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The Literature Book

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Exploring more than 100 of the world's most important literary works and the literary geniuses that created them, this book is the perfect introduction to the subject of literature and writing. 'THE LITERATURE BOOK' features some of the world's most celebrated books, plays, and poetry, including Latin American and African fiction, and best-selling masterpieces from the most Exploring more than 100 of the world's most important literary works and the literary geniuses that created them, this book is the perfect introduction to the subject of literature and writing. 'THE LITERATURE BOOK' features some of the world's most celebrated books, plays, and poetry, including Latin American and African fiction, and best-selling masterpieces from the most renowned authors ever to have lived. Filled with inspirational quotes, detailed plot summaries and feature boxes bringing the timeless works of literature to life and setting them into their wider social and cultural context. The audiobook also offers a deeper look into the famed fiction of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and more, as in-depth literary criticism and interesting authorial biographies give each work of literature a new meaning. From Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' to Shelley's 'Frankenstein', 'THE LITERATURE BOOK', narrated by Katherine Press, is a must-have for any literature student or fan of fiction. RUNNING TIME ⇒ 15hrs. and 21mins. ©2016 Dorling Kindersley Ltd (P)2019 D.K. Audio


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Exploring more than 100 of the world's most important literary works and the literary geniuses that created them, this book is the perfect introduction to the subject of literature and writing. 'THE LITERATURE BOOK' features some of the world's most celebrated books, plays, and poetry, including Latin American and African fiction, and best-selling masterpieces from the most Exploring more than 100 of the world's most important literary works and the literary geniuses that created them, this book is the perfect introduction to the subject of literature and writing. 'THE LITERATURE BOOK' features some of the world's most celebrated books, plays, and poetry, including Latin American and African fiction, and best-selling masterpieces from the most renowned authors ever to have lived. Filled with inspirational quotes, detailed plot summaries and feature boxes bringing the timeless works of literature to life and setting them into their wider social and cultural context. The audiobook also offers a deeper look into the famed fiction of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and more, as in-depth literary criticism and interesting authorial biographies give each work of literature a new meaning. From Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' to Shelley's 'Frankenstein', 'THE LITERATURE BOOK', narrated by Katherine Press, is a must-have for any literature student or fan of fiction. RUNNING TIME ⇒ 15hrs. and 21mins. ©2016 Dorling Kindersley Ltd (P)2019 D.K. Audio

30 review for The Literature Book

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    What a delightful collection of literary history - a treasure chest for book lovers! During the past couple of weeks, I have read one or two chapters in this book each night, following the history of literature from the earliest epics and legends to modern movements in novel, drama and poetry. Since university, the impossible question of establishing a sense of what "world literature" means has been of great interest to me, and I have read various reference books on literary developments over ti What a delightful collection of literary history - a treasure chest for book lovers! During the past couple of weeks, I have read one or two chapters in this book each night, following the history of literature from the earliest epics and legends to modern movements in novel, drama and poetry. Since university, the impossible question of establishing a sense of what "world literature" means has been of great interest to me, and I have read various reference books on literary developments over time and space. Obviously, it is easy to criticise the choice of literature presented in a limited overview, and the context of the presentation as well, considering the sheer amount of content the volume is supposed to cover. However, this introduction solves the issue brilliantly, and offers valuable background information, timelines, context, quotes and detailed analysis of important works of fiction in modern, objective language. It is carefully balanced to counter the most common euro-centric, white, male, Anglo-Saxon bias without ignoring the canonical status of European writers and thinkers of the past centuries. But as opposed to other literary guides, we encounter Gilgamesh, Mahabharata and Genji next to the Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid, and China's four great classical novels next to Dante, Chaucer, Rabelais, Cervantes and Goethe, we meet Japanese Haikus next to Romantic poetry, and Morrison and Atwood next to Chinua Achebe and other global representatives of contemporary fiction. It follows a systematic chronological and thematic approach, drawing the big lines in the development of storytelling, adding reference points, memorable quotes, short biographical information boxes and meaningful illustrations. For whom is the book written? To whom would I recommend it? I use the whole DK series to teach middle school and high school level Humanities, but I am convinced that anyone interested in the context of literature will spend delightful hours in the company of this book. If you are new to world literature, the book will offer a perfect compilation of interesting reading materials spanning the history of (written) storytelling. If you are a well-read and enthusiastic fan of world literature, it will be a a sweet reminder of past reading pleasure, put into a wider context and with plenty of suggestions for further reading. It is open-minded, non-judgmental and straight forward without being shallow, and reading it from beginning to end gave me a feeling of renewed love of literature. As a contrast, I would say it did everything right that some so-called literary "rankings" do wrong: it showed a comprehensive approach to the diversity of world literature without putting some authors "above" others, - a common phenomenon when scholars try to establish a canon, rather than a history of world literature! A negative example of this could be the ridiculous The Literary 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Novelists, Playwrights, And Poets Of All Time, which subjectively lists the "best writers" in their order of "influence", numbering them according to their importance: Shakespeare being number 1, Sappho number 88, Jean Racine number 62, followed by number 63 - Hemingway, and so on, in a bizarre system of listing their status, according the the author's random taste! If you are looking for an inspirational overview of literature, this is a great place to start. Not completely unbiased, as that would be an impossible task, but stimulating and enjoyable and worthwhile for both novices and longtime bookworms!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adina

