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The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1: The Middle Ages through the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (8th Edition) 8th Edition

56 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393927139
ISBN-10: 039392713X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Greenblatt (Ph.D. Yale) is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Also General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, he is the author of eleven books, including The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (winner of the 2011 National Book Award and the 2012 Pulitzer Prize); Shakespeare's Freedom; Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Hamlet in Purgatory; Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World; Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture; and Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare. He has edited seven collections of criticism, including Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto, and is a founding coeditor of the journal Representations. His honors include the MLA’s James Russell Lowell Prize, for both Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England and The Swerve, the Sapegno Prize, the Distinguished Humanist Award from the Mellon Foundation, the Wilbur Cross Medal from the Yale University Graduate School, the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, the Erasmus Institute Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Berkeley. He was president of the Modern Language Association of America and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Alfred David (Ph.D. Harvard) is Professor of English Emeritus at Indiana University. He is the author of The Strumpet Muse: Art and Morals in Chaucer’s Poetry, and editor of the "Romaunt of the Rose" in The Riverside Chaucer and, with George B. Pace, "Chaucer’s Minor Poems I" in The Variorum Chaucer. He is the recipient of a Sheldon Travelling Fellowship and Guggenheim and Fulbright Research fellowships and past president of the New Chaucer Society.

Barbara K. Lewalski (Ph.D. Chicago) is William R. Kenan Professor of English and of History and Literature at Harvard University. She is the recipient of the MLA’s James Russell Lowell Prize for Protestant Poetics and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Lyric and the Explicator Prize for Donne’s Anniversaries and the Poetry of Praise. Her other books include Paradise Lost and the Rhetoric of Literary Forms, Writing Women in Jacobean England, Milton: A Critical Biography, and The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght (editor). Lewalski is the recipient of Guggenheim and NEH Senior fellowships and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Honored Scholar of the Milton Society.

Lawrence Lipking (Ph.D. Cornell) is Professor of English and Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities at Northwestern University. He received the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Prize for The Life of the Poet. He is also the author of The Ordering of the Arts in Eighteenth-Century England; Abandoned Women and Poetic Tradition; and Samuel Johnson: The Life of an Author and editor of High Romantic Argument. Lipking is the recipient of Guggenheim, ACLS, Newberry Library, Wilson International Center for Scholars, and NEH Senior fellowships and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

George M. Logan (Ph.D. Harvard) is a Senior Fellow of Massey College in the University of Toronto and the James Cappon Professor of English Emeritus at Queen’s University, Canada, where he was head of the English Department for nine years and an award-winning teacher. He is the author of The Meaning of More’s Utopia and principal editor of the Cambridge edition of Utopia (Latin and English), editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Utopia (3rd edition), More’s History of King Richard the Third, and The Cambridge Companion to Thomas More, and coeditor, with Gordon Teskey, of Unfolded Tales: Essays on Renaissance Romance; he has also written a history of the Indiana University School of Music.

Katharine Eisaman Maus (Ph.D. Johns Hopkins) is James Branch Cabell Professor of English at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Being and Having in Shakespeare; Inwardness and Theater in the English Renaissance; and Ben Jonson and the Roman Frame of Mind; editor of a volume of Renaissance tragedies; and coeditor of English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, and a collection of criticism on seventeenth-century English poetry. She has been awarded Guggenheim, Leverhulme, NEH, and ACLS fellowships, and the Roland Bainton Prize for Inwardness and Theater.

James Noggle (Ph.D. UC Berkeley) is Professor of English at Wellesley College. He is author of The Skeptical Sublime: Aesthetic Ideology in Pope and the Tory Satirists; his second book, The Temporality of Taste in Eighteenth-Century British Writing, is forthcoming from Oxford. He is the recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society.

James Simpson (Ph.D. Cambridge) is Douglas P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English at Harvard University and former Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge. An Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, he is the author of Piers Plowman: An Introduction to the B-Text (1990); Sciences and the Self in Medieval Poetry (1995); Reform and Cultural Revolution, 1350–1547; Volume 2 of The Oxford English Literary History (2002); Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and Its Reformation Opponents (2007); and Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition (2010).

M. H. Abrams (1912―2015) was Class of 1916 Professor of English, Emeritus at Cornell University. He received the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Prize for The Mirror and the Lamp and the MLA's James Russell Lowell Prize for Natural Supernaturalism. He is also the author of The Milk of Paradise, A Glossary of Literary Terms, The Correspondent Breeze, and Doing Things with Texts. He is the recipient of Guggenheim, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller Postwar fellowships, the Award in Humanistic Studies from the Academy of Arts and Sciences (1984), the Distinguished Scholar Award by the Keats-Shelley Society (1987), and the Award for Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990). In 1999 The Mirror and the Lamp was ranked twenty-fifth among the Modern Library's "100 best nonfiction books written in English during the twentieth century."

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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Anthology of English Literature (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 3072 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 8th edition (January 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039392713X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393927139
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 23, 2007
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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Fr. Charles Erlandson on July 19, 2011
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!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jamie L on April 4, 2011
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.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. Devitt on November 5, 2006
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kad on December 27, 2012
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.
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