TITLE: Anthology of Middle English Literature (1350-1485)

ACCESS: http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/

The Anthology of Middle English Literature is a Web guide to online study materials on Middle English literature from 1350 to 1485. It covers nine important authors, texts and genres, including Chaucer, Margery Kempe, Everyman and medieval plays. In addition, there are essays, additional resources and a bookstore. Each main section of the Anthology contains links to web resources, biographical information, electronic versions of each text and online essays and articles. Essays written by students are also included and are clearly marked. The section on Chaucer is by far the most extensive and well developed.

The Anthology is a part of a larger site, Luminarium, which also includes information on Renaissance and 17th Century Literature. The site's author, Anniina Jokinen, created Luminarium in 1996 because she found it difficult to locate online study materials while taking a survey class. This web resource has been maintained and expanded over the past four years and the author indicates that she will continue to do so. The entire site can be searched by words or phrases.

Though the scope of the Anthology site is somewhat limited, it does include many of the authors and texts normally covered in introductory Middle English survey courses. Adding links to background information and other influential texts would further increase its usefulness and provide historical and cultural contexts for the texts. In addition, while the author notes that the site "is scholarly and aims for accuracy at all times," selection criteria are unclear.

Despite the black background on the main page, this site is very easy to navigate and has an attractive design with vivid, colorful images. One problem, however, is that whenever a main section page is accessed, a sound file tries to play. This causes error messages if the proper browser plug-in is not loaded. While these messages are easy to handle, it does effect the site's usability and can be frustrating for users.

As a whole, this Anthology would be a good guide for students in Middle English survey classes. It is especially useful for locating resources on Chaucer. While many items included on this site can be found other places on the Web, the Anthology does a good job of collecting materials that fit specifically within its narrow scope. It is definitely worth perusing.

Nicole Campbell
Washington State University
campbell@vancouver.wsu.edu


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