Introduction to Literary Context: English Literature provides richly detailed essays on significant works of English Literature. Coverage includes the most studied works of English Literature, both historical and contemporary, in high school and undergraduate college literature programs.
This series is designed to introduce students to the world’s greatest works of literature—including novels, short fictions, novellas, and poems – not only placing them in the historical, societal, scientific and religious context of their time, but illuminating key concepts and vocabulary that students are likely to encounter.
English Literature covers 31 works – novels, short stories, and poems—written by English authors, published between 1516 and 2003. The authors in this collection – 6 women and 18 men – represent a variety of ages, life styles, and political beliefs, including those whose work has been banned, burned, and revered.
With in depth analysis of works by the likes of Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, H. G. Wells, Salman Rushdie, J. K. Rowling, Rudyard Kipling, and Roald Dahl, Introduction to Literary Context: English Literature offers students the tools to grasp more firmly and dig deeper into the meanings of not only the works covered here, but English literature as a whole.
The essays in English Literature appear alphabetical by title of the work. Each is 6–8 pages in length and includes the following sections:
-Content Synopsis: summarizes the plot of the work, describing the main points and prominent characters in concise language.
-Historical Context: describes the relevance to the story of the moods, attitudes and conditions that existed during the time period in which the novel took place.
-Societal Context: describes the role that society played within the work, from the acceptance of traditional gender roles to dealing with mental illness.
-Religious Context: explains how religion—of the author specifically, or a group generally—influenced the novel.
-Scientific & Technological Context: analyzes to what extent scientific and/or technological progress has affected the story.
-Biographical Context: offers biographical details of the author’s life, which often helps students to make sense of the story.
-Discussion Questions: a list of 8–10 thoughtful questions that are designed to develop stimulating and productive classroom discussions.
-Essay Ideas: a valuable list of ideas that will encourage students to explore themes, writing techniques, and character traits.
English Literature ends with a General Bibliography and Subject Index.
A great starting point from which to embark on further research, Introduction to Literary Context is a perfect foundation for Critical Insights, Salem’s acclaimed series of critical analysis written to deepen the basic understanding of literature via close reading and original criticism.