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The Norton Anthology of English Literature
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  622 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
This anthology aims to enable the reader to gauge the achievement of principal authors of English literature by providing examples of their most characteristic work. Works featured range from Beowulf written in the 15th century to contemporary literature from the likes of Larkin and Rushdie.
Hardcover, 2667 pages
Published January 1st 1996 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1962)
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Apr 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Chaucer: Canterbury Tales

How disappointing; I guess I should have paid more attention to the table of contents. It had the Prologue, Retraction, and 4 1/2 of the 22 tales. The book didn't indicate that it was only a selection, leaving me wondering if anything was redacted from the four tales as it stands. It was claimed that spelling was changed to make Chaucer's Middle English more readable; I went with this work over a "translation" to modern English I have on the shelf because Chaucer is a po
This is one of those big, clunky things you find in your parent's castaway bookshelf when you're 15 and, if you're impetuous enough, you start to get deeper and deeper into until you're up over your head in some of the most powerful works ever known to man.

This is one of the treetrunk books of my life- (most) of the branches come out from this root.

The footnotes and explanatory stuff pretty much made everything come alive for me, whetting my appetite for going out and getting my hands on the Ro
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Fine selection with great introductions to the periods and the major authors!
Amanda Brass
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any lit lovers
suberb selection of short stories, essays, and poetry.
Alison Whiteman
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I still love to re-read sections of this book.
Jan 21, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-have-in-paper
What have I read so far:

September 12 2017: Beowulf by Anonymous & Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Anonymous

September 19 2017: Book I-II of Paradise Lost by John Milton

September 26 2017: Oroonoko by Aphra Behn

October 3 2017: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

October 10 2017: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake & the excerpt of the Preface of Lyrical Ballads, Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, Strange Fits of Passion I Have Known, She Dwelt Among the Utrodde
Dec 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read many selections for a course but not the entirety. Hard to rate the whole of British literary history in one go; there were good ones and uninteresting ones.
Beowulf, The Fairie Queen, Twelfth Night, Paradise Lost, many many sonnets
Carson Felder
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Norton editors are to be both commended and lamented. In these kinds of anthologies--English, American, World, etc.--they provide a really handy resource for examining vast amounts of literature. However, they also construct stories, genres, and sets of ideologies that may or may not have ever occurred to the authors at the times. For instance, Blake might not have considered his poetry to have any kinship at all with Keats, Coleridge, Byron, etc. (or vice versa), yet these are all "Romantic ...more
Aug 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love reading and history, this is a perfect way to combine the two. This huge anthology was used in my two Analysis of English Literature courses, and it goes from Beowulf to the works of Rushdie. There's a wide range of genre works, and to be honest this changed my view on the varying types of written media. Not only do you see the evolution of writing, but you get exposed to some of the great masterpieces of English literature in existence. A very good read, even if only to open your ey ...more
Tayler K
Beowulf 9/4-9/7
The Dream of the Rood 9/8
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 9/10-9/15
Writings of Elizabeth I 9/16-9/17
Shakespearean sonnets 9/16-9/24
Dr. Faustus 9/22-9/24
John Donne, Herrick, Lovelace 9/27-10/1
Phillips, Marvell 9/29-10/3
Paradise Lost 10/3-10/6
Dryden, Wilmot, Behn 10/11-10/13
Swift, Pope 10/13-10/15
Fantomina 11/10-11/12
Blake, Burns 11/12-11/15
Wordsworth 11/15-11/17
Coleridge, Byron 11/17-11/19
Percy Shelley 11/19-11/22
Keats 11/24-11/29
Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, & Rossetti 11/29-12/1
May 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've hardly read the whole anthology, only bits and pieces here and there, assigned by teachers. While it's undoubtedly packed with classic works as well as biographies and background stories, it's very difficult to read; the print is extremely small and the pages so thin that you can see the text on the other side of the sheet. Not a recommended read for tired eyes...
Feb 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, own-this
A more constrained (and therefore more limited) collection than the full two volume Norton Anthology of English Literature, this was the second volume Denison asked me to purchase -- rather than selecting Volume 2 of the full anthology, so my bookshelf is forever bereft a copy of "Norton Anthology of English Literature, Fifth Edition, Volume 2". How sad.
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not read the whole thing, of course, but in my spare time I like to read other things that we did not get to in class. I plan on reading the whole thing by the end of next year, but I doubt that that will happen!
This is, by far, the biggest tome I've slogged through from cover to cover. It was great to discover new authors and new works I otherwise might not have had the chance to read. But most of all, now I can say with absolute truthfulness that I have read this in its entirety.
Desiree Rico
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
had to read this for school and although it includes many staples I've read before it introduced me to Chaucer and others I hadn't been introduced to yet.
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can one say about this book ?!!!!!!
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite textbooks.
Shouvik Hore
Where is Shelley's Alastor and Epipsychidion?
Otherwise, a commendable Volume.
Seventh Edition/Volume I
Fallon Burns
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book consistently has been the most useful reference for British and commonwealth literature. Deeply colonial literature obviously. Great for an English major to have access to
Reza Muhamad
for chapter 1,first i want to discuss about literature so...of course this book will help me to do my task.
Tissue paper pages. Heavy as a barbell. Tiny TINY text that you have to squint at. Dry intros to each author. And I thought British lit couldn't get any more boring...
Randy Hulshizer
I still wonder who makes the decisions about who the "major authors" are.
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Kathy Lonquist
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Dec 31, 2011
Julia Sharp
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Dec 10, 2012
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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
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