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Does anyone have any resources for studying the great works that include non-western works? I'm thinking mainly of Chinese and Vedic works, but also African and other Asian and I would include early Slavic, Gaelic, and Nordic works as not being part of the so-called Western Tradition. I notice that the intermediate level reading lists here and in WTM the book, include overviews but what about direct study.

Having an almost entirely Western focused classical study seems horribly parochial in the 21st Century.

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Welcome! I see by your post count you are new. :D

You might esp. find the Lightning Lit and the Annenberg Learner and Coursera MOOCs helpful for Chinese and Vedic works, as well as the Teaching Company lecture series. I took the liberty of copy-pasting the contemporary/modern titles from previous threads, even though you are asking for ancient and medieval non-Western/non-European works, in case you are interested. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Individual Lit. Guides
Penguin teacher guides (free, online, secular) -- a few for individual non-Western titles

Programs
Lightning Literature: World Lit I -- Africa & Asia
Lightning Literature: World Lit II -- Latin America, Africa & Asia
LLATL: Gold: World Lit

Lecture Series
Teaching Company: History of World Literature

Anthologies
Norton Anthology of World Literature, or 
Shorter Edition Vol 2
Literature and Integrated Studies: World Literature, Scott Foresman
Holt McDougal Modern World Literature
Many Voices: A Multi-Cultural Reader, Perfection Learning

MOOCs (free mass open online courses at an intro college level)
- Annenberg Learner website: Introduction to World Literature course
- Coursera: Classics of Chinese Humanities, Guided Readings
- MIT Literature courses -- scroll through the list to find a few World Lit and non-Western Lit options
- edX Literature courses -- scroll through the list to find a few World Lit and non-Western Lit options

Past Threads with Ideas for Titles (just a few ideas of resources for study)
"World Literature"
"Help!!! Need World Lit suggestions"
"Please share top 5 must-read works for World Literature"
"World Literature course" -- ideas for works for making their own course

"Worthwhile contemporary literature"
"Help I need contemporary Lit. ideas"
"Contemporary Literature to study in high school"
"Last year of literature -- recommendations, please" -- see the post by Tuesday's Child about halfway down in the thread

 

Contemporary Individual Non-Western Title Ideas
NOT including British & American works, as those can be commonly found in other programs and booklists

1950-2000
Argentina -- "25th August 1983" (Borges) -- short story; magical realism
Australia/Aboriginal POV -- Rabbit-Proof Fences (Pilkington)
Chile -- House of the Spirits; My Invented Country (Allende)
China -- Red Scarf Girl (Jiang)
China -- Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Sijie)
Colombia -- One Hundred Years of Solititude, or,  a short story (Marquez) -- adult content
India -- Malgudi Days -- mythical short stories
India/France -- City of God (Lapierre) -- French priest living/working in India's Calcutta slums
Japan -- Artist of the Floating World (Ishiguro)
Japan -- The Samurai; or, Silence (Endo)
Japan -- Hiroshima (Hersey) -- written by an American, but closely from the point of view of survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast
Nigeria -- Things Fall Apart (Achebe)
South Africa -- Cry, The Beloved Country (Paton) -- white S. African author

2000-present
Afghanistan -- The Kite Runner; or, A Thousand Splendid Suns, or other (Hosseini) -- adult or intense content
African Savannah -- Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai (Lekuton)
Algiers -- The Swallows of Kabul (Khadra) -- adult or intense content
Canada/India -- Life of Pi (Martel)
India -- The English Teacher (Narayan)
Iran -- Persepolis (Satrapi)
Iran/USA -- Reading Lolita in Tehran (Nafisi)
Japan -- choice of classic work of Manga
Malawi -- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Kamkwanda)
Nigeria -- Say You're One of Them (Akpan) -- short story collection; adult or intense content
Pakistan -- I Am Malala (Yousafzai)
Sierra Leone -- A Long Way Gone (Beah)

Edited by Lori D.
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What do you mean by direct study? Are you talking about analyzing the work rather than just reading it? 

Any typical world literature book used in schools will give you a starting point of context, discussion topics, questions, assignments. 

