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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
G. R. Lomer, ed. The Student’s Course in Literature.

A College Curriculum in Literature: Oriental Literature

By Gerhard Richard Lomer (1882–1970)

This course introduces the student to the ancient literatures of Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria. It is interesting partly from its antiquity and partly because it throws light on the literature of the Hebrews. The student will find many of the forms used to-day represented in this old literature, and much that is sublime and beautiful. For the student of comparative literature or of religion this course is of particular interest.

Reading:Egyptian Literature; Accadian-Babylonian and Assyrian Literature; Arabic Literature; Literature of the Euphrates Valley.

2. Sacred Writings of the East

The East has always been the home of religions, and in its literatures the religious element has always been prominent. This course is prepared for the student of comparative literature, for those who wish to supplement their knowledge of the Bible, or who wish to increase their appreciation of the literature of the Far East. It forms an excellent introduction to ideals that are very foreign to twentieth-century America and suggests a philosophy of life in which haste and materialism have little place.

Reading:The Book of the Dead; The Old Testament and the Jewish Apocrypha; The New Testament; The Talmud; The Avesta; The Koran; Indian Literature; Kālidāsa.

3. The Bible and Hebrew Literature

The greatest literary masterpiece of the ages and the original library of the world’s best literature is one with which every reader should early familiarize himself. All the great writers of English have acknowledged its power and its inspiration. No book is so widely known or has had so far-reaching an influence. Through the Bible the student is introduced to the history of Hebrew literature of later centuries.

Reading:The Old Testament and Jewish Apocrypha; The New Testament; The Talmud.

4. Arabic Literature

The Arabs are important for their long and interesting literary history as well as for their place in the science and religion of the world. The careful student of the Middle Ages or of comparative religion requires some familiarity with the contribution which the Arabs have made to the world’s best literature.

Reading:Maimonides; Arabian Nights; The Koran; Antar; Ibn Sina (Avicenna); Solomon ibn Gabirol (Avicebron); Averroës.

5. Persian Literature

The spirit of the East seems to live in the poets of Persia. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is familiar to every modern reader. In this course the student becomes familiar with both the sacred writings and the love songs of Persia in the days of its greatness.

Reading:The Avesta; Firdawsī; Omar Khayyám; Nizami; Sa’dī; Rūmī; Hafez; Jāmī.

6. Literatures of the Orient

To one who has read only the classics and the periodical literature of the West of his own day, the discovery of the literatures of the Orient and of centuries ago comes as a revelation. No one who considers nothing that is human foreign to his interests can afford to neglect the literary riches of the East, with their glamour of an ancient time, with all their local color of far-off lands, and with their glimpses of a life and thought so foreign to our own that they appeal to us with all the fascination of the exotic. The student in this course will read the oldest literatures in the world and he will get a glimpse of the literary beginnings of primitive peoples. He will see literature in the making. As a result his understanding of the human mind and heart will be broadened and deepened, and he will have a more catholic basis for his general theory of literature.

Reading:The Literature of China; Japanese Literature; Tahitian Literature; Indian Literature.