This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on the great nineteenth-century writers, and many of the minor ones, at one time or another in their careers chose to confront political issues in their work. It might well be possible to write a book whose aim was to establish, or argue for, the nature of literary genres that are - or seem - specifically political. In two closely related essays David Howard investigates the nature of Meredith's fictional achievement as a novelist of politics and he makes an important distinction between two formal modes: the 'delicate' and the 'epical'. John Goode attempts a major reassessment of the creative work of William Morris during the years of his most vital socialist thinking. And he proposes the literature of 'dream' as a viable medium for Morris's effort to assess and vindicate revolutionary possibilities.