The years following the Second World War brought an intensifi cation of interest in the pedagogy of English teaching. This was precipitated partly by the war itself – many of the writers had seen active service and been obliged, as a consequence, to rethink their views on the nature and purpose of education – and partly by the introduction, in 1944, of the ‘Butler’ Education Act, whose tripartite system of schooling gave new impetus to the debate about the kind of English curriculum appropriate for the children of an entire nation, not just for those from an academic elite.