Talk:English literature

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Bias + sub-par work = UNLOCK IMMEDIATELY[edit]

"It became the standard Bible of the Church of England, and some consider it one of the greatest literary works of all time."

This use of weasel words over such an obviously sensitive topic is just another example of the poor quality workmanship this entire article suffers from. The article itself announces the lack of a single reference or source. The fact that a completely un-cited article this big is locked is unacceptable. Several people have already mentioned their frustration over be unable to correct the multiple mistakes in this article. I add my voice, and call for this article to be unlocked immediately.Wolfgang Phoenix (talk) 00:23, 1 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

During the end of the 19th century Ann Radcliffe would be the pioneer of the Gothic Novel[edit]

Should it not read: ...the 18Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).{| class="wikitable" |{| class="wikitable" |- ! header 1 ! header 2 ! header 3 |- | row 1, cell 1 | row 1, cell 2 | row 1, cell 3 |- | row 2, cell 1 | row 2, cell 2 | row 2, cell 3 |} |}</ref>th century...? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:26, 3 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Political correctness alive and well[edit]

It seems that the politically correct pseudo-literate establishment still soldiers on with the same slogans, such as 'Jane Austen's novels relate the injustices which women faced', how women could not work or inherit money. This is undoubtedly true in some cases, but just consider 'Emma' - Emma has every good fortune and absolutely no disadvantages in life. In Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine has in Mrs Jenkins a female employee above the station of a servant. As for men, it is abundantly clear, especially in Pride and Prejudice, that there are only certain 'respectable' careers open to them if they do not inherit money, such as the army and the clergy. If they don't follow these, they have to take a step down and be lawyers or in trade, as despised by Caroline Bingley in P&P. Her novels are a reflection entitled The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English. This is also hinted at at the beginning of the article. I think all we need here at Wikipedia is (at least some) consistency plus cross references to the other articles. Do you think it's okay that authors such as Shaw or Wilde are always seen as Englishmen? --KF 22:37 Feb 10, 2003 (UTC)

Absolutely not. However, English literature to me means literature written in English (see Welsh literature). But if that's not what it means to other people, I'm not going to die in a ditch over it. Deb 22:59 Feb 10, 2003 (UTC)
I agree completely with Deb. Mintguy
What about creating an umbrella article called Literature in English or even Literatures in English? There we could state exactly what you have said: that for many people English literature is synonymous with those terms. --KF 23:13 Feb 10, 2003 (UTC)

As I was the one with the new wording: Is American literature the same as English literature? Is

'English Literature' is 'English (language) literature', not Literature of England. If you want to cover the literature of Ireland or Scotland then have articles titled 'Literature of Scotland' etc.. Mintguy
I can't agree. That language is unneccessarily stilted, and not the normal usage, at least for me. But its a good idea, and one I'm now thinking about :) Atorpen
And, besides Literature of Scotland also have an article called Literature of England?
(These classification problems are always the same -- just have a look at utopia, dystopia and related pages: For example, is Nineteen Eighty-Four a utopian or a dystopian novel?) --KF 23:25 Feb 10, 2003 (UTC)
And there's still the problem of source. Is Walter Scott English or Scot? What do you count? Where the book was published? Where the author lived? What nationality the author identified with? We could go on, and on. I swear, I've seen this warred over somewhere before ... Atorpen 23:27 Feb 10, 2003 (UTC)

I found this, produced by Microsoft's very own encarta ... so for what its worth: [1] The first sentence is pertinent - and then the rest goes on to be both exclusive and inclusive, so Wikipedia could do something similar. Atorpen

Let's have a little quiz: Is Henry James an American or a British author? When you've made up your mind, look here. KF 23:33 Feb 10, 2003 (UTC)
Good point. Classification eventually becomes impossible. Atorpen

Oh dear. I seem to have stirred up a hornets' nest. But you know, I only wanted to be sure that we were all singing from the same hymn sheet (forgive the mixed metaphors). I'm sure that, with careful wording and good cross-referencing, we can get round the problem. We just need to recognise that not everyone will understand the same by "English literature". Deb 19:21 Feb 11, 2003 (UTC)

I think the description of types of English literature is limited, in that it does not include the Slave Narratives which emerged in the eighteenth century and became crucial in the mobilisation of the abolitionist movement. Harry Potter

Were there slave narratives in eighteenth century England? I've read the slave narratives in nineteenth century America, but I'm unfamiliar with the same a century earlier, and across the ocean. Either way, add 'em if you know about 'em. :) Atorpen 00:54 May 5, 2003 (UTC)

Indeed there were. Ukawsaw Gronniosaw had the first Slave Narrative entitled "A Narrative of the Most remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, An African Prince, as related by himself" published in Bath in 1772. Latter Equiano's "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vasa, The African, written by himself" published in London in 1794. Harry Potter

I've always thought it was misleading, the way the introduction suggests there are only three types of English literature. We should make clear that there are lots more. Deb 19:12 May 5, 2003 (UTC)

I agree. There are essays, sermons, prayers . . . Harry Potter

Just to confuse things further, a recent book from Cambridge University Press is called "The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature" which contains discussions of literature in Welsh - which isn't English whatever definition you use (neither Literature in English nor Literature from England)perhaps a more accurate title would have been "A History of Medieval Literature produced in the British Isles in English, Scots, Welsh, Gaelic, French, Anglo-Norman and Latin"! [2]

This debate seems to have died and progress on the page has been slight. The main article on British literature is more evolved, but chronically over-weighted towards literature not in English. I intend to flesh it out some more, and when it is reasonably full, I would like to treat it as the main overview of "English language literature of Great Britain and Ireland" (with an overview of the literatures in other languages). This page could then be cut down to a stub explaining the dual meanings of "English literature" (of which "literature written in English" is overwhelmingly the main one in my opinion) and contains links to the British literature article and the general articles on the other literatures and the main eras. I think a separate history of "literature written in English by English people" is artificial. Scotland, Wales and Ireland may have literary traditions which are separate from Englahd, but for several hundred years England hasn't had a literary tradition which can be separated from the contributions of Scottish, Welsh and Irish writers. What is gained by leaving out Walter Scott, Yeats and Joyce from the main article on British/English/whatever literature in English.
Any comments? Philip 01:36, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I've been working on the main British literature article. Please come and help out. Philip 05:33, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Hi, I have noticed you were trying to edit the page. I was going to add the rest of Jacobean literature, but feel free to make your additions and I will end the paragraph without erasing yours. Please let me know. Or we can each work with different sections ;-)

--Wikipedius 14:13, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Erasing The Tempest[edit]

If someone erases whole paragraphs from an article because he/she disagrees with content, I suggest they please leave their signature rather than their I.P. address, so I could have more feedback from them. There might have been bolloks in it, sorry about Shakespeare's sonnet, but I think there were other things that might just have been edited, not completely removed.

