What does advanced or university study of English literature involve today? How should students read literary texts? Answers to these questions have substantially changed over recent decades, particularly in response to advances in literary theory. In the light of these trends, this volume provides a new, updated guide for students beginning their study of literature. It provides clear, prgamatic explanations of critical practices and literary forms, styles, and techniques, employing examples taken from readily available, commonly assigned works. Each chapter is written by an experienced academic and teacher, resulting in an unbeatable introduction to the reading of literary texts and their critical, formal, and historical implications. New students will find new and essential insights on every page, directing their understanding for years to come and opening up the imaginative promise of literary study.