Invitation to World Literature

2010
Distributed by Annenberg Learner, PO Box 55742, Indianapolis, IN 46205-0742; 800-532-7637
Produced by Annenberg Learner, WGBH Educational Foundation, Seftel Productions
Directed by Joshua Seftel
DVD, color, 390 min.
Sr. High - General Adult
Literature, Mythology, Storytelling, Writing


Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 10/12/2011

In this new addition to the Annenberg Learner (formerly Annenberg Media/CPB) catalog of educational material, thirteen examples of great literature are engagingly presented in a multimedia format. This is a carefully curated collection that broadly spans time, continent and culture and includes an interesting and unexpected selection of familiar as well as less known ancient, classic and contemporary texts. The purpose here is to introduce and encourage new audiences to explore the timeless stories, characters, and themes of world literature. Alive today because each has something significant to say to current and future generations, the works are persuasively presented in each of the 30 minute programs that include:

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh / Sumerian, 2600 BCE and older
  • My Name is Red / Turkish, by Orhan Pamuk, 1998
  • The Odyssey / Greek, by Homer, ca. eighth century BCE
  • The Bacchae / Greek, by Euripides, first performed in 405 BCE
  • The Bhagavad Gita / Sanskrit, first century CE
  • The Tale of Genji / Japanese, by Murasaki Shikibu, ca. 1014
  • Journey to the West / Chinese, by Wu Ch'êng-ên, ca. 1580
  • Popol Vuh / Quiché-Mayan, written in Roman alphabet ca. 1550s
  • Candide / French, by Voltaire, 1759
  • Things Fall Apart / English, by Chinua Achebe, 1959
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude / Spanish, by Gabriel García Márquez, 1967
  • The God of Small Things / English, by Arundhati Roy, 1998
  • The Thousand and One Nights / Arabic, first collected ca. fourteenth century

With Harvard University Comparative Literature Professor David Damrosch as general series advisor, each of the well-produced, tightly edited programs features readings from the original works and commentary by an array of scholars, artists, writers, and performers. The resource-rich companion website provides supplementary material for each of the works that includes original text excerpts, easy to read summaries, expert’s views, glossaries, timelines and maps, and discussion guides and prompts.

Useful for both instructors wishing to complement teaching techniques and students developing subject-matter knowledge, the 4 disc set and companion website provide a wealth of well-organized resources surrounding the selected works.

Highly recommended