An Outline of English Fiction consists of comments and examples of texts from Anglo-Saxon times to 1754 and it is roughly divided into four main periods. The Age of Ambiguity deals with the oldest Anglo-Saxon literary texts where elements of fiction, non-fiction and poetry are not yet clearly established and frequently overlap. This period ends with the Norman Conquest (1066) and the description of deep structural changes in both the language and the social and cultural situation. The second part, The Age of Romance, is focused on the dominant epic genre of the age: medieval chivalry romance and its derivatives, tries to present its top achievements and, eventually, gradual modifications up to the beginning of the 17th century. The third part, An Interlude: Varieties of Renaissance Writing, deals with the transition from the medieval romance to the novel of modern times; it covers the varieties of the English fiction of reformation, revolution, and restoration. The Age of Novel covers the shortest period of all three. However, it is considered the most important. Its purpose is to describe main narrative techniques of newly born genre in English prose.

The selected texts (on this CD) have been chosen mainly to illustrate the developments of writers' techniques in the course of the history of literature as well as to show some possible ways of basic literary analyses. They are sometimes reduced to the most important sections but not simplified (only modern English renderings have been used in The Age of Ambiguity and The Age of Romance) never abridged, or otherwise edited.

The purpose is not only to provide the students with some comprehensive text for information in the field but also to give them an introductory teaching aid for their background studies that would be further developed at lectures and seminars of their regular courses.

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