Get complete lesson plans, schedule and teaching notes for the entire year. Package includes the 530 World Literature Parent Guide and accompanying 530 World Literature Student Guide. Package also includes all of the 530 World Literature books scheduled in these guides.
Overview of the Literature
The Literature 530 course can be largely self-taught. Your children are able to chart their own course with help from the Literature and Language Arts Student Guide. The corresponding Parent Guide lets you jump in at any time to assess learning or engage in meaningful discussion.
People have always told stories. And the best stories still resonate, even 4000 years later. The Ancients felt the same fears and loves that we do.
This course captures our shared humanity.
Sonlight's 530 Literature is mostly chronological, moving from the ancient poem The Epic of Gilgamesh, where Gilgamesh, after the death of his friend, seeks to avoid death, to the modern play Copenhagen, where Nobel-Prize winning scientists consider the atomic bomb, and how to create (or avoid?) this instrument of death.
There are several foundational texts of World Literature that come up regularly as shared cultural references: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus. Even without reading these, you've probably heard about the Trojan War, or about Odysseus's trials as he tried to reach his wife Penelope, or about the mother-lust of Oedipus, made famous by Freud.
We have, then, a book about war, a book about a journey, and a book about self-knowledge. These themes come up again, with variation, through the rest of the course.
War and enmity go back to the first family, and this course includes Night, a memoir of a Jew in a concentration camp during WWII, and also The Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem on seeking a homeland and the war to conquer it.
"The Journey" is a common theme in literature. Go away to find yourself. (Think of Chicken Little.) This course has several books about the journey: The Epic of Gilgamesh, where the title character goes to find the Babylonian version of Noah to win eternal life; Candide, where the title character is a world-traveling innocent; and Don Quixote, where the title character attempts impossibilities.
And self-knowledge? Crime and Punishment's depressed Raskolnikov needs some resolution after his great sin; Dante's hero has lost his way and travels through hell as he seeks to find his way again; King Lear suffers much before he gains wisdom and understanding.
It's incredible to read books of power and beauty, and to see how different people, in different times, have wrestled with the big questions in life.
Besides covering 4000 years, this course is not confined to Europe only. We do have great works from authors in the European countries of Greece, Italy, England, France, Spain, Romania, and Russia.
But we also have great works from authors in the Asian countries of Iran, China, Japan, and India, as well as ancient Mesopotamia.
We have great works from authors in the African countries of Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa, and Kenya.
And we have great works from the South American countries of Colombia and Argentina.
To read that list excites me! So much richness!
And that's not counting the collection of poetry! Add to the above: New Zealand, Scotland, Germany, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Poland, Chile, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Wales, and St. Lucia. (With New Zealand and St. Lucia, we've covered all the inhabited continents.)
This is truly "World" Literature.
Besides books dealing with universal themes, and besides works from around the world, this course employs a wide range of literary styles. It includes drama, comedy, tragedy, graphic novel, novella, novel, short story, saga, epic poem, lyric poem, and memoir. Incredible!
The list is a "who's who" of best books of all time. And I could talk at length about the beauty of these books, because they are beautiful. I'd rather you read the books and experience their richness.
After finishing this course, students will not only have had a year of beautiful books and great thoughts, they will also be able to understand common cultural references: Oedipal complexes, quixotic endeavors, Panglossian optimism, and circles of hell, for example.
It's a great, great year.
Fully integrated with the Literature, Language Arts builds on past years and continues to develop literary analysis, creative writing, research and essay skills. The first semester follows a writing manual to help organize thoughts and improve writing craft. The second semester includes writing prompts for papers to put the instruction into practice.
Come spend a year with the best World Literature of all time.
Estimated daily time for World Literature: Student: 75 mins.