Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol 1” as Want to Read:
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol 1
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol 1

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  5,931 ratings  ·  129 reviews
This seventh edition's thoroughly revised text incorporates recent scholarly developments while retaining the elements that have made the anthology useful in the past. New features includes a broader representation of women writers of all historical periods such as Marie de France, Frances Burney, Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Gaskell and Eavan Boland; a richer ...more
Paperback, 2974 pages
Published November 10th 1999 by W.W. Norton & Co Inc. (first published 1962)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol 1, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol 1

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nov 26, 2007 Guillermo marked it as to-read

but then again, that's to be expected from brit lit.
This was a perfectly serviceable book, with many, many good texts in it, including all of Paradise Lost, the Canterbury Tales, and other fascinating works. My only gripe is this: they didn't get the best translations. With the medieval texts, especially, they would keep them with the older wording, where every word has to have a footnote in order to be understood. I'm not talking about Shakespeare, I'm talking about "By housbondrie, of swich as God hir sente, / She foond hirself and eek hire dog ...more
As this is one of my textbooks for school, I only did the assigned readings for the class. I really enjoyed all of the readings I did and I have plans to read this volume from start to finish at some point.

I'm just going to do a quick blurb and rating for each text I read for now so I can shelve this guy.

Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney 5/5
This was a poem I had wanted to read for a while and I was ecstatic for an excuse to finally do so. This Middle Ages epic poem did not disappoint in any wa
Have set a goal to read every selection in this tome! I might be a glutton for punishment, but I want to finish in one year or less.

On page 135. Have found good stuff in here that I wasn't required to read before. Love the biting tribute to William the Conqueror after his death. Also, enjoyed some of the ancient poetry. Have underlined quite a few lines, words, phrases, etc.

Only a million pages to go.

Up to page 255...starting up Chaucer has been a little bit rough. Oh Lord, I haven't even start
Mike Jensen
This is one of the greatest anthologies of English literature ever produced. Under review here is the section on the early seventeenth-century, 1603-1660, Donne to Milton, edited by Katharine Eiseman Maus.

Maus writes a superb introduction that, printed in a paperback trim size with a normal font size and normal spaces between the lines, would have made a very informative short book. The readings are excellent; all are worthwhile and generally representative of the era. The selections from essays
The text for my first semester of senior English.

Mr. Edwards, I know it's been more than twenty years, but you were a brilliant teacher. Wherever you are now, whatever you are doing, I truly hope that life has repaid you generously for the fine work you did with us. I breezed through college English courses in large part because you taught me everything I needed to know. All the rest was just picking good reading lists. Thank you, again. You are part of my brilliant English teacher triumvirate,
This was an assigned text for my British Literature class. A lot of difficult reading, but very fascinating. Some of my favorite readings were Beaowulf, Paradise Lost, and Gulliver't Travels. It was interesting to see the evolution of literature from the Middle Ages through the eighteenth century.
S. Sloan
I read this book in my English Literature class. I fell in love with English Literature.
This was the dead-weight anchor of my sophomore teaching experience, though a fine anthology, not that innovative in selections--say, of the play from Shakespeare or the Book from Paradise Lost or the liveliest of Seventeenth Century lyric poems. Take this last stanza from "Love's Offense,"
"Love is the fart / Of every heart./ It pains a man when 'tis kept close / And others offends when let lose." I'll let the reader try to find it in NA; it may be there now, but surely wasn't during the 30+ yea
Ana Mardoll
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1 / 0-393-95469-2

If you are looking at purchasing this book, you've either been required to purchase it for a college course, or you are considering investing in an English literature anthology for your own library and you want to know if this anthology is worth your money. If you are required to buy this book for a course, my review won't matter to you much one way or another, so this is slated towards the latter group.