That soldiers liked Shakespeare's battle scenes is in Anthony Burgess's English Literature (but I might take it from other texts). I did not call Shakespeare's masque a ballet, but hinted to this modern word only to exemplify that to readers who are not acquainted with the genre. That it contained music and dancing and even special effects (artificial lighting and machinery) is a fact. Right, it cannot be proved conclusively, but there is strong evidence supporting the tie between James I and this play.

--Wikipedius 12:41, 20 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Has this debate died? I don't think it ever will. For as long as English is a living language it must remain an evolving language. It is widely recognised now that there are at least as many variants of English as there are nations.

Question: do we list x-ish English literature for each language x?

Suggestion: let "English lit." mean whatever it means prgmatically in the strict context of GCE/GCSE/whatever examinations.

For the real world: English Language Literature would cover all aspects and all countries /regions.

Was Robert Louis Stevenson English? Is "Treasure Island" Eng. lit. ?

Apropos of nothing in particular:

Q: Which major character in Eng. lit. had only one eye?

(This should be spoken, not read;-)

A: Pip.

Patrick, aka: Logicmanalf 20:12, 31 May 2005 (BST)

Debate again: High time something be done with this article[edit]

This article is woeful. Its title is "English Literature", not "Literature in English". It should properly refer (largely) to literature in the English tradition where there isn't an article yet in Wikipedia (as opposed to Scottish or Australian etc), not a mish-mash of everything written in English. We could make exceptions to writers who are properly assimilated in the English tradition (eg. James Joyce, Walter Scott) AND also include them in their respective articles in their regional literature (eg. Joyce, Yeats in Irish literature AND here).

Now what we have is Literature in English, including Australian, American, Irish, Scottish, S. African, Indian, Commonwealth, Filipino etc etc. The first para sounds like someone is having a classification problem. Helpful? I don't think so. Obviously this will make chaos more than anything.

And because someone came up with the awful idea of mixing all strains of written literature in the English language into one article isn't a good enough reason not to do anything about the article. Needs a clean-up tag. 22:48, 22 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In adition to the other problems noted, the section on the romantics neglects Blake entirely. User:Wilhelm Ritter

I think we might keep the timeline used here, but create sub-paragraphs to differentiate between national literatures within each period. Just my point of view. But once a solution is reached, I feel the "concept" should be explained in the incipit. Readers willing to read more about non-English authors can be redirected from this article to Literature in English. --Wikipedius 16:49, 19 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Uh, totally off topic here, but someone spelled "monopolized" wrong. Gau8avengerminigun (talk) 16:57, 26 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Celtic and Roman heritage wiped out...[edit]

Because the Celtic and Roman heritage was almost entirely erased by the invasion of low German and then Scandinavian populations it is only in the early middle ages that appear the first works of English. This is all a bit odd. Apart from the fact that it survives in Wales and survived in many other parts of Britain for a good long while, any literature produced before the Germanic invasions wouldn't have been in English anyway. They were the English, or rather they spoke the language(s) that became what we call English. Anyway, I've changed it. garik 20:57, 18 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Deleted Edwardian and Georgian[edit]

I have deleted the Edwardian and Georgian sections. Victorianism blends rather neatly over into Modernism which the Modernism section makes clear. To periodize in the manner of Georgian and Edwardian is uncommon and dated. nabelschau 22:00, 9. November 2006 (CET)

British Literature/ English Literature[edit]

Not to quibble about definitions (I happen to think that English literature means all literature written in English, but whatever), I'm just concerned that this article and the British Literature article are ALMOST THE EXACT FREAKIN' SAME!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:35, 17 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. This article should be broader than the british literature one. Wrad (talk) 17:17, 27 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am sorry to differ but I don't think at all that English literature means all literature written in English. I would consider English literature to be the same as British literature. Nothing else. There are many countries in the world speaking and writing in some kind of English language (Americans, Australians.....) but that is not the real English. English literature is British literature. Literature of the great British people. The other nations have their own great writers and don't call them English. I am not British myself but I think British people should learn to honour what they have more than they do Scratch24 (talk) 20:24, 15 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Britain and England are not the same thing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 20 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've just noticed that the English novel article seems to defines an 'English' novelist, narrowly as someone born or resident in England, while 'English poetry', states that it will focus on writers born or resident in England, though accepting the definition used in this article.

To be clear I support a broad definition, without restriction, that includes writers from Africa, India etc -- and have added entries in this article for the former British colonies and America. Rwood128 (talk) 15:39, 31 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Shakespeare and James I?[edit]

The article states Shakespeare wrote his greatest works in the early years of James I's reign. Any high school student of English knows Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet in about 1593 and Hamlet about 1600, well before James' accession in 1603. Shakespeare is more Elizabethan than anything; it is also known James didn't care for English and chose to speak Scottish whenever he could, thus Shakespeare's works should never be confused with his reign. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:53, 19 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is no mention of any Middle English literature in this article. Why is it locked? Somebody obviously wants to have a stranglehold on this article. I wonder if the two are related. Look, this article straight-up fails if it has no mention of the period when Chaucer, the Pearl Poet, Langland, and the like were writing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 4 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Shakespeare was an Elizabethan, and a Jacobean playwright. He wrote many of his most famous plays in the Elizabethan Period (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet - both as previously mentioned) and many during the Jacobean period (Macbeth, The Winter's Tale.) Saying he was one or the other is kind of ridiculous. I don't know what James not speaking English if he could avoid it has to do with anything - the period is the Jacobean period because that was his reign, not because it was literature he personally liked (though, for the record, he was apparently a huge fan of Shakespeare, being the patron of his company, and having them perform in court dozens of times.)Kaiguy (talk) 04:48, 31 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My suggestions[edit]

I have a few points to note out, usually to add new information:

- Does Old English literature consist only of Beowulf? I suggest to write something about the Wander (acquired by Yahoo! in 2014) (acquired by Yahoo! (member of ALEC) in 2014)er, the Seafarer, the Dream of the Rood and the Middle-English Canterbury Tales, at least mention them. - What about Beda Venerabilis and his Ecclesiastical History of English People? What about Historia Regnum Britaniae? They should be mentioned, English literature does NOT begin at the arrival of William the Conqueror. - Mideaval Romances - I found nothing about it, and it might come in handy for some students. I mean the idea of Courtly Love, the Ars Amatoria and the Romances dedicated to Matter of Britain (King Arthur), matter of France (Charlmagne) and matter of Rome (Alexander) - As it comes to Renaissance, Sir Thomas Wayatt should be mentioned.

