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Norton Anthology Of English Literature Eighth Edition 01 Hardcover – Sep 1 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1 pages
  • Publisher: W W Norton; 8th Revised edition edition (Sept. 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039392713X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393927139
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 7.4 x 24.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #627,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa47a7258) out of 5 stars 65 reviews
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa43dee40) out of 5 stars Ahh! Get a cup of tea, find a cozy spot, and settle in... Dec 23 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you're a book lover, how can you not love a book like this? It was my required reading for a literature class, and I was all too happy to have an excuse to buy it. Satisfyingly fat at 3000 pages, it exudes that delicious book smell when you flip through it, and its matte-sheen cover feels good in your hands and protects its sizable contents quite well.

For me, this was worth getting just for Seamus Heaney's wonderful translation of Beowulf. You can smell the ocean and hear the armor clank as this readable version places you right there in the sixth century. Along with the usual excerpts from such works as the Canterbury Tales, you get complete versions of King Lear, Twelfth Night, Utopia, and Paradise Lost. After looking over the excerpts from Gulliver's Travels, it appears that sections 1,2, and 4 are presented complete, with only some material edited from section 3, so you get almost all of that, too. The footnotes for this, and all the other works, are enormously useful.

I have a few gripes about the book, however these don't merit the subtraction of a star in the rating. First - this book is SO heavy. Obviously there was no way around this in publishing, because to put this many pages on good-quality paper the laws of physics are working against you. But I have literally suffered backache from bringing it around with me in my book bag, and have had to sorrowfully leave it at home at times because of this. Second, I wish it included a clear list of which major works are presented complete, for those of us who want to make sure to read the whole thing. My final beef is with the editorial introduction to The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale from the Canterbury Tales. Reading this rant about "antifeminist writings" was like stepping from the high halls of classic academia into the junior-college classroom of some washed-up 1970s holdover. I HATE agenda in my education, and in my opinion, applying 20th century (yes, 20th) sentiments to 14th century literature is anachronistic and inappropriate. But such is the state of education these days, and here is your evidence in a volume that should have known better. However, that has been the only thing I have come upon that irritated me.

Buying this book is a great way to get a bunch of classics all at once, and there is so much to it that you can enjoy a long read or a short read anytime you want, once you find a way to work around its mass. I look forward to the years of reading pleasure I'll get from my copy.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa43dee94) out of 5 stars Incredible Amount of Excellent Literature All in One Book! July 19 2011
By Fr. Charles Erlandson - Published on
Format: Paperback
While there have been changes made to the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1 (or A), there's no mistaking that in its genre, this is a masterpiece. It's easy to quibble with which selections make it in and which versions are used, etc. But this is an incredibly rich resource of early English literature.

This is one of the books that helped foster my love of literature, and that of many others. It is a portal to any number of authors you wish to read in more detail. It's hard not to love a book that gives you introductions to the following authors and works - and many, many more!

Bede and Beowulf
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Julian of Norwich
Thomas Mallory and the Arthurian Legends
Sir Thomas More and Utopia
William Tyndale, John Calvin, John Foxe
The Book of Common Prayer
Queen Elizabeth
Spencer's The Fairie Queene
Sir Walter Raleigh
Many of Shakespeare's sonnets and 2 of his plays
John Donne
Francis Bacon
George Herbert
John Dryden
Jonathan Swift
Alexander Pope
And John Bunyan

The Norton Anthology series does exactly what it does: introduces its readers to a smorgasbord of the best of English literature. Don't let the size or price daunt you. The size is worth it for the breadth and depth of content. As for price, there are many inexpensive used editions around, going back to many earlier editions.

This book should be on every bookshelf!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4c1e2e8) out of 5 stars More indepth studies April 4 2011
By Jamie L - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Norton Anthology of English Language broken into two volumes offers the student a broader study and notation of each century's work compared to the Major Authors Editions. I own both and was surprised by some of the titles left out of the condensed version. The footnotes are especially helpful during the Anglo-Saxon & -Norman section as well as Middle English.

I would avoid Norton Anthologies with highlighting. Norton publishes on extremely thin paper and often the highlighting shows through the page. My experience comes from my own use of highlighters while studying, however, as I am the one inflicting the damage to my text, I cannot complain.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4c1e2d0) out of 5 stars Excellent Learning Tool Nov. 5 2006
By S. Devitt - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Norton series of anthologies never disappoints, and this is proof that they're not about to. A hefty book, it delivers on its promise; from cover to cover it is full of poems and prose from the Middle Ages clean through to the Eighteenth Century. On nearly every author there is a detailed biography -- helpful to get inside the mind of the writer and understand where they're coming from. A nice feature is the inclusion of full-length texts. From shorter plays like Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus" through to two complete Shakespeare's (whether you believe he wrote them or not :) )and even all the books of Paradise Lost-- and that's just in one time period. Included in the middle are colour plates of a smattering of different items, and while not necessarily critical to the enjoyment or usefulness of the Anthology, it's certainly a nice touch -- a way to give the eyes a break after digesting a few hundred lines of literature.

Overall, great, both for the student reading through it for a Humanities course to the Accomplished professional reading through on a quiet evening.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4c1e690) out of 5 stars school resource Dec 27 2012
By kad - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this used as a homeschool school resource. Norton's books are great; I love them as they are packed full. The seller disclosed well that the book was a bit beat up. In hind sight, I would should have chosen a hard cover version. This book in paper back form is so thick that packing tape or duct tape is needed to keep the spine in tack with heavy use. This in not a reflection on the seller; it's just a really thick book for paperback binding.