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Short History of English Literature

Thoroughly updated to include writers such as Caryl Churchill, Brian Friel, Martin Aims and Graham Swift, this book remains the best overall survey of English literature for students beginning a university course.


Robert Barnard looks selectively at the most important writers within each period from the time of Chaucer, and focuses on one or two of their works in detail. He deals briefly with the earlier periods and more fully with the last two centuries, moving right to the present with a detailed coverage of the post-war novel and theatre. In the best sense eclectic, his book draws together history, criticism, established ideas and fresh views.


This remarkably compact history is not a catalogue of writers and their writings but a work of sure taste and fine sense of scale.