    I’ve started reading this book almost two years ago and it was a slow process. I’ve been reading one or two pages every few days and I still haven’t finished because I read only about the books that I already went through or do not plan to read at all(mainly poetry). Some entries contain spoilers so I will get to them later. The Literature Book is a chronological and thematic introduction to the history of global literature. The best European classics stand together with the biggest literature p I’ve started reading this book almost two years ago and it was a slow process. I’ve been reading one or two pages every few days and I still haven’t finished because I read only about the books that I already went through or do not plan to read at all(mainly poetry). Some entries contain spoilers so I will get to them later. The Literature Book is a chronological and thematic introduction to the history of global literature. The best European classics stand together with the biggest literature pieces from China, India and Japan. I thought that the selection of books was not biased towards the Anglo-Saxon origin but tried to select what is representative for world literature. It covers prose, theatre, poetry and I discovered works that I did not think of reading before. I finally read Dante and tried to conquer The Iliad. I discovered that I like Chinese classic poetry and that haiku can be combined with travel journals to create a satisfying result. There are a few longer entries for the major literature works of each period which contains a detailed analysis of the author, historical context and literary themes. At the end of each chapter there are 4 to 6 pages of further reading, containing a short summary of more works of value for that period.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro

    Educational reading! / Lectura educadora! This review is bilingual. First on English and later you can find the Spanish version. This book is a guide to many of the best books of all time, but as you must suppose, in every book that tries to gather the best about something, the experience was both illustrating and outrageous. Illustrating, because I definitely learned a lot about authors and their books that I honestly did not know existed; as well as to better understand several books that I k Educational reading! / Lectura educadora! This review is bilingual. First on English and later you can find the Spanish version. This book is a guide to many of the best books of all time, but as you must suppose, in every book that tries to gather the best about something, the experience was both illustrating and outrageous. Illustrating, because I definitely learned a lot about authors and their books that I honestly did not know existed; as well as to better understand several books that I knew existed but that I was not clear about what they were about. Outrageous, because several authors that I consider relevant were totally ignored (Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. Le Guin, Stephen King, Michael Chrichton, Paulo Coelho) or relegated to the "Other Works" section (JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe) as if they were less important, or even worse only mentioned as side notes (JK Rowling, Dan Brown, Isabel Allende). Also, in some cases they chose a book that I do not consider to be the best one to represent the author. And although they covered most literary geographical areas, they left out a relevant one like contemporary Scandinavian literature. And they ignored a genre like "Graphic Novel" where they could easily mention at least "Watchmen", "Maus" or "Persepolis". But, in general, about the books and authors that they do appear, I learned a lot, so definitely, it is the best reference book I have read this year (2018). Obviously recommended for all lovers of reading. --0-- Este libro es una guía de muchos de los mejores libros de todos los tiempos, pero como deben suponer, en todo libro que trata de reunir lo mejor sobre algo, la experiencia fue tanto ilustradora como indignante. Ilustradora, porque definitivamente aprendí mucho sobre autores y sus libros que honestamente no sabía que existían; así como entender mejor varios libros que sabía que existían pero que no tenía claro de qué trataban. Indignante, porque varios autores que considero relevantes fueron totalmente ignorados (Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. Le Guin, Stephen King, Michael Chrichton, Paulo Coelho) o relegados a la sección “Otras Obras” (JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe) como si fueran menos importantes, o incluso peor solo mencionados como notas al lado (JK Rowling, Dan Brown, Isabel Allende). También, en algunos casos eligieron un libro que no considero que fuera el más indicado para representar al autor. Y aunque cubrieron la mayoría de las zonas geográficas literarias, dejaron por fuera una relevante como la literatura escandinava contemporánea. Y obviaron un género como “Novela Gráfica” donde pudieron fácilmente mencionar al menos “Watchmen”, “Maus” ó “Persepolis”. Pero, en general, de los libros y autores que sí aparecen, aprendí mucho, por lo que definitivamente, es el mejor libro de referencia que he leído este año (2018). Obviamente recomendado para todo amante de la lectura.