Fresh, original and compelling, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory is the essential guide to literary studies. Starting at 'the beginning' and concluding with 'the end', the book covers topics that range from the familiar (character, narrative, the author) to the more unusual (secrets, pleasure, ghosts). Eschewing abstract isms, Bennett and Royle successfully illuminate complex ideas by engaging directly with literary works - so that a reading of Jane Eyre opens up ways of thinking about racial difference, whilst Chaucer, Raymond Chandler and Monty Python are all invoked in a discussion of literary laughter. Each chapter ends with a narrative guide to further reading and the book also includes a glossary and bibliography. The fourth edition has been revised to incorporate two timely new chapters on animals and the environment. A breath of fresh air in a field that can often seem dry and dauntingly theoretical, this book will open the reader's eyes to the exhilarating possibilities of both reading and studying literature.