This new textbook series is ambitious in scope. It will provide concise and lucid introductions to major works of world literature from classical antiquity to the twentieth century. It is not confined to any single literary tradition or genre, and will cumulatively form a substantial library of textbooks on some of the most important and widely read literary masterpieces. Each book is devoted to a single work and provides a close reading of that text, as well as a full account of its historical, cultural, and intellectual background, a discussion of its influence, and a guide to further reading. The contributors to the series give full consideration to the linguistic issues raised by each text, and, within the overall framework of the series, are given complete freedom in the choice of their critical method. Where the text is written in a language other than English, full account is taken of readers studying the text in English translation. While critical jargon is avoided, important technical terminology is fully explained and thus this series will be genuinely accessible to students at all levels and to general readers.