The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2: The Romantic Period through the Twentieth Century (Norton Anthology of English Literature) The Norton Anthology of English Literature is a well-known English literary studies supplement for many undergraduate and some graduate-level students. Works included in the anthology (or other Norton Anthologies) are seen as having reached canonicity. Published by the W. W. Norton and Company, the NAEL is divided into two volumes, separating the late Mediaeval era and the Renaissance (Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc.) from the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern eras of English literature.

The majority of tertiary institutions use these books as set pieces for introductions to Shakespeare, Blake, Tennyson, or Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, among many others.

In Volume 1, it explores extensively the very core of English literature from the Middle Ages, including C├Ždmon’s Hymn to Beowulf, moving on to Milton’s Paradise Lost.

The Middle Ages, the 16th century, the early 17th century, the 18th century, the Romantic Era, the Victorian Age, and 20th Century English literature are all well represented.

An anthology, literally “a garland” or “collection of flowers”, is a collection of literary works, originally of poems, but its usage has broadened to be applied to collections of short stories and comic strips. In genre fiction and especially science fiction, anthology is used to categorize collections of shorter works such as short stories, Novelettes up through short novels all collected into a (usually single) volume for publication.

The word derives from the Greek word for garland — or bouquet of flowers — which was the title of the earliest surviving anthology, assembled by Meleager of Gadara. Meleager’s Garland became the seed that grew into the Greek Anthology. The term miscellany is also used, but was more common in the past.