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The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  3,099 Ratings  ·  97 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, Seventh Edition, 2963 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1962)
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Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am required by my department to teach from these anthologies, and I detest it. These anthologies would be fine for high school, but I resent not being trusted to select my own texts at the college level. More to the point of reviewing them: beware, young readers, beware! World Literature does not come from an anthology. Are we really to believe that on p.900 we can "read" a Native American chant? What are the problems inherent in selection? Let's include a few women, but not too many! A few no ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my father's book when he read literature at university.

It was a great introduction to English Lit. Especially since I lived in a rural farming community and TV and radio reception was spotty. Mum and Dad would tell us stories from the book and read aloud many of the poems.

It was a very important book to me. I used it when when I was at secondary school and university.

Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2 / 0-393-95043-3

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
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why Norton? I'm glad you asked, friend! There are many schools of thought on anthologies, some negative, some positive, all fascinating. Of course, if you're buying this because it's a university textbook then really you have no choice; for the rest of us, there's more than meets the eye.

The negative responses tend to come in a few forms:

1: Anthologies reward superficiality. Much like surtitles at the opera, which help convey the surface meaning but encourage people not to "read" the music and t
Gary Mesick
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Criticize the Norton if you dare. For value in teaching (and studying) a survey course, there just isn't anything better. And I think their passages from longer works are generally right on the money. The only problem is that, without the context of the larger work, the passages sometimes don't make sense. Still, this is it. The required reading, in condensed form. Good luck.
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rely heavily on all my Norton Anthology volumes. They have chicken scratches throughout the pages, are falling apart but I cherish them.
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I said for volume A, volume B is one of my textbooks for school and so I only did the assigned readings for the class. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the pieces I read and I have plans to read this volume from start to finish at some point, however, I will say that a lot of fantastic English authors are not represented for the 20th and 21st centuries which makes me a bit sad. Other than that, I think it’s a fairly good survey of writers as far as the lauded Canon goes. I’m only going to do small ...more
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every body who wants to know
My Holy Book
Danica Page (One Page at a Time)
I actually really liked almost of all the works in this anthology. I love the Norton Anthologies.
Zafer Sattouf
Illuminating Passiveness: the Ultimate Wisdom in Nature
William Wordsworth is universally known as a great poet whose poems played a tremendous role and was one of most influential and leading figures in the emergence of Romanticism. He published his collection of poems, known as the Lyrical Ballads, in 1798, which was around the beginnings of the Romantic era of the British literature. One of his poems in the Lyrical Ballads is called Expostulation and Reply, in which Wordsworth emphasizes on
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: McLean
Shelves: classics, poems
This second volume includes three volumes of the Norton Anthology, volumes D, E, and F. These volumes cover the Romantic period, Victorian age, and Twentieth Century and after. Some of my favorite authors from this volume are William Blake, Lord Byron, John Keats, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Bronte, Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, William Butler Yeats, Stevie Smith, Carol Ann Duffy, Margaret Atwood, and Hanif Kureishi.
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Norton Anthology covers the Romantic Period, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley--all of which I like. The authors' biographies aren't too posh-sounding and are rather informative than scholarly, which I like. The estimated weight of this book, however, must be over two kilograms, which I do not like (hence the four stars). I will be happily re-selling this copy after finishing my introductory literature course.
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good collection piece to read occasionally without Order. Pretty hefty!
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brit Lit fans, Victorian Lit fans
Shelves: poetry, literature
This was one of my textbooks (for my "Victorian Literature" calss in New Zealand), but I think anyone who is interested in great literature would find the investment wise. It covers the time periods from The Romantic Period (1785-1830) to the The Victorian Age (1830-1901) and ending with The Twentieth Century. Obviously, in my class we only covered a touch of the Romantic stuff and the Victorian selections. We didn't touch the 20th Century at all. Like I do with all my Norton textbooks, I'm goin ...more
Helen Murray
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've marked this book as read (on the basis that I've spent hours and hours of study time going through the notes, essays and references, and have probably dipped into every text in the book at least superficially). However, I don't actually think this is the kind of book you ever really finish.

First of all, it is a textbook. A literal book of texts. An attempt to encompass a literary canon, or rather three literary canons, the Romantic, Victorian and Modern eras. It is, therefore of a monstrou
Apr 09, 2009 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
While Volume 1 of this awesome Norton Anthology of English Literature primarily covers the Middle Ages, The 16th century, the early 17th century & The 18th century, this 2nd volume deals with Romantic Period [Blake, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats etc), The Victorian Age (Carlyle, Cardinal Newman, Bronte, Huxley etc) and the 20th century (Hardy, Shaw, Yeats, Joyce, T.S Eliot, Orwell, Beckett, Morrison etc).

I bought this book back in 2002 in Borders Bookstore for only S$12! Isn’t
Janie Harrison
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I finally finished this big textbook. I did skip a few at the end, like James Joyce and a couple of others. It took me two months plus a week to read through most of the selections. I'd say I read 85% of them this time around, more than I would have read in a classroom.