If there are specific works you want to study, google the title plus literature guide: fasting, feasting literature guide

Other keywords to try are study guide and reader's guide. 

Some individual books will include questions, context, and so on. Some of the wording I have seen used: study edition, cultural edition, text and context. 

The Great Courses has several titles that might suit. Great Mythologies of the World is very diverse. 

Resources for early Nordic, Galelic, and Slavic are pretty easy to find. 

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I think you probably need individual resources for individual works, honestly. I'd pick what you're actually going to study and go from there.

A lot of this stuff is simply not read by most high school students outside of excerpts and summaries. I'll just throw out the Asian lit, because that's the stuff I know best... Like, I don't see high school students reading the entire Ramayana or The Mahabarata (or even the Gita) or all of Journey to the West or Dream of the Red Chamber or The Tale of Genji. All of that stuff is worth reading for sure... but there are a lot of Western students who haven't even heard of that stuff.

So I guess it depends on what you want to focus on, ya know?

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21 hours ago, katilac said:

What do you mean by direct study? Are you talking about analyzing the work rather than just reading it? 

I guess I wasn't very clear, was I? By direct study, I simply meant studying the works themselves and not works about the works, summaries, etc. but actually studying the non-Western Great Books themselves.

21 hours ago, katilac said:

Any typical world literature book used in schools will give you a starting point of context, discussion topics, questions, assignments. 

If there are specific works you want to study, google the title plus literature guide: fasting, feasting literature guide

I haven't found this to be true and there aren't any specific works, that's not what I meant, I want to know what works are out there. I've found world literature books to be overly selective in general.

Initially, I'm looking for a good outline of the great works that aren't included in traditional classical study. Or even just a list. I'm looking to start from a list of the Great books that includes eastern works or that is exclusively non-western so that I can merge the two. An ordered list like the list of Western classics in WTM would be a good place to start. Sure, I can go thru country by country or region by region, hunting for apparent great works and following down links ad infinitum, but that's pretty inefficient. My personal knowledge of the great works, particularly from the Ancient period, outside the West is pretty much limited to religious works, primarily Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist works. My knowledge of secular works is scant. I'm not looking for a concentration in any one area but to be able to sprinkle some Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Mongol, Persian, African, etc, together with some pre-Roman Europe, Sub-Saharan, and American legends, in amongst the Western classics so the student doesn't get a lopsided view of the world. 

18 hours ago, Farrar said:

All of that stuff is worth reading for sure... but there are a lot of Western students who haven't even heard of that stuff.


That's exactly my concern. I am not familiar with some of "that stuff", if I've even ever heard of it. And I consider myself fairly well educated and worldly. I read the Gita and the Tao Te Ching in high school on my own but I had little idea what else was out there, particularly outside the canon they were part of.

Google is great but it's hit and miss and if I miss, I don't know what I'm missing.

It may be that I simply need to build such a list and search for guides to the works myself but that alone suggests the lopsided nature of most classical study. I'll take a look at some of the references that Lori D. suggests and see where that takes me.

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1 hour ago, Deirdre Anne said:

Initially, I'm looking for a good outline of the great works that aren't included in traditional classical study. Or even just a list. I'm looking to start from a list of the Great books that includes eastern works...


Ah, this makes it much more clear what you are looking for. I took your original post to be a request for resources (guides, lectures, courses) to aid in the study of classic non-Western literature.

I find the Wikipedia Literature lists of age/century to be helpful in coming up titles of classics from all cultures/time periods:
- Ancient (2600BC to 6th cent. AD):  Ancient Literature
- Medieval (500-1499): 6th-9th cent.; 10th11th; 12th13th; 14th; 15th
- 1500 to present: Literature by centuries (with each century listed by decade)

This website links to a number of Great Books lists, Western and Eastern.

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I'll disagree that world history textbooks can't be a good starting place. Prentice Hall's World Masterpieces from the 90's and early 2000's is a total masterpiece of a textbook that includes a ton of great content from Asia, Africa, and the Americas as well as Europe.

Things like that Norton that Lori suggested or books like A Treasury of Asian Literature are good starting places too.

