The Routledge Guide to Modern English Writing

In 1963 President John F. Kennedy was shot, Sylvia Plath published The Bell Jar, and the Beatles were in their prime. This was a changing world, which British and Irish writers both contributed to and reflected in drama, poetry and prose.
The Routledge Guide to Modern English Writing tells the story of British and Irish writing from 1963 to the present. From the first performance of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in the 1960s to lad novels and Chick Lit in the twenty-first century, the authors guide the reader through the major writers, genres and developments in English writing over the past forty years. Providing an in-depth overview of the main genres and extensive treatment of a wide range of writers including Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Angela Carter, Benjamin Zephaniah and Nick Hornby, this highly readable handbook also offers notes on language issues, quotations from selected works, a timeline and a guide to other works.
Written by the authors of The Routledge History of Literature in English (second edition, 2001), The Routledge Guide to Modern English Writing is essential reading for all readers of contemporary writing.


A History of English Literature

A History of English Literature has received exceptional reviews. Tracing the development of one of the world’s richest literatures from the Old English period through to the present day, the narrative discusses a wide range of key authors but never loses its clarity or verve.
Building on the book’s established reputation and success, the third edition has been revised and updated throughout. It now provides a full final chapter on the contemporary scene, with more on genres and the impact of globalization.

Features of this best-selling book include:
• a helpful overview of each chapter
• boxed biographies of authors, and tables of publications and historical events
• on-page definitions of important terms and concepts
• suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter to aid study
• portraits of authors, illustrations, maps and an index.

A History of English Literature remains the essential companion for anyone wishing to follow the unfolding of writing in England from its beginnings. It is ideal for those who know a few landmark texts, but little of the literary landscape that surrounds them; those who want to know what English literature consists of; and those who simply want to read its fascinating story.


The Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660 – 1789 Set

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the poetry, drama, fiction, and literary and cultural criticism produced from the Restoration of the English monarchy to the onset of the FrenchRevolution
  • Comprises over 340 entries arranged in A-Z format across three fully indexed and cross-referencedvolumes
  • Written by an international team of leading and emerging scholars
  • Features an impressive scope and range of subjects: from courtship and circulating libraries, to the works of Samuel Johnson and Sarah Scott
  • Includes coverage of both canonical and lesser-known authors, as well as entries addressing gender, sexuality, and other topics that have previously been underrepresented in traditional scholarship
  • Represents the most comprehensive resource available on this period, and an indispensable guide to the rich diversity of British writing that ushered in the modern literary era

3 Volumes



Romances of the Archive in Contemporary British Fiction

Romances of the Archive in Contemporary British Fiction is a lively discussion of the debates about the uses of the past contained in British fiction since the Falklands crisis. Drawing on a diverse and original body of work, Suzanne Keen provides a detailed examination of the range of contemporary ‘romances of the archive,’ a genre in which British novelists both deal with the loss of Empire and a nostalgia for the past, and react to the postimperial condition of Great Britain. Keen identifies the genre and explains its literary sources from Edmund Spenser to H.P. Lovecraft and John LeCarre. She also accounts for the rise in popularity of the archival romance and provides a context for understanding the British postimperial preoccupation with history and heritage.

Avoiding a narrow focus on postmodernist fiction alone, Keen treats archival romances from A.S. Byatt’s Booker Prize-winning Possession to the paperback thrillers of popular novelists. Using the work of Peter Ackroyd, Julian Barnes, Lindsay Clarke, Stevie Davies, Peter Dickinson, Alan Hollinghurst, P.D. James, Graham Swift, and others, Keen shows how archival romances insist that there is a truth and that it can be found. By characterizing the researcher who investigates, then learns the joys, costs, and consequences of discovery, Romances of the Archive persistently questions the purposes of historical knowledge and the kind of reading that directs the imagination to conceive the past.


The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period

During the four centuries when printed paper was the only means by which texts could be carried across time and distance, everyone engaged in politics, education, religion, and literature believed that reading helped to shape the minds, opinions, attitudes, and ultimately the actions, of readers. In this 2004 book, William St Clair investigates how the national culture can be understood through a quantitative study of the books that were actually read. Centred on the Romantic period in the English-speaking world, but ranging across the whole print era, it reaches startling conclusions about the forces that determined how ideas were carried, through print, into wider society. St Clair provides an in-depth investigation of information, made available here for the first time, on prices, print runs, intellectual property, and readerships gathered from over fifty publishing and printing archives. He offers a picture of the past very different from those presented by traditional approaches. Indispensable to students of English literature, book history, and the history of ideas, the study’s conclusions and explanatory models are highly relevant to the issues we face in the age of the internet.


The Enlightenment and the Book

The late eighteenth century witnessed an explosion of intellectual activity in Scotland by such luminaries as David Hume, Adam Smith, Hugh Blair, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, James Boswell, and Robert Burns. And the books written by these seminal thinkers made a significant mark during their time in almost every field of polite literature and higher learning throughout Britain, Europe, and the Americas. 

