History of English Literature is a comprehensive, eight-volume survey of English literature from the Middle Ages to the early twenty-first century. This reference work provides insightful and often revisionary readings of core texts in the English literary canon. Richly informative analyses are framed by the biographical, historical and intellectual context for each author.
Volume 4 begins with a focus on the pivotal function of religion in the mid-nineteenth century and explores the resulting oscillation between Romantic escape, sceptical solipsism and social responsibility in the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Tennyson, Browning, Clough and Matthew Arnold. The aegis of religion was only broken by the advent of Pre-Raphaelitism. This trajectory is reflected in a series of well-known enigmatic masterworks by the Rossettis.