All of these things are focused on excerpts. However, I'd argue that excerpts coupled with a few longer works are a better place to start and are also going to miles ahead of what most American students are getting. Plus, with a compilation, you can use poetry, which is going to be a good thing as well. There is always limited time. Even with the "Western canon" you're not likely to read it all in high school. And, just honestly, for most Western students, there's an additional barrier when reading works from the non-Western canon. Our kids grow up hearing children's versions of The Iliad and have the background of knowing Christian mythology when they approach Western classes. When they go to approach a book like The Mahabarata or Journey to the West, there's a cultural barrier, plus a lack of having grown up with the stories, plus a lack of background knowledge from children's versions. I mean, kids in China grow up reading comics and watching cartoon versions of the Monkey King stories as well as all those costume soap operas on TV - they're primed to read these classics. Kids in India grow up reading comic book stories about Rama and the stories from the Mahabarata and going to temple and knowing their Hindu mythology and so forth - they're also primed to read those stories in their original and classic forms as teens. Western kids, not so much. Which is okay. It's just... I think you have to assume that it takes more effort. And that this is closer to the "first pass" that you're doing in WTM style thinking for kids in elementary and middle school. Except, you can also throw in portions of the original text.

I'd also urge you not to get stuck on "classics" too much. Think about American literature. Our "canon" begins with works like Hawthorne and Melville, not that long ago. When you're looking at Africa and the rest of the Americas, while there are works of mythology and a few things... it's the same sort of deal. The great canon of African literature really begins within living memory with Achebe and Bessie Head and Wole Soyinka and so forth. The canon of American literature (as in, not US) really doesn't stretch back so much farther. Authors like Garcia Marquez or Borges are really some of the largest figures. So, just consider that when you're assembling your lists. Again, I HIGHLY recommend that Prentice Hall textbook - it includes these more modern authors as well from around the world... as well as some of the more recent European authors that are often left out of American educations, like the Russians or Italo Calvino or the like.

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Deirdre Anne -- agreeing with your thoughts that non-Western Lit. needs a larger place in Western education -- but also agreeing with Farrar's thoughts above as to *why* non-Western Lit is not a larger part of the educational process.

Shared history and cultural understanding is a huge hurdle to clear to be able to really have literature "speak" to you as you study it. Language construction itself shapes how brains operate, and thus how an author communicates, and what kinds of images, themes and thoughts show up in a work, as well as what kind of "forms" the literature takes. (Example: forms in poetry, such as haiku, sonnet, etc.)

And just going to add one more thing to think about that will come into play as you plan your Literature study -- and that is time. You will have very limited time for a Great Books study -- just one year (12th grade). There is no way to study major works from all the major cultures from over 4500 years of literature in 1 year of high school. Nor in 4 years of high school. Not even in 12 years of grade 1-12 classical education.

Even with Western classics, the older the work, the more you typically have to slow down in order to get a grasp on the culture of that time/place. And to understand the the form of the literature takes time to "click" into a new and unfamiliar "reading gear". For example, reading The Iliad or Beowulf requires learning how to read the particular epic form, as epics are written in specific types of poetic forms. And both of those epic forms are very different -- very different cultures/locations of origin, and 1000+ years apart in writing. And, reading a translated work also takes longer to "get into the mindset" of this foreign culture, even if it is a Western culture. To read non-Western classics, you'll need to budget even more time to learn about the history and culture.

 Realistically: if you have a strong reader who enjoys literature and already thinks deeply and already discusses literature, you can possibly cover 12-18 works (depending which ones and how long they are). If you have an average reader who has not done much before with older works or works in translation, then plan on being able to study 8-10 works -- or 6-8 works and possibly a bit of poetry and some short stories or a few other short works.

