British Literature: A Historical Overview, Volume A
  • Publication Date: June 14, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781554810017 / 1554810019
  • 256 pages; 6½" x 9"

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British Literature: A Historical Overview, Volume A

  • Publication Date: June 14, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781554810017 / 1554810019
  • 256 pages; 6½" x 9"

In all six of its volumes The Broadview Anthology of British Literature presents British literature in a truly distinctive light. Fully grounded in sound literary and historical scholarship, the anthology takes a fresh approach to many canonical authors, and includes a wide selection of work by lesser-known writers. The anthology also provides wide-ranging coverage of the worldwide connections of British literature, and it pays attention throughout to issues of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. It includes comprehensive introductions to each period, providing in each case an overview of the historical and cultural as well as the literary background. It features accessible and engaging headnotes for all authors, extensive explanatory annotations, and an unparalleled number of illustrations and contextual materials. Innovative, authoritative and comprehensive, The Broadview Anthology of British Literature has established itself as a leader in the field.

The full anthology comprises six bound volumes, together with an extensive website component; the latter has been edited, annotated, and designed according to the same high standards as the bound book component of the anthology, and is accessible by using the passcode obtained with the purchase of one or more of the bound volumes.

These two volumes provide an overview of British literature in its social and historical context from the Anglo-Saxon period through to the twenty-first century. They trace literary developments an all genres, and touch as well on key developments in the history of the language and the history of print culture. And they provide essential historical background for those unfamiliar with the unfolding of British political, social, economic, and cultural history during each of the six periods into which the study of British literature is commonly divided (The Medieval Period, The Renaissance and Early Seventeenth Century, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, The Age of Romanticism, The Victorian Era, The Twentieth Century and Beyond). Included are a wide variety of illustrations, including 24 pages of color plates in each volume.

The material for British Literature: A Historical Overview has been drawn from the general introductions to the six volumes of the acclaimed Broadview Anthology of British Literature. A Historical Overview, Volume B is also available; this covers the age of Romanticism through the twentieth century and beyond.


Comments on British Literature: A Historical Overview:

“It is very hard to condense a period’s historical, cultural, political, and literary background in such a way as to engage and inform students and instructors alike. Broadview not only rises to that challenge; it succeeds magnificently. … These introductions are compelling and readable, informative and smart. One could not ask for a better overview of the major periods of British history!” — Amy Montz, University of Southern Indiana

Comments on The Broadview Anthology of British Literature:

“ … sets a new standard by which all other anthologies of British Literature will now have to be measured.” — Graham Hammill, SUNY Buffalo

“With the publication of the Broadview Anthology of British Literature, teachers and students in survey and upper-level undergraduate courses have a compelling alternative to the established anthologies by Norton and Longman. … This is a very real intellectual, as well as pedagogical, achievement.” — Nicholas Watson, Harvard University

“ … an excellent anthology. Good selections for my purposes (including some nice surprises), just the right level of annotation, affordable—and a hit with my students. I will definitely use it again.” — Ira Nadel, University of British Columbia



  • History, Narrative, Culture
    England before the Norman Conquest
    • Roman and Celtic Britain
      Migration and Conversion
      Invasion and Unification
  • England after the Norman Conquest
    • The Normans and Feudalism
      Henry II and an International Culture
      The Thirteenth Century
      The English Monarchy
      Cultural Expression in the Fourteenth Century
      Fifteenth-Century Transitions
      Language and Prosody


  • Humanism
    Scientific Inquiry
    The Reformation in England
    Wales, Scotland, Ireland
    Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I
    Elizabeth I and Gender
    Homoeroticism and Transgendering
    Economy and Society in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
    “The Round Earth’s Imagined Corners”
    The Stuarts and the Civil Wars
    Literary Genres
    • Literature in Prose, and the Development of Print Culture
      The Drama
  • The English Language in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries


  • Religion, Government, and Party Politics
    Empiricism, Skepticism, and Religious Dissent
    Industry, Commerce, and the Middle Class
    Ethical Dilemmas in a Changing Nation
    Print Culture
    The Novel
    The Development of the English Language

Monarchs and Prime Ministers of Great Britain

Our Editorial Team:

Joseph Black, University of Massachusetts
Leonard Conolly, Trent University
Kate Flint, University of Southern California
Isobel Grundy, University of Alberta
Roy Liuzza, University of Tennessee
Jerome McGann, University of Virginia
Anne Prescott, Barnard College
Barry Qualls, Rutgers University
Claire Waters, University of Virginia