Who is this book for?
If you are studying English literature for A level, for the International Baccalaureate or on an Access course, or are starting a degree in literature, this book is for you. In fact, whatever English literature course you are taking, no matter where you are, this book is not only an ideal stepping-stone to university but also an introduction to crucial new questions and ideas about English and literature. According to the University and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), about 5 per cent of all higher education students in the UK are doing English as a single or combined degree—a total of around 30,000 students. English is the third most popular subject after Computer Science and Business Studies. Surprisingly, and despite being so popular, there isn’t a clear answer to the question ‘What is English?’. To say that it is ‘the study of literature’, ‘analysing writing’ or simply reading novels, poems and plays, and thinking and writing about them, doesn’t really answer the question. What does ‘learning about literature’ or ‘studying English’ actually mean? What ideas does