Because your time is very limited, it's important to set a limited, attainable goal. Examples:
- a quick overview of all of history and dipping into a handful of works of literature to support that study
- exposure to a handful of major non-Western literature
- or more focusedly, on a few ancient to medieval non-Western works of lit.
- exposure to contemporary World voices in literature (probably limited to 2-3 works each from 3-4 areas of the world)
- or, more focusedly, a handful ethnic authors and minority voices in 20th-21st century American Literature
- exposure to the major works of literature that are referenced in culture for Western cultural literacy (like: Greek/Roman myths, epics, and plays; Bible characters/stories; Shakespeare plays; King Arthur works; etc.)
- exposure to major works of lit. from the non-Western culture that the student will be living/working in, for cultural literacy
- or... other goal?

The more specific your goal, the more specific and deeper you can go with your handful of works studied. The more broad your goal (general exposure to centuries of authors/works), then the more excerpts, retellings/adaptations, and good film versions of the literature will be your friend to allow you to touch on many more works.

In our own homeschool high school Literature journey, the year we did Ancients we went broad in time but narrow in limited focus, and we managed to get through 8 works from 3 civilizations, written over a span of 2000 years. The year we did American History/Lit, we went narrow in time but broad in authors/works, and we covered 4 novels, 4 plays/novellas, 4 weeks of poetry, and 24 short stories, touching very very briefly on 17th & 18th century, and focusing most of our authors/works from 1820-1970 from about 150 years. Both years stretched us as far as we could go and still get meaningful study out of the Literature.

Just our experience. Fortunately, study of the Great Books from all cultures is not just a high school, or college/high school pursuit, but one that can be enjoyed for a lifetime! (:D Wishing you and DS all the BEST in your Literature adventures and for all of your 12th grade new-to-homeschooling year -- and beyond! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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On 9/9/2018 at 8:45 PM, Deirdre Anne said:

Does anyone have any resources for studying the great works that include non-western works? I'm thinking mainly of Chinese and Vedic works, but also African and other Asian and I would include early Slavic, Gaelic, and Nordic works as not being part of the so-called Western Tradition. I notice that the intermediate level reading lists here and in WTM the book, include overviews but what about direct study.

Having an almost entirely Western focused classical study seems horribly parochial in the 21st Century.


Intermediate level - so you mean around middle school?

I had my kids read adolescent versions (by which I mean not picture books but written at a mid-grade level) of the Mahabarata, Ramayana,and the Bhagavad Gita, Monkey (Journey to the West), and collections of Chinese, Native American (north and south), and African myths.  I know some Gaelic and Slavic stuff was mixed in at various points, but we didn't focus on it as much.  I think those latter two we only did the picture-book versions earlier on.

I'm not sure if these qualify as direct study - a lot of the source material is really long and detailed.  I mean, even without the Vedas, the Mahabarata and Ramayana are quite a lot, add in the Eddas, Journey to the West, Three Kingdoms, the Popul Vuh maybe...

Even in my Chinese Lit class in college we read an abridged version of Dream of the Red Chamber.  I'm finally reading the complete version now (and really enjoying it!) but it's 5 volumes, each 500 pages or so...

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3 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:


Intermediate level - so you mean around middle school?

I had my kids read adolescent versions (by which I mean not picture books but written at a mid-grade level) of the Mahabarata, Ramayana,and the Bhagavad Gita, Monkey (Journey to the West), and collections of Chinese, Native American (north and south), and African myths.  I know some Gaelic and Slavic stuff was mixed in at various points, but we didn't focus on it as much.  I think those latter two we only did the picture-book versions earlier on.

I'm not sure if these qualify as direct study - a lot of the source material is really long and detailed.  I mean, even without the Vedas, the Mahabarata and Ramayana are quite a lot, add in the Eddas, Journey to the West, Three Kingdoms, the Popul Vuh maybe...

Even in my Chinese Lit class in college we read an abridged version of Dream of the Red Chamber.  I'm finally reading the complete version now (and really enjoying it!) but it's 5 volumes, each 500 pages or so...

Ooh, I have a deep love of Dream of the Red Chamber. No one reads it! But it's strangely great. I never read the abridged but I think it would be like reading an abridged Les Mis... all the best stuff would be gone.

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1 minute ago, Farrar said:

Ooh, I have a deep love of Dream of the Red Chamber. No one reads it! But it's strangely great. I never read the abridged but I think it would be like reading an abridged Les Mis... all the best stuff would be gone.


