Ch 16: Literary Works in Translation

About This Chapter

This chapter explores major literary works that have been translated. Use the self-paced videos to learn more about translated stories and the themes that played a role in them.

Literary Works in Translation - Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes the themes present in translated literature like the Greek epics 'The Iliad', and 'The Odyssey'. After completing this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  • Analyze and discuss the themes in works like 'War and Peace' and 'Crime and Punishment'
  • Summarize Dante's 'The Divine Comedy'
  • Discuss the books and inventions of Jules Verne
  • Explain the themes and writing style of Henrik Ibsen's plays
  • Discuss French novel writers
  • Explain the plots of epics like 'The Epic of Gilgamesh', 'The Iliad', and 'The Odyssey'
  • Give a summary of the characters and themes present in 'Don Quixote'
  • Discuss the lives and books of Franz Kafka and Thomas Mann

Each video lesson has an available transcription for those who are more comfortable reading the lessons. The convenient dashboard helps you keep track of where you are and jump through the videos at your discretion.

12 Lessons in Chapter 16: Literary Works in Translation
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Epic of Gilgamesh

1. The Epic of Gilgamesh

Witness the Epic of Gilgamesh, a story of adventure, love and friendship. This long poem will help us examine the hallmarks of civilization for a Sumerian and the importance of dreams. We'll also cover the Sumerian contributions to the epic form of literature.

The Iliad: Greek Epic

2. The Iliad: Greek Epic

This lecture traces the history of Greek epics. It then examines the central themes of 'The Iliad': Xenia, Achilles' wrath, and his quest for immortality. The plot of 'The Iliad' is summarized and attention is drawn to themes from the Sumerian tradition.

The Odyssey: Greek Epic

3. The Odyssey: Greek Epic

This lecture provides a rough outline of the exploits of Odysseus in Homer's epic poem ''The Odyssey''. You'll learn plot details about this epic poem, in addition to hearing about how this important tale relates to Greek culture and literary works throughout history.

The Divine Comedy by Dante: Summary & Analysis

4. The Divine Comedy by Dante: Summary & Analysis

In this lesson we will explore Dante's epic poem, The Divine Comedy (circa 1308), in which the character Dante travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.

Don Quixote: Summary, Characters, Themes & Author

5. Don Quixote: Summary, Characters, Themes & Author

Are you familiar with the classic scene from 'Don Quixote' where the main character attacks the windmills, mistaking them as giants? There is more to this novel, of course, and this lesson will explore its plot, characters, themes, and author.

War & Peace: Themes & Analysis

6. War & Peace: Themes & Analysis

War and Peace (1869) is a historic epic novel about the life Russian socialites at the beginning of the 19th century set against the backdrop of the French invasion of Russia. The book's major characters mirror the spiritual biography of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, as they search for the meaning of life and death in a world shaken by Napoleonic wars.

Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky: Summary & Analysis

7. Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky: Summary & Analysis

Crime and Punishment is the best known work of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Read a summary of this famous novel, and analyze what this story meant to readers in Dostoevsky's time as well as what it means to us today.

Jules Verne: Biography, Books & Inventions

8. Jules Verne: Biography, Books & Inventions

Plunge '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' and travel 'Around the World in Eighty Days' in this lesson on the life and work of Jules Verne! Read on to learn more about this 'Father of Science Fiction' and the innovations he helped make science fact.

French Novel Writers

9. French Novel Writers

French literature has a rich history with writers exploring social and political injustice. In this lesson, we will look at Alexander Dumas, Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, and Simone de Beauvoir, four major French authors that made significant contributions to literature.

Plays by Henrik Ibsen: Themes & Writing Style

10. Plays by Henrik Ibsen: Themes & Writing Style

The Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote some of the world's most enduring, modern plays. However, his life was anything but easy. In this lesson, we will look at the life of Ibsen, his plays, and observe Ibsen's writing style.

Author Thomas Mann: Biography, Books & Short Stories

11. Author Thomas Mann: Biography, Books & Short Stories

If you think the people he writes about are interesting, you'll definitely want to meet the real character that is Thomas Mann. In this lesson, you'll find out more about the life of this German author and get to see some examples of his novels and short stories.

Franz Kafka: Books & Biography

12. Franz Kafka: Books & Biography

Franz Kafka, perhaps the most famous surrealist novelist of the twentieth century, published very little in his life. If not for the intervention of a dear friend, most of his genius would have been lost forever.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.