Medieval English studies deal with the language and literature of the Old English period (ca. mid-5th century to late 11th century) and the Middle English period (ca. late 11th century to 16th century).
Old English is the earliest documented form of the English language which was brought to Great Britain by the Anglo-Saxons in the mid-5th century. Without a doubt, the most famous work written in the Old English period is the epic poem “Beowulf,” whose author is unknown until today. The protagonist of the same name, a Geat, travels to the king of the Danes whose kingdom is threatened by a monster called Grendel.
Middle English can be roughly described as the English varieties spoken after the Norman Conquest in 1066 which lead to the transition from Old English to Middle English. In the mid-15th century, Middle English is succeded by Early Modern English, which is the language of famous poet William Shakespeare.