We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

The Oxford Anthology of English Literature

Second Edition

Edited by J. B. Trapp, Douglas Gray, and Julia Boffey

Publication Date - February 2002

ISBN: 9780195134926

650 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


Medieval English Literature is the first volume of the comprehensive Oxford Anthology of English Literature to be published in a second, expanded, and fully revised edition. It provides an authoritative and representative selection from the vast riches of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English literature of the period between AD 700 and AD 1500. The texts are presented either in full or in ample selections, helpfully and fully glossed and annotated according to the most recent scholarship. They are situated in their cultural context through general and particular introductions and through the carefully chosen illustrations, many of them new. Texts, annotations, introductions, and the bibliography have been thoroughly revised and brought up to date, and there is a full glossary of literary and historical terms.
Anglo-Saxon poetry appears in modern verse translation. In addition to the whole of Beowulf (Edwin Morgan's translation), elegies, The Dream of the Rood, and The Battle of Maldon, there is a sampling of wisdom literature and of biblical epic made with particular reference to the situation of women in Anglo-Saxon society. The generous choice of Chaucer's poetry, in a lightly modernized, glossed text, now includes, as well as the General Prologue and the tales of the Miller, the Nun's Priest, the Wife of Bath (with her Prologue), the Franklin, and the Pardoner, an extract from The Legend of Good Women, and others from the Scottish Chaucerians Henryson and Dunbar. For romance, the whole of the third book of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde and the entire text of Sir Orfeo, both glossed, have been added to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (revised translation by Keith Harrison). The selections from Malory's Morte Darthur have been augmented, as have the translated extracts from The Visions of Piers Plowman (with the account of the Harrowing of Hell). Modernized versions of the Chester Play of Noah and the Seven Deadly Sins episode from The Castle of Perseverance join the Second Shepherds' Play and Everyman in the Theater section. Ballads and lyric poetry have also been changed and amplified to link with a notable innovation: the section entitled Women's Writing and Women's Experience, an introduction to Middle English prose written by and for women.

Previous Publication Date(s)

April 1973

Table of Contents

    Editors' Preface
    Introduction: Medieval English Literature
    Caedmon's Hymn
    from The Death of Holofernes
    The Wanderer
    The Wife's Complaint
    The Husband's Message
    Wulf and Eadwacer
    Engimas and Wisdom
    The Queen and the Frisian Wife
    Genesis B
    from The Temptation of Eve
    The Dream of the Rood
    The Battle of Maldon
    GEOFFREY CHAUCER, c. 1343-1400
    The Canterbury Tales
    General Prologue
    The Miller's Prologue and Tale
    The Nun's Priest's Prologue and Tale
    Two Other Fox Stories
    from The Bestiary
    from Robert Henryson, Fables
    The Fox and the Wolf
    The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
    William Dunbar
    from The Two Married Women and the Widow
    The Franklin's Prologue and Tale
    The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale
    from The Legend of Good Women
    The Legend of Thisbe of Babylon
    Troilus and Criseyde
    Robert Henryson
    The Complaint of Cresseid
    Chaucer's Words unto Adam, His Own Scribe
    Chaucer's Retractions
    Sir Orfeo
    Thomas the Rhymer
    The Land of Cokaygne
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
    Sir Thomas Malory
    from Morte Darthur
    [The Birth of Arthur and the Sword in the Stone]
    [The Fair Maid of Astolat]
    [The Death of Arthur]
    from the Prologue
    from Passus I
    from Passus XVIII
    The Wakefield Second Shepherds' Play
    The Chester Play of Noah
    from The Castle of Perseverance: The Seven Deadly Sins
    Ancrene Wisse (A Guide for Anchoresses)
    Holy Maidenhood (A Letter on Virginity)
    Saint Scholastica
    The Book of Margery Kempe
    What So Men Sayn
    Now Springs the Spray
    Sumer is Ycomen In
    The Thrush and the Nightingale
    Separated Lovers
    Western Wind
    He Is Far
    I Have a Young Sister
    The Maid of the Moor
    The Agincourt Carol
    Bring Us In Good Ale
    I Have Set My Heart So High
    All Too Late
    A Woman Sat Weeping
    Divine Love
    I Sing of a Maiden
    Of One That Is So Fair and Bright
    Adam Lay Ybounden
    Corpus Christi Carol
    The Cherry-Tree Carol
    The Two Magicians
    The Carpenter's Wife [The Demon Lover]
    The Wife of Usher's Well
    The Unquiet Grave
    Lord Randel
    The Three Ravens
    The Birth of Robin Hood
    Sir Patrick Spence
    WILLIAM DUNBAR, c. 1460-c. 1514
    Lament for the Makers
    WILLIAM CAXTON, 1415/24-1492
    The Proem to The Canterbury Tales
    from the Preface to The Aeneid
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Author and Title Index
    First-Line Index