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Have you ever wondered about the earliest form of storytelling, the kind that endured because it was somehow recorded? Or when the transition from oral stories to written ones was? Or what the difference between the evolution of "literature" is from Europe to Asia to India to other places? Have you ever wondered how many truly ancient words or expressions have endured until today and how they permeated societies they didn't originate from? And did you want examples / recommendations for all the Have you ever wondered about the earliest form of storytelling, the kind that endured because it was somehow recorded? Or when the transition from oral stories to written ones was? Or what the difference between the evolution of "literature" is from Europe to Asia to India to other places? Have you ever wondered how many truly ancient words or expressions have endured until today and how they permeated societies they didn't originate from? And did you want examples / recommendations for all the different styles and genres, examples for the different eras? Well, then this book might be for you. Such examinations can often be quite dry so I was delighted to find out that this book had a wonderful and fresh writing style and combined it with great photographs (of stone tablets, tapestries and more) as well as tables and infographics. I had the distinct feeling that the author is a passionate bookworm but also is very much interested in the evolutionary stages of what we nowadays call literature (which encompasses all, from fiction to poetry). Through the ages, mankind always needed stories. In caves, tents, under the open sky, in huts and houses, castles or apartment complexes - we always wanted stories because they tell us how to live, that we're not alone, and they entertain us. They are also a great unifier. Be it fables of gods, comedies, tragedies, poems in all their various forms (haikus for instance), or the myriad forms of fiction (from romance to fantasy) ... we pressed characters into clay tablets to record them, scribbled on papyrus, drew images on cave walls, invented the printing press and now have e-readers. Thus, there is a direct link between humanity, the different culturs on Earth and one of the most important art forms we've ever created. This book is a nice way of getting an overview, both historically and analytically. Many of the things mentioned here I already knew about but some (especially about India/sanskrit and other Asian facts) I learnt about through this book. Another cool thing is that you can use it to look up specific topics, as a reference guide, or you can get recommendations as to what to read, or you can read it like a course book or history book the way I did. Naturally, the references given are mostly very famous examples (there is a reason certain works have become what we call "classics") but there were some I had never heard of as well. The summaries of the books presented are good but not spoilery while still showing why any given book represents a certain genre or era. No boring slog through analytical data but a comprehensive look at literature, presented in an approachable way that makes you itch to start reading some books. :D P.S.: Some very attentive readers might be able to see that it took me a looong time to finish this book. That's my fault. I started it after finding it in the bookstore, all excited and stuff, then I got swamped with BRs, put the book on my physical shelf and eventually forgot about it. When I remembered, I couldn't really fit it in anywhere until now. But like I said: that's not a problem since the chapters are self-contained and finding your way back into the respective topic is fast and easy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Freda Mans-Labianca

    Outstanding book! I love how this book pieces together the most epic stories in literature. So much so, it prompted me to start reading the books inside. The first book recorded in history happened more than two thousand years before Christ. It's called; The Epic of Gilgamesh. I found an online copy and read it since it's pretty small. Between you and me, I would have never known about its' existence had I not read this book. This book is like an encyclopedia of books, but put together in a more ex Outstanding book! I love how this book pieces together the most epic stories in literature. So much so, it prompted me to start reading the books inside. The first book recorded in history happened more than two thousand years before Christ. It's called; The Epic of Gilgamesh. I found an online copy and read it since it's pretty small. Between you and me, I would have never known about its' existence had I not read this book. This book is like an encyclopedia of books, but put together in a more exciting way for the reader. Book lovers are going to be pretty enthusiastic reading this, seeing what you have and have not read. It is a fantastic book and I can't wait to keep going through the list and reading more.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pink

    I've skimmed and flicked my way through this book for six months. Getting inspiration for books to read, or learning more about past favourites. I'm not always a fan of these sort of compilations, but I think these DK publishing books are done very well. I've skimmed and flicked my way through this book for six months. Getting inspiration for books to read, or learning more about past favourites. I'm not always a fan of these sort of compilations, but I think these DK publishing books are done very well.

