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The following are the major time periods associated with Western literature. While not all works are by Western authors or historical figures, they’re here for broad categorizing.


Classical Period

1200 BC - 455 AD

The Classical Period encompasses the works of ancient Greece and Rome.

Classical Authors

Classical Works

Medieval Period


The Medieval Period covers works written approximately within a thousand years of the fall of the Roman Empire.

Medieval Authors

Medieval Works

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Renaissance Period

1485 - 1660

The Renaissance period encompasses works from approximately the mid 1400s to the mid 1600s that were influenced by the transition from medieval times to modernity.

Renaissance Authors

Renaissance Works

Enlightenment Period

1660 - 1790

The Enlightenment Period (also known as the Neoclassical Period) was a time of great growth and discourse in science, philosophy, and politics during the 18th century, also known as the Age of Reason.

Enlightenment Authors

Enlightenment Works


Romantic Period

1790 - 1830

The Romantic Period was a shorter period, from the end of the 18th century to the first few decades of the 19th, in which authors explored individuality, freedom of thought and personal feelings.

Romantic Authors

Romantic Works

Victorian Period

1830 - 1901

The Victorian Period typically refers to works created during the 63-year reign of Queen Victoria. Writers explored the great changes taking place in technology, challenged the class system, and also gave birth to new genres such as gothic horror.

Victorian Authors

Victorian Works

Modern Period

1914 - 1945

The Modern Period encompasses the tail end of the 19th century and early 20th century, specifically in Europe and the United States, when traditional ways of writing prose and poetry were broken away from.

Modern Authors

Modern Works

Postmodern Period

1945 - Present

The Postmodern Period is distinguished by the use of metafiction, unreliable narration, self-reflexivity, intertextuality, the use of historical and political references and experimentation. It ranges from the early 20th century to the present day.

Postmodern Authors

Postmodern Works

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