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Timeline: Early Modern English

 

 
  • Different starting points are proposed for the Early Modern English period: 1400 the death of Chaucer; 1450 the century mid-point; 1500 the rounded date.
 
  • 1476 William Caxton starts printing in Westminster, but the language he uses reflects the variety of styles and dialects used by the authors whose work he prints.
 
  • 1485 Tudor dynasty established start of period of (relative) political and social stability.
 
  • 1491 or 1492 Richard Pynson starts printing in London his style tends to prefer Chancery Standard, the form of English used by government.
 
  • From 1525 publication of William Tyndale's Bible translation (which was initially banned).
 
  • 1539 publication of the Great Bible, the first officially authorised Bible in English, edited by Myles Coverdale, largely from the work of Tyndale. This Bible is read to congregations regularly in churches, familiarising much of the population of England with a standard form of the language.
 
  • 1549 publication of the first Book of Common Prayer in English, under the supervision of Thomas Cranmer. This book standardises much of the wording of church services.
 
  • c1590 to c1612 Shakespeare's plays written they are still widely read and familiar in the 21st century.
 
  • 1611 the King James Bible is published, largely based on Tyndale's translation. It remains the standard Bible in the Church of England for many years.
 
  • c16401660 period of social upheaval in England (the English Civil War and the era of Oliver Cromwell).
 
  • 1662 new edition of the Book of Common Prayer, largely based on the 1549 and subsequent editions. This also long remains a standard work in English.
 
  • 1667 publication of Paradise Lost by John Milton.
 
  • Candidates for the end-point of the Early Modern English period: 1700, 1750, 1800.
 
  • 1755 the date of publication of Dr Johnson's Dictionary.
 
  • 1776 the first declaration of American independence.
 

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