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
Comprehensiveness rating: 3 read less
The text covers all areas and ideas--especially focusing on some of the lesser-represented literature from non-Anglo locales. The index is confusing because on the Open Textbook webpage, it indicates that this text is just the four chapters of Middle East, Near East, Greece; China; India; and Rome. However, the PDF file includes TWO volumes of this text and includes other literature. This was quite confusing at first. There is no glossary of terms.
Accuracy rating: 5
Introductions to the content indicate editing and/or source. Topics are treated without bias. When appropriate, pictures, charts, maps and graphs are included to add to background knowledge of the topic.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 5
Because this book focuses on the theme of heroes and heroism, as well as the Epic, the longevity of the book is great in the world of academia. The literature used could be modified in multiple ways because the focus is on the timelessness of themes instead of specific works.
Clarity rating: 2
The organization of the text is laborious--both for student and instructor. The texts are included in their entirety with no breaks for questions, clarifications, etc. This makes the educator using this text responsible for breaking up the texts into digestible chunks, and, for struggling readers, include explanations and definitions, etc. for difficult language or vocabulary.
Consistency rating: 3
It is consistent in its sparseness of any in-text helps or questions.
Modularity rating: 5
The text could be easily broken up by sections, chapters, etc. I would anticipate including questions or writing prompts to be included when I use this text so that the students wouldn't feel overwhelmed with the volume of reading before analyzing, etc.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3
The topics are logically ordered, but presentation on the page is sometimes overwhelming with single-spacing and few graphics, photos, etc.
Interface rating: 4
Except for having the PDF include BOTH volumes, navigation is smooth.
Grammatical Errors rating: 4
Very few grammatical errors; most would not be noticeable at all.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
I appreciated the inclusion of non-Anglo texts. Most anthologies consider Greek, European and possibly Chinese texts as "classical". This has much more depth of culture by including text from India as well. In most anthologies I've used, this is sorely lacking.
I would be very interested in using sections of this text for a high school-level World Literature course. It would need to include more assistance for students than it contains, but the content is a comprehensive starting point.
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
Comprehensiveness rating: 5 read less
The Compact Anthology of World Literature is about as comprehensive as Norton’s comparable “shorter edition” anthologies which I’ve used, to good effect, the past five years.
Accuracy rating: 5
The book is accurate and error-free from what I can make out though I haven’t read each and every page. The content does “read” as evenhanded as far as the provenance of the various translations. Editors Kyounghye Kwon and Laura Getty do a fine job in introducing each reading or set of readings with concise and unbiased headnotes.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 3
Ah, here, we run into preferences, and so you may want to supplement here and there with your favorite works if you don’t care for the “public domain” version. I’m no fan, for example, of Samuel Butler’s rendering of The Odyssey, but, then again, I’d say the same for Stanley Lombardo’s version in the current Norton World Literature anthology. I’m much more inclined to use Robert Fagles’ or, especially, Robert Fitzgerald’s translation; compare the following:
“Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenius hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy”—Butler
“Speak, Memory— / Of the cunning hero, / The wanderer, blown off course time and again / After he plundered Troy’s sacred heights”—Lombardo
“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns . . . / driven time and again off course, once he had plundered / the hallowed heights of Troy”—Fagles
“Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story / of that man skilled in all ways of contending, / the wanderer, harried for years on end, / after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy”—Fitzgerald
Again, it's a matter of personal preference.
Clarity rating: 5
The text is written lucidly, and, when necessary, explanatory bits are used here and there—see, for instance, the section on China on page 1334 which pithily introduces the Tang and other dynasties but doesn’t overdo it.
Consistency rating: 5
The framework is very much like what you’d expect in a Prentice Hall or Norton anthology, replete with headnotes before each reading or set of readings.
Modularity rating: 5
I like the layout here insofar as my college, like many, is on the quarter system. Most textbooks, as instructors know, are designed for the semester system. Parts I, II, and II of the Compact Anthology of World Literature, in fact, is about as comprehensive as Norton’s comparable “shorter edition” text, volumes I and II, and is even better in its organization vis-à-vis those colleges and universities on the quarter system.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5
The topics in the Kwon and Getty’s text are arranged comparably to the coherent, distinct approach in similar anthologies.
Interface rating: 5
The text is definitely free of display issues—I found it very coherent and easy to navigate as would, I suspect any student would do who perused it.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
I saw no grammatical errors within the text.
Cultural Relevance rating: 4
Again, this is a matter of preference. I once picked up Maynard Mack’s original 1956 Norton Anthology of World Literature in City Lights Bookstore, and it read pretty much like a collection of western, not “world,” literature, so that anthology has come a long way in terms of inclusivity—and the OER version, as I say, is very comparable in its offerings.
I plan to use this excellent OER version of world literature and am grateful for its affordability (i.e., it’s free!). My students will love it.