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The Short Oxford History of English Literature, 2e provides a comprehensive beginner's guide to the literature of the British Isles from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day in one volume. Separate chapters trace the development from Beowulf to the post-modern fictions of Seamus Heaney and Angela Carter and include a new section on late 20th century prose and British and Irish poetry of the 60s. The History provides detailed discussion of Old and Middle English literature, the Renaissance, Shakespeare, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Romantics, Victorian and Edwardian literature, Modernism, and post-war writing. Discussions of key writers and works are combined with analysis of the impact on literature of contemporary political, social, and intellectual developments. The book includes Scottish, Irish, and Welsh writers, and it asks about the future of the canon in the light of the fragmented condition of British writing in the post-imperial period.
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From Library Journal:
Andrews Sanders is the editor of the Oxford World Classic's editions of Gaskell's Sylvia's Lovers (1982); Thackeray's Barry Lyndon (1984) and The Newcomes (1995); Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities (1988) and David Copperfield (1999); and Hughes's Tom Brown's Schooldays (1989). He also contributed the Victorians Chapter in the Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature. Dickens and the Spirit of the Age is to be published in Nov. 1999 (Oxford University Press).
Designed to replace Emile Legouis's A Short History of English Literature (Oxford Univ. Pr., 1934), Sanders's work competes with one-volume histories by Pat Rogers (The Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature, Oxford Univ. Pr., 1987), Alastair Fowler (A History of English Literature, LJ 3/1/88), and Peter Quennell (A History of English Literature, LJ 1/1/74. o.p.). Sanders includes more information than Fowler but lacks the advantage of the photographs, art work, and maps found in Rogers and Quennell. He skillfully introduces controversies about the development of an English literature canon and explains how writers got selected for burial in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey, arguing that English literature has always been rife with contradiction, "both multiple and polarized, both popular and elite." His book has ten major chapters covering Old English, medieval, Renaissance, Shakespearean, 17th- and 18th-century, Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and postwar literature. Innovative essays include "Women's Writing in the Restoration" and "The New Morality," which examines the 1970s and 1980s. Recommended for academic and most public libraries.
J. Thorndike, Lakeland Coll., Sheboygan, Wis.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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