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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 14 February 2004
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1, is an indispensable addition to the book shelf of students, scholars and avid readers alike. Beautifully presented in matte paperback, and expertly executed by a plethora of academic editors, it covers the literature of the British Isles from the first Anglo-Saxon poet Caedmon (early 7th century) to the late 18th century, cutting off just before the Romantic period.
Contained within her several unexpected gems, including the full text of Seamus Heaney's verse translation of "Beowulf", the "Ancrene Riwle" - a medieval text concerning anchoresses which is otherwise unavailable, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and a substantial selection of Langland and Middle English lyrics. Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe and Donne all get lengthy, well selected outings, and are accompanied by a relatively wide array of women poets and authors, including the full text of Aphra Behn's "Oroonoko". The entirety of Swift's "Gulliver Travels" finds a slot and there are even more obscure gems like "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano the African by Himself", an account of slavery in the UK, nestled inside the wealth of famous names.
The second volume covering the Romantic period to the present follows directly on, but its this first volume, containing so much material otherwise neglected by popular taste or curriculum, that provides such a good "finger buffet" for those looking to go further. Hopefully it will inspire more readers to branch out into the formative literature of the pre-1790's.
Don't let the heft of the book, or the apparent flimsiness of its pages put you off. Its lighter, and hardier, than it looks and worth its weight in gold.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2001
As an English student this is the key book on our reading list. Although it contains many useful texts and saves a substansial amount of money over the year, I found it very difficult to read complete texts. The print is tiny and the paper very thin and as the book is so thick it makes concentrating on a text difficult. I found myself renting all books from the library for the initial read and using Norton for reference and reminders.
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VINE VOICEon 3 October 2013
True each edition reflects a different way of looking at the material and occasionally a new insight. However coming from near zero and have read the basic literature without the aid of a trained eye, to tell you what you are missing.

I am having hours of great fun just reading from front to back. It is like getting may free books (annotations, introductions, and explanations) all wrapped up in one. Not only do you learn more about the literature, but you can retain more when the story has meaning and is in a context.

I do have to confess that there is some literature that I never heard about. So in the process of reading I am also expanding my repertoire.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2011
I love that second-hand book! I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon turning the pages, reading the notes in pencil a student wrote to highlight the most important concepts. I found that very useful!
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on 4 January 2013
Content and footnotes are fantastic as expected. Only thing to note is how thin the pages are. This is perfectly reasonable given how many pages there need to be - if they were thick made of normal paper then the book would be huge. Saying this, the book is quite large and heavy. Definitely of better value than buying the 8th or 9th edition at four times the price! Also note buying second hand with highlighting and notes on was a good money shaving investment as you can still read the text with ease.
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on 4 December 2013
Arrived on time and is perfectly usable, so I'm satisfied with my purchase. The book was in the condition I knew it would be in, so no problems there either.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2000
This book just covers so much of the English Literature history - it is perfect for students and readers alike. Just flipping through pages tends to make one aware of the diversity and pleasure of the English Language, and we can learn so much about individual authors from one book.
Best buy - absoutely brilliant - im going out to by the second volume! happy reading
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