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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

A Brief History of English Literature

Edition 2nd Edition
ISBN 9781137352651
Publication Date November 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

A lively introductory guide to English literature from Beowulf to the present day. The authors write in their characteristically lucid style and present the texts in relation to their social, political and cultural contexts. Clear and concise, the updated second edition now features a new final chapter on twenty-first century literature.

John Peck is now retired and was formerly Reader in Victorian Literature at Cardiff University, UK.

Martin Coyle is Professor of English Literature at Cardiff University, UK.

1. Old English Literature
2. Middle English Literature
3. Sixteenth-Century Poetry and Prose
4. Shakespeare
5. Renaissance and Restoration Drama
6. Seventeenth-Century Poetry and Prose
7. The Eighteenth Century
8. The Novel: The First Hundred Years
9. The Romantic Period
10. Victorian Literature 1837-1857
11. Victorian Literature 1857-1876
12. Victorian Literature 1876-1901
13. The Twentieth Century: The Early Years
14. The Twentieth Century: Between the Wars
15. The Twentieth Century: The Second World War to the End of the Millennium
16. The Twenty-First Century
Periods of English Literature and Language
Further Reading


A Brief History is notable for its lucidity and intelligence, and the new material displays those same virtues.' - Stephen Arata, University of Virginia, USA 'An essential resource for teachers and students of literature alike.' - Cinta Zunino Garrido, Universidad de Jaen, Spain
'This text focuses on writers who are English, rather than who write in English, and deliberately concentrates on those most likely to be studied within the English education system. Its aim is to explore texts' interaction with their historical context; accordingly, it gives historical details as well as summaries and interpretations of literary texts. The style is concise, with concerns being introduced in a few paragraphs or even sentences...I found this an interesting and useful read. It introduces complex ideas in a style that will be easily understood by English teachers and will be accessible to some students at Advanced level and many in Higher Education. I recommend it for English departments and school/college libraries.' - Helen Barker, National Association for the Teaching of English
'A well-structured, uncluttered and balanced account of English literary history.' - J.P. Van der Motten, Gent Universiteit, Belgium
'Chatty and engaging...will do its best work at sixth-form and first-year undergraduate level.' - The Times Higher Education Supplement 'A fluently written and very accessible history of English literature.' - Linden Peach, Loughborough University, UK
'Pacy, readable and engaging.' - Rick Rylance, Anglia Polytechnic University, UK
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