The history of English writing is, to a considerable extent, the history of instructional writing in English. This volume is the first collection of papers to focus on instructional writing throughout the history of the language. Spanning a millennium of English texts, the materials studied represent procedural and behavioural discourse in a variety of genres. The primary texts, from Ælfric’s homilies to medieval cooking recipes to seventeenth-century American conduct literature to present-day language textbooks, display a variety of linguistic devices typical of instruction. The materials nonetheless differ with respect to the explicitness of their instructive purpose. Bringing together a broad range of instructional writing from the Old, Middle and Modern English periods, this collection celebrates the sixtieth birthday of Risto Hiltunen, who has successfully combined discourse-linguistic approaches with the history of English in his research, and inspired the colleagues and former students contributing to this volume.