First page from Beowulf

English literature is generally used to refer not only to the literature of England but to all literary production of Great Britain (historically including Ireland) in the English language; the term “British literature” is quite uncommon.

There are many overlaps with the English-language literatures of other countries, such as former British colonies such as Australia or Canada, but since the 19th century American literature in particular has been understood as a national literature that is different from English. English literature is the subject of research in English Studies.