  7. 4 out of 5

    ✨ jami ✨

    This is a non fiction book with a brief history of .. the entirety of literature and it's pretty interesting! I did really enjoy reading about the books and the authors, I especially enjoyed the sections on romanticism and modernism. I read this cover to cover but you can definitely jump around and read a little bit here and there if you wanted to. It's not /super/ in depth, but it does pretty well for a three hundred page book. I just wish more diverse writers had been included prior to the cont This is a non fiction book with a brief history of .. the entirety of literature and it's pretty interesting! I did really enjoy reading about the books and the authors, I especially enjoyed the sections on romanticism and modernism. I read this cover to cover but you can definitely jump around and read a little bit here and there if you wanted to. It's not /super/ in depth, but it does pretty well for a three hundred page book. I just wish more diverse writers had been included prior to the contemporary literature section. This book has a foreword about how including more "non white male" authors in the canon was important but I don't know how much they actually incorporated that However, for such a short book I think this was really interesting and I liked reading about some books I hadn't heard of before, or had heard the name of but didn't really know what it was about There is another book in this series about history so I will probably read that one too

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    This book is a book lovers dream. It divides literature into categories, like Depicting Real Life 1855-1900, and offers books that best represent the ideas of the category. Each category opens with a timeline of the important works before moving on to the descriptions of the books. Initially, highlighting one of the most prominent books and it's author over four or five pages. Then, moving on to shorter sketches of other titles. My "to read" list is going to explode after reading this book. This book is a book lovers dream. It divides literature into categories, like Depicting Real Life 1855-1900, and offers books that best represent the ideas of the category. Each category opens with a timeline of the important works before moving on to the descriptions of the books. Initially, highlighting one of the most prominent books and it's author over four or five pages. Then, moving on to shorter sketches of other titles. My "to read" list is going to explode after reading this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathrin

    Just what I expected - in the course of reading this book I came across many examples of books I either wanted to read for ages or books I've never heard of. Anyway, my tbr is now much longer. This should keep me occupied for the next couple of years. Just what I expected - in the course of reading this book I came across many examples of books I either wanted to read for ages or books I've never heard of. Anyway, my tbr is now much longer. This should keep me occupied for the next couple of years.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jolanta (knygupe)

    Phenomenal guide to the literature.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Angela Blount

    Originally reviewed for YA Books Central: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yanonfi... Pace yourself! Reading this primer is a bit like taking a college-level literature class. Or perhaps an entire semester worth of literature classes… Acknowledging that storytelling is as old as humanity itself, The Literature Book takes on the daunting challenge of giving readers a historical and functional overview of literary works and their progression through the ages. The book starts with 4,600-year-old Sumeri Originally reviewed for YA Books Central: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yanonfi... Pace yourself! Reading this primer is a bit like taking a college-level literature class. Or perhaps an entire semester worth of literature classes… Acknowledging that storytelling is as old as humanity itself, The Literature Book takes on the daunting challenge of giving readers a historical and functional overview of literary works and their progression through the ages. The book starts with 4,600-year-old Sumerian texts and carries all the way up to select contemporary works as recent as 2013—encompassing novels, plays, and poetry. Its presentation style is sometimes dry, but orderly in format and highly informative. -------- What I Liked: There was a solid effort made to present a diverse array of works outside of the classical European variety—inclusive of cultural sub-genres such as Sanskrit Epics, Imperial Chinese Poetry, Early Arabic Lit, Slave Narratives, Inianismo, Baihua Lit, The Harlem Renaissance, The Latin American Boom, Caribbean, and Indian English. Personal Note: Page 93 conveyed an excellent, concise explanation of early Japanese theater forms. This reader didn't previously grasp the difference between Kabuki(theatrical song/dance/mime) and Bunraku(musical puppet theater) until it was so clearly laid out in this book. The Literature Book claims it “cuts through the literary jargon” and is “packed with witty illustrations.” I don’t know about cutting through, but it does explain literary terms with textbook thoroughness. And although there is certainly an abundance of illustrations to break up the sometimes dense visual field, I wouldn’t personally refer to said imagery as “witty.” The diagrams, visual-aid images, excised quotes, and timelines are simplistic—mono and duo-chromatic. Effectively breaking up dense swaths of text and enhancing to the overall comprehension potential without becoming a distraction. Full-color pictures and artwork appear more sporadically and offer a stronger sense of place and/or ambiance to the subjects they pertain to. What Didn’t Work For Me: Chosen works may receive only a sentence of passing mention, or as much as 6 analytical pages (i.e. Moby-Dick). The authors receive anything from cursory reference, to a mini-bio, to a full biography including a picture. How it was decided which authors, genres, and works were worthy of how much recognition remains a point of confusion for this reader. Sci-fi and Fantasy seemed to receive disproportionately minimal attention, and the Romance genre—along with its representative authors—received no address at all. Unfortunately, a number of prolific and influential authors were all but passed over. I was personally disappointed the book didn't offer a bio for either C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien. Their works seemed mentioned only in passing when the fantasy genre is touched on. Lewis is only referred to once very briefly, and there's no allusion to his sci-fi works at all. Jules Verne receives the most mention of any sci-fi author (page 184), but no bio. And H.G. Wells is allotted only a single sentence—though he could arguably be considered one of the pioneering fathers of science fiction. Conversely, TWO of the three Bronte sisters (Emily and Charlotte) have full bios with pictures included, though Emily wrote just one novel. That’s not to say I don’t approve of their inclusion and highlighted significance—only to point out the disparity in emphasis. ----- While I wouldn’t call this book an exhaustive authority, it certainly has the potential to be a valuable and semi-encyclopedic tool in the pursuit of a more advanced literary education. Studious readers are likely to come away with both factual knowledge, as well as a fresh list of works they may be interested in experiencing at length. College-bound Young Adults perusing a major in literature might consider this book a preparatory framework for their degree, and perhaps a leg-up on their future.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Geo Kwnstantinou

