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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Friendly Introduction To New Approaches
'Doing English' serves excellently as an introductory guide to the attitudes and debates which literary theory has placed on to the agenda of English Studies, at university and now sixth-form levels. It is easy-to-read, lively, stimulating and clear, revealing theory to be far more pertinent and less arcane than it often seems in raw form. The issues Eaglestone...
Published on 19 Oct 2003

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10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books ever written
I'm not sure at whom this book was aimed, but it seems people with even halfway developed critical faculties were not considered. Mindlessly trite, poorly expressed and deliberately infuriating jargon fills the pages. This was recommended for a PGCE course: read it only if you're considering dropping out and need confirmation of why you don't like...
Published on 17 Feb 2006 by William Burn


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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Friendly Introduction To New Approaches, 19 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students (Paperback)
'Doing English' serves excellently as an introductory guide to the attitudes and debates which literary theory has placed on to the agenda of English Studies, at university and now sixth-form levels. It is easy-to-read, lively, stimulating and clear, revealing theory to be far more pertinent and less arcane than it often seems in raw form. The issues Eaglestone discusses are now central concerns of the discipline, for better or worse, so students will need to be acquainted with them, and Eaglestone presents them in an unusually friendly, accessible form. For some undergraduates this introduction will be too basic, but for most it will be very useful.
Yet there are limitations: Eaglestone is clearly an advocate of the new approaches he describes, which means that he does not present a balanced view of the debates, but presents simplified versions of 'traditionalist' arguments as naive and outmoded. Readers should be warned not to take his dismissals as the final word. The book would perhaps be better entitled 'Doing Literary Theory', to avoid giving the impression that English departments no longer engage with 'canonical texts' on respectful terms, only with a deconstuctive eye. Fortunately, at most universities this is not the case, whatever Eaglestone might wish. So don't worry if you prefer the literary classics to postmodern philosophy, you can still enjoy studying English. But if you are uncomfortable with new approaches and yet are willing to give them a chance, this book is for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why to Do English, 4 May 2013
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Mr. J. A. Darlington (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is my go-to text not only for new students but also for any of my friends who are interesting just what "doing English" entails. I agree with many of the other positive reviews on here and think that confusion of purposes is likely at the root of the more negative opinions. Yes, this is a book aimed at British undergrad or potentially-undergrad (ie. A levels, etc) students and so will not be appropriate to other national education systems (yes, even the American and other English speaking societies) nor does it aim to uncover any new essential truths to already established academics. What I do believe this book does fantastically, however, is position the student within a history of study that is constantly shifting and evolving.

Eaglestone locates the historical origins of the study of English Literature in the attempt to instill English values upon the people of the Indian subcontinent. After failing to convert the Indians to Christianity (turns out people don't take too kindly to that), the great English novels were considered a less controversial way to "civilise" the people of that plundered nation. Following the Great War, Britain needed to replace its "officer class" and so needed, in essence, to "civilise" its own working class who didn't have the Latin and Greek to read the classics. Thus, English Literature came to Britain. This introduction about hegemony, ideology, and the use of culture to shape nations is a great way of outlining the many and varied approaches to literature that have come since within the British academy. As a result, one feels that by "Doing English" you are very much part of an ongoing conflict about what values we should hold and how society should be shaped. Although straightforward and accessible, Eaglestone's prose is marked by this vitality and earnestness which really conveys a sense of why it matters. It is this enthusiasm which, I argue, is of absolute importance for a student's success. When you feel you have a stake in it, the required efforts will follow.

Thoroughly recommended to those thinking of Doing English themselves, and even more to those with the near-impossible job of teaching it. Also a fantastic read for those sick of our contemporary philistinism which questions why anything outside of direct fiscal reward matters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC SERVICE, 11 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students (Paperback)
Thankfully I don't need to read this book! I bought this for my daughter who is off to Uni on Saturday. I needed quick delivery and your delivery was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! I am a very happy Customer! Thank You Millions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well I thoroughly liked it!, 11 Mar 2011
This review is from: Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students (Paperback)
This is a very useful book for gaining an insight into the techniques required for literary criticism. Perhaps it does lean towards the very simplistic, but that is the major attraction of the work when the student is faced with the abstruse theories of Post structuralism, Post Modernism and even formalism. It discusses terms such as metonymy, tropes, synecdoche, anthropomorphism and animism, and basically gives you labels for figures of speech you use every day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A student's view, 6 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students (Paperback)
I bought this book while studying English Literature at University level, it was easy to read, catered to all students (regardless of year) and was great as a reference point during essays and dissertations.
While Eaglestone's bias can sometimes hinder the view, it is worth buying overall
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for the audience it caters for., 11 May 2001
By A Customer
I read Eaglestones' book as a mature student about to embark on an English degree. It taught me a lot about the origins of studying English (did you know that it had roots in the East India Company?)as well as introducing me to different critical approaches.For the right audience, this book is excellent.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent intorduction to literary criticism, 27 Feb 2000
By A Customer
I found this book to be a straightforward guide to literary criticism. It is a good basis for the breech between A-Level and first year English degree study. As a second year English student I found that it offered me the best starting point to understanding the complicated aspects of literary criticism.
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10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books ever written, 17 Feb 2006
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William Burn "gingerburn" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students (Paperback)
I'm not sure at whom this book was aimed, but it seems people with even halfway developed critical faculties were not considered. Mindlessly trite, poorly expressed and deliberately infuriating jargon fills the pages. This was recommended for a PGCE course: read it only if you're considering dropping out and need confirmation of why you don't like English. If you do love the subject and want to see it dealt with in an intellectually honest, thoughtful and sensible way, don't go anywhere near this book.
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11 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A total waste of time - ridiculously useless, 22 Feb 2000
By A Customer
Eaglestone's Doing English promises much in presenting an introduction to students embarking on University study of English language and literature, yet ultimately delivers very little. While there is an obvious realisation on the authors part form the very outset that the text will provide little more than a very rough outline to the subject, the final product goes little further than the small summaries given at the end of tghe chapter. The only piece of truly thought-provoking information comes when the student follows the guide to 'Further Reading'; this short and shallow book offers never more than a glimpse of the issues such as the history of the language, what our preconceptions of study are, and possible methods of challenging those assumptions. Critical topics such as why and how we study are glossed over in a wash of petty, obvious and vague diagrams which add nothing to the text and simply serve to remind the reader of how lacking in depth the book is...Scraping the surface with overarching arguments on issues that are actually much more complex than the author would wish them to appear is NOT the same as providing an introduction to a topic. No recommendations here; for this kind of guide in a more astute form, see The English Studies Book. Trust me, 'Doing English' in reality is much more worthwhile and fun than this book reflects.
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Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students
Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students by Robert Eaglestone (Paperback - 22 Aug 2002)
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