I'm reading the translation by David Hawkes, which is supposed to be excellent; he's translated the title as Story of the Stone, an earlier title (apparently it was released in parts).  It really is strangely great!  I don't think I realized in college that we read an abridged version, but it was just one paperback volume; definitely not 2500 pages.

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5 hours ago, Deirdre Anne said:

he great works that aren't included in traditional classical study. Or even just a list. I'm looking to start from a list of the Great books that includes eastern works or that is exclusively non-western so that I can merge the two. 

1

 

You can start a list by looking at the titles of each lecture for these Great Courses, they include names and titles: 

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/literature-language/world-literature/great-minds-of-the-eastern-intellectual-tradition.html

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/literature-language/world-literature/great-mythologies-of-the-world.html

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/literature-language/world-literature/sacred-texts-of-the-world.html

A few other lists, the first one looks really good: 

https://www.perfectionlearning.com/top-100-world-literature-titles 

https://blog.oup.com/2013/06/eastern-reading-list-oxford-worlds-classics/

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/eastern-classics

 What time periods are you referring to when you say early Gaelic, Nordic, and Slavic? Because the truly early stuff is going to be myths and folk tales, and those are very easy to find for the first two. For Gaelic, you might have better luck using the word "Celtic" or searching individually for Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx. 

Beowulf might fall into your timeline for Nordic, although it is considered Anglo-Saxon and was written in Old English, it has a Nordic hero and comes from an older oral tradition. 

Gilgamesh is an eastern work. 

Both of the above are frequent required reading for high school. 

I really want this Neil Gaimen book, contemporary versions of Norse mythology: https://smile.amazon.com/Norse-Mythology-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0393356183/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536695908&sr=1-1&keywords=norse+mythology+neil+gaiman

There are many more traditional versions of Norse mythology on Amazon and Audible. 

An Introduction to Celtic Mythology has lots of photos and illustrations: https://smile.amazon.com/Introduction-Celtic-Mythology-David-Bellingham/dp/0785816054/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536695776&sr=8-1&keywords=an+introduction+to+celtic+mythology

Gaelic folklore: https://smile.amazon.com/Beside-Fire-Collection-Stories-Forgotten/dp/1605061565/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536695864&sr=1-1&keywords=irish+gaelic+folklore

Slavic folklore: https://smile.amazon.com/Slavic-Folklore-Handbook-Greenwood-Handbooks/dp/0313336105/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1536693918&sr=8-2&keywords=slavic+mythology+books

Slavic myths and folktales: https://smile.amazon.com/Myths-Folk-tales-Russians-Western-Magyars/dp/1549799355/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1536694989&sr=8-4&keywords=slavic+mythology+books

Fairy tales of the Russians and Other Slavs: https://smile.amazon.com/Fairy-Tales-Russians-Other-Slavs/dp/1935333003/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1536694989&sr=8-3&keywords=slavic+mythology+books

Another thing to keep in mind is that, while the modern civilization often identifies ancient Greek culture as part of the great Western tradition, Greek power and influence was not only in Europe but in North Africa and Eastern Asia. Apollonius is considered an important Greek writer, but he was an Egyptian (and head of the library of Alexandria at one point). Add to that the fact that Greece is on the European continent but has roots in Asia/east, and it becomes clear that Greek literature should not be strictly considered 'western.' That was a bit of a digression but I always find it interesting. 

 

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57 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

 Wishing you and DS all the BEST in your Literature adventures and for all of your 12th grade new-to-homeschooling year.

Thanks, actually, this goes beyond just the one child who I mention in my other post. Though he inspired me to start thinking about this, I do realize that he may not be able to go very far into the ancients at all, let alone a broad worldview.

1 hour ago, Lori D. said:

Deirdre Anne -- agreeing with your thoughts that non-Western Lit. needs a larger place in Western education -- but also agreeing with Farrar's thoughts above as to why non-Western Lit is not a larger part of the educational process. Shared history and cultural understanding is a huge hurdle to clear to be able to really have literature "speak" to you as you study it. Language construction itself shapes how brains operate, and thus how an author communicates, and what kinds of images, themes and thoughts show up in a work, as well as what kind of "forms" the literature takes. (Example: forms in poetry, such as haiku, sonnet, etc.)

