The History of English Literature

The History of English Literature

THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE is the first history of British and Irish literature written in the Hungarian language. More than eighty academics and researchers have contributed chapters to the volumes, sharing their knowledge with a wider readership. Their aim was to show the literary richness of the British Isles, as recorded from the earliest times to the present. The chapters are filled with information, but each chapter is written in such a way that those interested in literature would find it easy to read. The multivolume work uses the latest Hungarian and international research to provide the fullest possible account of the literary heritage of Britain and Ireland.

The History of English Literature research project was headed by our professor and former Director of the School of English and American Studies, Géza Kállay. The research project received funding from a NKFI-OTKA research grant (No. 101798) between 2012 and 2017. The project saw completion under the editorship of Prof. Tamás Bényei of the University of Debrecen.

Since its publication in 2021, The History of English Literature has become a required reading on the English Literary History lecture courses run by our Department.

The volumes can be purchased on the website of Kijárat Kiadó and on the website of Líra bookstore.

Volume 1: The Medieval Period

Edited by Tamás Karáth - Katalin Halácsy. Published in 2021 by Kijárat, Budapest.


Volume 1 covers English literature from the first written records to the products of the 15th century. The chapters of the volume make us reconsider our concept of the Middle Ages and understand how the legacy of those times has lived on through the centuries. The volume discusses medieval English literature in its various shapes and form. In particular, it examines the use of language during the Old and Middle English periods. The most interesting question raised in the volume is this: from what point of time can we call a text ‘English’?

Volume 2: The Early Modern Period

Edited by Attila Kiss - György Endre Szőnyi. Published in 2021 by Kijárat, Budapest.


Volume 2 examines the main genres of Early Modern English literature, using the latest research methods of Literary and Cultural Studies. It investigates the material culture that created the environment for the production of the literary works, and it analyses the political, religious and economic processes that influenced the consumption of literature during the Early Modern period. The volume aims to broaden our knowledge of what is known in Hungary as ‘Renaissance English literature’.

Volumes 3 and 4: 1640-1830

Edited by Zsolt Komáromy - Bálint Gárdos - Miklós Péti. Published in 2021 by Kijárat, Budapest.


Volumes 3 and 4 cover the period of the Baroque, (Neo)classicism, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism. These two volumes offer new reflections on the history of literary narratives. Canonical writers and literary texts are placed alongside authors who have been omitted from previous Hungarian accounts of English literary history. The two volumes offer a fresh, new approach to reading the literature of the period.

Volume 5 is forthcoming

Volumes 6 and 7: from 1930 to date

Edited by Tamás Bényei - István D. Rácz - Judit Friedrich. Published in 2022/23 by Kijárat, Budapest.


Volumes 6 and 7 are concerned with the period between 1930 and the present. There are analyses of the main authors and literary works, as well as discussions of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish literature, English Holocaust literature, ecological literature and the impact of globalization on literature. The sixth volume focuses on the mid-20th century, while the seventh volume sheds a new light on contemporary British literature, including fantasy literature, science fiction, comics, crime novels, the Harry Potter series, and the impact of Brexit on English literature.