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The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol 1

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  8,259 Ratings  ·  153 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)
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Apr 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: textbooks
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
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sioned Raybould
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This anthology is literally my life at the moment, being an English literature student. Don't go anywhere without it.
Nov 26, 2007 marked it as to-read

but then again, that's to be expected from brit lit.
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-books
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
Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
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
May 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mike Jensen
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sam - Spines in a Line
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
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jason Kinn
That's right. I, Jason Kinn, give the best examples of English literature between Beowulf and 1750, as picked by the foremost scholars in the U.S. and Britain, three fucking stars. That's democracy for you.
S. Sloan
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in my English Literature class. I fell in love with English Literature.
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-class, history
This is absolutely necessary if you're planning on majoring in English or English Literature Studies. This book covers the earliest known writing in English from the early middle ages to the Restoration in the eighteenth century. The material is organized by era and author, going in chronological order for the most part. The background pieces are extremely helpful and there are glosses and notes to help readers understand the content (especially the more difficult texts from earlier and more obs ...more
Anton Romanenko
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only does this book contain a collection of classical texts, but also it has a perfect bibliography for those who might be interested in further reading. The book is a good thing to have on your shelf, especially if your life is marked by the omen of scholarship...
This popped up in my recommendations - a college textbook I think I still have somewhere!
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good collection piece to read occasionally without Order. Pretty hefty!
used off and on through out my five-years of schooling at Seattle University, as English Literature major
G.D. Master
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Academics, instructors, poets, people interested in history of English languge
“The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume A, The Middle Ages through The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century” continues an academic literary tradition that began in 1962. This formidable block (only a spec in a vast storm) of historical English texts lays out foundations and innovations of the English language as established by its European forefathers. Authors and their texts appear in chronological order. The English language has changed drastically since its relatively late intro ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dusty by: Wayne Rebhorn
Shelves: partial-reads
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
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
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
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
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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).
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.
This is a Norton Anthology. As such I suppose I should mark it as a 5 star read. Well of course in accuracy and information and organization a 5 star rating would clearlyapply. The question I ask myself is did I enjoy the read? Well on my "enjoy-ability" scale I can think of many other books. For that reason only a 4 star. As a text book....5 star all the way. Please understand the fun factor I placed within this review.
The three books of this set were the textbooks for the British Literature I class I took this semester. Looking back I really wish I would have bought the books instead of renting them, since we skipped around quite a bit and there were more things I wanted to read. I hope to take the second class as soon as I can fit it into my class schedule, I loved this one. Even though the assigned reading was hit or miss on how much I enjoyed it.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: half-read
Pretty great compilation of the greats. Except for the fact that I broke my back hauling this giant baby to class, I enjoyed reading classics with helpful footnotes (though my English Literary Traditions prof bemoaned their occasional inaccuracies). It's not the Norton's fault I find some of the texts a bit dry. It's the scholars'. I think.
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