    And I just add 50 more books in the tbr list.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aurora Arnautu

    It took me a month fo finish this book and it was worth it. It takes the reader on a travel from the first written texts like The epic of Ghilgamesh to contemporary literature . You are able to see the big picture.The book is well structured and the concepts are well explained. You also become interested in further reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    This is a reference book and it is quite good. Its graphs, illustrations, and succinct summaries and analyses are interesting and informative. It gives an overview of the big literary movements through history, and then examines/explains the editors’ choices for the most important literary works of each of those movements or time periods. In addition to plot summaries (without spoilers), the editors point out stylistic or thematic significances. As always, reading about a book is no substitute f This is a reference book and it is quite good. Its graphs, illustrations, and succinct summaries and analyses are interesting and informative. It gives an overview of the big literary movements through history, and then examines/explains the editors’ choices for the most important literary works of each of those movements or time periods. In addition to plot summaries (without spoilers), the editors point out stylistic or thematic significances. As always, reading about a book is no substitute for actually reading the book itself, but I enjoyed revisiting many books I’ve read and taught for years in World Lit (Oedipus the King, The Inferno, Crime and Punishment, Heart of Darkness, Metamorphosis, One Hundred Years of Solitude) along with many other titles I’ve read and/or taught over the years. I also spent some time getting a better feel for some important works of literature I have always heard about but never read. I also appreciated the Further Reading sections at the end of each chapter, which gave shorter analyses of many other books appropriate to that movement or time period, and also included a few short author details. (Another World Lit staple, The Sound and the Fury, was relegated to the Further Reading section of the Breaking With Tradition chapter.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shelly

    DK Publishing's The Literature Book, which I recieved through Goodreads.com, takes on the enormous task of creating an overview of the history of literature. It does so in a concise manner that keeps the subject matter fresh. It is filled with photographs, charts, biographies, and side notes that illustrate links throughout history. For example how some of the earliest writing such as Greek drama influenced writers as recently as the twentieth century. I feel like I would have learned so much mo DK Publishing's The Literature Book, which I recieved through Goodreads.com, takes on the enormous task of creating an overview of the history of literature. It does so in a concise manner that keeps the subject matter fresh. It is filled with photographs, charts, biographies, and side notes that illustrate links throughout history. For example how some of the earliest writing such as Greek drama influenced writers as recently as the twentieth century. I feel like I would have learned so much more if my textbooks in school had been like this book. If I have one complaint about this fascinating reference book, it would be that I wish it could have covered even more great literary works and maybe a few more influential popular works.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anfel

    This is truly a treasure for students (myself included) or just anyone who loves literature!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Joy