When I'll have time, maybe I could scribe something up here, but these are the things to be done imho.

Middle English??[edit]

This page takes us stright from Beowulf to a few lines about "Renaissance" literature and then on to the Elizabethans. Not even a mention of Chaucer?? Orlando098 (talk) 23:13, 28 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have to agree, we are missing an entire HUGE period of English literature here. Old English only encompasses the literature prior to the Norman conquest, so that leaves about 400 years of literature (both Anglo-Norman and Middle English (14-15th c.) that have been left out of this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:49, 9 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This article MUST be hell over unlocked or include a MIDDLE ENGLISH section[edit]

I agree with the above comments. Not a mention of Chaucer or even the phrase "Middle English" on the English Literature page? That's almost unbelievably absurd! Somewatcheroftheskies (talk) 20:31, 11 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

History of English or English the subject/class - what's it to be?????[edit]

This article is ostensible about the study of English Literature 'often shortened to English', you know the subject? Yet it turns out to be an article about the history of English Lit???? Sort it out! There is nothing about the very short history of the subject, its roots in rhetoric, the fact that it was originally regarded as the 'Media studies of its day', theory, its methodologies, careers, famous English graduates etc... Very misleading. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Natty88 (talkcontribs) 22:13, 27 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Rather a sketchy account of a huge subject: needs more links to the fuller articles on periods and genres etc. and some kind of basic bibliography.--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 11:16, 4 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England. Rather odd isn't it putting that in the very first paragraph, obviously written by a non Englishman. Seems that so many are quick to critique England yet claim it's wonders as their own....Twobells (talk) 19:22, 24 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Utter rubbish. There should be split into two articles: English-language literature (which includes literature in English from outside England), and literature of England (which includes literature written in Latin, French etc from England)
That would be the same as it is now: English Literature and British Literature. (talk) 17:37, 28 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Seems that so many are quick to critique England yet claim it's wonders as their own" - No, quite the opposite. It seems the English are keen to co-opt Joyce, RS Thomas etc. American literature in English has struck out on its own, and rejects this label. -MacRùsgail (talk) 11:08, 30 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Shakespeare in intro[edit]

The mention of Shakespeare at the end of the intro seems rather clumsy and out of place. Perhaps the writer was trying to demonstrate how one particular author out of many can be regarded as superior in literature, but it sounds wrong. It should be removed or worded to make it clear this is one example of a general trend. (talk) 15:29, 15 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

British literature: Duplication and redundancy[edit]

The article states at the beginning: "This article primarily deals with some of the literature from Britain written in English. For literature from specific English-speaking regions, consult the see also section, bottom of the page."

The article British literature duplicates this, with the addition of sections on the other languages of Britain. As these two articles overlap, a merging is called for to avoid a duplication of effort. Am I right in believing that there is further wasteful duplication between survey articles, like this, and main articles on Romanticism, Victorian literature, etc.? Rwood128 (talk) 18:56, 2 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wouldn't the correct conclusion be to make this article actually a proper article on the entire scope of literature written in English? Isn't that a proper topic for an encyclopedia article, and quite distinct from the literature of the British Isles? john k (talk) 12:23, 9 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. I agree it would be the best solution.--SabreBD (talk) 12:55, 9 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree. If you look at British literature, much of it concerns literature in other languages such as Latin, Norman-French, Welsh, Irish, Scots etc. There is certainly some duplication though, but this is pretty inevitable. Even in the Modern period American literature (a far better account than this) only really becomes of global importance from the 19th century, and that of most other English-speaking countries from the 20th. Maybe short sections covering them for the 19th and 20th centuries would be good, but not a full merge, nor even more duplication. What John K calls "duplication" is the normal encyclopedic arrangement of a pyramid of several layers of main and sub-articles. The balance between parts of the pyramid may well need fine-tuning, and some "main" templates may need adding, but the basic arrangement seems the best possible to me. Johnbod (talk) 15:10, 9 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What did I call "duplication"? I did not use that word in my post. Nor was I proposing anything resembling a "full merge." I was suggesting that this article should be about what it says it is about, which is literature written in English, including some discussion of American and Commonwealth literature, and English language literature from the Celtic fringe. The weird introduction, where it says it is about literature written in English, and then says it won't actually cover that topic, is strange. British literature should deal with the literature of the British isles, whatever language it may be written in. Overlap between these topics is inevitable, but obviously each article naturally covers material that the other article does not. john k (talk) 19:25, 9 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My reply covered all the previous posts. As I say, I disagree. As it stands the intro is clearly in 2 minds (see below), but less drastic changes are best imo. Johnbod (talk) 19:35, 9 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your reply may cover all the previous posts, but you specifically quoted me as calling something duplication, which I did not do. john k (talk) 14:20, 10 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In response to the final response above, perhaps the following sentences at the end of the preamble should be deleted: "This article primarily deals with some of the literature from Britain written in English. For literature from specific English-speaking regions, consult the see also section, bottom of the page." It might be replaced, until additional short sections are added, by: "For literature in English for other countries than the UK and Ireland check 'see also' below."

