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This interactive timeline allows you to explore the evolution of English language and literature, from the 11th century to the present day. Scroll through decade by decade to investigate the richness and diversity of our poetry and prose, as well as the many social, cultural and political strands from which our language has been woven.
The timeline includes a fascinating combination of texts: Anglo Saxon tales and medieval illuminations; iconic literary manuscripts and printed texts; as well as letters, newspapers, handbills, posters, charters, speeches and campaign leaflets.
Launch the interactive Flash timeline above, or explore the collections within each of the centuries below.