In an updated edition of his hugely successful student introduction to English literature from 1100 to 1500, J. A. Burrow takes account of scholarly developments in the the field, most tably devoting a final chapter to the impact of historicism on medieval studies. Full of information and stimulating ideas, and a pleasure to read, Burrow's book deals with circumstances of composition and reception, the main genres, 'modes of meaning' (allegory etc.), and medieval literature's afterlife in modern times. It shows that the literature of authors such as Chaucer, Gower, and Langland is more readily accessible than usually imagined, and well worth reading too. By placing medieval writers in their historical context - the four centuries between the Norman Conquest and the Renaissance - Professor Burrow explains t only how they wrote, but why.