Overview for Students

The review portion of this site can help you prepare for reading assignments, classroom discussions, and tests. Note, though, that you should not read the summaries posted here in lieu of reading the seven period introductions in the book. Each summary can help you better understand and retain the material in a period introduction, but only if you have read that introduction first. A helpful list of the key points covered precedes each summary, and a brief Making Connections section offers ideas about how to make connections between the seven literary periods in the Anthology.

Self-grading multiple-choice quizzes (twenty-five to forty-five quiz questions per NAEL volume) allow you to review and test your knowledge of the material in the period introductions. You can take each quiz as many times as you wish and you can choose to answer as few as ten questions. The questions will appear in a different order each time you take the quiz. If your teacher has requested that you do so, you can use the Norton Gradebook to track your progress and share your results with your professor.

Like the fourteen thematic clusters in the Anthology, the twenty-eight Norton Topics Online allow you to expand the boundaries of the Anthology and to explore the contexts of the literature included there. Each Topic consists of an Overview, several full-length and excerpted texts, visual images, annotated links to related sites, and Explorations — a collection of questions for writing and discussion. Some Topics — "Literature of the Sacred" and "The Woman Question," for example — build on the thematic clusters in the Anthology. Others, such as "Romantic Orientalism" and "Victorian Imperialism," broach subjects only alluded to in the Anthology. Each Topic Overview should take about half an hour to read, but you will need to devote at least two hours to reading and viewing a Topic in its entirety. Your teacher may assign Topics as part of the course reading on your syllabus. If he or she does not, keep in mind that the Topics are designed for self-study. Browse the site and explore what interests you. You may come across an idea for a research project or textual essay, for example, or find materials relevant to a history or art class you are taking. Many visitors to Norton Topics Online are nonacademic Web surfers, not college students. Long after your English literature class is over, you may find yourself returning to this fascinating and wide-ranging site.

Norton Online Archive The Norton Anthology editors respond to changing interests by including new texts in each edition of the Anthology. To make room for these new texts, others must be eliminated. Inevitably, some readers of the Anthology will miss these dropped texts. With that in mind, the editors compiled an Online Archive that currently includes 150 public domain texts and will continue to grow as future editions are revised and altered. The Archive provides carefully edited Norton texts, with glosses and notes, that may be downloaded and printed. A record of the ongoing shifts in literary and cultural interest, the Archive is a reminder that British literature extends beyond the boundaries of The Norton Anthology of English Literature.


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