Routledge Engagements with Literature

Daniel A. Robinson, Series Editor

About This Series

This series presents engagement as discovery. It aims to encourage ways to read seriously and to help readers hone and develop new habits of thinking critically and creatively about what they read—before, during, and after doing it. Each book in the series actively involves its readers by encouraging them to find their own insights, to develop their own judgments, and to inspire them to enter ongoing debates. Moreover, each Engagements volume:

  • Provides essential information about its topic as well as alternative views and approaches;
  • Covers the classic scholarship on its topic as well as the newest approaches and suggests new directions for study and research;
  • Includes innovative “Engagements” sections that demonstrate practices for engaging with literature or that provide suggestions for further independent engagement;
  • Provides an array of fresh, stimulating, and effective catalysts to reading, thinking, writing, and research.

Above all, Engagements with Literature shows that actively engaging with literature rewards the effort and that any reader can make new discoveries. My hope is the books in this series will help readers discover new, better, and more exciting and enjoyable ways of doing what we do when we read.


The first book in the series is an auspicious launch—Annette Federico’s Engagements with Close Reading!

Available 4 October 2015!

Annette Federico, Engagements with Close Reading

Engagements Close Reading coverWhat should we do with a literary work? Is it best to become immersed in a novel or poem, or is our job to objectively dissect it? Should we consult literature as a source of knowledge or wisdom, or keenly interrogate its designs upon us? Do we excavate the text as an historical artifact, or surrender to its aesthetic qualities?

In the wake of cultural studies and historicism, Engagements with Close Reading encourages us to bring our eyes back to the words on the page, inviting students and instructors to puzzle out the motives, high stakes, limitations, and rewards of the literary encounter under the pressure of this beleaguered and persistent methodology.

‘All purposeful reading begins with careful close reading. Federico’s engaging discussion, supplemented with excellent illustrations and a set of detailed sample close readings by major scholars and teachers, effectively de-mystifies this essential tool, opening new pathways to fuller understanding and greater appreciation of literature. This is an accessible and immediately useful contribution to literary studies.’ 

Stephen C. Behrendt, University Professor and George Holmes Distinguished Professor of English, University of Nebraska, USA

‘Annette Federico’s book reminds us it’s okay to like what we read, and gives us carefully explained ways to help us understand how to read closely. Her erudition is everywhere apparent as she moves dexterously from critic to critic as she unpacks for us their tools. She does this is in an easy and direct prose that is reliably clear and refreshing. I think this book is a significant restorative for the rewards of reading literature.’ 

Ralph Alan Cohen, Gonder Professor of English, Mary Baldwin College, USA


I have the distinct pleasure of presenting the brilliant Engagements with Narrative by Janine Utell!

Available 22 October 2015!

Janine Utell, Engagements with Narrative

engagements narrative coverBalancing key foundational topics with new developments and trends, Engagements with Narrative offers an accessible introduction to narratology. As new narrative forms and media emerge, the study of narrative and the ways people communicate through imagination, empathy, and storytelling is especially relevant for students of literature today. Janine Utell presents the foundational texts, key concepts, and big ideas that form narrative theory and practical criticism, engaging readers in the study of stories by telling the story of a field and its development.

This guide teaches the key concepts of narrative―time, space, character, perspective, setting―while facilitating conversations among different approaches and media, and opening paths to new inquiry. Engagements with Narrative is ideal for readers needing an introduction to the field, as well as for those seeking insight into both its historical developments and new directions.

‘Wonderful—Janine Utell has given us by far the most enjoyable and accessible introduction to story-making. Her book explores how the world of a ‘good story’ is constructed, encouraging   readers to engage with key concepts, media and critical practices. More than this, she stimulates her readers to discover their own ideas and insights as they figure out how exemplary stories are shaped and structured. Highly recommended.’ 

Nicholas Roe, Professor of English, University of St. Andrews, UK

‘Janine Utell explores narratology in writing that is itself lucid and unpretentious. The style sets off her remarkable erudition as the perfect setting does a fine gem. This is a book that will become a classic.’

David Cowart, Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Humanities, University of South Carolina, USA


Forthcoming:

Evan Gottlieb, Engagements with Contemporary Critical Theory

Jason Goldsmith, Engagements with Nature Writing

I am interested in proposals for future books in the series; if would like to submit a proposal, please contact me with a query and I will send you more information.