The four major literary periods covered by the textbook are The Middle Ages (to ca. 1485), The Sixteenth Century (1485-1603), The Early Seventeenth Century (1603-1660), and The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (1660-1785). The Middle Ages is dividend into three smaller divisions and they consist of Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Norman England, and the Middle English Literature in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (Abrams et. al. p.
vii-xv). The Middle Ages was a time when art, literature, and science blossomed under the culture of Christianity. The Middle Ages was such a huge period of significant change that it was divided into three divisions of Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Norman England, and Middle English Literature in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Century (Abrams et. al. p. 1).
Throughout the Middle Ages the acknowledgement and satisfaction in English literature does not appear until the late fourteenth century causing most literature of this time period to be mostly oral with some of it recorded (Abrams et. al. p. 2). During the Anglo-Saxon period a monk was sent as a missionary and was able to spread Christianity, marking the beginning of books. Then King Alfred, a passionate patron of literature, translated various works from Latin.
His translations were primarily what were used in Old English poetry (Abrams et. al. p. 4).
Throughout the Old English period literacy was mainly limited to servants of the church causing most of the literature of this time to be religious subjects drawn from Latin sources. Throughout this Christian era however, the poems still show values of kinship and bravery. Then in the fourteenth century there are many noteworthy mystical writings by women telling of private occurrences with God (Abrams et. al.
p. 11). The Middle Ages was a time of important writings and struggles of war, but in the end it was a very prosperous time in literature.