English literature is different things to different people. ‘What it is’ analyses this from a variety of perspectives. To some it is the books that they live with and love, those that embody life. Others would define it as those books that seem to invite the performance of tricks of interpretation. Literature texts could be those in which language is used cleverly, those that respond to a diversity of readings. But is there a danger in reducing English literature to a set of facts? This is a common response from book lovers when they first encounter critical analysis. Perhaps studying English literature can add extra layers to the pleasure of reading and re-reading.