It can be very difficult for some to understand the importance of a certain text without understanding the artistic and cultural movements of the day. While the literature of a certain era may be responding to certain events or books, some movements simply spring out of nowhere. In this exhaustive but surprisingly concise guide to all major literary movements after the year 1800, you will find a brief description of the movement’s purpose, the texts that prompted or contextualized them, as well as a brief selection of some of the period’s greatest works.

Any omittance is not an act of exclusion–for some, I am merely attempting to introduce a more varied and interesting collection. Please comment if you are looking for further recommendations. These movements are also subject to change in the future, as broader or more specific patterns may emerge as further study is done on these historical periods.

RomanticismGothic FictionRealismnaturalismsymbolismsurrealismmodernismExistentialismpostcolonialismBeat litMagic RealismPostmodernismFeminismCyberpunk



  1. “To assess the damage caused European colonial rule in nations all around the world while also reinvigorating these regions with a sense of linguistic and artistic identity”

    Then why are 3 out of the 5 books written by white Europeans?

  2. Second full day of my second visit to Cape Breton. I know being a vitosir gives one a perspective different from a full-time resident, but even so I trust (hope?) that Capers realize the great beauty you all have around you. This is an amazing place. Just sayin’.

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