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Please suggest great literaterary works by non-Europeans?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
What would be the non-Western/non-European equivalent to the Harvard Classics? Does anyone have a list? Great works from Africa, Asia, Middle East, etc..? It could also be works published in the Western world but written by non-white authors.
post #2 of 11
For a S. American perspective check out Bolano's Between Parentheses. His reading list could keep you busy for years, and the book itself is actually the most enjoyable thing Bolano has written.
post #3 of 11
what are you trying to put together? keep in mind that the novel is a european art form, for the most part, so a lot of non-european literature that pre-dates contact with Europe will be poetry, philosophy or religous writing. the big exception would be japanese novels, I believe.

if you are looking for post colonial stuff, there is lots of that.

for latin america -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Garc%C3%ADa_M%C3%A1rquez

in Egypt - Naguib Mahfouz

in india - vicram seth
post #4 of 11
From Japan:

Anything by Yasunari Kawabata.

The Sea of Fertility Tetralogy by Yukio Mishima
post #5 of 11
post #6 of 11
Google ethnic literature or world literature reading list college course [etc]

When people seek this kind of literature they find that writers writing in Spanish seem to stand out more than others--and this is usually because of European influences. Let's face it, as much as cultural diversity classes are trying to push non-European literature, there isn't a long enough history or reserve, if you will, in these countries to make up an "alternative" cannon.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bringusingoodale View Post

Google ethnic literature or world literature reading list college course [etc]

When people seek this kind of literature they find that writers writing in Spanish seem to stand out more than others--and this is usually because of European influences. Let's face it, as much as cultural diversity classes are trying to push non-European literature, there isn't a long enough history or reserve, if you will, in these countries to make up an "alternative" cannon.


i would think both east asia and south asia have pretty long preserved history and literature...

 

post #8 of 11
Read the Art of War
post #9 of 11
It is kind of dumb to lump the rest of the world together. That said, I would read Bhagavadgita. Read some of the stuff dealing with war, it was neat.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantisocrat View Post

What would be the non-Western/non-European equivalent to the Harvard Classics? Does anyone have a list? Great works from Africa, Asia, Middle East, etc..? It could also be works published in the Western world but written by non-white authors.

Fiction or non fiction? Poetry or prose? I am assuming that you are indifferent to when the work was written?

In India I can think of the two epics, Mahabharata and the Ramayana ( both from around 4th century BCE, I think), although the latter borders more closely to a religious text.. The Bhagvad Gita, as someone mentioned, although it is a part of the Mahabharata.

Panchatantra from the 3rd Century BCE- classic animal fables, the equivalent of Aesop's Fables.

The Arthashastra - Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy, in the same category Machiavelli's The Prince

These are works in Sanskrit; there are a bunch of others in regional languages, including Tamil - Silapadigaram(. Tamil ancient erotic poetry is an art form in itself.*

There's a bunch of great poets from the 12th to the 16th century- Bulley Shah, Mira, Tulsidas

Much closer to the present, the works of Ghalib (the Ghazal form of poetry) are regarded as a modern classic. Munshi Premchand was a great Hindi novelist of the 20th century (Gora, Godan).

Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali (won the Nobel). Look him up.

These are just a few names, the list of good to great writers in the 20th century can be quite large, especially because of the number of languages spoken in India.

However, IMO, Indian writers in English are yet to have the impact of those who have written in native languages, even though English, or a type of English, can now be considered native to India.


* A famous erotic Tamil poem from that time (called: Red Earth And Pouring Rain), translated:

What could my mother be
to yours? What kin is my father
to yours anyway? And how
did you and I meet ever?
But in love our hearts are as red
earth and pouring rain:
mingled
beyond parting.


The above was just for the heck of it; as I wrote this post I remembered the poem and decided to quote it. smile.gif
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post

what are you trying to put together? keep in mind that the novel is a european art form, for the most part, so a lot of non-european literature that pre-dates contact with Europe will be poetry, philosophy or religous writing. the big exception would be japanese novels, I believe.

FWIW, the Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (Japanese) is generally considered the world's first novel. I think it's a bit of a stretch to attribute the novel, depending on how you define it, to a single geographic area.
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