The study of literature has been an integral part of academic education for over a century now. Owing to its medium, language, literature is a major component of degree courses in foreign languages, of which English is by far the most popular today. Like other academic disciplines, the study of literature is a highly specialized intellectual pursuit. It has its own conventions, terminology, frames of reference and theoretical paradigms, which serious students ignore at their peril. By surveying the major subdivisions of the field in a British and American context, this book offers the reader systematic guidance to literary rhetoric (including rhythm, metre and the figurative uses of language), genre theory, old and new schools of theory and criticism as well as the history of the academic study of English and American literature in Britain, the United States and Hungary. Ideally, the reader to profit most from this Introduction is the student of English working for a degree within the academic framework that Hungarian universities and colleges provide, as is reflected by the structuring of the book and by the incorporation, where warranted, of material from Hungarian sources. The division of the text into manageable units, the detailed table of contents, the frequent summaries as well as the index of names and titles make The Study of Literature reader-friendly and easily accessible.