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Classic essays on English literature, written in the late Professor Derek Brewer's characteristically lively and accessible manner.Derek Brewer, here on the brink of his long and successful career, takes a look at issues in English literature which were to remain of enduring interest to him. Lecturing in Japan at the time, a country where English culture was not at the time well known and understood, he stepped back to get matters in focus. These pages provide a brilliant synthesis of the attitudes and understanding that informed English literature from the early middle ages to the twentieth century.
His special subjects are already to the fore: the medieval 'mindset', Chaucer, Malory, and the art of story above all. But his wide view also homes in on Shakespeare; on Wordsworth and the Romantics; and on E. M. Forster and modern novelists. Each of these topics Derek Brewer subtly contextualises with observations that are at once illuminating and informed by common sense. The whole is prefaced by a consideration of the important issues and preoccupations that underpin English literature, and how attitudes towards them evolved: morality, a sense of time, love, class and religion.
Professor Derek Brewer (1923-2008), medievalist and scholar, was Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, from 1977-90.
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