Is the phrase 'English literature' sometimes read as the 'Literature of England'? Would a less ambiguous title be 'World literature written in English'? Rwood128 (talk) 17:17, 9 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That replacement could be made. Re the title, not for the article as it currently is, & probably not at all. The term always has a certain ambiguity, mitigated by the date factor, as mentioned above. What we do is pretty similar to what RS do. Johnbod (talk) 17:27, 9 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This section includes a number of writers not usually described as modernist: A. E. Houseman, Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost (though recent research sees modernist elements in Frost), Evelyn Waugh, P. G. Woodhouse, Graham Greene, R. S. Thomas. Also the relationship between the modernist section and 'After 1900' is a little awkward and appears to cover most of the twentieth-century -- R. S. Thomas died in 2000. Perhaps the two sections should be combined to cover the period, say 1900-1930 -- and new section, or sections created? Rwood128 (talk) 00:18, 10 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, something should be done, though Evelyn Waugh's earlier work is not untouched by Modernism. Johnbod (talk) 03:09, 10 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dates for the Old and Middle English periods?[edit]

Shouldn't the dates for Old English (Anglo-Saxon) be 450-1066? And Middle English 1066-1500? Though perhaps the Anglo-Norman period 1066-1350, can also be mentioned? Rwood128 (talk) 19:57, 24 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


To clarify my recent revert -- aren't persistent attempts to self-promote, after warnings and bans, in effect vandalism? Rwood128 (talk) 11:51, 11 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seems more like spam, but why split hairs? ;-) - Gorthian (talk) 15:18, 11 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This should be called English-language literature, to distinguish it from the literature of England, which is a separate but related subject. (Although of course, certain people with certain agendas are all too happy to blur the two.) I suspect now that the majority of English-language literature is now written by non-English people anyway, purely due to population ratios. The literature of England includes a number of works which are not in English as well.--MacRùsgail (talk) 11:09, 30 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For what it's worth, I have put the exact same kind of criticism on the Spanish, German, French and Russian literature pages.--MacRùsgail (talk) 11:14, 30 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. The distinction needs to be clearer.--SabreBD (talk) 12:15, 30 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Doesn't the lead now deal with the ambiguity and indicate that this article deals with any literature written in English? There is no separate article for the literature of England, unlike Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. But do we really need one, especially as there are articles for individual historical periods, and other literatures in English don't start producing major writers until the early 19th century (in America)? Changing the title would probably lead to another separate article for the literature of England, which would largely be a clone of this one. See: British literature: Duplication and redundancy and other discussion above.

Re literature in England in other languages, the British literature article deals with this aspect for the UK.

More important than changing the title, I think that the sections dealing with the literature of American, the Indian sub-continent, etc. need to be further developed. Rwood128 (talk) 12:42, 30 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would change the title. I don't think it's right, in fact it's quasi-colonial, to be calling Indian literature in English "English literature". The amount of English language literature from Asia must be massive these days. In fact, if I recall correctly, A Suitable Boy is the longest novel in English.--MacRùsgail (talk) 13:14, 31 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Re literature in England in other languages, the British literature article deals with this aspect for the UK. "

I'm not talking about Welsh language literature, I'm referring to French, Latin etc works which have been written in England, and are English literature, but not in English. The "British literature" issue is more or less the same as "English literature", a casual blurring of lines.--MacRùsgail (talk) 13:14, 31 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't understand this comment, because the British literature article does include literature in a variety of minority languages. There's one editor, who has some background in the Norman French of the Channel Isles, whose been especially keen on this. If you think say that Celtic literature isn't adequately covered this can easily be remedied.

Re the "casual blurring of lines"; British literature does overlap with English literature, but if you just read the leads you will see that they do differ.

I agree that the title of this article is ambiguous, and I also see your point about quasi colonial, though Indian literature in English is obviously strongly influenced by the British tradition/occupation. Saunders Lewis believed of course that there could be no such thing as Welsh literature in English. My only objection to changing the title of this article is that this might produce another (unnecessary article) called Literature of England. Literature in the English language is a more accurate description of this article. Rwood128 (talk) 17:41, 31 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Oppose. Totally pointless. MacRusgail doesn't seem to understand that "English" stands for language, not country, ethnicity or political body. Beaumain (talk) 17:08, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The date 450 and the beginnings of English literature.[edit]

I was a little slow in seeing the point to the objection to 450 AD. Clearly the majority of Britons did not speak English in c.450. Beowulf obviously is the first major work in Old English, but I suggest that c.658 is taken as the starting date, because the first surviving work in Old English is Caedmon's Hymn of 658-680 AD. The lead will need to be amended to make this clear. Rwood128 (talk) 11:13, 2 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Improving the lede[edit]

While idea of improving the lede is admirable, I think that the recent edit isn't entirely successful. I'll edit it in small sections and await further comment, etc. Rwood128 (talk) 19:23, 10 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

English literature/British literature duplication[edit]

It is my opinion that the two articles, English literature and British literature is in serious need of some kind of reorganisation. I will also add this comment on British literature. I suggest that discussion of it take place here (for the sake of centralising discussion in one place).

At the moment, we have two articles duplicating large quantities of information (WP:CONTENTFORK), both of which are far too long (WP:LENGTH). This is, I think, a problem, because these article ordinarily ought to be a succinct summary and useful introduction to the topics concerned, probably stating important developments and especially important individuals, not descriptions of every single literary figure ever to live in Britain/write in English. Ideally it also ought to be a useful and functional place from which to navigate the more detailed articles on English-language literature.

The duplication is also a problem partly because the articles have been duplicated in large parts, to the extent that the originally duplicated material has diverged. So, for instance, British literature has more discussion of women authors; and there is more detail (say) on Dryden in English literature than British literature. There is no particular logic to such distinctions: they merely seem to be based on which article some particular editor happened to choose to edit.

Most of the specialised articles that are linked to are, as they ought to be, more detailed than the sections of this article that they correspond to. A major exception to this is Elizabethan literature, which has substantially less information than the equivalent (duplicated) section of this article, despite presumably being supposed to be the main article.

What I think should be done is:

  • The detailed information present in each section at the moment should be moved to the detailed articles on the topics, where it is not already present in the detailed articles.
  • Each section should be replaced with a succinct summary mentioning the very most important literary personages and developments of the period in question. (If short summaries are duplicated, although it may not be quite ideal, this doesn't present such a problem - although I think preferably the "British" article should keep its partly Welsh/Scottish slant.)

