Infographic: (Almost) Every (Western) Literary Movement in the History of Literature Summed up in a Single Sentence

Spark Notes has boiled down the history of literary movements to a collection of one line quips.

The problem with literature is that there’s so much of it. Books go back a long time (like at least ten or fifteen years, I’m thinking), and if you’re a student taking an English class, you’re supposed to be familiar with basically all of them.

But that’s impossible. Allow us, then, to suggest an alternate strategy: you fake it. The following literary movements and periods span whole centuries, numerous cultural milestones, and multiple historical turning points, but we have taken the liberty of reducing them all to a single sentence. This should be more than sufficient to convince your teacher you actually did the reading.

Note: I phrased this as "almost" because I know enough to tell that it misses just about all the eastern literary movements (as well as more than a few western ones). This graphic also curiously leaves out SF and fantasy but includes magic realism, which is a blend of the two.

Infographic: (Almost) Every (Western) Literary Movement in the History of Literature Summed up in a Single Sentence Infographic


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. John4 January, 2018

    Very funny and insightful, some really nailed it (Modernist, Transcendentalism)

  2. Carmen Webster Buxton4 January, 2018

    As you point out, that headline is very misleading, especially for a post which makes fun of so many other people.

  3. Marilynn Byerly5 January, 2018

    It also leaves out a vast majority of the periods of American literature.


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