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This text offers a unique combination of British, European, American and Post-Colonial perspectives on literary study from the 1920s to the present day. Carefully introduced and arranged to highlight the development of debates, it is designed to engage newcomers to the field with some of the main themes and issues that will concern them as readers of modern literary texts of all genres. The book provides material that is exciting, original, and above all accessible, rather than simply representative of a certain critical approach. It includes the views of leading critics such as Terry Eagleton, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Umberto Eco and Paul de Man, as well as the originating voices of writers such as Bertolt Brecht, Jean-Paul Sartre, Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie. In the second edition, there is an increased focus on questions of gender and identity and on recent debates, such as 'Literature and Nation' and 'Literature and Value'. The reach and relevance of the book has been extended, taking a more international voice, focusing on American and European writers and critics.