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Early English Literature

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  1. Beowulf

    Translated, with an Introduction, by Dick Ringler


    "Ringler has produced a really good translation of the poem, free of Seamus Heaney's quirks and Irishisms, keeping the rhythm and alliteration, and retaining a simplicity which demonstrates how otiose film effects are when the poem is both powerful and moving. The translation is accompanied by a marvelously straightforward introduction, eschewing all modish modern criticism and thus a useful corrective for those student-readers confused by the liberties taken by [Robert Zemeckis'] Beowulf and its writers. Tolkien would have been pleased by Ringler's version." —Carolyne Larrington, The Times Literary Supplement

    "Although an audience of enamored nonspecialists embraced Heaney's version . . . other scholars gave only grudging respect to the poet whose 'Heaneywulf' often seemed to represent an Anglo-Saxon world re-created in the Irish poet's own image. Since 2002 new and revised translations have come and gone, none attracting as much attention as Heaney's. That should change with Ringler's new translation, and not just because scholars such as Tom Shippey, Frederick Rebsamen, and John Niles vouch for it. The proof is in the reading, whether one does so silently or aloud. In his comprehensive, insightful introduction and rhythmic replication of Old English poetry, Ringler offers the specialist what Heaney did not; this is a performative translation that re-creates the world of Beowulf as accurately as may be possible. Accessible and exciting for specialist and nonspecialist alike, this is the edition professors should be using to introduce the venerable poem to a new audience. Summing up: Essential."  —A.P. Church, CHOICE


  2. Le Morte D'Arthur

    Sir Thomas Malory
    Condensed and modernized, with an Introduction, by Joseph Glaser

    Le Morte D'Arthur

    "I've just finished reading Joseph Glaser's Le Morte D'Arthur. I'm very pleased with it: the introduction is helpful without becoming an extended essay, the suggested reading seems solid and diverse, and the index is VERY useful, even for someone who has read Malory before. At last, a reader can keep all the knights and ladies straight! A fine entry point to a grand text, and when I next have an occasion to teach a course involving chivalry, I'll plan to use this very affordable edition."  
          —Craig Caldwell, Department of History, Appalachian State University

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    Sir Thomas Malory
    Edited, with an Introduction and Commentary, by P. J. C. Field

    Le Morte Darthur: The Seventh & Eighth Tales

     "P. J. C. Field, the world's preeminent Malory specialist, has wisely chosen to offer here Malory's seventh and eighth tales, recounting the decline and end of Camelot.  The authoritative text is accompanied by indispensable notes and preceded by a remarkably thorough and learned—but never obscure—Introduction sufficient to prepare students and other readers to profit fully from the texts. This book is ideal for those coming to Malory for the first time and a distinct pleasure for those who already know him well."
         —Norris J. Lacy, E. E. Sparks Professor of French and Medieval Studies, Penn State University

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    Translated and Edited by Joseph Glaser

    Middle English Poetry in Modern Verse

    This rich and lively anthology offers a broad selection of Middle English poetry from about 1200 to 1500 C.E., including more than 150 secular and religious lyrics and nine complete or extracted longer works, all translated into Modern English verse that closely resembles the original forms.  Five complete satires and narratives illustrate important conventions of the period: Athelston, a historical romance; The Cock and the Fox, a beast fable by Robert Henryson; Sir Orfeo, a Breton lai; Saint Erkenwald, an alliterative saint's life; and The Land of Cockayne, a fantasy. The book concludes with substantial excerpts from longer narratives such as Piers Plowman and Confessio Amantis.

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    Translated, with notes, by Joseph Glaser
    Introduction by Christine Chism

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    “A dazzling recreation of the most memorable Middle English poem, and one that captures the original alliterative verse in all its dimensions: sense, sound, and rhythm.”—Ad Putter, Professor of Medieval English Literature, University of Bristol

    "Nicely fills the gap between overly technical scholarly editions and too-simplified student editions. The translation and overview provide a solid introduction to the Middle English masterpiece and assures that future readers will be as willing as Glaser has been to devote the time and energy necessary to explore the poem's many facets. A worthy effort to bring the complex poem to modern students." —Ryan Naughton, Ohio University, in The Medieval Review

  6. The Canterbury Tales in Modern Verse

    Geoffrey Chaucer
    Translated and Edited, with Introduction, by Joseph Glaser

    The Canterbury Tales in Modern Verse

    "This version of The Canterbury Tales is indeed 'fast-paced and entertaining'.  It includes translations of most of the tales (certainly all of the most popular ones) and abridgments and summaries of a few others.  Glaser's main innovation in this translation is a rather striking decision to render Chaucer's standard iambic pentameter line in iambic tetrameter. . . . Those who read his translation of The Canterbury Tales will likely be motivated to tackle a linguistically more challenging, yet more rewarding Middle English edition.  Those who lack the time for such a task will still be able to appreciate the humor and variety of one of Chaucer's greatest works and will, through the basic and clear Introduction, get a sense of the historical and literary background of Chaucer, his times, and his works.  The near conversational tone of the Introduction, furthermore, makes for an unintimidating encounter with a period of literature that, for many, is foreign and remote.  As a kind of gateway text, therefore, Glaser's new translation of The Canterbury Tales will be much appreciated and valued by a non-specialist audience." —Jennifer A. Smith, Comitatus

  7. Troilus and Criseyde in Modern Verse

    Geoffrey Chaucer
    Translated, with notes, by Joseph Glaser
    Introduction by Christine Chism

    Troilus and Criseyde in Modern Verse

    This fast-moving Modern English version of Chaucer's greatest tragic romance highlights the poem's rapid shifts in register and diction as well as its subtle and elusive characterizations, while preserving the enchanting rhyme-royal stanza of the Middle English original. Christine Chism's Introduction illuminates the work's historical context, poetic devices, first audiences, sources, and non-traditional re-conception of a traditional female protagonist "whose faults," as Criseyde says, "are rolled on every tongue."

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