World Literature Essay Introduction

Updated: Love and longing, hope and fear - these threads run throughout all literature, whether we're talking about the great ancient epics, or contemporary novels written in the East or the West. That's the main premise of Invitation to World Literature, a multimedia program organized by David Damrosch (Harvard University), and made with the backing of WGBH and Annenberg Media.

The program features 13 half-hour videos, which move from The Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 2500 BCE) through García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude(1967). And, collectively, these videos highlight over 100+ writers, scholars, artists, and performers with a personal connection to world literature. Philip Glass, Francine Prose, Harold Ramis, Robert Thurman, Kwame Anthony Appiah - they all make an appearance.

Permanently housed in the Literature section of our collection of 1,300 Free Online Courses, Invitation to World Literature features the following lectures:

  1. The Epic of Gilgamesh
  2. My Name is Red
  3. The Odyssey
  4. The Bacchae
  5. The Bhagavad Gita
  6. The Tale of the Genji
  7. Journey to the West
  8. Popul Vuh
  9. Candide
  10. Things Fall Apart
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  12. The God of Small Things
  13. The Thousand and One Nights

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A Crash Course in English Literature: A New Video Series by Best-Selling Author John Green

Contemporary American Literature: An Open Yale Course

David Foster Wallace’s 1994 Syllabus: How to Teach Serious Literature with Lightweight Books

W.H. Auden’s 1941 Literature Syllabus Asks Students to Read 32 Great Works, Covering 6000 Pages


 
  1. What are you supposed to write about in a world lit essay? I'm doing my essay on antigone but i'm not sure what i'm supposed to write..is it meant to be an argument or..? please help, our teacher hasn't explained anything to us..

  2. Hi, found an example for you:
    http://www.slideshare.net/EmmanuelCa...terature-essay

    Generally you tend to choose a theme within the book that you can base a question on.
    I believe mine was "How have the authors represented the struggle between freedom and imprisonment in ‘The Outsider’ and ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ ?"
    You could however create a statement and say to what extent that statement is true.
    It's not so much an argument as an analysis of an extract(s) of the book(s) with respect to your question. By this I mean you must pick one or more extracts and pick apart phrases within them, discussing the significance of the words the author has used and to what effect. Mention lots of literary features e.g. pathetic fallacy, irony, foreshadowing, personification etc. where relevant and correct. These are like buzzwords for whoever will be marking your paper, it shows you understand what literary features are, an important aspect of the course.
    E.g. 'the author uses the weather to convey a sense of confinement because the sun is used to highlight the barbed wire and prison bars...' (that's just a quick example, you need to quote and be specific, don't ever be vague).
    If you are struggling to come up with a question write down all of the central issues and themes within your book and see if that gives you some inspiration, for example, a common theme between the two books I studied was imprisonment and that's how I came up with my question.
    I hope this helps and isn't too confusing

  3. Please help me also. I need to write my World Lit on either " A Christmas Carol" or "Tamas".

    I am not sure of what to write or how to go about the essay.

    Please help me.!

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