscience, the Victorians saw how the Romantics went a little overboard and they went back to the formal way, but still less formal than the Augustans, the Victorians focused on society and class, using allusions and symbols.

Literary historians usually identify the poetry of Alexander Pope as "Augustan", a term derived from the name of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus Caesar (63 B.C. - 14 A.D.). Augustus Caesar's reign saw new social stability...