The 1980s and 1990s have witnessed a considerable reaction to the progressive utopianism of the 1960s. In education debates all over the English-speaking world, the talk is now of competition, back to basics, league tables and the demands of the market. According to the editor, this reaction has gone too far. Children need to be helped not only to achieve basic literacy but to read "critically", to discriminate, to evaluate, and to enjoy great literature. It is not enough to help children to achieve literacy if this simply means they read only sufficiently well to be seduced by advertisers and tabloid newpapers. The essays in this book are by people engaged in the "promotion" of English, be they primary teachers or university lecturers, novelists or poets, publishers, social commentators, politicians or professors.