Studying Literature in English: An Introduction, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Studying Literature in English

An Introduction, 1st Edition

By Dominic Rainsford


198 pages

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Studying Literature in English provides the ideal point of entry for students of English Literature. This book is an accessible guide for Literature students around the world. This book:

  • Grounds literature and 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 in order 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
  • Provides an annotated list of further reading

From principal literary genres, periods and theory, to strategies for reading, research and essay-writing, Dominic Rainsford provides an engaging introduction to the most important aspects of studying literature in English. This book is invaluable reading for anyone studying literature in English.


"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. He is expert on what makes literature the art form that it is: his analyses of Beowulf, Chaucer, Donne, Shakespeare, Blake, Pride and Prejudice, and the language of films, for example Vertigo, take nothing for granted. In each case he really does start at the very beginning with ‘why’ and ‘how’. Hard to believe that this has not been done before, or if, not nearly so well. 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." Professor Rene Weis FRSA, Department of English, UCL, UK

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 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 Part 5: Over to You 13: Primary and secondary sources 14: Reading, research, writing Further reading

About the Author

Dominic Rainsford is Professor of Literatures in English 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 currently works on literature, ethics and quantification.

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