I agree about shared history and cultural understanding being a huge hurdle but I also think this is as much a challenge with most ancient writing. While it may be easier to relate to Greeks due to their incredible influence on Western civilization, it's not that easy to relate to Biblical stories beyond the religious influences on our culture. The Hebrews spoke a non-Indo-European language and were non-dualistic (or at least their dualism is entirely different from Greek dualism and has had relatively little influence on Western thought on the whole, permeating only here and there). Outside of the cultural influence of the stories via religion, I'm able to relate as well to the Vedas as to Hebrew Scripture (and linguistically much more so. The religious influences on Western culture aren't small but they really aren't as big as many think for those who don't happen to be Jewish or Christian (and not as much Christian influence as many of us would like to think).

I remain bothered by a culturally monochromatic Western view. I think a large part of the challenge of looking at non-Western works later in life is that there is no familiarity with them built early on. Additionally, In a world in which one may be working in NY today and New Delhi tomorrow, or even just communicating with Beijing, I believe we are handicapped if we have no knowledge of their great works. When I've lived in Korea several decades ago, young (early university-age) people were well aware of the Western Classics and could quote from many of them far better than I. In some cases it was only my knowledge of some of the Buddhist and Taoist works (and my unrestricted access to books on modern social theories - this was pre-web and many such works were banned in the ROK), that gave me any credibility at all. I think that discovering other, radically different, cultures exist is one of the most valuable roles of study.

I appreciate all the insight, and resources, I'm receiving here.

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20 hours ago, Lori D. said:


Ah, this makes it much more clear what you are looking for. I took your original post to be a request for resources (guides, lectures, courses) to aid in the study of classic non-Western literature.

I find the Wikipedia Literature lists of age/century to be helpful in coming up titles of classics from all cultures/time periods:
- Ancient (2600BC to 6th cent. AD):  Ancient Literature
- Medieval (500-1499): 6th-9th cent.; 10th11th; 12th13th; 14th; 15th
- 1500 to present: Literature by centuries (with each century listed by decade)

This website links to a number of Great Books lists, Western and Eastern.

The Wikipedia lists are helpful but they are quantitative not qualitative. Even a look at the articles for those works that have them doesn't always give much as the works often rate an article simply for us knowing anything about a work produced so early. A couple word of text from the Hittite Old Kingdom rates an article. But yes, these are useful in absence of qualitative lists.

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17 hours ago, Matryoshka said:


Intermediate level - so you mean around middle school?

I was actually referring to the reference lists of great works on here, not to what I'm looking for. Though I do have two middle-schoolers, so the topic is of interest, I was actually contrasting intermediate level (middle school) study with reading the great books themselves, which is my primary interest here.

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15 hours ago, katilac said:

Excellent suggestions, thank you!

15 hours ago, katilac said:

Gilgamesh is an eastern work. 

Kind of. But not much more so that most of the Hebrew Scripture and heavily overlapping the same, as well as containing clear analogs to Greek myths, so I consider it more of a part of the Western Tradition, sort of Proto-Western. Definitely a valuable work but not exactly what I'm trying to inject here. An important part of any study of the region or the time period though.

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19 hours ago, Farrar said:

I'll disagree that world history textbooks can't be a good starting place. Prentice Hall's World Masterpieces from the 90's and early 2000's is a total masterpiece of a textbook that includes a ton of great content from Asia, Africa, and the Americas as well as Europe.

Not saying they're all worthless, just most of the ones that I've seen have not been great. I'll check out World Masterpieces. Thanks!

19 hours ago, Farrar said:

I'd also urge you not to get stuck on "classics" too much. Think about American literature. Our "canon" begins with works like Hawthorne and Melville, not that long ago. When you're looking at Africa and the rest of the Americas, while there are works of mythology and a few things... it's the same sort of deal. The great canon of African literature really begins within living memory with Achebe and Bessie Head and Wole Soyinka and so forth. The canon of American literature (as in, not US) really doesn't stretch back so much farther. Authors like Garcia Marquez or Borges are really some of the largest figures. So, just consider that when you're assembling your lists. Again, I HIGHLY recommend that Prentice Hall textbook - it includes these more modern authors as well from around the world... as well as some of the more recent European authors that are often left out of American educations, like the Russians or Italo Calvino or the like.

