World Literature

From the Ancients through the Middle Ages


English 107 is the first term of a three-term chronological survey from the earliest to the most recent literature. For fall 1999, the emphasis is on the development of western literature and, by way of comparison, Chinese literature and thought.


Zheng He's treasure ship (400 ft long) [1405-33] compared with Columbus's Santa Maria (85 ft long) [1492]



 Course Description


About Prof.Nathaniel Teich


The Oregon Writing Project

Class Reading Packet and Packet Contents

1. Myths of Creation & the Origins of the Gods & Humans

2. Hesiod, Theogony; Names & Functions of Some Gods

3. Possible Route of Odysseus     Key to Places on Map

4. Greek Theatre Diagram; Timeline: Classical Greece

5. Medieval Europe: Knighthood & Courtly Love Tradition

6. Marriage in Western Culture

7. Boccaccio, Decameron: Chart of tale-tellers & topics

8. Timelines of Culture & Technology: China & the West

9. Comparing Confucian and Taoist Principles

10. Confucius, Analects

11. Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

12. Chuang Tzu and other Taoist Stories

Text & graphic from a review by Geoffrey Parker of When China Ruled the Seas [New York Times Book Review, May 20, 1994, p. 8].

Chinese developments of water-tight bulkheads from 200 AD/CE led to construction of large merchant ships. From 1405 -33 expeditions led by Zheng He visited locations from the Indian Ocean to the east coast of Africa. But no further activities were recorded. Moreover, there was no Chinese motivation similar to the Christian missionary zeal which legitimized the western quest for trade and empire. Western sea exploration and trade multiplied from the late 15th century. Not until 1848 is there a record of the first Chinese ship (160 ft long, 33 ft wide) rounding the Cape of Good Hope and reaching Europe from Hong Kong.

Links to Other Web Resources

Voyage of Odysseus --Creighton University Library

World Civilization to 1500--UC Berkeley