First published in 1962, this book is a reflection on Sir Ifor Evans’s well-known A Short History of English Literature. In this reflective study, Evans wonders if it is possible to trace permanent elements in such a huge and varied mass of writings? As he moves from the Anglo-Saxon Caedmon to T.S Eliot, or from Milton to James Joyce, he finds out how, in unexpected ways, the English spirit of compromise extends into its literature, along with its love of nature and interest in the individual. In poetic imagery above all the British genius seems, typically, to have found a way of making ‘empiricism transcendental’. This book, which had its origin during the war under the aegis of the British Council, provides the reader with a stimulating passport to a very rich kingdom.