Ch 29: World Literature

About This Chapter

Use our online video lesson on world literature to become acquainted with historic and important literary works. Learn about ancient poets and epic poems and acquire the background you'll need to teach literature to students in grades 6-12.

World Literature - Chapter Summary

In this chapter, you'll learn about the major authors and representative works found in world literature. These include pre-modern, non-English works, as well as those composed during the 17th-19th centuries. You'll be introduced to the Epic of Gilgamesh from Mesopotamia, one of the oldest examples of world literature, as well as epic poems written by the ancient Greek and Roman poets, Homer and Virgil. This chapter will also provide you with an overview of the Argonautica plot, a Hellenistic epic and the sole surviving poem from this period of civilization.

As an educator, you'll learn how historical, literary and mythological references can add to an understanding of world literature. You may also learn how to help your students identify the characteristics and literary devices found in fiction and obtain ideas for materials, instructional strategies and assessments. As you progress through this chapter, you'll have a chance to explore the following works:

  • The Iliad
  • Jason and the Golden Fleece
  • The Aeneid
  • Upanishads
  • Pastoral odes

Our video lessons on world literature provide students and teachers with an engaging and informative way to access this complex subject. Taught by education professionals, the tutorials also include lesson transcripts, self-assessment quizzes and links to text lessons that can help you obtain more information about key terms. Additional features include video tags, which allow you to revisit specific parts of the lesson without re-watching the entire tutorial.

12 Lessons in Chapter 29: World Literature
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 Argonautica Plot Synopsis: The Myth of Jason and the Argonauts

4. The Argonautica Plot Synopsis: The Myth of Jason and the Argonauts

This lesson offers a complete plot synopsis of 'The Argonautica' by Apollonius of Rhodes. Discover the main characters of this romantic twist of a classic Greek myth and learn the similarities between this and 'The Odyssey.'

The Aeneid by Virgil

5. The Aeneid by Virgil

This lesson explores Virgil's 'Aeneid'. It consists of a brief plot synopsis. We stop along the way to look at a few important scenes and offer analysis where necessary.

The Upanishads: History, Religion & Oral Tradition

6. The Upanishads: History, Religion & Oral Tradition

The Upanishads are a collection of documents that form the basis of Hinduism. In this lesson, you'll learn how these written texts came to exist and some of the major teachings they contain.

Pastoral Ode: Definition & Characteristics

7. Pastoral Ode: Definition & Characteristics

Pastoral odes have been around for over 2000 years. In this lesson you'll learn the characteristics of these poems and how our thinking about pastoral poetry has changed in recent years.

World Literature Written Pre-Modernity: Influences, Traits & Famous Works

8. World Literature Written Pre-Modernity: Influences, Traits & Famous Works

Literature has flourished worldwide, even in the time before the historical modern era. In this lesson, you'll learn why some literature has lasted for thousands of years, and you'll look at three particular classics.

World Literature of the 17th-19th Centuries: Traits, Influences & Famous Works

9. World Literature of the 17th-19th Centuries: Traits, Influences & Famous Works

From the 17th Century to the 19th Century, world literature saw some profound changes. In this lesson, you'll learn about the major trends in the literature of that era, and you'll see four examples of landmark works.

Modern World Literature: Characteristics & Influences

10. Modern World Literature: Characteristics & Influences

Modern world literature exists beyond the boundaries of writers' home countries. In this lesson, you'll learn how world literature is now different from the writing of the past, and you'll learn why those changes have been made.

World Literature: Major Authors & Works

11. World Literature: Major Authors & Works

World literature is writing that goes beyond borders to touch readers worldwide. This lesson will define world literature and give five examples of books that have had a lasting influence.

What is Surrealism in Literature? - Definition, Characteristics & Examples

12. What is Surrealism in Literature? - Definition, Characteristics & Examples

Surrealism began as a movement and grew into a literary genre still used today. Read about how it flourished and what makes it such a powerful method for freeing the unconscious.

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

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