Best introductions to literature

Acephalous is looking for help compiling a list of ‘best intro’ books to literature and lit-theory for a wide range of historical periods and topics. He’s doing well on the modern sections (competing intros to Foucault coming out his ears…) but there are a lot of medieval/early modern gaps.

I wonder what a list of ‘best introductions’ to various themes in social and/or cultural history would look like? Maybe if I have time later I’ll start something up. Of course, people are welcome to leave suggestions (for categories that ought to be included and for books to read).

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