2nd Edition

Literature in English How and Why

By Dominic Rainsford Copyright 2020
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    Literature in English: How and Why is an accessible guide for students. It deals with the fundamental concepts of literary form and genre; the history of English-language literature from the medieval period to the present; relations between the study of literature and other disciplines; literary theory; researching a topic; and writing a paper. This new edition contains a brand new chapter which takes literary theory to another level, using it to link literature to the issues that concern us most, whether in our own lives or in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The book has also been fully updated throughout, with significant additions to the introduction and further reading sections.

    Overall, Literature in English:

    • Grounds the study of literature throughout by referencing a selection of well-known novels, plays and poems

    • Examines the central questions that readers ask when confronting literary texts, and shows how these make literary theory meaningful and necessary

    • Links British, American and postcolonial literature into a coherent whole

    • Discusses film as literature and provides the basic conceptual tools needed to study film within a literature-course framework

    • Places particular emphasis on interdisciplinarity by examining the connections between the study of literature and other disciplines

    • Links literary theory to current global challenges, placing special emphasis on new and evolving approaches such as ecocriticism, new materialism and the spatial turn

    • Provides extensive guidance on further reading.

    Written in a clear and engaging style, this is an essential guide for literature students around the world.

    Using this book  Part 1: Beginnings  1. Good morrow  2. What is literature and who does it belong to?  3. Canons  Part 2: Form and Genre  4. Poetry  5. The thing which is not  6. Prose fiction  7. Plays and films  Part 3: Periods and Movements  8. Medieval and early modern  9. From Colonial America and Restoration England to 1900  10. From 1900 to the present  Part 4: Positions, Identities, Ideas  11. The place of literature  12. Literary theory  13. Theories and goals  Part 5: Over to You  14. Primary and secondary sources  15. Reading, research, writing  Works cited  Further reading


    Dominic Rainsford is Professor of Literature in English and Head of Department at Aarhus University, Denmark, having previously taught in Britain, Poland and the United States. His publications include Authorship, Ethics and the Reader (1997), Literature, Identity and the English Channel (2002) and many articles on Dickens. He is president of the Danish Association of English Studies and general editor of the Dickens Quarterly.

    "Judicious and even-handed while also lively and engaged, this is an ideally instructive textbook for undergraduate students, as well as a delightful read for anyone susceptible to a love affair with English literature. The new chapter, a timely argument on the value of studying literature as a response to twenty-first century challenges, is a model of resourcefulness and breadth of vision."

    Juan Christian Pellicer, University of Oslo, Norway

    "Dominic Rainsford’s introduction to literature in English is witty and instructive, his limpid prose the perfect vehicle for guiding the reader through the inner workings of poetry, prose, film and drama. This short book’s lack of jargon, its penetrating intelligence, humanity, and sheer love of its subject render it the perfect primer for A-level and university students of literature in English; and for seasoned professionals too, who will find much to admire in it."

    Rene Weis, University College London, UK

    "Dominic Rainsford’s humour and enthusiastic enjoyment of his subject must appeal to students at many levels. He explains complex concepts and trends lucidly, elegantly and attractively. Literature in English fulfils the author’s promise to help students see an academic field as a whole, and connect it with other areas of study – an invaluable tool at the 21st-century university."

    Emma Harris, University of Warsaw, Poland