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English Literature in Context


  • 118 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 706 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 1.546 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521839921)

Supporting the study of English literature from the Middle Ages to the present, this book is designed as an introductory text AND a helpful reference tool for an entire English Literature degree. Its key mission is to help students understand the link between the historical context in which the literature developed, how this has influenced the literature of the period and how subsequent periods in literature have been influenced by those that precede them. The book is carefully structured for undergraduate use, with a rich range of illustrations and textboxes that enhance and summarise vital background material. The seven chronological chapters are written by a team of expert contributors who are also highly experienced teachers with a clear sense of the requirements of the undergraduate English curriculum. Each analyses a major historical period, surveying and documenting the cultural contexts that have shaped English literature, and focusing on key texts. In addition to the narrative survey, each chapter includes a detailed chronology, providing a quick-reference guide to the period; contextual readings of select literary texts; and annotated suggestions for further reading.

• Recurring themes across chapters show how historical periods relate to and have influenced each other, helping students understand the development of ideas, concepts and movements • Designed to encourage students to do more further reading and use primary sources - explains context, gives excerpts and specific references to give students the understanding, confidence and motivation needed to fully engage with further reading and primary sources • Detailed chronologies, text boxes and carefully chosen illustrations - stimulate debate and enhance understanding


List of illustrations; Notes on contributors; Preface; Acknowledgements; Preface Paul Poplawski; 1. Medieval English, 500–1500 Valerie Allen; 2. The Renaissance, 1485–1660 Andrew Hiscock; 3. The Restoration and eighteenth century, 1660–1780 Lee Morrissey; 4. The Romantic period, 1780–1832 Peter J. Kitson; 5. The Victorian age, 1837–1901 Maria Frawley; 6. The twentieth century, 1901–39 Paul Poplawski; 7. The twentieth century, 1939–2004 John Brannigan; Index.


' … a brilliantly designed textbook, thoughtfully conceived and appealingly presented, clearly showing how literature is vibrantly alive in and to the world in which it was written. Both students and teachers will find this book of great use and genuine interest.' David Scott Kastan, Columbia University

'This is an exceptionally accessible and lucid account of English Literature in all its glorious abundance. The volume contains everything the student will need to assist them in their understanding and interpretation of any literary period: from snippets of texts illustrating key social and cultural phenomena; time-lines; engaging discussions of the historical background; exemplary readings of major literary works; and lists of reference works - this one book has it all. The sum of the parts is an excellent and invaluable guide, sure to enhance the student's encounter with major works and authors on an English degree course. If there's one book students should have alongside them as they study the primary sources, this is it.' Elaine Treharne, Professor of Early English, Florida State University

'It is difficult, indeed, to imagine a more expansive and authoritative introduction to the study of English literature than English Literature in Context.' Kenneth Womack, The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona

'… an engaging and highly readable volume … The book rewards both linear reading and browsing: plentiful illustrations and summary boxes on key concepts contribute to an attractive and engaging layout. … this book promises to meet the needs of its target audience, and to engage all readers whose curiosity is piqued by the complex relationship between literature and history.' University College


Paul Poplawski, Valerie Allen, Andrew Hiscock, Lee Morrissey, Peter J. Kitson, Maria Frawley, John Brannigan

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