The focus on the great works is a way of approaching learning that I particularly agree with. Though I agree that the works of Hawthorne and Melville are important works, they largely belong with their time period and region of study, to my mind.

There are significant works from non-Egyptian Africa, at least Nubia and Ethiopia, from the Late Medieval period (much earlier and more widespread works exist but are not really usable below the graduate level of study if at all). Though in many cases reading about these periods and places may be a necessary substitute, particularly when talking about Sub-Saharan and West Africa.

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10 hours ago, Deirdre Anne said:

...I agree about shared history and cultural understanding being a huge hurdle but I also think this is as much a challenge with most ancient writing. While it may be easier to relate to Greeks due to their incredible influence on Western civilization, it's not that easy to relate to Biblical stories beyond the religious influences on our culture. The Hebrews spoke a non-Indo-European language and were non-dualistic (or at least their dualism is entirely different from Greek dualism and has had relatively little influence on Western thought on the whole, permeating only here and there)....


Gently, I'm just going to point out that most of this kind of learning and depth is at a post-high school level.

Also, with Ancient Greek and Biblical classics, in the West, there has been built-in support/background in the educational system to facilitate studying these works -- in ways that have not been traditionally and widely present (esp. at the high school level) for studying (other) Middle Eastern works, or works from Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc.
 

10 hours ago, Deirdre Anne said:

...I remain bothered by a culturally monochromatic Western view. I think a large part of the challenge of looking at non-Western works later in life is that there is no familiarity with them built early on...


Parents of public and private school students can band together and encourage their school boards to broaden the scope of study. All any of us can do as homeschoolers is set the direction of our own students' course of studies.

I don't think that lack of exposure at an early age dooms anyone to a life of never understanding or wanting to understand the culture, beliefs, art, literature, etc. of others. ?  As adults, we can self-study and encourage others to join us. Language learning software and apps are becoming more widely available and make it a lot easier to at least try to self-study. And I've been seeing a move toward interest and enjoyment of films from Asia by an increasingly diverse population. So I am actually encouraged that we are seeing the beginnings of an awareness of other cultures and countries by some people in our good ole "isolationist U.S." (LOL).
 

10 hours ago, Deirdre Anne said:

...The religious influences on Western culture aren't small but they really aren't as big as many think for those who don't happen to be Jewish or Christian (and not as much Christian influence as many of us would like to think)...


I agree that this has slowly become more true over the past few centuries, and esp. since in the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st century. However, that's a pretty broad generalization, and I disagree with this statement for part of history and for parts of the world. Esp. from about 500-1000AD, Christianity had a big influence on Europe in how the culture looked at the value of humans and what it means to be human, in the form of providing medical help, serving the poor, and through Biblical ethics. And, although it didn't have a huge influence at the time, keeping alive the flickering flame of literacy and literature would be huge for later generations. From about 1000-1700AD, Christianity (in the form of church/religious structure and power) had a very powerful influence on cultures in Europe and the Americas. And currently, Christianity (personal spiritual transformation) is experiencing a broad and vibrant revival in parts of China and in some African nations.
 

10 hours ago, Deirdre Anne said:

...I remain bothered by a culturally monochromatic Western view...In a world in which one may be working in NY today and New Delhi tomorrow, or even just communicating with Beijing, I believe we are handicapped if we have no knowledge of their great works...


That's why during our our 12 years of homeschooling, we took a year off from a classical chronological history study to do a World Cultures/Geography & Comparative Religions course, with a focus on Eastern Hemisphere nations and cultures. Because that's where 80% of the world's population is, and it is non-Western, and we live in an ever-shrinking world due to tech advances.
 

