Why did it take so long to start writing the history of close reading? For the best part of a century, close reading has grounded literary studies in the university, structuring assessment, teaching, employment, and publication. A basic proficiency in close reading has long been a professional obligation for faculty members and a course requirement for students. It makes sense, then, that Caroline Levine's Forms begins with a description of our method in action. A reader is settling down to work with a copy of Jane Eyre. She has a lengthy education behind her and a wealth of interpretive techniques for the book in front of her. Still, one thing is certain: our critic will broach the forms of the novel by drawing from “close reading methods” while using “historical research methods to analyze sociopolitical experience.” “But,” Caroline Levine asks, “would our critic be right to distinguish between the formal and the social?” (1).