Medieval and Renaissance
Featured Items
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Paperback      ISBN: 0375709924

A splendid new translation of the classic Arthurian tale of enchantment, adventure, and romance, presented alongside the original Middle English text.

It is the height of Christmas and New Year's revelry when an enormous knight with brilliant green clothes and skin descends upon King Arthur's court. He presents a sinister challenge: he will endure a blow of the axe to his neck without offering any resistance, but whoever gives the blow must promise to take the same in exactly a year and a day's time. The young Sir Gawain quickly rises to the challenge, and the poem tells of the adventures he finds--an almost irresistible seduction, shockingly brutal hunts, and terrifyingly powerful villains--as he endeavors to fulfill his promise.

Capturing the pace, impact, and richly alliterative language of the original text, W. S. Merwin has imparted a new immediacy to a spellbinding narrative, written centuries ago by a poet whose name is now unknown, lost to time. Of the Green Knight, Merwin notes in his foreword: "We seem to recognize him--his splendor, the awe that surrounds him, his menace and his grace--without being able to place him . . . We will never know who the Green Knight is except in our own response to him."
A Companion to Chaucer
A Companion to Chaucer
Paperback      ISBN: 0631235906

Designed as both a contribution to original research and as a stimulating and accessible text, this volume is a helpful, reliable, responsive and adaptable resource for students of Chaucer at all levels.

Dante
Dante
Hardcover      ISBN: 0670899097

Only R.W.B. Lewis-the renowned biographer and author of The City of Florence-could write so insightfully about Dante Alighieri, Florence's famous son. In Dante he traces the life and complex development-emotional, artistic, philosophical-of this supreme poet-historian, from his wanderings through Tuscan hills and splendid churches to his days as a young soldier fighting for democracy, and to his civic leadership and years of embittered exile from the city that would fiercely reclaim him a century later.

Lewis reveals the boy who first encounters the mythic Beatrice, the lyric poet obsessed with love and death, the grand master of dramatic narrative and allegory, and his monumental search for ultimate truth in The Divine Comedy. It is in this masterpiece of self-discovery and redemption that Lewis finds Dante's own autobiography-and the sum of all his shifting passions and epiphanies.

The Portable Chaucer: Revised Edition
The Portable Chaucer
Revised Edition
Paperback      ISBN: 0140150811

In the fourteenth century Geoffrey Chaucer, who served three kings as a customs official and special envoy, virtually invented English poetry. He did so by wedding the language of common speech to metrical verse, creating a medium that could accommodate tales of courtly romance, bawdy fabliaux, astute psychological portraiture, dramatic monologues, moral allegories, and its author's astonishing learning in fields from philosophy to medicine and astrology. Chaucer's accomplishment is unequalled by any poet before Shakespeare and--in The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Cressida--ranks with that of the great English novelists.

Both The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Cressida are presented complete in this anthology, in fresh modern translations by Theodore Morrison that convey both the gravity and gaiety of the Middle English originals. The Portable Chaucer also contains selections from The Book of Duchess, The House of Fame, The Bird's Parliament, and The Legend of Good Women, together with short poems. Morrison's introduction is vital for its insights into Chaucer as man and artist, and as a product of the Middle Ages whose shrewdness, humor, and compassion have a wonderfully contemporary ring.
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Paperback      ISBN: 0812000390

Begun soon after 1386 and written during several years that followed, Geoffrey Chaucer's great narrative poem The Canterbury Tales presents a richly detailed, highly entertaining, and sometimes bawdy picture of English society in the fourteenth century. Rich with humorous insights into the many foibles of humanity, this poem is considered by most literary critics and scholars to be the first great example of literary art written in vernacular English. Its narrative opens as a party of 30 men and women from various walks of life gather at the Tabard Inn in London, from where they set out on a holy pilgrimage to Canterbury and its shrine dedicated to Thomas Becket. As they travel, each person has a story to tell.

The most famous and beloved of Chaucer's stories are presented in interlinear form this intensely readable volume. Alternating each of Chaucer's original lines with its translation into modern English, this book encourages readers to savor the genius of Chaucer's original poetry while following each line with an easy-to-understand modern translation of his Southeast Midlands dialect of Middle English. This scholarly yet truly approachable translation of Chaucer's original poem is the work of Vincent F. Hopper, a longtime professor of English literature at New York University. He opens with the famous Prologue--

Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote
When April with his showers sweet
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
The drought of March has pierced to the root

--and then goes on to present
  • The Miller's Tale
  • The Reeve's Tale
  • The Prioress's Tale
  • The Nun's Priest's Tale
  • The Pardoner's Tale
  • The Wife of Bath's Tale
  • The Franklin's Tale . . . and more.
    This fine volume also includes an enlightening introductory essay on Chaucer's art, with Professor Hopper's commentary on England as it existed in the fourteenth century. He concludes with a short list of recommended reading on Chaucer's time and his art.
  • Praise of Folly
    Praise of Folly
    Paperback      ISBN: 0140446087

    Erasmus of Rotterdam (c. 1466-1536) is one of the greatest figures of the Renaissance humanist movement, which abandoned medieval pieties in favour of a rich new vision of the individual's potential. Praise of Folly, written to amuse his friend Sir Thomas More, is Erasmus's best-known work. Its dazzling mixture of fantasy and satire is narrated by a personification of Folly, dressed as a jester, who celebrates youth, pleasure, drunkenness and sexual desire, and goes on to lambast human pretensions, foibles and frailties, to mock theologians and monks and to praise the 'folly' of simple Christian piety. Erasmus's wit, wordplay and wisdom made the book an instant success, but it also attracted what may have been sales-boosting criticism. The Letter to Maarten van Dorp, which is a defence of his ideas and methods, is also included.