In this magisterial history, Richard B. Sher breaks new ground for our understanding of the Enlightenment and the forgotten role of publishing during that period. The Enlightenment and the Book seeks to remedy the common misperception that such classics as The Wealth of Nations and The Life of Samuel Johnson were written by authors who eyed their publishers as minor functionaries in their profession. To the contrary, Sher shows how the process of bookmaking during the late eighteenth-century involved a deeply complex partnership between authors and their publishers, one in which writers saw the book industry not only as pivotal in the dissemination of their ideas, but also as crucial to their dreams of fame and monetary gain. Similarly, Sher demonstrates that publishers were involved in the project of bookmaking in order to advance human knowledge as well as to accumulate profits. 

The Enlightenment and the Book explores this tension between creativity and commerce that still exists in scholarly publishing today. Lavishly illustrated and elegantly conceived, it will be must reading for anyone interested in the history of the book or the production and diffusion of Enlightenment thought.


The Oxford History of the Irish Book, Volume V

The Oxford History of the Irish Book is a major new series that charts one of the most venerable book cultures in Europe, from the earliest manuscript compilations to the flourishing book industries of the late twentieth century. For the first time, it offers a history of the Irish book as a created object situated in a world of communications, trade, transport, power, and money, and examines the ways in which books have both reflected and influenced social, political, and intellectual formations in Ireland. It is an important project for the understanding of Ireland’s written and printed heritage, and is by its nature of profound cross-cultural significance, embracing as it does all the written and printed traditions and heritages of Ireland and placing them in the global context of a worldwide interest in book histories. Books have played a role of key importance in shaping Ireland’s twentieth century cultural and political heritage. Volume V: The Irish Book in English 1891-2000 charts that heritage from the beginnings of the Literary Revival in the 1890s to the end of the twentieth century. Part One consists of general survey chapters which examine developments in the cultures of Irish reading and publishing during the twentieth century. These chapters cover four specific periods, divided as follows: 1891-1921 covering the Literary Revival, and the often turbulent developments which led to the partition of the island; 1922-1939 looking at the social, economic and political machinations of print culture amidst an atmosphere of intense cultural conservatism, and during the so called economic ‘war’; 1939-1969 examining the difficulties which Irish publishers continued to face, as well as the popular trends of reading ‘Westerns’; 1969-2000 looking at the renewal of the Irish publishing industry, and the growth of cultural self-confidence which came about as literary censorship receded into the past. Part Two examines some of the thematic issues raised in these survey chapters, including the financial and market factors governing the Irish book trade; the concerns of Irish regional publishing; the creation and reception of Irish books in the US and Australia; censorship; the Irish book in the informatics age; and publishing for Catholic Ireland. Part Three is concerned with assessing the specific achievements of some of Ireland’s most culturally significant publishing houses, and includes chapters on Gill and Macmillan; the Cuala Press; Maunsel and Company; the Dolmen Press; the Gallery Press and Blackstaff Press. This section also includes chapters on two British firms which have done much to support Irish writers: Macmillan and Faber. The book concludes with a bibliographical chapter outlining ‘Sources for Irish Book History, 1891-2000’. This is the first attempt to comprehensively outline the history of twentieth century Irish book culture, and will be the standard guide for many years to come.


The Routledge History of Literature in English

This new guide to the main developments in the history of British and Irish Literature uniquely charts some of the main features of literary language development and highlights key language topics. Clearly structured and highly readable, unlike traditional histories of literature it spans over a thousand years of literary history from AD 600 to the present day. It emphasizes the growth of literary writing, its traditions, conventions and changing characteristics, and includes literature from the margins, both geographical and cultural.
Key features of the book are:
* an up-to-date guide to the major periods of literature in English in Britain and Ireland
* extensive coverage of post-1945 literature
* language notes spanning AD 600 to the present
* extensive quotations from poetry, prose and drama
* a timeline of the important historical and political events
This will be essential reading for all students of English literature and language.


Ideas and innovations


Rule of Darkness

A major contribution to the cultural and literary history of the Victorian age, Rule of Darkness maps the complex relationship between Victorian literary forms, genres, and theories and imperialist, racist ideology. Critics and cultural historians have usually regarded the Empire as being of marginal importance to early and mid-Victorian writers. Patrick Brantlinger asserts that the Empire was central to British culture as a source of ideological and artistic energy, both supported by and lending support to widespread belief in racial superiority, the need to transform “savagery” into “civilization,” and the urgency of promoting emigration.

Rule of Darkness brings together material from public records, memoirs, popular culture, and canonical literature. Brantlinger explores the influence of the novels of Captain Frederick Marryat, pioneer of British adolescent adventure fiction, and shows the importance of William Makepeace Thackeray’s experience of India to his novels. He treats a number of Victorian best sellers previously ignored by literary historians, including the Anglo-Indian writer Philip Meadows Taylor’s Confessions of a Thug and Seeta. Brantlinger situates explorers’ narratives and travelogues by such famous author-adventurers as David Livingstone and Sir Richard Burton in relation to other forms of Victorian and Edwardian prose. Through readings of works by Arthur Conan Doyle, Joseph Conrad, H. Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, John Hobson, and many others, he considers representations of Africa, India, and other non-British parts of the world in both fiction and nonfiction.

The most comprehensive study yet of literature and imperialism in the early and mid-Victorian years, Rule of Darkness offers, in addition, a revisionary interpretation of imperialism as a significant factor in later British cultural history, from the 1880s to World War I. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with Victorian culture and society and, more generally, with the relationship between Victorian writers and imperialism, ‘and between racist ideology and patterns of domination in modern history.