English 287: Great Books
[Texts for the Course]
Alternative Sources for the Recommended Editions, and Alternative Acceptable Editions
On the main page listing the texts for the course I have placed only the editions I have ordered at Claflin Books and Copies (the bookstore in the little shopping mall at the southwest corner of the intersection of Denison Avenue and Claflin Road -- right across from the Marlatt Dormitory Complex (and catty-cornered from Ackert Hall, where the Biology Division is centered).
These are the editions I will make page and/or line references to in the assignments you will find in the Course Schedule. However (except as noted below), you are welcome to use different a different edition for any of our readings.
If you do this, though, you will be responsible for locating passages in your edition that are equivalent to the ones referred to in the Course Schedule, and (of course) for keeping up with the assignments. On this page, I have noted some acceptable alternatives to the editions I have ordered.
There may be others. If you have a copy of an edition that is not listed here, bring it along and show it to me; I will be happy to tell you whether it is suitable for our purposes.
Naturally I have ordered all texts in a paperback edition. But in some cases the same text is available, new or used, in a hardcover edition. The paperback editions are the ones referred to below in all the main entries below (the first line for each reading, in larger typeface). I have also worked in references to the pages at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble On-Line that feature the editions referred to. In some cases these pages provide comments by readers that you may find interesting. Occasionally, I have pointing out where used copies can be ordered (sometimes from suitable editions that are now out of print).
It is possible to compare prices at on-line sources for books, by consulting Epinions or NexTag or Best Book Buys . But notice that this can be misleading. If you search only on "Don Quixote" there, you are going to find the lowest price at each supplier for any translation in any edition in any condition that carries the title Don Quixote. To be sure to restrict your search to the edition we are using in this course, you'd need to search on a more restrictive phrase. Since our translation is by John Rutherford, you will get what you want if you search on "Don Quixote Rutherford".
This can be a convenient way to get to what is available at ecampus.com, buy.com, Alibris, Powells and other places. But it doesn't always work (as a search on "Cat's Cradle" will reveal).
In some cases, there are on-line versions available of suitable texts of a work. Keep in mind, though, that for student purposes, on-line versions can be very inconvenient, even though they are virtually free:
- You can't take notes in the margin.
- You can't carry the text around with you for reading during the cracks between other activities, since you are a slave to your computer screen.
You can get around these disadvantages by printing out a copy for yourself. But this can actually be quite expensive. And the text you end up with is still bulky for carrying around and reading on the fly. Those of you who have a palm-sized computer with enough memory can load the text into it for convenient portability, but you still will have time writing easily retrievable notes indexed to particular passages. (And if you can afford a palm computer, you probably can afford to buy a conventional text.)
Still, knowing how to access an on-line version can be helpful in certain circumstances -- as when, for example, you are on the road for vacation and discover you've left your text at home, but want to keep up on your reading assignments. If the person you are visiting has a computer hooked up to the net -- or if you can find your way to a nearby college or local library with public-access computers -- you're still in business.
2. Homer, The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fagles, with an Introduction and Notes by Bernard Knox (Penguin, 1997).
Here you should do your best to acquire the Fagles translation, with the notes by the famous scholar Bernard Knox. But it may be that you already have on hand some other translation. Any of the following would be suitable.
The Odyssey. Translated by Stanley Lombardo. Introduction by Sheila Murnaghan. (Hackett paperback edition).
The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Mandelbaum (Bantam Books paperback)
The Odyssey (Norton Critical Edition Series), 2nd Ed. Translated and edited by Albert Cook (W.W. Norton, 2001)
Amazon.com (paperback) | B&N (paperback only)
The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fitzgerald (Vintage paperback edition or Farrar, Strauss & Giroux paperback, 1998)
The Odyssey. Translated by Richmond Lattimore (Harper Collins paperback, 1999)
3. Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays (Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colunus; Antigone). Translated by Robert Fagles. Notes by Bernard Knox.(Viking Penguin paperback).
Other acceptable editions are
Sophocles One: Three Tragedies (Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone), 2nd Ed. Translated and edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimnore (University of Chicago Press paperback).
Oedipus the King. Translated by Stephen Berg and Diskin Clay (Oxford University Press)
The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles. Translated by Paul Roche (New American Library paperback)
Sophocles, The Theban Plays (Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone). Translated by David Green, Charles Segal and David Grene (Alfred A Knopf / Everyman's Library)
Sophcles 2: King Oedipus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, 1st ed. Edited by David R. Slavitt, translated by Jascha Frederick Kessler (University of Pennsylvania Press paperback).
Oedipus the King (on-line at Project BookRead).
