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ENGL 112: Poetry and Song

Literary Histories

While literary histories aim to offer a well-informed and reasonable objective overview, they are more detailed and interpretive than encyclopedias. They are useful for learning about trends in literature over a broad period. For example, you might want to place a work in the context of the development of a particular genre or within a period in history.
Histories provide background reading to address other questions such as: What form did literature take in the fifteenth century? Which female authors were writing in the Middle Ages? When did a particular school of criticism begin? Histories generally represent the consensus view against which new ideas or interpretations can be tested.


The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism
Intended as a history of Western literary theory and criticism from classical antiquity to the present.