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This is a book about English Studies, aimed at all those who are taking English degrees, or teaching them. It gives a detailed account of the core of the discipline - the close reading of texts, contexts, and 'intertexts'. It also treats some of the major current issues within the discipline, such as the relationship between literature and history. It works through a series of fully developed applied examples, rather than by abstract exposition and exhortation. It is a reflective overview which constantly exemplifies the practice it reflects upon.
Peter Barry has taught English at every level - in primary and secondary schools, in further and higher education colleges, and at universities. He was at the former LSU College, Southampton, from 1980 to 1995, and moved in that year to his present post at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He has been co-editor of English (the journal of the English association) since 1988, and reviews and poetry editor since 1995, and he is also an advisory member of the executive of the association. His previous books include Contemporary British Poetry and the City (Manchester University Press, 2000), and the academic best-seller Beginning Theory (2nd edition Manchester University Press, 2002). He also co-edits the Beginnings series for MUP.