This essay discusses that British literature is considered to consist of literature from the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The majority of this literature and the earliest as well were written in the English language, but there is also separate literature in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Cornish, Manx, Jerriais, Dgernesiais, and other languages. “Irish writers have also played an important part in the development of the English-language literature.” It was in the late medieval period (1200-1500) when the ideals of courtly love began to enter England, which therefore began the writings of the same topic. English drama was especially popular at this time, and one of the most profound dramatic literature writers, who is also in fact considered to be England’s first great writer, Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400), wrote in Middle English. Chaucer is the author of “The Canterbury Tales”, which is easily one of the most respected and notorious works of British literature of all time. “The Canterbury Tales” is a collection of stories, two of which were written in prose, the rest of which was written in verse. Some of the tales are original and some are not, and the themes of the tales vary as well. The characteristics of the general topics range anywhere from courtly love to avarice; with the general genre ideas ranging from romance and Breton lai to sermon and fabliau....
"the greatest contribution that this work made to English literature was in popularizing the literary use of the vernacular language." ("Wikipedia", 2006). This, considered to be Chaucer's masterpiece, was created during Chaucer's 'final period', and considered also to be one of the most brilliant works in all literature. Briefly, it is a poem which introduces a group of pilgrims journeying from London to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket at Canterbury. To help pass the time they decide to tell stories, and together the pilgrims represent a wide cross section of 14th Century English life.
The Renaissance period followed the middle ages, and it was during this time period that vernacular literature truly flourished. The difference in the literature of this era was that of its religiousness, as the majority of the works which were composed during this period were produced under Queen Elizabeth I and King James I; the literature of the Renaissance period has been noted for its interest in the human being as a worthy subject. In other words, the transformation of both English language and literature in this period can be seen to move away from the medieval Middle English literature period in that it was more recognizably modern Elizabethan literature through the use of religion. This period is also characterized by the influence of the classics, especially in literature. The Renaissance truly embraced literature, and the study of their classical poets led not only to their transition into English but also the adaptation of their verse forms and systems of poetic metre. "An illustration of the linguistic explosion caused by the Renaissance is the addition of more than 10,000 new words to the language in a short space of time, mainly from Latin." ("Tiscali",