Any comprehensive aesthetic programme for our schools must include English. Yet English has remained on the very edge of the arts debate, reluctant to become involved, reluctant to be, in any way, implicated. The very word ‘aesthetic’ is conspicuous by its absence in the discourse of English teachers. In this and the following chapter I, therefore, put the case for conceiving English as an aesthetic discipline, a literary-expressive discipline centred on perceptual and imaginative response.