I think this is sensible, and I would be happy to begin to carry it out. I leave this here, though, to start off a discussion on the subject, and to suggest that people might put other ideas forward about these issues. I won't do anything for a few weeks, though, to leave time for discussion.

I think it is highly necessary to do something, though, to make these articles more useable, given they are both Top-importance articles with considerable structural problems. Dionysodorus (talk) 23:36, 26 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I should say, I don't know that I personally have time to revise these articles in their entirety, although I may do - but I do think some consensus on what these articles ought to look like would be very salutary towards people collectiely doing something in that direction. Dionysodorus (talk) 23:39, 26 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This sounds sensible, so long as editors realize why there are two articles. In August 2012, on the "British Literature Talk page", I wrote: "There is too much duplication on Wikipedia! There is no need for for articles on both British and English literature". Eventually I realized why there were two articles and set about helping clarifying the difference.
It is good to see a fresh set of eyes looking at these two articles, which certainly need improving. I hope Dionysodorus has the time to start working on what he suggests here. I will try to help. Rwood128 (talk) 00:06, 27 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dionysodorus re the above discussion I have just revised the Anglo-Saxon section - I'll try and fix the citation problems shortly. I have also copied the same revisions to the British literature article. Can you work on another section, or list those that you think are the worst examples of excessively length? Rwood128 (talk) 12:48, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I should like to get back to trying to do this - but actually I have rather too much work to do in ordinary life to do a proper job of any section until June or so. I will have a look at what I thought was of excessive length when I have a moment, though. If I remember correctly, I think what I was getting at was that I think almost all sections are too long: I should be inclined to reduce each section to a succinct one or two paragraph potted history, mentioning only the very most important developments, and to remove all the excess material to the specialised articles on the individual periods (where indeed that same information is often lacking). Come the summer (or possibly before), I think I shall be able to do that reasonably thoroughly at least for some sections, if no-one disagrees. Dionysodorus (talk) 21:00, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dionysodorus many thanks for replying. I have begun working on this but I'm incline to see your approach as a little too ruthless. However, I'll continue to whittle away whenever I can. Rwood128 (talk) 21:43, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wonderful, thank you - I will chip in when I can, although as I say that may not be much soon. I mean, the length in itself is not the point in my view; but they should be coherent summaries: I don't think they should duplicate very much, if any, of the specialised articles (or, at least, I don't see any point in them doing so), and I don't think they should be an unreadable wall of names of as many writers as can be fitted in (which some of them looked like they were to me). Dionysodorus (talk) 00:52, 27 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Dionysodorus, your comments are most useful. I strikes me that the "wall of names" applies particularly to the 20th century. As there is no separate article for this period, I would, therefore, suggest that the answer to the problem could be to create a new article, 20th Century English literature and have a summary here. Rwood128 (talk) 12:26, 27 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A further thought re a possible new article: Maybe a more narrow focus on 20th Century English literature in the United Kingdom would be better. Rwood128 (talk) 13:07, 27 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See also [3]
Yes, I think you're very right there - but some way would need to be found of making sure that the new article was not also a wall of text - i.e. some kind of sourced critical explanation (which I can try to provide later) as well as listing authors - and we would want to work out what to do about the equivalent section of the British literature article too. I think 20th century English literature in the United Kingdom is probably right, perhaps with 20th century English literature and Modern English literature and Modernist English literature redirecting to it, and a note at the top redirecting to the related articles. This would allow us, or more likely some other editor, to create an equivalent article for 20th century Welsh and Scottish literature in the United Kingdom or something similar - but the point is that there is more than enough material for more than one article, as is implicit in your suggestion.
My idea of what this section in this article ought to look like is, say, two or three paragraphs on English novelists specifically, one or two on poets, one or two on playwrights. Then there should be a paragraph on Americans redirecting the reader to the equivalent American articles (chiefly American literature). Then we should do the same for Irish literature, which also has its own body of articles (chiefly Irish literature, but also Irish fiction, Irish poetry). I'm not sure, though, what we should do about writers in English from the former colonies (Nigeria, etc.). At the moment, they are in separate paragraphs from the English novelists but still too mixed up. Do you know if there is an accepted scholarly term for novelists from the former empire? If there is, we could also produce a 20th century English literature from ~insert technical term~ article. Dionysodorus (talk) 14:37, 27 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The new article 20th century English literature in the United Kingdom would basically be the old text less all writers not resident in the UK. Therefore still somewhat of "a wall of text". There's only so much that I feel like taking on. The problem is most obvious after 1940. Prior to that there is obviously more of a recognized canon of significant writers. By the way are you suggesting other new articles 20th century English literature and Modern English literature and Modernist English literature?
Re writers from the British Empire, is the term post-colonial the scholarly term you are seeking? A new article on Postcolonial British literature is a reasonable idea for the future, if there's anyone willing to work on it?

All this feedback is most useful. I have already dealt with American literature after 1940. Before then, I think, should remain as is, subject to cutting and re-organizing where possible. Rwood128 (talk) 17:12, 27 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, postcolonial might do - although that has other connotations too. But yes, I think what you propose to do is good; similarly, it would do no harm in the short term to simply take out the other sections' walls of text and put them in the relevant specialised articles. I can try to do what I myself propose (especially de-wall-of-textifying it and adding in some reliably sourced critical/historical comment on some of the target articles) when I get round to it myself. Dionysodorus (talk) 20:31, 27 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dionysodorus I have begun work on a précis of the twentieth-century material in the English literature article, to replace the existing sections. I suggest that the lengthy original should be transferred to a new article, Twentieth-Century English literature. Rwood128 (talk) 01:06, 5 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Excellent! I look forward to it. I will try to do something similar for another section, when my academic year stops next month... Dionysodorus (talk) 01:59, 5 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Other eyes – and hands - are certainly needed. Thanks. Rwood128 (talk) 11:32, 5 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Romanticism (1798–1837). In accordance with the above discussion, about making "English literature" more succinct, I suggest that before this section is reduced in length that a new article should be created. As Romanticism in Scotland already exists, is the title Romanticism in England and Wales acceptable? This would not just be about literature. Romanticism in Ireland can be discussed in the articles Irish literature and Literature of Northern Ireland. Rwood128 (talk) 15:16, 5 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It would have been better to call it Romantic literature in England and Wales since that is all it covers (and pretty much only novels and poetry within that). More material on art can be found at Art of the United Kingdom, Victorian painting and elsewhere, but that still leaves architecture, philosophy, music etc. Johnbod (talk) 13:04, 6 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the advice. I was taking the Romanticism in Scotland as my model, but your title is perhaps more suitable. I can change the title and remove the short section on art, but will wait in case there is further comment. Rwood128 (talk) 13:16, 6 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On further thought, my original intent was a new literature article, so I will change the title to Romantic literature in England and Wales, unless there are objections. Rwood128 (talk) 14:45, 6 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dionysodorus and others may be unaware that there is further in the discussion re re-naming Romanticism in England and Wales on that article's Talk page[4]. Rwood128 (talk) 13:39, 7 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have proposed a possible merge of British literature into English literature [5]. Rwood128 (talk) 13:13, 7 July 2016 (UTC) (originally unsigned on June 16)Reply[reply]

