This open textbook was originally planned as a stand-alone anthology for various one-semester second-year Modern English Literature courses in the British Columbia colleges and universities system, but it can also be used elsewhere and at other levels, or as a supplementary text for the Victorians and Moderns portions of British literature survey courses. Besides its portability, searchability, and compatibility with smart phones, tablets, e-readers, and laptop or desktop computers, students should welcome its free availability online anywhere in the world, providing instant access to a variety of enriching photographic, audio, and video resources via the Internet. Another key feature is the series of six appendices, containing three mini-casebooks, a glossary of literary terms, and practical guides to writing literary essays and documenting them in correct MLA format. These “controlled” research casebooks and guides should be particularly helpful to students without easy access to the resources of large academic libraries. Its defects are wholly the responsibility of the editor. In the explanatory apparatus, he has tried to avoid the faults attributed by Aldous Huxley to certain editors, whom he chides for fulsomely explaining and discussing “the obvious points” while passing over “the hard passages, about which one might want to know something,…in the silence of sheer ignorance” (Limbo 197).
Such a project would not have been possible without those whose labours have resulted in the invaluable Internet digital libraries and resources such as Archive.org, Professor George Landow’s The Victorian Web, Oxford University’s First World War Poetry Digital Archive, the Poets.org site of the American Academy of Poets, various BBC and British Library educational sites, Wikimedia Commons and its sister sites, as well as numerous other helpful public Internet sites maintained by universities and individuals.
Vancouver, September 12, 2014