10 hours ago, Deirdre Anne said:

...When I've lived in Korea several decades ago, young (early university-age) people were well aware of the Western Classics and could quote from many of them far better than I. In some cases it was only my knowledge of some of the Buddhist and Taoist works (and my unrestricted access to books on modern social theories - this was pre-web and many such works were banned in the ROK), that gave me any credibility at all. I think that discovering other, radically different, cultures exist is one of the most valuable roles of study.

...I appreciate all the insight, and resources, I'm receiving here.


Hope you'll have FUN with your 12th grader this year, as you start homeschooling, and as you use whatever resources are the best fit for your family! Enjoy your journey! Sounds like you have some fantastic personal experiences and knowledge of non-Western culture that will greatly enhance your studies with your student! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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11 hours ago, Deirdre Anne said:

The Wikipedia lists are helpful but they are quantitative not qualitative. Even a look at the articles for those works that have them doesn't always give much as the works often rate an article simply for us knowing anything about a work produced so early. A couple word of text from the Hittite Old Kingdom rates an article. But yes, these are useful in absence of qualitative lists.


You might start looking at the syllabi of universities offering courses in Eastern Literature Studies to get a feel for works to cover. Some are free MOOCs. Or, perhaps try emailing a professor of Eastern Lit. Studies for a comprehensive list? (It will likely need to be several different professors -- China, other far-east Asian nations, India, Middle East, African lit...)
 

 

Gilgamesh is an eastern work. 

10 hours ago, Deirdre Anne said:

Kind of. But not much more so that most of the Hebrew Scripture and heavily overlapping the same, as well as containing clear analogs to Greek myths, so I consider it more of a part of the Western Tradition, sort of Proto-Western. Definitely a valuable work but not exactly what I'm trying to inject here. An important part of any study of the region or the time period though.


In case it helps:

On these boards, most people consider Western works to be those originating from Western Hemisphere cultures/countries (esp. European and North American, plus Ancient Greece and Rome (which are different culturally now, but geographically are European), plus the Bible (due to Judeo-Christian connections), even though only the New Testament is more based in Greek/Roman logic.

In contrast, Eastern works are usually considered to be originating from Eastern hemisphere cultures/countries (i.e., Middle East, Indian sub continent, and Asia). Gilgamesh, coming out of ancient Mesopotamia in the Middle East, is usually considered to be Eastern literature on these boards. The Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) is considered to be closer in *Eastern thought* (ancient Middle East) than Western (Ancient Greek logic/philosophy roots), although the Bible as a whole tends to be considered "Western" due to the Judeo-Christian connections.

Works from Oceanic, Latin American, and Caribbean cultures/countries are rarely asked about, and seem to be thought of as being in their own categories, neither Eastern nor Western, lol.
 

11 hours ago, Deirdre Anne said:

The Wikipedia lists are helpful but they are quantitative not qualitative. Even a look at the articles for those works that have them doesn't always give much as the works often rate an article simply for us knowing anything about a work produced so early. A couple word of text from the Hittite Old Kingdom rates an article. But yes, these are useful in absence of qualitative lists.


I'm having a little difficulty in discerning what it is you are looking for -- initially you asked for "resources for studying the great works that include non-western works", and so I provided links to various programs, lecture series, and courses to provide context for understanding the works. Then you said no, you were looking for an "ordered booklist" of "Great books that includes eastern works or that is exclusively non-western". But, after providing links to the big booklists, from your quote directly above, it sounds like you also want information about the works?? 

Answering out of my confusion (LOL), so if this is not what you mean/want then disregard:

One way to more quickly come up with an "qualitative booklist" (what I will call "curated" ? ) is by looking at the table of contents of the 
programs, lectures, and courses I initially linked above. (And, by using the resources will get info about the works + direction for teaching). Another option is to check out the table of contents of a few anthologies. The selections have already been curated by scholars, so what shows up in an anthology has already been deemed as important for various reasons. The World Lit. anthologies will have some of what you want. Perhaps this anthology will have more, esp. the Asian works: Great Literature of the Eastern World: Major Works of Prose, Poetry and Drama from China, India, Japan, Korea, and the Middle East

Hope something there will be of help. That's all I've got. (:D All the best, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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