    For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
    Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer, and Patriot
    Milton
    Poet, Pamphleteer, and Patriot
    Paperback      ISBN: 1596916788

    John Milton was one of the world's greatest poets, the renowned author of Paradise Lost. But he was also deeply involved in political and religious controversies of his time, and authored a series of radical pamphlets on free speech, divorce, and civil rights that proposed a rethinking of the nature and practice of government.

    In countless biographies, Milton has been crudely sketched either as a blind, saintly artist or as a domestic tyrant. Yet as Anna Beer shows, he was neither ogre nor paragon. By closely examining all aspects of Milton's life and its social historical context, Beer succeeds in bringing an enigmatic pillar of English literature to life, four centuries after his birth.

    The Canterbury Tales (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
    The Canterbury Tales (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
    Paperback      ISBN: 1593080808

    &&LDIV&&R&&LDIV&&R&&LI&&RThe Canterbury Tales&&L/I&&R, by &&LB&&RGeoffrey Chaucer&&L/B&&R, is part of the &&LI&&RBarnes & Noble Classics&&L/I&&R&&LI&&R &&L/I&&Rseries, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of &&LI&&RBarnes & Noble Classics&&L/I&&R: &&LDIV&&R

      New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
    All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. &&LI&&RBarnes & Noble Classics &&L/I&&Rpulls together a constellation of influences--biographical, historical, and literary--to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.&&L/DIV&&R&&L/DIV&&R&&LP style=MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt&&R &&L/P&&R&&LP style=MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt&&RPilgrims on their way to worship at the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury stop at the Tabard Inn. Representing a cross-section of medieval English society, the group includes a knight and his squire, a prioress, a friar, a miller, and a wife. To amuse themselves on their journey, they agree that each will tell a tale. These stories--by turns bawdy, hilarious, scurrilous, romantic, heroic, and moving--reveal a great deal about the tellers and the world they live in, which, despite the distance of six hundred years, seems remarkably like our own. Indeed, the structure of &&LI&&RThe Canterbury Tales&&L/I&&R and the sophisticated, intricate interplay between the stories, their narrators, and the general narrator (himself a complex comic character) give the book its strikingly modern flavor.&&L/P&&R&&LP style=MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt&&R &&L/P&&R&&LP style=MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt&&ROften called the first book of poetry written in English, &&LSTRONG&&RChaucer&&L/B&&R's masterpiece is also the first anthology of English short fiction, one that will resonate with readers for as long as folly and courage, deceit and generosity, love and jealousy remain part of the human personality.&&L/P&&R&&LP style=MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt&&R &&L/P&&R&&LDIV&&R&&LP style=MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt&&R&&LSTRONG&&RRobert W. Hanning&&L/B&&R is Professor of English at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1961. He has published &&LI&&RThe Vision of History in Early Britain&&L/I&&R, &&LI&&RThe Individual in Twelfth-Century Romance&&L/I&&R, &&LI&&RThe Lais of Marie de France&&L/I&&R (co-translated with Joan Ferrante), and &&LI&&RCastiglione: the Ideal and the Real in Renaissance Culture&&L/I&&R (co-edited with David Rosand), as well as many articles on Chaucer's poetry and other medieval and Renaissance subjects.&&L/P&&R&&LP style=MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt&&R &&L/P&&R&&LP style=MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt&&R&&LSTRONG&&RPeter Tuttle&&L/B&&R's most recent poetry is &&LI&&RLooking for a Sign in the West&&L/I&&R, published by Back Short in 2003.&&L/P&&R&&L/DIV&&R&&L/DIV&&R
    King Harald's Saga: Harald Hardradi of Norway: From Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla
    King Harald's Saga: Harald Hardradi of Norway
    From Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla
    Paperback      ISBN: 0140441832

    This compelling Icelandic history describes the life of King Harald Hardradi, from his battles across Europe and Russia to his final assault on England in 1066, less than three weeks before the invasion of William the Conqueror. It was a battle that led to his death and marked the end of an era in which Europe had been dominated by the threat of Scandinavian forces. Despite England's triumph, it also played a crucial part in fatally weakening the English army immediately prior to the Norman Conquest, changing the course of history. Taken from the Heimskringla--Snorri Sturluson's complete account of Norway from prehistoric times to 1177--this is a brilliantly human depiction of the turbulent life and savage death of the last great Norse warrior-king.

    For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
    Malory's Le Morte D' Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table
    Malory's Le Morte D' Arthur
    King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table
    Paperback      ISBN: 0451528166

    Presents the story of King Arthur, his knights of the Round Table, the sword Excalibur, and his tragic death.