Second edition

Arturo Cattaneo

Like its first edition, the revised and enlarged Short History of English Literature is user-friendly. The intention is still to offer a literary history that is both scientifically reliable and accessible to students. Special care has been taken to clarify the basic terms, concepts, historical and cultural facts that define literary periods, before examining their authors in some detail. In presenting the writers, two leading principles have been followed: to concentrate on major works, and to illustrate them by quoting passages that make clear the critical point in hand. Literary and cultural insights enlarge the student's appreciation of a given author or theme or genre: some deal with specific aspects of English literature ("Shakespeare's Workshop", i.e. how he elaborated on his sources), some place it in the wider context of European literature (the Don Juan myth, for instance), some within Anglo-Italian relations (Chaucer and Boccaccio, Scott and Manzoni). The ever-growing diffusion of English as a literary language across the world has also called for a substantial revision and enlargement of the chapter devoted to literature in English and its major writers. New substantial aids for the student have been introduced: a section on literary genres (poetry, prose, drama), a series of boxes on the development of the English language (from Anglo-Saxon to global English), chapters on contemporary issues (Racism, Women Lib, Young People). The book also includes a Glossary of literary terms (with cross references to the word's first appearance in the text).

Autore/i e indice


Arturo Cattaneo teaches English Literature at the Catholic University of Milan. He has written articles and books on the influence of the classics in English Renaissance literature and on Shakespeare (L’ideale umanistico. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey; Shakespeare e l’amore). His research interests also include the 18th-century English novel, Caribbean literature, Anglo-Italian cultural relations (Il trionfo della memoria. La casa della vita di Mario Praz; Chi stramalediva gli inglesi. La diffusione della letteratura inglese e americana in Italia tra le due guerre), law and literature (Shakespeare alla sbarra. Giustizia e processi nel “Mercante di Venezia” e in “Otello”; Jekill, Hyde e l’altro).


From the Middle Ages to the Romantics
By Way of Introduction: The UK and the English Language; The Anglo-Saxon Period (449-1066): Introduction; 1. Anglo-Saxon Literature; The Middle Ages (1066-1485): Introduction; 1. Middle English Poetry; 2. Medieval Drama; 3. Medieval Romance; The Renaissance (1485-1660): Introduction; 1. The English Renaissance; 2. The Flowering of the Renaissance; 3. The Elizabethan Theatre; 4. William Shakespeare (1564-1616); 5. Jacobean and Caroline Theatre; 6. The School of Wit; 7. The Metaphysical and Cavalier Poets; 8. The Last Phase of the Renaissance; 9. Science and Philosophy; The Restoration (1660-1702): Introduction; 1. Restoration Prose; 2. Restoration Poetry; 3. Restoration Drama; The Eighteenth Century (1702-1798): Introduction; 1. The Great Augustans; 2. The Periodicals: Addison and Steele; 3. The Rise of the Novel; 4. Eighteenth-Century Drama; 5. Eighteenth-Century Prose; 6. The Poetry of Transition: Pre-Romanticism; Romanticism (1798-1837): Introduction; 1. Romantic Poetry; 2. The Romantic Essay; 3. The Romantic Novel; Appendix. A Short Introduction to Literary Genres; Glossary of Literary Terms; Selected Bibliography; Index.

From the Victorians to the Present
By Way of Introduction: The UK and the English Language; The Victorian Age (1837-1901): Introduction; 1. The Early Victorian Novel; 2. Early Victorian Poetry; 3. Victorian Issues; 4. The Late Victorian Novel; 5. Late Victorian Poetry; 6. Aestheticism; The Modern Age (1901-1945): Introduction; 1. The Poetry of Transition; 2. The Poetry of World War I; 3. The Drama of Transition; 4. The Novel of Transition; 5. Modernism; 6. The Age of Anxiety; The Contemporary Age (1945-Present): Introduction; 1. Contemporary Drama; 2. Contemporary Poetry; 3. The Contemporary Novel; Contemporary Issues: 1. Young People and the Generation Gap; 2. Discrimination against Women; 3. Racism; Literature in English: Introduction; 1. Canada, Australia, New Zealand; 2. Indian Literature in English; 3. African Literature in English; 4. The Literature of the West Indies; Appendix: A Short Introduction to Literary Genres; Glossary of Literary Terms; Selected Bibliography; Index.

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