Telugu literature can be broadly discussed in to six ages as mentioned below:
- Pre-Nannaya period (up to 1000 A.D.)
- Age of Puranas (1000 A.D. - 1400 A.D.)
- Age of Poet Srinatha (1400 A.D. – 1500 A.D.)
- Age of Prabandhas (1500 A.D. -1600 A.D.)
- Southern Region period (1600 A.D. -1800 A.D.)
- Modern Age (1800 A.D. – Till date)
During the age of Pre-Nannaya period, there were only inscriptions since 575 A.D. Nannayya Bhattaraka (11th Century A.D.) translated the Sanskrit Mahabharata into Telugu and this can be quoted as the first best citation of Telugu literature. The diction was highly mastered by Nannaya that many historians’ school of thought says that there might have been earlier works in Telugu, which base his major work.
Tikkanamatyulu (13th century) and Yerrana also called Yerrapragada (14th century) resumed the translation of the remaining portions of Mahabharata started by Adi Kavi Nannaya Bhattaraka.
In the age of Srinatha Kavi Sarvabhowma (popular poet in 14th century) few poets translated Sanskrit slokas and dramas and others came out with native narrative poems. The popular Telugu literary form, Prabandha was evolved during this period.
The first Ramayana in Telugu is reffred as the Ranganatha Ramayanam, works done by by Gona Buddha Reddi. Later, the memorable religious poets such as Potan (14th Century), Jakkana (14th century) and Gaurana (first half of the 15th century) have done greatest works in these roots.
Golden period of Telugu literature was in between 16th - 17th centuries when Sri Krishnadevaraya has shown interest in Telugu Literature. Manucharitra by Peddana is another outstanding Mahakavya other than Sri Krishna Devaraya’s Amukthamalyada. As the Telugu literature flourished in the south in the Samsthanas like Madurai, Tanjavur etc., which renamed this age as `Southern Period'.
Mughals conquered Deccan in 1687 A.D., with which the Telugu Literature lost its speciality growth. The period of transition emerged after a long gap of 200 years, when a memorable Europeans, C.P.Brown played an important role in the development of Telugu language and literature. Later the Telugu Literature was also influenced by the European literary forms such as novels, short stories, dramas etc.
Kandukuri Viresalingam Pantulu, the father of modern Telugu literature inspired by the Vicar of Wakefield wrote a novel called Rajasekhara Charitamu. He was the first and the greatest among modern times, who used literature to suppress social evils and superstitions. The age was followed by other famous Telugu writers such as Rayaprolu Subba Rao, Gurazada Appa Rao, Viswanatha Satyanarayana, Jashuva, Devulapalli Krishna Sastry, Sri Sri, Puttaparty Narayana Charyulu and many others.