4. William Shakespeare, King Lear. Edited by James Hammersmith , David Scott Kastan, Robert Kean Turner, and David Bevington. Foreword by Joseph Papp (Bantam Doubleday paperback, 1988).
Amazon.com (paper) | B&N (paper)
Many other editions are quite acceptable. Some are listed below.
You'll want an edition based on the "Folio Edition" rather than the "Quarto Edition" of the play. (Most of the ones currently available in mass market or textbook editions will meet this criterion, but if you get a dual edition, put your efforts into reading the Folio version.)
Be sure you get an edition with good notes, preferably in the margin rather than at the bottom of the page.
Absolute best (for our purposes) would be the Cambridge University Press edition edited by Elsbeth Bain, Rob Smith, and Jonathan Morris. This has excellent helps to a deeper understanding of a very challenging text.
If you are planning on majoring in literature, you might want to consider the excellent edition of the play in the New Arden Shakespeare (Third Series), edited by R.A. Foakes
The New Folger Library Shakespeare edition is also fine, and inexpensive. Barbara A. Mowat (Preface), Paul Werstine (Preface).
Also very good would be the Viking Penguin Pelican edition edited by Stephen Orgel
or the Oxford University Press edition edited by Stanley W. Wells.
Acceptable, too, would be the Cliffscomplete Shakespeare's King Lear: Complete Text + Commentary + Glossary is good (not to be confused with the simple Cliff's Notes to the play).
A close equivalent (for our purposes) would be King Lear (Barron's Shakespeare Made Easy), edited by Alan Durband This provides a modern English version side-by-side with the original text.
5. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote: The Ingenious Hidalgo de la Mancha. Translated by John Rutherford. (Viking Penguin paperback, 2001).
For this work, you need to have the Rutherford translation. Most others available are either too stilted to make for enjoyable reading or inexcusably inaccurate (arbitrarily cutting or even adding [!] passages.
6. Molière, Tartuffe: A Comedy in Five Acts Translated by Richard Wilbur (Harcourt Brace paperback). OR: or The Misanthrope and Tartuffe. Translated by Richard Wilbur (Harvest paperback).
Here you must acquire the Richard Wilbur translation. No other will do. But, as indicated above, you can get Tartuffe either by itself or (an even better deal) in combination (in a single volume) with another of Molière's masterpieces, The Misanthrope -- i.e., The Misanthrope and Tartuffe.
7. Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones. Edited by R. P. Mutter (Penguin Classics paperback).
Other editions are perfectly suitable, however. Among them are the following:
The Oxford World Classics edition edited by John Bender and Simon Stern.
Amazon.com (paper) | B&N (paper)
The Norton Critical Edition of the novel (2nd Ed.), edited by Sheridan Baker.
On-line versions of the novel.
8. Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (Harper Collins paperback, 2000)
Used copies: search on "Pirsig Zen" at ABC or Powell's Books.
An on-line version of the text of the novel (converted to HTML by Bryan O'Sullivan).
A downloadable version of the novel in pdf format.
The above 8 works are the only purchases required for this course. Some of you might, however, eventually working your way through a famous book by the critic Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (Princeton University Press). In particular, for this course, you will find interesting the last four subsections of Frye's third essay, on "Archetypal Criticism: Theory of Myths." These are
- "The Mythos of Spring: Comedy"
- "The Mythos of Summer: Romance"
- "The Mythos of Fall: Tragedy"
- "The Mythos of Winter: Irony and Satire"
Frye's book is can be special-ordered at Claflin Books and Copies. Or you can resort to
- Amazon.com: Anatomy of Criticism. (The reader comments on this page are worth a look.)
- Barnes & Noble On-Line: Anatomy of Criticism
- American Book Exchange (search on "Frye Anatomy Criticism"), or
- Powell's Books (search on "Frye Anatomy Criticism").
If you go for the current edition, you will enjoy the fact that it comes with a thought-provoking essay by another great modern critic, Professor Harold Bloom.
Bloom himself is a figure many of you will enjoy getting acquainted with. Here are some places you might start
- Bloom's The Western Canon: The Books and Schools of the Ages: have a look at the reader comments at Barnes & Noble and at Amazon.
- Tim McCormick's page at LiteraryCritic.com on Bloom -- a rich collection of references focusing on the above
- the Bedford-St. Martin's Press page on Bloom -- with links to interviews and other materials concerning Bloom on the web
Return to Basic List of texts for the course (the editions ordered at Claflin Books and Copies)..
Return to the Home Page for English 287: Great Books.
Questions or suggestions are welcome. Please contact the instructor at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This page last updated 19 August 2003 .