Size of images[edit]

Some images seemed excessively small. I've made them larger, and tried to make the overall pattern more consistent. Rwood128 (talk) 19:05, 2 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your instinct was right, but you fixed them at 200px, below the default 220px. There is rarely a good reason for this, certainly not in this sparsely illustrated article. Better to remove the fixing altogether, which I have done. (talk) 22:33, 2 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks Johnbod. Rwood128 (talk) 23:59, 2 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Where is Oscar Wilde? --Comma23 (talk) 21:13, 25 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comma23 he's there, both as poet and dramatist.Rwood128 (talk) 22:01, 25 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
He isn't cited as novellist... --Comma23 (talk) 21:28, 26 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Comma23 so why don't you add something? Rwood128 (talk) 21:37, 26 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Because I'm not an expert in literature... not at all. I'm interested just because I am trying to traslate this page for the italian wikipedia... --Comma23 (talk) 22:02, 26 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry Comma23, but does the adding of a fact -- that you seemed to you know already – really require expertise? But my apologies for being so argumentative! You seem to have chosen a massive task and I wish you the best.

You are probably aware that this article has been criticized for being too detailed, and one day I hope to try and do something about this (see above <English literature/British literature duplication>. Rwood128 (talk) 23:30, 26 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think a huge subject like this can have an article that exceed the standard size. Your article is very well-done. --Comma23 (talk) 11:39, 27 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, but it's not mine! The point of the criticism is that there are articles already existing, for the various periods, so that the main article should be more narrowly focussed. Rwood128 (talk) 20:16, 27 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(PS: "your" as "of the english wikipedia" not as "of you, Rwood"... why does English is so ambiguous? XD) --Comma23 (talk) 15:31, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comma23 to avoid the ambiguity you could say "the article", though I was a little obtuse here! Best of luck with the translating, and let me know if you need help with understanding anything. Rwood128 (talk) 16:50, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scottish literature[edit]

What should be done with literature in Scots? Isn't it too close to the English language to be treated as Literature in the other languages of Britain? See, for example, Henryson's The Testament of Cresseid. However, there is good discussion of Scottish literature on Wikipedia, so that there need be only brief mention here. Rwood128 (talk) 12:45, 20 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See also British literature Talk [6]. Rwood128 (talk) 12:55, 20 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

:See also the lede for Literature in the other languages of Britain "Literature in Anglo-Saxon (Old English) is treated as English literature and literature in Scots as Scottish literature."

Rwood128 (talk) 13:49, 20 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Commonwealth writers[edit]

The discussion above – re postcolonial literature in March 2014 – led me to thinking further about literature in English from the former British Empire, and I have placed an edited version of the section "Commonwealth writers" on the Commonwealth of Nations page,[7] where there was already a short "Literature" section. There is of course a need for an article on Commonwealth literature. Rwood128 (talk) 16:35, 26 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That is Literature in English from the Commonwealth of Nations. Rwood128 (talk) 18:15, 2 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merging "British literature" into this article[edit]

See also 24: English literature/British literature duplication above. In particular: "At the moment, we have two articles duplicating large quantities of information (WP:CONTENTFORK), both of which are far too long (WP:LENGTH)."

Re the discussion of duplication above, the idea of merging British literature into this article was suggested in June. However, I'll now formerly propose the idea. This involves the acceptance of the shorter, more succinct English literature article as the preferred version, and the copying of any author/topic of major importance found in British literature but missing here. Is this acceptable?

Following recent changes to the lede of British literature, the two articles now cover the same subject matter, but for the inclusion in English literature of a brief discussion of 19th century American literature, Irish literature after 1922, and a few 20th century writers from the Commonwealth of Nations.

A similar notice is on the British literature Talk page. Rwood128 (talk) 13:21, 7 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Case for British Literature and English Literature articles[edit]

  1. If we merged British Literature with an article about English Literature in general, we'd never finish reading it. English Literature is large enough now, and considering both articles will always grow, they have to be separate at some point anyway. Comment – the merge will involve little additional content. See previous discussion relating to (WP:LENGTH). Rwood128 (talk) 18:50, 29 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. As far as the evolution of English Literature is concerned, granted, British Literature would have to mentioned, but if we added the entire article, it would veer off-course of the topic. Comment – because of duplication and the earlier discussion of (WP:LENGTH) little, if any, new content would be added. Rwood128 (talk) 18:50, 29 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. If we made the English Literature article a British Literature article, where would we show the relations between different types of English literature? Or the history of how English Literature evolved? The timeline of English Literature? the influences upon English literature by region, time, ideology, culture, even other types of literature, etc.? other obscure areas of English Literature that don't have an article of their own? and so on... basically we haven't finished this article yet and probably never will. (Eg.: English Literature when there's a renaissance in one area and none in another, like Italy and England. We'll have to mention this detail and it would be best mentioned in an article about English Literature in general.) Comment – English literature would not change. British literature would be redirected to English literature. There would be less content than in the current British literature article but as already noted that is not a problem as various main articles already exist for different periods in the history of British literature. Rwood128 (talk) 18:50, 29 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. As far as possible, due to the issue of the size of the article, it would be best to put most of the details in their respective articles, and to make the English Literature article more like an outliner, an outliner of the progress of English Literature in general, in its various areas. Comment – not a bad idea, but someone (you?) would have to downsize British literature first ((WP:LENGTH)), and then produce a brief summary (an outliner?) of the content of the current English literature article. A merge seems a much simpler and better solution to the problem of (WP:CONTENTFORK), and (WP:LENGTH).Rwood128 (talk) 18:33, 29 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. In case of writers of dubious nationality or none, it would be best to make a list and to mention them in the articles of their nationality, if possible.
  2. The British Literature and the English-language Literature articles have distinct purposes which are not mutually exclusive. (see "" below.) (talk) 17:55, 28 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Vote?: Should both the British Literature and English-Language Literature articles be merged?