    This book takes the reader through a chronological journey of some of the most influential and important pieces of literature starting from as far back as 3000 BCE up to the present day. I, for one, loved reading this book and was able to first, get a fuller understanding of different genres of stories, get a broader range of texts outside of the US, and to add new books to my reading list. In the beginning of the book it directly quotes in saying that this book isn't to be read as a reading lis This book takes the reader through a chronological journey of some of the most influential and important pieces of literature starting from as far back as 3000 BCE up to the present day. I, for one, loved reading this book and was able to first, get a fuller understanding of different genres of stories, get a broader range of texts outside of the US, and to add new books to my reading list. In the beginning of the book it directly quotes in saying that this book isn't to be read as a reading list. That said, I still am going to enjoy marking off novels and the such as I get to them. Even books I've already read that are mentioned in this are fun to read into to and look back on. You get to see metaphors you didn't see before or discover something new about the author that made you love the story even more. It puts the novels in context as well as some background information that makes reading much more enjoyable and a richer experience overall. This book has a wide variation of stories and can help anyone to see the trends in literature history, whether you're a English major or just a curious reader.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This is an interesting book for young teens who are avid readers. It divides history into eras and picks some of the great classics of that time frame and relates them to the news, events and politics of that era. It gives bios of the authors who contributed the many wonderful books and the influences in their lives. It gives additional titles to enjoy from Ancient Greece to modern day. It reviews poems, books , short stories and plays. A perfect gift for the book lover in your family.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Faisal Bashir

    It's strange to say that I have read this book given the nature of the work. I consider it an invaluable resource to track the historical development of Literatures throughout the world, particularly in the western world. Every important literary work is briefly discussed and the description quickly moves into contextualizing it as it it is placed within a historical moment where similar literary works preceded and followed it. This was incredibly useful although the brief descriptions of each w It's strange to say that I have read this book given the nature of the work. I consider it an invaluable resource to track the historical development of Literatures throughout the world, particularly in the western world. Every important literary work is briefly discussed and the description quickly moves into contextualizing it as it it is placed within a historical moment where similar literary works preceded and followed it. This was incredibly useful although the brief descriptions of each works leaves a reader wanting more. Maybe the writer could have compromised on the quantity of works covered in favor of a more committed dive into each book. But this book serves better as guide to what you might call "eminent" works of literature. If you don't have a problem with that designation this is an incredible book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mollie

    Not a book to read cover to cover but a fascinating book to peruse. I loved the layout which really is the evolution of the written word. Fascinating. Then the brief descriptors of the meaning of so many of the classics. I am both impressed with how many books I have read or am familiar with and how many books I am not familiar with. I also know now why certain books were a part of my educational experience. It seems to me this evolution of writing approach would be an excellent way to introduce Not a book to read cover to cover but a fascinating book to peruse. I loved the layout which really is the evolution of the written word. Fascinating. Then the brief descriptors of the meaning of so many of the classics. I am both impressed with how many books I have read or am familiar with and how many books I am not familiar with. I also know now why certain books were a part of my educational experience. It seems to me this evolution of writing approach would be an excellent way to introduce students to reading the classics. Disclaimer: I never put books I have not read entirely in my Goodreads “read” but this is an exception because of the nature of the book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Noreen

