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This new edition of an established text provides a lively, concise and up-to-date historical overview of the story of English literature. Focusing on how writing both reflects and challenges the periods in which it is produced, John Peck and Martin Coyle combine close readings of key texts with recent critical thinking on the interaction of literary works and culture. A Brief History of English Literature: * offers an engaging chronological narrative of all the main literary periods, from Anglo-Saxon times through to the present day * now features a new final chapter on twenty-first century literature and an updated Chronology and Further Reading section * places novels, poems, plays and other forms of writing in their social, political and cultural contexts * covers canonical and non-canonical texts. A true masterpiece of clarity and compression, this is essential reading for students of English Literature and general readers alike.