Northrop Frye is probably *the* most important English-language literary critic of the 20th century. "The Educated Imagination" is a series of six short essays based on talks/lectures he gave on Canadian radio. His focus here is slightly different than many of his other works (like the classic study "An Anatomy of Criticism". He begins by posing some very basic questions that tend to be taken for granted in more scholarly works-- questions like "What IS literature?", "How is literature different from other types of writing?" "What value is there in reading/studying literature?" "How should literature be taught in schools?" etc. In the course of answering these questions, Frye introduces the reader to his general theory of literature and literary criticism. Throughout the book, his style, tone, vocabulary, and approach are extremely accessible and "reader-friendly". All and all, this isn't as through, as rigorous, or a intelletually rich a book as some of Fryes more scholarly work (e.g. "An Anatomy of Criticism", "The Great Code", "Fearful Symmetry", etc.), but it's an excellent and accessible introduction to his view of literature in general-- and as to why humans create and value it.