    Wonderful reference for types of literature, starting with heroic tales and sagas. Moving though time to last chapter "Contemporary Literature 1970 to Present." Great guide for "modern fiction." Answers the question: What category of literature is this book? New National Voices: Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Derek Walcott, VS Naipaul, Multiculturalism: Zadie Smith, International Literature:Thomas Pynchon, Jose Saramago, Italo Calvino, The Encyclopedic Novel: Moby Dick, Gravity's Rainbow, Infinite Je Wonderful reference for types of literature, starting with heroic tales and sagas. Moving though time to last chapter "Contemporary Literature 1970 to Present." Great guide for "modern fiction." Answers the question: What category of literature is this book? New National Voices: Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Derek Walcott, VS Naipaul, Multiculturalism: Zadie Smith, International Literature:Thomas Pynchon, Jose Saramago, Italo Calvino, The Encyclopedic Novel: Moby Dick, Gravity's Rainbow, Infinite Jest, Underworld (DeLillo) Les Miserables, War and Peace, Ulysses, Catch 22 Paranoid Truth Seeking: Metafiction:A fictional form of writing in which a series of literary tools are employed by writers to draw attention to how fiction and reality interrelate, emphasizing the nature of the text as a constructed work, an artifact of the author. A fantasy of fictions. A narrative maze. Don Quixote, Tristram Shandy,Jorge Luis Borges, The New York Trilogy Paul Auster. Magical Realism Goes Global:A literary style in which magical or surreal elements appear in an otherwise realistic and traditional narrative structure and setting. Jorge Luis Borges, Gunter Grass, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Angela Carter, Haruki Murakami, Alejo Carpentier, Salman Rushdie, Aspects of Magic: Politically, magic realist text embody an implicit critical position against the dominate ruling elite and are generally subversive in their stance. Contemporary African-American: Moral Complexity. Slavery. Remembered Pain. James Baldwin, Alex Haley, Alice Walker, Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, Ralph Ellison, Maya Angelou, Roots-seeking (Xungen) movement: Chinese literature during the mid-1980's writers tried to reconnect with folk culture. Gao Xingjian, Zhaxi (Tashi) Dawa,Wang Anyi, Ah Cheng, Han Shaogong, Mo Yan, Australian writing: Egalitarian bond forged by mutual reliance in a harsh environment. National pride, rural survival. Guilt and faith. Patrick White, Thomas Keneally, Peter Carey, Alexis Wright, Caribbean writing: Reality of alienation in a colonial situation. Alejo Carpentier, George Lamming, Aime Cesaire, Lorna Goodison, Derek Walcott, Transgressive Fiction: Transgress is to go beyond moral boundaries. Psychotic dream. Forced to view the world through his eyes, the readaer is urged to question a soceity in which everything is commodified. Crash, Transgressive fiction, JG Ballard, Jay McInerneney, Patrick McCabe, Chuck Palahniuk,Charles Bukowski, William S Burrought, Kathy Acker, Bret Easton Ellis, Indian English Writing: PK Narayan, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, Kiran Desai,Vikram Seth, The Campus Novel: Novels set within the confined space of a university, satirize academic life and pretentiousness of scholars. Mary McCarthy, Kingsley Amis,AS Byatt, Phillip Roth, Donna Tartt, Writing for the World; American influences evident. East meets West. Murakami, Banana Yashimoto, Ryu Murakami, Allegorical Satire:Under scrutiny is the lack of morality, kindness and empathy typical of any right-wing capitalist society. Blindness and Insight. Don Quixote, Gullivers travels, The Hunger Games, Animal Farm, Jose Saramago Blindness, South African Literature: Olive Schreiner, Alan Paton, Nadine Gordimer, NoZakes Mda, Damon Galgut, David Lurie, JM Coetzee, Multiculturalism: Melting pot Britain, Sam Selvon/Moses Ascending, Michael Ondaatje/In the skin of a lion. RenanDemirkan/Black tea with three sugars, Andrea Levy;/Small Island, Zadie Smith/White Teeth. Southern Ontario Gothic:Aspects of gothic fiction; supernatural, grotesque, dark imagery, Wacousta/John Richardson, Tim Fndley/The last of the crazy people, Robertson Davies/Fifth Business,Alice Munro/Too much happiness, Hilary Scharger/Perdita,Margaret Atwood Dysfunction in the modern family:Generational Change.JD Salinger, John Updike, Jeffrey Eugenidies, We Need to talk about Kevin, Lionel Shriver, The Goldfinch;Donna Tartt. The Corrections/Johnathan Franzen,William Gaddis/The Recognitions, The 38th Parallel:Hwang Sok-yong/The Shadow of Arms;The Guest,Park Kyong-ni/The Land, Post 9/11 America: The Corrections/Johnathan Franzen;Don Delillo/Falling Man;Mohsin Hamid/The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Thomas Pynchon/Bleeding Edge, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close/Johnathan Foer;

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sofía

    Amazing, informative book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Finally finished this! A must for any literature student or fan. I knew quite a bit already but was very happy to learn more about literature from other areas of the globe

  24. 5 out of 5

    Costin Grigore

    Nothing spectacular in it's form but gives a good overview on world literature: periods, currents, styles, genre, authors, techniques. It lacks a synthesis but is better than a simple sequence of selected authors and works. Nothing spectacular in it's form but gives a good overview on world literature: periods, currents, styles, genre, authors, techniques. It lacks a synthesis but is better than a simple sequence of selected authors and works.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wesley McCraw

    It gets the job done. I found this to be an okay introduction to a broad topic. It helped fill in some gaps in my knowledge about literature, and I will be looking back to it to refresh my memory in the future.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Randell Green

    Highly recommend to fellow authors & writers. Helpful encyclopedic information, but never dull. Fun and thought provoking. This is such a great series. 📖

