About this courseSkip About this course
Cities, nations, and empires from antiquity through the middle ages drew on foundational histories and myths for their identities, relating these narratives through generations by means of oral-storytelling and new writing technologies. These epics, story collections, and novels, which take a keen interest in heroic travelers, would eventually travel themselves, finding new global audiences as the first works of world literature.
Tracing developments in language, writing, and literary genre, this course also travels in time, from legendary accounts of ancient kings to histories of medieval courts and early-modern exploration. We will stop to consider how all of these texts affected the history of their own eras, but also how they have continued to find new prominence and significance in ours.
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- The early history of World Literature
- How literary works are transformed by cultural transmission and modern recovery
- How to critically analyze literary works
- The significance of major technological advances in writing
Section 2: The Birth of Literature (The Epic of Gilgamesh)
Section 3: Homer and the Archeology of the Classical Past (The Odyssey)
Section 4: West-Eastern Conversations (The 1001 Nights)
Section 5: The Floating World (The Tale of Genji)
Section 6: The First National Epic (The Lusíads)
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