Literature: Epic Poetry and Ancient China

Topics: Epic poetry, Literature, Fiction Pages: 3 (1036 words) Published: September 13, 2013
The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest known literary works. This Babylonian epic poem arises from stories in the Sumerian language. Although the Sumerian stories are older (probably dating to at least 2100 B.C.), it was probably composed around 1900 BC. The epic deals with themes of heroism, friendship, loss, and the quest for eternal life. Different historical periods are reflected in literature. National and tribal sagas, accounts of the origin of the world and of customs, and myths which sometimes carry moral or spiritual messages predominate in the preurban eras. The epics of Homer, dating from the early to middle Iron age, and the great Indian epics of a slightly later period, have more evidence of deliberate literary authorship, surviving like the older myths through oral tradition for long periods before being written down. As a more urban culture developed, academies provided a means of transmission for speculative and philosophical literature in early civilizations, resulting in the prevalence of literature in Ancient China, Ancient India, Persia and Ancient Greece and Rome. Many works of earlier periods, even in narrative form, had a covert moral or didactic purpose, such as the Sanskrit Panchatantra or the Metamorphoses of Ovid. Drama and satire also developed as urban culture provided a larger public audience, and later readership, for literary production. Lyric poetry (as opposed to epic poetry) was often the speciality of courts and aristocratic circles, particularly in East Asia where songs were collected by the Chinese aristocracy as poems, the most notable being the Shijing or Book of Songs. Over a long period, the poetry of popular pre-literate balladry and song interpenetrated and eventually influenced poetry in the literary medium. In ancient China, early literature was primarily focused on philosophy, historiography, military science, agriculture, and poetry. China, the origin of modern paper making and woodblock printing, produced one...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Literature and Poetry Essay
  • Epic Poetry: the Foundation of Literature Essay
  • Epic Poetry and Beowulf Essay
  • Literature: Provinces of the Philippines and Epic Poetry Essay
  • Epic Poetry Essay
  • Essay on poetry
  • Ancient China Essay
  • Ancient China Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free
Hdmi Cable 1.4 Full Hd Tv Blu Ray Playstation Xbox 360 1080P 4K Gold High Speed | what is economics - 1109 Words | Pil Şarj Vakası