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Posted April 13, 2009
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Why would anyone ever want to read three versions of the same story, each written in enormously different time eras? Many reasons, actually. Detailing the 'Matter of Troy', this Norton edition has three versions of the Troilus and Cresseida story. It doesn't have the first, original text by Benoit de St. Maure, however. What makes this text shine is that it has facing pages of text, one side with Boccaccio's 'Il Filostrato' and the other with the Chaucer version, so the reader can easily compare the two. Chaucer's Middle English is glossed, so that newer readers need not be overly intimidated.
As an afterthought, the editors included Robert Henryson's "The Testament of Cressida". The Middle Scot is a bit more difficult to understand, but the footnotes and margins gloss helps.
And as usual, Norton includes a variety of material on the Troilus and Cressida story, making this an important book to have if you're a fan of Chaucer, or a serious student of English and of classicism.
Physically speaking, though, the binding seems a bit weak (haven't tested it fully yet)and be careful when you write your own comments on the margins - ink seeps through and marks up the following page.
Overall, though, this is a good book to have.