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Stranded On A Desert Island? Take These 2 Volumes Along!,
This review is from: The Oxford Anthology of English Literature (Hardcover)
Someone once asked me, if I were stranded on a desert island, and could have one book with me, which would I choose? Easy answer - "The Oxford Anthology of English Literature." Actually, it's a two volume set - but I am designating the two volumes as one book, for desert island convenience.
This extraordinary 4,500 page collection contains Great Britain's finest literature from the Middle Ages through the 20th century. Included are selections from "Beowulf," Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales," works by Spenser (excerpts from all books of "The Faerie Queene"), Sir Thomas Malory, Shakespeare (including "The Tempest'), Marlowe ("Dr. Faustus," "Hero and Leander"), John Donne, and Milton. There are over 100 pages devoted to William Blake, including "The Book of Thel," and the entire "Night the Ninth" from "The Four Zoas." It also contains poems and prose by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, and Byron. And this is just a small sample.
In addition to the general editors Frank Kermode and John Hollander, the anthology has been edited and annotated by Harold Bloom, Martin Price, J.B. Trapp, and Lionel Trilling. The editors contribute brief period introductions, biographical and critical pieces for major authors, and essays preceding the major selections.
There are almost 300 wonderful illustrations included in the collection, representing important artists and their works for each period, that demonstrate the relationship between literary and visual images.
I have read through this wonderful anthology many times over the years, and never fail to learn something new, something to excite my imagination, with each reading. Highest Kudos!