This is an excellent resour
Apr 13, 2011 Dusty rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dusty by: Wayne Rebhorn
In this case three stars indicate more my lack of an opinion than either my love or disdain for this book. As an anthology of pre-Romantic British literature, this Norton publication is more than competent: In it you'll find plenty classic literature, including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in its best translation and The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English. I haven't yet read Twelfth Night, so I confess I am surprised to run across it (rather than, say, Hamlet or King Lear) as the ...more
This was a great collection of works. Each period has a clear introduction with plenty of information to get you in the mindset of that time. As well, there was an introduction to each author, which I found incredibly helpful for not only understanding their style of writing but also to gain information on other works they've done that weren't included. I think the collection in this book clearly portrayed the different periods and I wouldn't have changed anything.
The one thing I did find diffic
I was dreading studying for the GRE Lit exam, especially having to read Paradise Lost and other poetry. But I finally get it. The Rape of the Lock is phenomenally funny, Paradise Lost (at least the parts concentrating on Satan) is an interesting read, and I've finally gotten over my hatred of poetry. I loved the witty comeback of The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd and the beauty of some of Donne's poems. He took the concept of religious devotion and made it almost sexual and he wrote quite racy ( ...more
I read this in college and still have my much dog-eared volume. I do not believe anyone, except an English Professor, could really have 'read' the entire volume. I know there are many parts of it I can not recall; however, the impressions of such great works of literature are with you always. I hope to re-visit passages of this volume as time permits.
Ah brings back memories of doing my Degree in University. The 4 stars are because it was useful, not that I particularly enjoyed reading it at the time!
Bought this for my English course back in the day. Have read some parts, but I aim to get through this one day.
Sioned Raybould
This anthology is literally my life at the moment, being an English literature student. Don't go anywhere without it.
James Taylor
It's a fantastic collection, but impossible to rate due to anthology.
I like this series of textbooks. Each section has a clear, concise introduction to different aspects of that theme. It provides brief, informative biographies on each author. It includes a wide variety of authors and poets to choose from. There is no way you could cover everything in this book in one semester. It has wonderful footnotes to help clarify archaic words and phrases as well. All this is presented without any kind of opinion or critique, leaving the passages open for debate or persona ...more
Yet another Norton anthology. Good reading selections, overall. The annotations are helpful, and the introductory essays are informative yet brief. I do recommend reading those essays, since they tend to pinpoint the most important parts of the reading selection as well as provide history on the piece or the author. Of course, there is that tissue-thin bible paper that makes highlighting impossible (here's a tip: use neon colored crayons). And, thick and heavy as it is, its not the most comforta ...more
I read this book for school.
I had to use this book for British Literature. It was useful in the variety of works, although we only covered a handful compared to what is available. The size of this book was the biggest downfall in my opinion. I may be more affected by this downfall since I also had another near 3000 page Norton Anthology for American Lit to carry around at the same time. It was better than having to get multiple texts, though. The translations could have also been better.
Michael Del Camp
I am not claiming to have read this specific edition, but I took a course in Middle English verses. We read from works such as this, to include excerpts of Chaucer, and varieties of Middle English literature. Norton anthologies have a heft and an editorial authority, that challenges me, because I can never finish reading them, cover to cover. Someday, I will circle back to this one. It is getting late, and all we have is time.
Regina Betz
This anthology was selected for an undergraduate 17th century literature course. Unfortunately, the anthology lacks a number of crucial female writers, especially Behn, Leapor, and Lennox, of the 18th century. The prefaces and backgrounds provided for each era in literary history are helpful to those in order to understand the context in which writers may write (In-depth information on Restoration, for example).
How does one rate the Norton Anthologies? Flawed, as all anthologies are, but also a remarkable collection of English literature. I still own my copy from college, annotated in various colors of ink as the feeling of the day took me, and turn to it as reference from time to time. I only wish Denison had used volume 1 AND volume 2, rather than volume 1 and then the Major Authors anthology.
Excellent textbook.
Michelle E.
An old college book, we never read all of it for class because it's so huge; I liked a lot of what we did read, though. I sold my original book back at the end of the semester, but found this copy of the same book (just a different edition which, for a lit book, just means a different forward) for .33¢! If only I could have found this at the start of the semester LOL.
Daniel Kukwa
If it wasn't for the Bible-thin pages -- delicate rice-paper pages I highlighted, annotated & scrawled over during the course of an entire semester of English Lit -- I would still own a copy of this texts-to-beat-all-texts. I didn't enjoy everything in here...but as THE collection of English Lit that EVERY student should be exposed is a masterpiece!
I have not, obviously, read this book cover to cover (anyone who has done so has my deepest respect), though I have plowed through it in a concentrated manner these past few weeks while studying for the GRE subject test in literature. I put them up, therefore, just to note that they are very good resources and helped me quite a bit while studying.
I was assigned this as a college text a very long time ago, but read only what I had to. I had CLEP tested out of the first course of British Lit, which covered much of this book. Now, I'm reading it for the heck of it, filling in gaps in my education. It's a Norton Anthology, so obviously contains the best writing of that age or ages, in this case.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Volumes A & B
  • The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces
  • The Norton Shakespeare
  • The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction
  • The Norton Anthology of Poetry
  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume A: Literature to 1820
  • The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry
  • The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
  • The Riverside Chaucer
  • The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory
  • The Norton Anthology Of Literature By Women: The Traditions In English
  • The Norton Anthology of Western Literature, Volume 1
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Cleanness, Patience
  • Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense
  • Romanticism: An Anthology with CD-ROM
  • The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Frost
  • The Oxford Companion to English Literature
Meyer Howard Abrams is an American literary critic, known for works on Romanticism, in particular his book The Mirror and the Lamp. In a powerful contrast, Abrams shows that until the Romantics, literature was usually understood as a mirror, reflecting the real world, in some kind of mimesis; but for the Romantics, writing was more like a lamp: the light of the writer's inner soul spilled out to i ...more
More about M.H. Abrams...
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2: The Romantic Period through the Twentieth Century The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. B: The Sixteenth Century & The Early Seventeenth Century The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. A: Middle Ages A Glossary of Literary Terms The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. E: The Victorian Age

Share This Book