The combination of fascinating texts, critically up-to-the minute readings and Richard Jacob's engaging, lively approach makes this a book every fan or student of literature should own. Jacobs has assembled an invaluable collection of literary texts and provides accompanying commentaries designed to help you contextualize your own responses. This Introductory work brings together interesting texts and engaging commentary. In his commentaries, Richard Jacobs explains some of the most crucial issues in literary studies today; includes advice for those wishing to read more about a particular issue or critical approach; and reveals, through his obvious enjoyment of the texts he discusses, that literary studies can be pleasurable and energizing for everyone. Written with freshness, insight, and humor, this guide will prove invaluable on your literary and critical journeys. Texts examined include: The Merchant of Venice, Paradise Lost, Gulliver's Travels, Wuthering Heights, "The Yellow Wallpaper," The Turn of the Screw and The Secret Agent.