I am a big fan of Victorian novels and I wanted to read some essays, poetry, and see how 19th century British literature evolved. There is an interesting and old group on the Internet, a group of writers who call the
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who likes books with "words" in them
poems, essays, plays, etc.s from the romantic period, the victorian age, and the twentieth century.

for example (i.e. my bookmarks are at places like)...

"water, water, everywhere,
and all the boards did shrink [can you guess where this is going?];
water, water, everywhere,
nor any drop to drink."

mariana (the tennyson poem)

love among the ruins (the robert browning poem)

lines written in kensington gardens (the matthew arnold poem) (and if you don't know matthew arnold yet, then you should check this o
anthologies suck in general, because their animating concept is just a bad idea--they are in fact the special bearer of the Form of the Bad Idea. (is that even possible? is there a form of an idea, i.e., of a form itself, a metaform? because that'd be fuckin' crazy, yo. or is it just a form of an idea that's merely inside someone's head, and istherefore a copy of a form that inside the form of someone's head, or what?)

Norton anthologies are double-suck because the editorial policy is horrible as
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference-works
Obviously i have not read every page. But i refer to it on occasion to read and re-read some of my favourite poetry. A very comprehensive set, which took me AGES to save up for, and my course was only 6 months from finishing by the time i got my own copies. Ah well. Money well spent. I keep returning to those wonderful Romantics, particularly Keats and Shelley (or is that Sheets and Kelley??), and Blake. I also love Tennyson, and the Pre-Raphaelites--though I don't think there is enough Pre-Raph ...more
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Norton is a great anthology book; it contains introductions of different literary ages and in every age most important & influential British literary men & women ( mostly poets) have been introduced. Furthermore, their works not all of them but the most famous works have been attached there of course with their useful footnotes. By the end of the book, readers will confront with small chapter named Poems in Process. The chapter illuminates how poets edit& reproduce their poetries wit ...more
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: at-home, school
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
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my college textbook in the 60's. I despised having to carry it around, but I found an awful lot of good literature in it. I most clearly remember the Victorian poets. Tennyson's Mariana, a favorite among my female classmates frequently comes to mind.

Considering that the contents, aside from critical commentary are long past copyright protection, just about all the volume's numerous contents must be widely available gratis through the technological ether.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed most of the author introductions, though some of the information felt irrelevant. I got a kick out of some of the footnotes. Some were completely redundant, and made me feel like this book caters towards middle or high schoolers. Other than that, this is a relatively comprehensive book about British literature from the Romantic Period to the 20th century (includes many works from important authors).
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was much easier to read than volume one. We were finally able to read something other than ballads, epics, and, poetry this semester. I know it is strange to some, but I just loved reading the works of Wollstonecraft, Coleridge,Shelley, Austen, Browning, and one of my new favorites Tennyson. There is something empowering in taking a work that at first seems impossible to comprehend and then breaking it down and unveiling the absolute beauty of words.
Saad Yousaf
I give it a 3/5 because, though I read it regularly, I find its claims of coming close to the title of "World Literature" to be ill-deserved. There are only a handful of non-Western writers that are not well-represented at all, each one being given only a few pages at most. However, were this only for Western Literature, it would be quite well-balanced book (not allowing for certain ambiguous and vague footnotes).
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of texts, though I have to admit that what really tickled my fancy was the footnote by the Norton group within one of Oscar Wilde's plays: "Although Australia had originally been a place to which criminals were banished, it was, by this time [1890s], like Canada, a place to which families might send harmless but useless members, who would be paid an allowance to remain abroad."
Jen (Feffer)
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, before-the-blog
The only university book I ever kept. It covers the Romantic Period (1785-1830; Burns, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Coleridge), which I so loved, through the Victorian (1830-1901; John Stuart Mill, Robert Browning, Wilde), and on on through the Twentieth Century (Housman, Auden, and...not much else. :). Good stuff. I love the Brits.
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is actually my textbook for a british lit class, but i have fallen in love with it. the selections are wonderful, and the introductions and footnotes are all clear and useful. i suppose i have a love-hate relationship with most of the romantics, but i found myself leaning towards loving them somehow--though perhaps that had more to do with the class itself.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ricsophyr
Of course I didnt read the whole book, but I think it's a good collection. It has a large variety of authors in it (and for the size of it, it should. the biggest down side to this book is the size! the paper is very thin, but there are a few thousand pages. This combination made the book not as sturdy as i would like.)
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Goodreads Librari...: Norton Anthologies - Edition Descriptions 1 28 Nov 27, 2011 06:14PM  
  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature: v. 1
  • The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces
  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter Version
  • The Norton Shakespeare
  • The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction
  • The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The Traditions in English
  • The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry
  • The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces: Volume 1
  • The Norton Anthology of Poetry
  • The American Tradition in Literature
  • The Oxford Companion to English Literature
  • The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
  • The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory
  • Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense
  • Oroonoko, The Rover, and Other Works
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...

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