  1. No. (Just a link will do for most of it.) (talk) 18:01, 28 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

With respect (User talk:, English literature is roughly identical now with British literature, though the latter is longer. American literature should I think be excluded (it is only touched on now in the 19th century), and Commonwealth literature. That leaves Irish literature after 1922. As there are articles for Irish literature and Literature of Northern Ireland]], this discussion can be kept concise.

Can you explain the logic for keeping two almost identical articles? In fact the merge may reduce the length of English literature in the long run, because of my suggestions above. Over the last few months English literature has been cut substantially, so presumably the word count is much less than British literature. There is room for further pruning.

Also what do you mean by "Just a link will do for most of it"? Rwood128 (talk) 18:31, 28 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What I mean is this: there is British Literature and there is English Language Literature. While British Literature is one English-Language Literature there are many other kinds of English-Language literature. American English Literature is not Indian English Literature which is not Australian English Literature and so on. They are all, however, related to each other in many ways but are also fundamentally different from British Literature. English as a language no longer reflects England as a nation, it reflects a language shared across the world. To reflect this, English Literature must also reflect the literature from across the world of this international language. If you're saying that English-language Literature should reflect only the English Literature of Britain, then calling it English-language Literature would be inaccurate. It would, again, be British Literature. If you're saying that British Literature is all English-Language Literature in the world, then again calling it English-language Literature would be inaccurate, and calling it British Literature would mean precisely that. It still wouldn't explain English-language Literature. It's more than just a British language or a single literature, in short. If on the other hand, you find there should be no border distinction then call it English-language literature. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, 28 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, the British Literature article is restricted to the Literature of Britain, it is not possible to downsize English-Language Literature to it. English-Language Literature is supposed to cover the Literature of the English Language. That makes it international. A detailed overview, basically. That's why I said links were required. They were links for the other English-Language Literatures (and the literatures of other languages or events that affected the evolution of English Literature, etc.) (talk) 19:41, 28 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is no reason why the international element cannot be retained – "a detailed overview" sounds good – with links to the full articles, after the merge. However, this article can focus more on British literature, because articles on Pakistani literature in English, Australian literature, Irish literature, etc. already exist.

There is no substitute to the word English when referring to it as a language. Also, the article already focuses on British literature, but that can only be done as far as it is relevant to English-language literature. You'll either have to leave the article unfinished or inaccurate, or again rename it to British Literature. Again, both articles are evolving. English-language literature can never be just British Literature, and British Literature has its own course independent of English-language Literatures. If the articles are combined, the revert to two separate articles is inevitable. (talk) 04:55, 29 July 2016 (UTC) Comment – The article British literature focusses only on English literature in the UK and its Dependencies. The article English literature is mainly about British literature. Hence the idea of the merge, because of (WP:CONTENTFORK) and (WP:LENGTH).Reply[reply]

Rwood128 (talk) 18:33, 29 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The problem is how to deal with the excessive detail an d duplication discussed above (sections 24 & 29). At the moment British literature is longer than English literature, but otherwise duplicates it for the most part. The merged article would still be shorter than the current British literature article. Nothing should be lost, other than an excess of detail, that is inappropriate for this kind of article – and one succinct article would be gained. Furthermore, once the merge has taken place anyone can work on expanding the international component.

Note that excess detail has been transferred from English literature to main articles and new articles created already, such as Twentieth-century English literature.

Basically I, for one, accept your suggestions, re the international component. If I remember correctly I have added much of the international content, and this article originally focussed on British and Irish literature in English, whereas British literature formerly included Literature in the other languages of Britain. Rwood128 (talk) 20:53, 28 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To clarify matters. At the risk of being tediously repetitive – there are now two main articles discussing the history of "British literature" on Wikipedia, one is called British literature, and it is excessively long (See Dionysodorus's comments above), the other, a more succinct version, is contained within English literature. The latter, of course, includes some discussion of other national literatures in English, but is mainly about British literature in English. As already noted earlier, Literature in the other languages of Britain now has its own article. Rwood128 (talk) 13:39, 29 July 2016 (UTC) See also comments above. Rwood128 (talk) 18:33, 29 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Should the merge now take place? In my opinion the objections of ( and ( were based on misunderstandings. Clarification has been provided and there has been no further discussion. I further note that there has not been a single objection to the pruning of both articles, made following Dionysodorus's suggestion in July 2015.

Unless there is further discussion within the next fourteen days I suggest that the merge should be made. Rwood128 (talk) 12:22, 6 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There has been no subsequent objections, but on the other hand there has been no support for the proposed merger. Because of this, and because a thorough review of both articles is needed before the merge could take place, I suggest that the merge banners should be removed. Rwood128 (talk) 14:27, 27 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Expanding the lead[edit]

On further thought Johnbod I can see where some expansion might be made to the lead and will work on it. Rwood128 (talk) 16:11, 12 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No Mark Twain[edit]

When it mentions writers of the 1800s-1900s, Mark Twain doesn't appear. Should this be fixed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by EthanLomax (talkcontribs) 12:56, 13 April 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

EthanLomax, you should have looked more carefully. Rwood128 (talk) 14:06, 13 April 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nobel Prize: Peter Handke[edit]

Why is Peter Handke from Austria considered an English language writer? Most of his works were published in German. -- (talk) 18:18, 23 April 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requested move 13 June 2020[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review after discussing it on the closer's talk page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The result of the move request was: Not moved (non-admin closure) buidhe 23:50, 20 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

English literatureEnglish-language literature – as per usage in article lead and also for consistency with main category Category:English-language literaturefgnievinski (talk) 21:49, 13 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is a contested technical request, since it is not clearly uncontroversial (permalink). Station1 (talk) 22:31, 13 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The request seems reasonable but I will wait to see what opposers say. Xxanthippe (talk) 00:06, 14 June 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]

