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significant works of early English literature

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Were there any novels written prior to Chaucer or Defoe?

I'm also curious as to what are considered to be the most significant works that shape the background of English Literature prior to the novel?

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Solution Summary

In this solution, I discuss early English literature and the influence it has on later literary genres--especially the novel.

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In answer to your first question, no. Several opinions exist as to the time of the first novel. Defoe is thought to be among the first novelists. Though some of Chaucer's work contains some features of ...

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