English Social History is a book by G M Trevelyan. Published originally in 1942 for the purpose of serving the interests of research students and scholars of English literature, the book has recently seen its demand rising in India – especially among the aspirants of NET English examination. The book covers, in a well-organised and systematic manner, the social and cultural history of England from Chaucer to the Victorian period. And the recent inclusion of Cultural History of England as a different Unit in the NET English literature syllabus has raised the alarm for many aspirants who aspire to qualify the examination conducted by National Testing Agency and see themselves among the eligible candidates for becoming assistant professors. So, is the book that valuable? Let’s get into the contents and review English Social History by Trevelyan.
The book covers social and cultural conditions in England from the time of Chaucer. It has been organised neatly and the readers of this book can clearly see the chapters named after the major figures of English literature. Chaucer’s England, Shakespeare’s England, Dr Johnson’s England, and The Victorian Era are the major episodes and rest others are there to take the number of chapters to 18 along with the supplied maps, diagrams and a wonderful introduction by the author at the beginning.
As the highlight of the book, I can clearly mention the very well-settled social scenarios that have been presented by the author in this book. The author has also taken a very clear path by presenting all the important revolutions, evolutions and discoveries that changed the ways of the English society. Otherwise, the social and cultural history of a country would certainly become boring enough for any reader to study. However, in this case, G M Trevelyan has done fairly enough to make his points, events, historical facts and other details interesting enough to keep the readers enthusiastic and engaged with the content.
So, in my scrutiny, this book stands up to the promises it makes to the students. By studying this book, a NET English literature aspirant can certainly cover, comprehensively, the areas of social and cultural history of England and prepare to score well in the examination. You should buy this book if you are planning to buy one book for this key section of your examination preparations. You can get a copy from Amazon here:
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analysis and opinions by Shradha for Literature News
English Social History
A must-have book for UGC NET Engish Literature aspirants!