|"I had to buy this book for two of my English Literature survey courses. I'm sure that most people who buy this volume do the same--they buy it because they have to. Still, it is an excellent volume and a very thorough survey of English Literature, from the middle ages on down to the nineteenth century.
Highlights from this volume include Seamus Heaney's exceptional translation of Beowulf (in its entirety), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, many selections from the Canterbury Tales, lots of Shakespeare, and Milton's masterpiece Paradise Lost, reprinted in full.
As I said before, many who buy this volume will do so because they have to. Still, I think most people will find this anthology to be one they will not be selling back at the end of the semester. I know I'll definitely be keeping mine. This is a great place to start a study of English Literature. "
"For some as-yet unknown reason, I feel compelled to defend the Norton Anthology against the various charges being brought against it here. So far, it's been accused of being a tool for "academically lazy" professors, [essentially] a superfluous moneygrubbing update, and something which (somehow) renders authors "boring." Another person feels that it's too poetry- and essay-heavy to be representative of the covered periods.
I'll confess that I don't really understand these accusations. It is both what it looks like and what it claims to be: 3,000 pages with as much bang for your literary buck as is possible. The only novels included are those which are exceedingly important and/or representative of a period... which is as it should be.
And frequent updates (which take place every few years -- hardly a serious issue for most people) are absolutely necessary. A static canon would be boring, and likely would leave scholars with nothing to do. I, for one, am happy with the authors added in the seventh edition. <shrug>
It's an outstanding introduction to two centuries of English lit. "
"I'm a university professor who has taught the _Norton Anthology_ for years, and bought it this year with high hopes for the new edition. I was greatly disappointed to see that all that seems to have happened was more and more was added and little was taken away--the book has long since gone past being ridiculously oversized, and while the expansion of the canon can be commended insofar as now many female writers and writers of color have been added, there should have been some omissions to balance the extra page length. Do students in an introductory survey really need Walter Savage Landor, Arthur Hugh Clough, or Ernest Dowson? And even if they are one teacher's personal favorite, might they not then be photocopied by that particular teacher to add to her or his class?
The headnotes and historical introductions are also much too lengthy to be of much use to students coming to this material for the first time. Finally, the inclusion of _Things Fall Apart_ to this edition was a very poor choice: while a work by a novelist of color was greatly appreciated, a shorter work more oriented towards the problems of the British postcolonialism per se (such as Naipaul's _In a Free State_ ) would have been much more useful than Achebe's overassigned novel. "
"While most of the book was in good order there were a number of pages,10-15 where entire poems were crossed out with a black biro and illegible. Such a pity to destroy a good book! "
"I will keep this review brief. Each time I browse the list of available Norton Anthologies I worry about the two stars given to this volume by the only other extant reviewer. Clearly, that person innocently misunderstands the purpose of a review, which is not intended to be a review of a particular second-hand copy, but of the volume itself.
Norton is an American publisher, and its anthologies of American literature, of literature coming out of the British Isles, and indeed its broader anthologies of literature in translation are just peerless. This anthology runs to close on 3000 pages, and the selection is superb, representative, but also always intriguing. There is useful editorial guidance, and nicely judged use of illustrations.
Even at full price, all of the Norton volumes represent extraordinary value, and they can often be had significantly discounted. Don't let the two star review put you off - ironically, it would appear that it was not even meant to. Over the years I have collected quite a few; and they won't be going anywhere, and if you have an interest in literature, I am confident you will feel the same way. "