English Literature: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199569267

Jonathan Bate
192 ページ
114 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions



  • Written by acclaimed scholar and biographer Jonathan Bate
  • An essential buy for A-Level and undergraduate students of English Literature
  • Considers why literature matters, how narrative works, and what is distinctly English about English literature
  • Looks at the three main kinds of imaginative literature, namely English poetry, English drama, and the English novel
  • Uses many well-known examples to demonstrate throughout

Sweeping across two millennia and every literary genre, acclaimed scholar and biographer Jonathan Bate provides a dazzling introduction to English Literature. The focus is wide, shifting from the birth of the novel and the brilliance of English comedy to the deep Englishness of landscape poetry and the ethnic diversity of Britain's Nobel literature laureates. It goes on to provide a more in-depth analysis, with close readings from an extraordinary scene in King Lear to a war poem by Carol Ann Duffy, and a series of striking examples of how literary texts change as they are transmitted from writer to reader.
The narrative embraces not only the major literary movements such as Romanticism and Modernism, together with the most influential authors including Chaucer, Donne, Johnson, Wordsworth, Austen, Dickens and Woolf, but also little-known stories such as the identity of the first English woman poet to be honoured with a collected edition of her works. Written with the flair and passion for which Jonathan Bate has become renowned, this book is the perfect Very Short Introduction for all readers and students of the incomparable literary heritage of these islands. 
"While exploring towering works, Bate remins us that literature can also be terrific fun." - Christopher Hirst. The Independent


1: Once upon a time
2: What it is
3: When it began
4: The study of English
5: Periods and movements
6: Among the English Poets
7: Shakespeare and dramatic literature
8: Aspects of the English novel
9: The Englishness of English literature
Further Reading


Jonathan Bate is Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick. Among his many books are John Clare: A Biography (Farrar Straus Giroux), which won Britain's two oldest literary prizes, the Hawthomden and the James Tait Black, a best-selling book on Shakespeare for the general reader, The Genius of Shakespeare (Picador, UK and OUP, USA), and a major intellectual biography of Shakespeare in the cultural context of the Elizabethan Age (The Soul of the Age. He is also chief editor of The RSC Shakespeare: Complete Works (Macmillan UK/Random House Modern Library USA).