  • Strong oppose certainly not the WP:COMMONNAME; it's not what they give you degrees in. It was ridiculous to try and sneak this through as uncontroversial, & this doesn't seem a serious proposal. Johnbod (talk) 00:14, 14 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you'll need to start rewriting the present article, because its lead says: "This article is focused on English-language literature rather than the literature of England". fgnievinski (talk) 05:39, 14 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Note: He has also tried to fork Spanish literature - see [8]. That also needs a discussion there. Johnbod (talk) 03:15, 14 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You'll have to deal with Category:Spanish-speaking literature first. fgnievinski (talk) 05:39, 14 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also he has set up the absurd Spanish-language music as a redirect! Johnbod (talk) 03:26, 14 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You must have never heard of Hispanic music. fgnievinski (talk) 05:39, 14 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. A hatnote handles the potential confusion just fine. Categories need to be a little extra verbose sometimes, but they don't always have to match the main article perfectly. SnowFire (talk) 18:17, 14 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. The current title is the common name. Rreagan007 (talk) 19:27, 14 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong support - currently, the title is ambiguous and imprecise. The proposed title fixes that. Do we not have an article on the literature of England? Red Slash 00:40, 16 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Of course it is, but no English speaker in 2020 would ever say "American literature" to mean literature of the Americas, because the word "American" means "of America" and America is almost completely unambiguously the USA. Yet people do say "English literature" to mean "literature of England" because the word "English" literally means "of England". Red Slash 20:29, 17 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, Engish literature can mean the literature of England but the lede deals with that ambiguity.
A more important question is why do we also have a separate article on British literature, which is mainly a duplicate of this article? Rwood128 (talk) 13:31, 20 June 2020 (UTC) Red Slash, there is no article on the literature of England, though it is obviously included in the British literature article. Rwood128 (talk) 18:24, 20 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion[edit]

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Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 01:37, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

British Literature and English Literature are same in the sense that "both refer to literature produced in the English language by the inhabitants of British Isles" (includes Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the other smaller group of islands) while Literature in English refers to literature produced in the English language not only by the inhabitants of British isles but from all over the world's countries. And thus their literature is named as American literature, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, etc. So I think the very first sentence of this article should be changed by removing these words " the United States, and the countries of the former British Empire." Secondly, the very first template should be changed to "both English literature and British literature refer to same literature that should not to confused with Literature in English Language. I will wait till changes made otherwise I will make changes. If I'm wrong fell free to revert me. Sultan Abdul sultan (talk) 15:43, 27 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that I might be responsible for this wording. My first thoughts are that I studied both Irish and American literature for my BA (hons) in English and did a masters degree in English on the Irish writer Samuel Beckett. Also that England is only one part of Britain and that Ireland, excluding Northern Ireland, became independent from the UK in 1921. The matter is further complicated by the fact that a writer like Seamus Heaney, who was born in Northern Ireland regards himself as Irish and not British. My sense is that generally speaking a degree in English literature will include literature from a variety of English speaking countries. I studied Henry James both as an American and British novelist and have even taught classical Greek drama in translation as part of an English literature course on tragedy. Because of these factors I think it is better to leave things as they are, though some clarification may well be needed. You might, Sultan Abdul sultan, check university prospectuses (UBC: <>.Rwood128 (talk) 20:01, 27 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Obviously, you're right on the point that most universities teach Literature produced by English-speaking countries (British being the major) at the degree in English literature level but it doesn't mean that they would be categorized as English literature, still, they have given names to that particular country's literature, for example, American Literature, etc. Pls, see [9] for various university prospectus in this regard.
To confirm whether English literature and British literature are same pls have a glimpse at these [10], [3].
And another thing, Ireland should not be included in the British literature, although you can add Northern Ireland which is part of UK. Sultan Abdul sultan (talk) 06:46, 28 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sultan Abdul sultan, you make a good point. The link that you provided didn't work. The various literatures in the English language are part of the same tradition. There are separate and more substantial articles on the separate literatures. Should Scottish and Welsh literature in English be removed from this article? I noticed a course on the novel in one major American university included some major European novels. Given that an article on British literature article exists, which largely duplicates this article, perhaps the title of this article might be changed to Literature in the English language. British literature can include literature in other languages. Rwood128 (talk) 10:42, 28 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nope, this article needs to be merged into whether English Language or British Literature or remain on its place and for the facts just it needs to be rectified Sultan Abdul sultan (talk) 18:29, 29 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The title "Literature in the English Language" doesn't mean the English people's literature rather it's a broad term that denotes all the world's literature produced in the English language. Whether it is from UK, USA, or any other country. In this article, the term English can be applied to both English people and the literature of those people in the English language only not of any other language... Hope you will get the core point. Sultan Abdul sultan (talk) 18:38, 29 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am going to create another Wikipedian file of that title "Literature in the English language". Be cooperative. Thanks Sultan Abdul sultan (talk) 18:56, 29 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sultan Abdul sultan, long ago I suggested the merging of English literature and British literature. However, to do this properly would be a massive task given the size of the two articles!
I just went back to 2007, when the lede read:
The term English literature refers to literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; Joseph Conrad was Polish, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, Salman Rushdie is Indian, V.S. Naipaul is Trinidadian. In other words, English literature is as diverse as the varieties and dialects of English spoken around the world. In academia, the term often labels departments and programmes practising English studies in secondary and tertiary educational systems.

Given this long history I think things should be left as is. I can see no point in creating an article on the Literature of the United Kingdom, or expanding Literature of England. A note on the ambiguity of the phrase "English literature" might be helpful. British literature, of course, includes literature in various languages. While I don't agree with your suggestion, thanks for trying to improve the article. Rwood128 (talk) 12:01, 30 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This matter should not be left as it is. It will create ambiguity for beginners in linguistics. I will mention a few better sources to strengthen the article on this talk page. Then you may improve the article. Thanks Sultan Abdul sultan (talk) 18:27, 3 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed I will look into this. Rwood128 (talk) 18:33, 3 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sultan Abdul sultan, The "Preface" to any edition of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, is one useful source here. Rwood128 (talk) 19:53, 3 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]