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450, after the withdrawal of the Romans, and "ending soon after the Norman Conquest" in 1066.

Epic poems were very popular, and some, including Beowulf, have survived to the present day.

Beowulf is the most famous work in Old English, and has achieved national epic status in England, despite being set in Scandinavia.

Beowulf is the conventional title, Nearly all Anglo-Saxon authors are anonymous: twelve are known by name from medieval sources, but only four of those are known by their vernacular works with any certainty: Cædmon, Bede, Alfred the Great, and Cynewulf.

Cædmon is the earliest English poet whose name is known, and his only known surviving work Cædmon's Hymn probably dates from the late 7th century.

The poem is one of the earliest attested examples of Old English and is, with the runic Ruthwell Cross and Franks Casket inscriptions, one of three candidates for the earliest attested example of Old English poetry.

Selected English-language writers: (left to right, top to bottom) Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, T. Eliot, Vladimir Nabokov, Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie.

This article is focused on English-language literature rather than the literature of England, so that it includes writers from Scotland, Wales, and the whole of Ireland, as well as literature in English from countries of the former British Empire, including the United States.

However, until the early 19th century, it only deals with the literature of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

It does not include literature written in the other languages of Britain.

The English language has developed over the course of more than 1,400 years.

The earliest forms of English, a set of Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the fifth century, are called Old English.

Middle English began in the late 11th century with the Norman conquest of England.

Old English literature, or Anglo-Saxon literature, encompasses the surviving literature written in Old English in Anglo-Saxon England, in the period after the settlement of the Saxons and other Germanic tribes in England (Jutes and the Angles) c.

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