This is a collection of 32 essays covering modern trends in criticism in American and English literary and linguistic studies. Some of the essays are on general themes, like science and the humanities, metaphor and second language learning, and why we read and write. Other essays deal with specific authors, such as Shakespeare, Blake, Shelley, Keats, Byron, Swinburne, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, T.S. Eliot, Seamus Heaney and David Lodge. There is also coverage of special genres, such as modern allegory, and modern morality plays; and the volume closes with a bibliography of James Hogg's publications.