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    Compact Anthology of World Literature

    (16 reviews)

    Laura Getty, North Georgia College & State University

    Kyounghye Kwon, University of North Georgia

    Copyright Year:

    ISBN 13: 9781940771229

    Publisher: University of North Georgia Press

    Language: English

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    Reviewed by Matthew Shand, Adjunct Instructor, English, Westfield State University on 6/7/24

    Anthologies, by nature, will omit important texts. That said, the omission of the continent of Africa from the early readings seems glaring. That said, the text is remarkably comprehensive given the breadth and scope of the available field. I have... read more

    Reviewed by Rosina Catalan, Adjunct Professor, Butler University on 12/6/23

    The Compact Anthology of World Literature is comprehensive. It could be use for a general world literature course. I used it for a Greek literature course and found it served most of my needs. While students mainly read Homer's Iliad and Odyssey,... read more

    Reviewed by Donna Nelson, Adjunct Instructor, MassBay Community College on 6/30/21

    Although the Compact Anthology of World Literature does not represent literature from all around the world, Parts 1-6 offer an instructor a good selection of works for World Literature and for introduction to humanities and literature courses. The... read more

    Reviewed by Vance Westgate, Instructor, Bristol Community College on 6/22/21

    There is an enormous amount of material from those areas named in the tables of content. However, the entire continent of Africa seems to have been omitted. It's interesting that the reviews as far back as 2017 have called attention to this... read more

    Reviewed by Barbara Stachniewicz, Professor of English, Northern Essex Community College on 6/19/20

    This anthology of world literature contains much terrific material. However, it misses some important pieces like The Popol Vuh. I misses important areas; there is no literature from Africa, like The Epic of Son Jara. read more

    Reviewed by Junjie Luo, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, Gettysburg College on 4/22/20

    This anthology is comprehensive, and offers a nice overview of different literary traditions. I wish that it could include more texts so that the instructor could have more freedom to select what to teach, but the anthology is still useful for and... read more

    Reviewed by Tammy Jabin, English Instructor, Chemeketa Community College on 5/23/19

    This is a fairly comprehensive overview of major influential works of World literature in translation from the non-Western World. It includes maps of the areas the works are from, illustrations, an introduction to each work, and helpful questions... read more

    Reviewed by Naiad Wong, History faculty, Leeward Community College on 3/8/19

    The anthology organizes some of the most essential pieces of world literature into one convenient and concise collection. The index and general format are easy to use. I particularly like that some of the readings are famous but contain sections... read more

    Reviewed by JoAnne Knowles, Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/2/18

    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, and some important materials have been left out entirely, like Beowulf, which is a major... read more

    Reviewed by Jeff Johnson, English Instructor, Central Lakes College on 5/21/18

    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 8/15/17

    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 teaching the works inside. Each reading has a useful introduction that gives a concise overview,... read more

    Reviewed by Marianna Kunow, Instructor, Southeastern Louisiana University on 6/20/17

    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 much that will be useful to me in teaching classes in both Greco-Roman Mythology and World Mythology.... read more

    Reviewed by Natasha Whitton, Freshman English Coordinator, Southeastern Louisiana University on 6/20/17

    The Compact Anthology of World Literature is three volumes, totally nearly 2000 pages. In 12 chapters, it covers World Literature from Asia to Europe and the Americas. It does not cover African literature. The bulk of the anthology centers on... read more

    Reviewed by Suzanne Bessenger, Associate Professor, Randolph College on 6/20/17

    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." The organization of the text leaves something to be desired: while the Table of Contents visible... read more

    Reviewed by Ranada Richars, Adjunct Faculty, Chemeketa Community College on 4/11/17

    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... read more

    Reviewed by Rick Williams, Humanities Instructor, Rogue Community College on 4/11/17

    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. 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


    Ancillary Material

    • Ancillary materials are available by contacting the author or publisher.
    • 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.

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