Course Book FAQs

What is the difference between the available formats of The Norton Anthology of English Literature?

Image result for norton anthology 10th edition

The Norton Anthology of English Literature is packaged in a number of ways and this can be somewhat confusing. It comes in:

  1. two large volumes which Norton calls no. 1 and no. 2.
  2. six volumes which Norton calls A-F.
  3. two packages of volumes (A-C and D-F).

These formats have identical texts.

What are the differences between them?

  • Volumes 1 and 2 are 6cm thick and are heavy to carry around;
  • Buying each of the six volumes separately is much more expensive, but might be a good idea for visiting students taking only one course;
  • The two package version is the most convenient for students taking the full English BA course and it is pictured here.

Image result for norton anthology 10th editionWhat is the difference between the available editions of The Norton Anthology of English Literature?

In 2018-19 the department started using the 10th edition of the anthology in first year classes. Different editions of the anthology have different texts so while the choice of format is not important, having the correct edition is.

Where can I find out what books I must buy?

These are listed in the OCASYS entry for the course. Do not rely on students who took the course before you or the lists held by shops as they do not have the most up-to-date information. It is common for students to buy the wrong book by accident so be careful. For my courses the only books listed in OCASYS are ones to which you need long-term access so you should acquire copies for yourself.

Does it matter which edition of a book I get?

Yes, it can matter a lot. If you are buying an anthology, for example, don’t just presume that the one used last year will do. When anthologies change editions the course content changes. Don’t buy an anthology without checking that it is the one listed in OCASYS or you may not have all the texts you need.  Various anthologies have been around for years and have gone through very many editions.

If a specific edition of a book is given in my OCASYS entries you should buy that as it must have a significant advantage that other editions do not possess (I don’t just choose these because they are copies I have). The BA and MA subpages sometimes have further information about course books.

If no edition is specified, any unabridged academic version of the text is fine.  Academic editions include those in the Oxford World Classics and Penguin Classics series and those from university textbook presses (e.g. Broadview, Norton, Cambridge University Press). In some cases, the library may have suitable e-books. Academic editions have a named editor and include introductions, explanatory notes and reliable texts.

For my courses it is not important whether you use paper or electronic copies of a text.

Will I be able to get the course books in the library?

The library keeps one paper copy of the books listed in OCASYS. Sometimes there are extra copies you can borrow, although this is usually difficult if a lot of other people want them at the same time. Not having a course book because it was on loan is not an acceptable excuse for lack of preparation.

When can I sell my course books?

Check the OCASYS entries for future courses you think you might take as the department tries to reuse the more expensive texts where possible.

The Plantin-Moretus Printing Museum in Antwerp