english literature, literature produced in england, from the introduction of old english by the anglo-saxons in the 5th century to the present. the works of those irish and scottish authors who are closely identified with english life and letters are also considered part of english literature.
old english or anglo-saxon era
this period extends from about 450 to 1066, the year of the norman-french conquest of england. the germanic tribes from europe who overran england in the 5th century, after the roman withdrawal, brought with them the old english, or anglo-saxon, language, which is the basis of modern english. they brought also a specific poetic tradition, the formal character of which remained surprisingly constant until the termination of their rule by the norman-french invaders six centuries later.
much of old english poetr...
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