Medieval and Renaissance
Featured Items
Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost
Paperback      ISBN: 0375757961

Edited by William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephen M. Fallon

John Milton's Paradise Lost, an epic poem on the clash between God and his fallen angel, Satan, is a profound meditation on fate, free will, and divinity, and one of the most beautiful works in world literature. Extracted from the Modern Library's highly acclaimed The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton, this edition reflects up-to-date scholarship and includes a substantial Introduction, fresh commentary, and other features--annotations on Milton's classical allusions, a chronology of the writer's life, clean page layouts, and an index--that make it the definitive twenty-first-century presentation of John Milton's timeless signature work.

Beowulf: The Donaldson Translation, Backgrounds and Sources, Criticism
Beowulf
The Donaldson Translation, Backgrounds and Sources, Criticism
by Beowulf
Paperback      ISBN: 0393092259

A prose translation of the poem in its entirety is presented with detailed historical, linguistic, and critical notes

The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
The Canterbury Tales
A Retelling by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Paperback      ISBN: 0143106171
"A romp for the ages" (Vanity Fair)--now with a graphic cover and deluxe packaging

Renowned novelist, historian, and biographer Peter Ackroyd takes on what is arguably the greatest poem in the English language and presents it in a prose vernacular that makes it accessible to readers while preserving the spirit of the original. A mirror for medieval society, The Canterbury Tales concerns a motley group of pilgrims who meet in a London inn on their way to Canterbury and agree to take part in a storytelling competition. Ackroyd's contemporary prose emphasizes the humanity of these characters-as well as explicitly rendering their bawdy humor-yet still masterfully evokes the euphonies and harmonies of Chaucer's verse.

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.
Edmund Spenser's Poetry: Authoritative Texts, Criticism
Edmund Spenser's Poetry
Authoritative Texts, Criticism
Paperback      ISBN: 0393962997

Seventeen critical essays, judiciously chosen from the many published since 1982, have been added to supplement eleven earlier commentaries. New to the Third Edition are the perspectives of Spenser's contemporary William Camden, Virginia Woolf, William Nelson, A. Bartlett Giamatti, Donald Cheney, Judith Anderson, Richard Helgerson, Louis Adrian Montrose, and David Lee Miller. The critical essays on the House of Busyrane, Spenser's pastoral, Muiopotmos, and Amoretti are grouped to "speak" to each other in ways sure to stimulate classroom discussion. This class-tested feature is back by popular demand along with essays by D. C. Allen, Robert A. Brinkley, Ronald P. Bond, Anne Lake Prescott, Andrew D. Weiner, Susanne Lindgren Wofford, Harry Berger, Jr., and Paul Alpers.

A Chronology of Spenser's life and an extensive Bibliography are also included.
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.
Purgatorio
Purgatorio
by Dante
Paperback      ISBN: 0385497008

Jean Hollander, an accomplished poet, and Robert Hollander, a renowned scholar and master teacher, whose joint translation of the Inferno was acclaimed as a new standard in English, bring their respective gifts to Purgatorio in an arresting and clear verse translation. Featuring the original Italian text opposite the translation, their edition offers an extensive and accessible introduction as well as generous historical and interpretive commentaries that draw on centuries of scholarship and Robert Hollander's own decades of teaching and reasearch.

In the second book of Dante's epic poem The Divine Comedy, Dante has left hell and begins the ascent of the mount of purgatory. Just as hell had its circles, purgatory, situated at the threshold of heaven, has its terraces, each representing one of the seven mortal sins. With Virgil again as his guide, Dante climbs the mountain; the poet shows us, on its slopes, those whose lives were variously governed by pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust. As he witnesses the penance required on each successive terrace, Dante often feels the smart of his own sins. His reward will be a walk through the garden of Eden, perhaps the most remarkable invention in the history of literature.
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.

Beowulf
Beowulf
Paperback      ISBN: 0486272648

One of the most universally studied of the English classics, Beowulf is considered the finest heroic poem in Old English. Written ten centuries ago, it celebrates the character and exploits of Beowulf, a young nobleman of the Geats, a people of southern Sweden.
Beowulf first rescues the royal house of Denmark from two marauding monsters, then returns to rule his people for 50 years, ultimately losing his life in a battle to defend the Geats from a dragon's rampage. The poem combines mythical elements, Christian and pagan sensibilities, and actual historical figures and events in a narrative that ranges from vivid descriptions of fierce fighting and detailed portrayals of court life to earnest considerations of social and moral dilemmas. Originally written in Old English verse, it is presented here in an authoritative prose translation by R. K. Gordon.

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.
  • Travels of Sir John Mandeville
    Travels of Sir John Mandeville
    Paperback      ISBN: 0140444351