Studying Literature in English : An Introduction book cover
1st Edition

Studying Literature in English
An Introduction

ISBN 9780415699235
Published June 25, 2014 by Routledge
210 Pages

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Book Description

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.

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

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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.


"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