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A History of English Literature
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.- List of Timelines.- Acknowledgements.- Preface.- Preface to Second Edition.- Preface to Third Edition.- Abbreviations.- Introduction.- PART I: MEDIEVAL.- Old English Literature: to 1100.- Middle English Literature 1066-1500.- PART II: TUDOR AND STUART.- Tudor Literature: 1500-1603.- Shakespeare and the Drama.- Stuart Literature: to 1700.- PART III: AUGUSTAN AND ROMANTIC.- Augustan Literature: to 1790.- The Romantics: 1790-1837.- PART IV: VICTORIAN LITERATURE TO 1880.- The Age and its Sages.- Poetry.- Fiction.- Late Victorian Literature: 1880-1900.- PART V: THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AND BEYOND.- Ends and Beginnings: 1901-19.- From Post-War to Post-War: 1920-55.- New Beginnings: 1955-80.- Contemporaries.- Further Reading.- Index.

Promotional Information

Reviews of previous editions: 'If I had my way, every student of English would be supplied with a copy of this book.' - Gary Day, The Times Higher Education Supplement 'To write a linear history of a great literature is a difficult task, verging on the impossible these days. Professor Alexander has brought off a remarkable feat. His history is comprehensive, clear, judicious and sometimes punchy. This is an account of English writing which can be of great use to the student, the fact-hound, the teacher or the general reader. Above all, it is a triumph of reason and judgement, never cranky, nor exclusive. I shall recommend it widely.' - Professor Chris Wallace-Crabbe, University of Melbourne, Australia 'The book is a miracle of compression...To maintain the same qualities of wit, crispness and sharp but essentially generous judgement...in a 384 page book, which is something very much more than a 'survey' of the whole field of English Literature is an extraordinary achievement.' - Dr John Rathmell, Cambridge University, UK '...eminently fit to excite the critical consciousness of the student.' - Professor Philip Smallwood, Essays in Criticism '...a fantastic mine of information in which writers are seen within their chronological and literary context. Although, inevitably, there is no room for detailed analysis within such a wide-ranging book, the content provides an effective starting point for readers whatever their literary intentions.' - Sara Thorne, author of Mastering Poetry '...an ideal starting point for any English student who is serious about the subject. It manages to provide a comprehensive overview of English literary history in an accessible, practical format. Moreover it is genuinely entertaining - Alexander's style is pithy, pungent and personal...The reader is constantly reminded that this is a history, not the history, of English literature, and the writer's own strong opinions encourage the reader to discover his or her own views and preferences... I strongly recommend it to all students of English literature, and to their teachers.' - Professor Sarah Annes Brown, Anglia Ruskin University, UK.

About the Author

MICHAEL ALEXANDER is Emeritus Professor of English Literature, University of St Andrews, UK. He is a poet and translator and has international experience of teaching English literature, both medieval and modern.

Reviews

Praise for the third edition: 'Michael Alexander is a writer of rare skill: he is learned, as befits a former professor of English literature, and yet he is able to write about reading in a way that is accessible and pleasurable but never lightweight. Above all, he is an astute guide through the classical landscape of English writing...' - Alexander Lucie-Smith, The Tablet 'A reliable and readable guide for all students of literature. The new final chapter manoeuvres its way skilfully through the treacherous waters of contemporary writing, retaining that distinctive individual voice which makes the whole book so worthwhile.' - David Newell, Glasgow University, UK 'Lucid, learned, judicious and informative.' - Stephen Arata, University of Virginia, USA 'An intelligent and comprehensive guide. Michael Alexander has certainly accomplished a mammoth task in providing a summary of a vast literary landscape in the new final chapter.' - Sara Thorne, author of Mastering Poetry 'Alexander's book is still by far the best of its kind available on the market. The new final chapter is clear and superbly written.' - Jorge Luis Bueno Alonso, University of Vigo, Spain 'An excellent reference book on the history of English literature from the earliest times to the present.' - Jeo-Yong Noh, Yeungnam University, Korea 'Hugely enjoyable and stimulating, not least in its nicely modulated value judgments!' - Till Kinzel, Technische Universitat Berlin, Germany Praise for previous editions: 'If I had my way, every student of English would be supplied with a copy of this book.' - Gary Day, The Times Higher Education Supplement 'A text that will and should endure for many generations...an indispensable guide for any Literature student who wishes to have a complete and logical understanding of the traditional canon.' - WordPlay, Council for College and University English 'An ideal starting point for any English student who is serious about the subject. It manages to provide a comprehensive overview of English literary history in an accessible, practical format. Moreover it is genuinely entertaining - Alexander's style is pithy, pungent and personal...The reader is constantly reminded that this is a history, not the history, of English literature, and the writer's own strong opinions encourage the reader to discover his or her own views and preferences...I strongly recommend it to all students of English literature, and to their teachers.' - Sarah Annes Brown, Anglia Ruskin University, UK 'To write a linear history of a great literature is a difficult task, verging on the impossible these days. Professor Alexander has brought off a remarkable feat. His history is comprehensive, clear, judicious and sometimes punchy. This is an account of English writing which can be of great use to the student, the fact-hound, the teacher or the general reader. Above all, it is a triumph of reason and judgement, never cranky, nor exclusive. I shall recommend it widely.' - Chris Wallace-Crabbe, University of Melbourne, Australia 'The book is a miracle of compression...To maintain the same qualities of wit, crispness and sharp but essentially generous judgement...in a book which is something very much more than a 'survey' of the whole field of English Literature is an extraordinary achievement.' - John Rathmell, Cambridge University, UK '...eminently fit to excite the critical consciousness of the student.' - Philip Smallwood, Essays in Criticism '...a fantastic mine of information in which writers are seen within their chronological and literary context. Although, inevitably, there is no room for detailed analysis within such a wide-ranging book, the content provides an effective starting point for readers whatever their literary intentions.' - Sara Thorne, author of Mastering Poetry 'A succinct, comprehensive and readable chronological account...[Alexander] threads the history and literature together with authority and occasional wit.' - Jim Sweetman, The Professional Journal of the National Association for the Teaching of English 'I got a clear sense of the methodological overview, sensitively presented. It seems to be a book that could be both read as a whole and used selectively ... it will be useful for foundation course students, undergraduates, both majoring in English and otherwise, and also to A-level students.' - Ian McMechan, Hampton School, Middlesex, UK 'The book is a fine achievement, and sixth-formers and undergraduates should be encouraged to have their own copies.' - Martin Dodsworth, English Association Newsletter 'For students of A-level English literature, a wide contextualising book of this kind is not just a good read: it is essential reading.' - Bernard O'Donoghue, The English Review 'I would go so far as to say that every literature student should buy this book.' - David McLaurin, The New Tablet

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