This title and its companion volume provide an overview of British literature in its social and historical context from the Anglo-Saxon period through to the twenty-first century. They trace literary developments an all genres, and touch as well on key developments in the history of the language and the history of print culture. They also provide essential historical background for those unfamiliar with the unfolding of British political, social, economic, and cultural history during each of the six periods into which the study of British literature is commonly divided (The Medieval Period, The Renaissance and Early Seventeenth Century, The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, The Age of Romanticism, The Victorian Era, The Twentieth Century and Beyond). Included are a wide variety of illustrations, including 24 pages of color plates in each volume. The material for British Literature: A Historical Overview has been drawn from the general introductions to the six volumes of the acclaimed Broadview Anthology of British Literature.