Friday, August 19, 2016

Norton Anthology of English Literature: Middle Ages

Mild Spoilers Ahead

Norton created a series of volumes which are collections of some of the most famous and influential English writers.  As a huge fan of the Middle Ages and medieval literature in general, I particularly enjoyed this anthology volume.

This one book includes many of the poems and prose you should read to become an expert in medieval lit.  Because the works are so ancient, it is very difficult to read however this volume adds very useful footnotes and commentary which makes it much more pleasurable to read.

This is not the type of book you can just breeze through, but if you're willing to put in the work you will not be disappointed.

Table of contents:

  • Permissions Acknowledgments
  • Preface to the Seventh Edition
  • Acknowledgments
  • The Middle Ages (to ca. 1485)
    • Introduction
      • Anglo-Saxon England
      • Anglo-Norman England
      • Middle English Literature in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries
      • Medieval English
      • Old and Middle English Prosody
    • Timeline
  • Anglo-Saxon England
    • Bede (ca. 673-735) and Caedman's Hymn -An Ecclesial History of the English People (story of Caedman)
    • The Dream of the Rood
    • Beowulf -Translated by Seamus Heany
    • The Wanderer
    • The Wife's Lament
    • The Battle of Maldon
  • Anglo-Norman England
    • The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
      • [Obituary for William the Conqueror]
      • [Henry of Poitou Becomes Abbot of Peterborough]
      • [The Reign of King Stephen]
    • Geoffery of Monmouth
      • The History of the Kings of Britain
      • [The story of Brutus and Diana's Prophecy]
    • Wace
      • Le Roman de Brut
      • [The Roman Challenge]
    • Layamon
      • Brut
      • [Arthur's Dream]
    • The Myth of Arthur's Return
      • Geoffery of Monmouth: From History of the Kings of Britain
      • Wace: From Roman de Brut
      • Layamon: From Brut
    • Marie de France
      • Lanaval
      • Fables
        • The Wolf and the Lamb
        • The Wolf and the Sow
    • Celtic Contexts
    • Exile of the Sons of Uisliu
    • Lludd and Lleuelys
    • Ancrene Riwle (Rule for Anchoresses)
      • [The Parable of the Christ-Knight]
  • Middle English Literature in the Fourteenth and Fifteen Centuries
    • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (ca. 1375-1400)
    • Geoffery Chaucer (ca. 1343-1400)
      • The Canterbury Tales
        • The General Prologue
        • The Miller's Prologue and Tale
          • The Prologue
          • The Tale
        • The Man of Law's Epilogue
        • The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
          • The Prologue
          • The Tale
        • The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale
          • The Introduction
          • The Prologue
          • The Tale
          • The Epilogue
        • The Nun's Priest's Tale
      • The Parson's Tale
        • The Introduction
      • Chaucer's Retraction
      • Lyrics and Occasional Verse
      • Troilus's Song
      • Truth
      • To His Scribe Adam
      • Complaint to His Purse
    • William Langland (ca. 1330-1387)
      • The Vision of Piers Plowman
        • The Prologue
          • [The Field of Folk]
        • Passus 5
          • [The Confessions of Envy]
          • [The Confessions of Gluttony]
          • [Piers Plowman Shows the Way to Saint Truth]
        • Passus 6
          • [The Plowing of Piers's Half-Acre]
        • Passus 18
          • [The Harrowing of Hell]
        • The C-Text
          • [The Dreamer Meets Conscience and Reason]
    • Middle English Lyrics
      • The Cuckoo Song
      • Alison
      • My Lief Is Faren in Londe
      • Western Wind
      • I Am of Ireland
      • What is he, this lordling, that cometh from the fight
      • Ye That Passen by the Weye
      • Sunset of Calvary
      • I Sing of a Maiden
      • Adam Lay Bound
      • The Corpus Christi Carol
    • Julian of Norwich (1342-ca. 1416)
      • A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich
        • [The First Revelation] 
          • Chapter 3
          • Chapter 4
          • Chapter 5
          • From Chapter 7
          • Chapter 27
        • [Jesus as Mother]
          • From Chapter 58
          • From Chapter 59
          • Chapter 60
          • Chapter 61
        • [Conclusion]
          • Chapter 86
    • Margery Kempe (ca. 1373-1438)
      • The Book of Margery Kempe
        • [The Birth of Her First Child and Her First Vision]
        • [Her Pride and Attempts to Start a Business]
        • [Margery and her Husband Reach a Settlement]
        • [A Visit with Julian of Norwich]
        • [Pilgrimage to Jerusalem]
        • [Examination before the Archbishop]
        • [Margery Nurses Her Husband in His Old Age]
    • Mystery Plays
      • The Chester Play of Noah's Flood
      • The Wakefield Second Shepherds' Play
    • Sir Thomas Malory (ca. 1405-1471)
      • Morte Darthur
        • [The Conspiracy against Lancelot and Guinevere]
        • [War Breaks Out between Arthur and Lancelot]
        • [The Death of Arthur]
        • [The Deaths of Lancelot and Guinevere]
    • Robert Henryson (ca. 1425-ca. 1500)
      • The Cock and the Fox
    • Everyman (after 1485)
    • Poems in Process
      • John Milton
        • Lycidas
      • Alexander Pope
        • The Rape of the Lock
        • An Essay on Man
      • Samuel Johnson
        • The Vanity of HUman Wishes
      • Thomas Gray
        • Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
    • Selected Bibliographies
      • Suggested General Readings
      • The Middle Ages
      • "The Persistence of English" by Geoffery Nunberg
    • Geographic Nomenclature
    • British Money
    • The British Baronage
      • The Royal Lines of England and Great Britian
    • Religions in England
    • Poetic Forms and Literary Terminology
    • Illustration
      • The Universe According to Ptolemy
  • Index
If you're looking for things that an author like J.R.R. Tolkien specialized in, the Anglo-Saxon section is for you.  Personally, I prefer Anglo-Norman writing such as Sir Thomas Malory and Geoffery of Monmouth.  

The Canterbury Tales takes up a large portion of this work, so for my review of that, make sure to see the separate category I set up for it on the Book Nook page.  

Have you read The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Middle Ages?  Do you prefer Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Norman work?

Are you hoping to read The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Middle Ages?  What works, if any, are you already familiar with?

Comment below :)

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