Recommend to your Librarian

The Edinburgh Introduction to Studying English Literature

Edited by Dermot Cavanagh, Alan Gillis, Michelle Keown, James Loxley, Randall Stevenson


What does university study of English Literature involve today? How should students read literary texts? Answers to these questions have substantially changed and developed over recent decades, often in response to advances in literary theory.

Show more


Section I
Introductory, ed. James Loxley
1. What is Literature?, Alex Thomson
2. English Literary Studies: Origins and Nature, Bob Irvine
3. Kinds of Literature, David Salter
Section II - Poetry, ed. Alan Gillis
1. Poetry: An Introduction, Alan Gillis
2. Metre and Rhythm, Lee Spinks
3. Poetic Imagery, Sarah Dunnigan
4. Verse Forms, Penny Fielding
5. Vernacular Poetry, Colin Nicholson
6. Poetry and History, Greg Walker
Section III - Narrative, ed. Michelle Keown
1. Kinds of Fiction, Aaron Kelly
2. Prose/Short Story, Ken Millard
3. Narrators, Michèle Mendelssohn
4. Narrative Language, Keith Hughes
5. Constructing Character, Raj Chakraborti
6. Life Writing, Laura Marcus
Section IV - Drama, ed. Dermot Cavanagh
1. Introducing Drama, Roger Savage
2. Text and Performance, Olga Taxidou
3. Comedy, Jonathan Wild
4. Tragedy, Simon Malpas
5. History and Politics, Dermot Cavanagh
6. Gender and Performance, Suzanne Trill
Annotated Bibliography

About the Author

Dermot Cavanagh is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Edinburgh. His interests centre on early modern political theatre, especially its relationship to late medieval drama and poetry. He is the author of Language and Politics in the Sixteenth-Century History Play (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) and co-editor of Shakespeare's Histories and Counter-Histories (Manchester University Press, 2006).

Alan Gillis teaches creative writing as well as modern and contemporary poetry at the University of Edinburgh. Alan Gillis's first book of poetry Somebody, Somewhere (Gallery Press, 2004) was shortlisted for the Irish Times Award and won The Rupert and Eithne Strong Award for Best First Collection in Ireland. His second book Hawks and Doves (Gallery Press, 2007) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. As a critic, he is author of Irish Poetry of the 1930s (Oxford University Press, 2005) and is currently co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry.

Michelle Keown is Lecturer in English Literature and the University of Edinburgh and specialises in Postcolonial literature and theory, particularly that of the Pacific region. She has published widely on Maori and Pacific writing and is the author of Postcolonial Pacific Writing: Representations of the Body (Routledge, 2005) and Pacific Islands Writing: The Postcolonial Literatures of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Oceania (Oxford University Press, 2007). She is co-editor (with David Murphy and James Procter) of Comparing Postcolonial Diasporas (Palgrave, 2009) and has edited (with Stuart Murray) a special issue of the Journal of New Zealand Literature (no. 21, 2003) focusing upon diasporic connections between Aotearoa/New Zealand and the UK.

James Loxley works on Renaissance and early modern poetry and drama, especially the work of Ben Jonson; the literature and political discourse of the civil war period and the writing of Andrew Marvell; and contemporary literary theory, particularly issues of performativity.

Randall Stevenson is Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Born in the north of Scotland, grew up in Glasgow and studied in the universities of Edinburgh and Oxford. Lectured on modern literature in 15 countries in Europe and in Nigeria, South Korea and Egypt. General Editor of the Edinburgh History of Twentieth-Century Literature in Britain series.