Compact Anthology of World Literature

(8 reviews)


Laura Getty, North Georgia College & State University
Kyounghye Kwon, University of North Georgia

Pub Date: 2016

ISBN 13: 978-1-9407712-2-9

Publisher: University of North Georgia Press

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Reviewed by JoAnne Knowles, Instructor, Portland Community College, on 8/3/2018.

The content is too much for an undergraduate class during a quarter or even a semester. Some selections are too extensive, like the Divine Comedy, … read more



Reviewed by Jeff Johnson, English Instructor, Central Lakes College, on 5/22/2018.

It is way too much!… read more



Reviewed by Cheryl Huff, Associate Professor of English and Humanities; Chair VCCS OER Consortium, Germanna Community College, on 8/16/2017.

The text has an overall introduction which addresses both students as to why we study literature, and instructors as to options of how to approach … read more



Reviewed by Suzanne Bessenger, Associate Professor, Randolph College, on 6/21/2017.

The book provides an impressive and truly global breadth of translations of major texts from what it calls "The Ancient World" and "The Middle Ages." … read more



Reviewed by Natasha Whitton, Freshman English Coordinator, Southeastern Louisiana University, on 6/21/2017.

The Compact Anthology of World Literature is three volumes, totally nearly 2000 pages. In 12 chapters, it covers World Literature from Asia to Europe … read more



Reviewed by Marianna Kunow, Instructor, Southeastern Louisiana University, on 6/21/2017.

This is a huge subject indeed! The authors gamely attempt to cover literature from all different time periods and many parts of the world. I find … read more



Reviewed by Rick Williams, Humanities Instructor, Rogue Community College, on 4/12/2017.

The Compact Anthology of World Literature is about as comprehensive as Norton’s comparable “shorter edition” anthologies which I’ve used, to good … read more



Reviewed by Ranada Richars, Adjunct Faculty, Chemeketa Community College, on 4/12/2017.

The text covers all areas and ideas--especially focusing on some of the lesser-represented literature from non-Anglo locales. The index is confusing … read more


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Middle East, Near East, Greece

  • Hebrew Bible, “Genesis” and “Exodus”
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The Iliad and The Odyssey
  • Medea
  • Oedipus the King

Chapter 2: China

  • The Analects
  • The Art of War
  • The Book of Songs
  • The Mother of Mencius
  • The Zhuangzi

Chapter 3: India

  • The Bhagavad Gita
  • The Mahabharata
  • The Râmâyana

Chapter 4: Rome

  • The Aeneid
  • Metamorphoses


About the Book

A world literature class may be the first place that some students have encountered European works, let alone non-Western texts. The emphasis in this anthology, therefore, is on non-Western and European works, with only the British authors who were the most influential to European and non-Western authors (such as Shakespeare, whose works have influenced authors around the world to the present day). In a world literature class, there is no way that a student can be equally familiar with all of the societies, contexts, time periods, cultures, religions, and languages that they will encounter; even though the works presented here are translated, students will face issues such as unfamiliar names and parts of the story (such as puns) that may not translate well or at all. Since these stories are rooted in their cultures and time periods, it is necessary to know the basic context of each work to understand the expectations of the original audience.

The introductions in this anthology are meant to be just that: a basic overview of what students need to know before they begin reading, with topics that students can research further. An open access literature textbook cannot be a history book at the same time, but history is the great companion of literature: The more history students know, the easier it is for them to interpret literature.

These works can help students understand the present, as well. In an electronic age, with this text available to anyone with computer access around the world, it has never been more necessary to recognize and understand differences among nationalities and cultures. The literature in this anthology is foundational, in the sense that these works influenced the authors who followed them.

A word to the instructor: The texts have been chosen with the idea that they can be compared and contrasted, using common themes. Rather than numerous (and therefore often random) choices of texts from various periods, these selected works are meant to make both teaching and learning easier. While cultural expectations are not universal, many of the themes found in these works are.

About the Contributors


Laura Getty is an English professor at North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, GA. 

Kyounghye Kwon is an assistant professor in the English department at the University of North Georgia. She received her doctoral degree in English and her certificate in Theatre and Performance from The Ohio State University. Her teaching and research areas include world literature, postcolonial studies, Asian/Asian American studies, gender studies, and performance studies. Her current research focuses on how Korean traditional puppet theatre preserves, alters, and adapts Korea's pre-colonial/indigenous memory in its performance repertoires for contemporary audiences, with particular attention to indigenous memory, gender, and the changing nature of the audience. She is co-editor of Compact Anthology of World Literature (UNGP, 2015), an open access textbook funded by a Complete College Georgia Grant. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Asian Theatre Journal, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre Survey, Theatre Journal, Pinter Et Cetera, and Text & Presentation.