Historical Outline of English Poetry

This outline is adapted from Poetry: A Critical and Historical Introduction (1962) by Irving Ribner and Harry Morris. It does not claim to be complete, for many poets are not yet included. Each era of poetry is subdivided into poetry genres, and each of these genres includes representative poets. I am planning to analyze poems from various sections, and I will add links on this page to the poems that I analyze.

Contents
1. The Middle Ages
2. The English Renaissance
3. The Stuart Age
4. The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century
5. The Romantic Period
6. The Victorian Period
7. Modernism
8. Post-Modernism


1. The Middle Ages

A. The Religious Lyric

  • Anonymous

B. The Secular Lyric

  • Anonymous
  • Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340s – 1400) – “Ballade”

C. The Narrative and Epic


2. The English Renaissance

A. The Amatory

  • Sir Thomas Wyatt
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
  • Queen Elizabeth I
  • Barnabe Googe
  • George Turberville
  • George Gascoigne
  • Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford
  • Sir Philip Sidney
  • Sir Walter Ralegh
  • Thomas Lodge
  • Henry Lok
  • Henry Constable
  • Samuel Daniel
  • Michael Drayton
  • Sir John Davies
  • John Lyly
  • George Peele
  • William Shakespeare (1564-1616) – Sonnet 1; Sonnet 18; Sonnet 130
  • Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) – Amoretti: Sonnet 75; Sonnets 15 & 79; Sonnets 37 & 71

 

B. The Pastoral

  • Robert Greene
  • Christopher Marlowe
  • Sir Walter Ralegh
  • Nicholas Breton
  • William Shakespeare
  • Henry Constable
  • Richard Barnfield

C. The Devotional

  • John Skelton
  • Thomas, Lord Vaux
  • Sir Philip Sidney
  • Robert Southwell
  • Thomas Nash
  • Sir Walter Ralegh

D. The Native Survival

  • Anonymous

3. The Stuart Age

A. The Classical and Courtly

  • Ben Johnson
  • Thomas Campion
  • Robert Herrick
  • Edmund Waller
  • Andrew Marvell
  • John Donne
  • William Cartwright
  • Sir John Suckling
  • Thomas Carew
  • Richard Lovelace
  • Orlando Gibbons
  • Robert Jones

B. The Metaphysical

  • John Donne
  • Henry King
  • George Herbert
  • Richard Crashaw
  • Henry Vaughan
  • Thomas Traherne

C. The Elegiac

  • Ben Johnson
  • John Milton
  • Edward Herbert, Lord Cherbury
  • William Browne of Tavistock
  • Thomas Randolph

4. The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century

A. The Satiric and Didactic

  • Jonathan Swift
  • Alexander Pope
  • John Gay

B. The Augustan Lyric

  • John Dryden
  • Sir Charles Sedley
  • Matthew Prior
  • Alexander Pope
  • Joseph Addison
  • Thomas Parnell
  • Henry Carey
  • William Walsh
  • Isaac Watts
  • Charles Wesley

5. The Romantic Period

A. The Pre-Romantic

  • William Collins
  • Thomas Gray
  • Thomas Chatterton
  • William Cowper
  • William Blake (1757-1827) – “A Poison Tree”
  • Robert Burns

B. Introspection and Meditation

  • William Wordsworth
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Thomas Moore
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley

C. Individualism

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • John Keats

D. Distant and Exotic

  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron
  • John Keats
  • Edgar Allan Poe

6. The Victorian Period

A. The Dramatic Monologue

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Robert Browning

B. Spiritual Questioning

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Arthur Hugh Clough
  • Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) – “To Marguerite”
  • Walt Whitman
  • Algernon Charles Swinburne
  • Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) – “Precedence”

C. Classical and Medieval Legend

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Matthew Arnold
  • Gabriel Rossetti
  • William Morris

7. Modernism

A. The Transitional Period

  • Emily Dickinson
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Robert Bridges
  • A. E. Housman
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Stephen Crane
  • William Butler Yeats

B. Symbolism

  • T. S. Eliot
  • Wilfred Owen
  • Wallace Stevens
  • Robinson Jeffers
  • Hart Crane
  • Allen Tate
  • William Butler Yeats
  • D. H. Lawrence
  • Ezra Pound
  • Elinor Wylie
  • William Carlos Williams
  • Marianne Moore
  • E. E. Cummings
  • Archibald MacLeish
  • W. H. Auden
  • Robert Graves
  • Delmore Schwartz
  • Karl Shapiro
  • George Barker
  • Dylan Thomas
  • Theodore Roethke
  • Richard Wilbur
  • Louis Simpson
  • James Wright

C. Regionalism

  • E. A. Robinson
  • Robert Frost
  • John Crowe Ransom
  • Allen Tate
  • Robert Penn Warren
  • Robert Lowell

8. Post-Modernism