  27. 5 out of 5

    William Schram

    The most difficult part of making a list is deciding what to leave out. No book demonstrates this more than The Literature Book by James Canton. There are a number of contributing authors for each work, which makes sense. If your specialty is William Shakespeare or Beowulf how could you be expected to understand and discuss The Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Wuthering Heights? That isn’t to say that you could not understand it, but specialization breeds a narrow view of things. The book has 109 The most difficult part of making a list is deciding what to leave out. No book demonstrates this more than The Literature Book by James Canton. There are a number of contributing authors for each work, which makes sense. If your specialty is William Shakespeare or Beowulf how could you be expected to understand and discuss The Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Wuthering Heights? That isn’t to say that you could not understand it, but specialization breeds a narrow view of things. The book has 109 works that it focuses on; I will dub them headliners. These are the works that get at least one page devoted to them and have little bits of artwork to aid the reader in understanding the plot or underlying ideas. A wide swath of cultures and countries are covered in the headliners, but most of the works are from Western Countries. The headliners also have a quote or several quotes taken from the work being examined and a discussion on the author’s biography. Each headliner is organized chronologically from the approximate date of publication. For some works, that is a difficult task since it might have existed in an oral format for centuries beforehand, but in this case, it makes sense. Of the 109 works headlined in this volume, I have read or heard of 76 of them for a score of 69.7 percent. This is more impressive than my score for movies, but I suppose that I read a lot more than I watch movies so this much is a given. There are several positives to the book. It is very informative and packed with appealing art. It goes over the historical context of the work and discusses prior works and works that followed in the same vein. The quotes chosen are really effective and the background information included discusses the development of the literary genre that is shown. Although only 109 works are headlined, there are also works that are listed in a further reading section at the end of each part. On the other hand, there are limitations to what can be listed in a printed volume. Some of the books that were left out were somewhat questionable to me, but I am not an expert on literature; I just happen to read a lot and have an opinion. There are books that absolutely must be included, no questions asked. Other titles need an explanation and this book does discuss those things. Finally, some of the works are spoiled a bit. However, this is to explain key plot points in some cases and foster understanding. If you are worried about spoilers it is possible to use this book to find new works to read. I do not believe it gives away the endings of these works.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lucie Paris

    A mix between a history book, an encyclopedia and Santa's gift bags ! From Mythology to contemporary literature, you travel through time and discover authors from around the world. Of course, there is a lot of classics but I've enjoyed the diversity of the sources. You will find books from Asia, Russia, France, UK and the US. I've also appreciaped the colorful construction of the pages. You always have a focus on a special book with a bio of it's author as well as the period where it was written A mix between a history book, an encyclopedia and Santa's gift bags ! From Mythology to contemporary literature, you travel through time and discover authors from around the world. Of course, there is a lot of classics but I've enjoyed the diversity of the sources. You will find books from Asia, Russia, France, UK and the US. I've also appreciaped the colorful construction of the pages. You always have a focus on a special book with a bio of it's author as well as the period where it was written. The historical background, the political, historical or social influences that lead to a specific literary current. It's very well explained and if you want to know more you have a section called "further reading" to discover or rediscover new authors and books of this same movement or period. Quotes are also used to illustrate a topic or to enhance the text. It's a very pleasant book that can be read countless time. You will always find something for you in it if you are a book lover. You can read it for the pleasure, to improve your knowledge about the classics or just to choose a good friends to go on adventures with. Since I have already read "The Sociology Book" in the same collection, I may add that these books are easy to understand and perfect to keep around. Great collection! Lucie http://newbooksonmyselves.blogspot.fr...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Strong

    A pretty comprehensive overview of the literary canon, but with far more entries from non-Western (among others) writers than you generally see in a classroom. In addition to the lengthier reviews, which are arranged chronologically in categories ranging from "Heroes and Legends" to "Contemporary Literature", each section gets a two-page introduction and is followed up by a list of works that merit attention as further reading. I learned a lot from this book; as a French major, I feel that I miss A pretty comprehensive overview of the literary canon, but with far more entries from non-Western (among others) writers than you generally see in a classroom. In addition to the lengthier reviews, which are arranged chronologically in categories ranging from "Heroes and Legends" to "Contemporary Literature", each section gets a two-page introduction and is followed up by a list of works that merit attention as further reading. I learned a lot from this book; as a French major, I feel that I missed a lot of literature in English and from other non-European cultures. The additions to my to-read list are both a blessing (such an embarrassment of riches!) and a curse (I HAVE TO GET STARTED RIGHT NOW!).

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Concise and broad, this book covers some major historical works grouped by time. It is a great book for getting a quick overview of styles (existentialism, gothic, etc.) and which works are categorized as such. It also gives author bios and lists of key works. I think some of the thoughts on the book are conjecture and may be written as reading the literature with too much eisegesis, especially for a book of this kind. That would be my only criticism. Canton does a good job of avoiding too many s Concise and broad, this book covers some major historical works grouped by time. It is a great book for getting a quick overview of styles (existentialism, gothic, etc.) and which works are categorized as such. It also gives author bios and lists of key works. I think some of the thoughts on the book are conjecture and may be written as reading the literature with too much eisegesis, especially for a book of this kind. That would be my only criticism. Canton does a good job of avoiding too many spoilers and just gives a taste of the overall plot.

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