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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 May 2017
Very helpful book
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on 13 January 2015
The expected delivery date wasn't accurate at all, I had to wait an additional two weeks. It is essential that course literature arrives on time, thus the low score. When it comes to quality there were no issues with the book, it well met my expectations.
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on 7 February 2010
For anyone studying Literature, this book is a must-have! It's clearly written (unlike many of its counterparts),engaging and informative. You really will find it a breath of fresh air compared to many other books on the same subject. It is written in plain English and introduces new concepts in a manner that is easy to grasp. Best of all, each chapter has a very well written summary at the end, that you can use as a quick reference and reminder. This book has helped me greatly in my English Literature degree!
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on 4 May 2013
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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on 19 October 2003
'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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on 19 May 2010
This book handles some of the questions I have been asking myself for years in a very readable and relaxed way. Although I could put the book down, I was drawn back to read the next chapter through curiosity about what Eaglestone was going to say next. I particularly enjoyed the chapters relating to F.R. Leavis and Shakespeare and wished this book had been around when I studied for A level.
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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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on 2 November 2014
I was actually taught by Rob Eaglestone in Westminster University in the 90's. He was a truly inspirational & passionate lecturer and I'll never forget my anticipation and excitement prior to listening to his fascinating ideas especially on Philosophy. This professor cemented my love for English. His book doesn't fail to live up to my expectations & I use it now for some of my own English GCSE pupils. Buy it!
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on 7 August 2015
A brilliant guide that explains clearly the importance of studying English at University and what prospective students should expect. 'Guides' to studying English Literature are usually a thorny subject for me, partly because there are some that are excellent, and some that are just utter rubbish. Happy to say this book falls into the former category.
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on 6 June 2010
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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