This is a unique anthology. Drawing on the full range of English prose, wherever it has been written, it illustrates the growth, development, and resources of the language from the legends of Sir Thomas Malory to the novels of Kashuo Ishiguro. In the process it reveals a variety ofachievements which no other language can match. The book represents an enormous diversity of men and women - from John Bunyan to John Updike, from Brendan Behan to Chinua Achebe, from Dorothy Wordsworth to Patrick White. As the centuries progress, American writers increase their presence, and by the twentieth century there are contributions fromIndia, Australia, Canada, Nigeria, the Caribbean and many other parts of the world. The selection is no less remarkable for its breadth in terms of subject-matter and treatment. Fiction is generously represented, but many other kinds of writing have also been drawn on: letters, diaries, and memoirs; history and philosophy; criticism and reportage; sermons and satire; travel-books;reflections on art, science, politics and sport. There are classic and well-loved passages, and also a great deal that is unfamiliar. John Gross has chosen with consummate skill to produce a volume that is both a testimonial to English prose and an endless source of pleasurable browsing.