Interrelationships between Language and Literature from Old English to the Modern Period

Document Type: Research Paper


Chabahar Maritime University


Literature is the aesthetic manifestation of language. It is ‘as old as human language and as new as tomorrow’s sunrise.’ This paper explores the interrelationships between language and literature from 600 AD to the present day.  The grammar of present-day English is closely related to that of Old English with the same tense formation and word orders. The verse unit is a single line and its organizing device is ‘alliteration’. The range of Chaucer’s English did much to establish English as a national language. The writers of the Elizabethan period reshaped the literary language by borrowing foreign words and by coining new expressions and figures of speech. Shakespeare’s language and modern English have enough in common so that historians consider that they both belong to the same stage in the history of English. Milton attempted to reinvent the English language through his Paradise Lost. The writers of the seventeenth century developed a prose style that could bear the weight of the most serious and complex ideas. Then, the writers of the eighteenth century devoted themselves to developing out a formal, polished, and “correct” style of expression. Wordsworth and Coleridge intended to purify and renew the literary language and make it closer to the everyday speech of the ordinary people. Modernism tried to articulate a representation of the world and the way of seeing it through complexities of mind using the spoken rather than the formal language.


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