Monday, January 26, 2009

BC: The Vedas to Spring and Autumn Annals

10-Second Literature Reviews

1000-500BC. The Vedas. Anonymous. Hindu. Religious. The four most sacred books of Hinduism. Collectively called The Samhitas. Rig Veda is the Veda of the Stanzas, including prayers, hymns in verse. The Veda of Liturgical Formulas includes prayers in prose. The Veda of Melodies includes prayers for musical chanting. The Athara Veda includes magical spells and incantations. The Brahmanas includes prose interpretation. The Aranyakas includes treatises on meditation. Finally, the Upanishads includes speculative treatises.

800 BC. Works and Days. Hesiod. Greek. Poem. Moral maxims and precepts on farming. Source of information on primitive beliefs concerned with everyday life. Addressed to his brother who had cheated him of much of his share of the family property.

800 BC. Iliad. Homer. Greek. Epic Poetry. 24 books. Focus on the withdrawal of Achilles from the contest with Troy, with the disastrous effects of this act. Concentrated not on the siege but on the effects of one man’s anger. He is a noble figure who embraces death. Includes battle formulas. The principal figures are individualized. Includes humorous scenes, moving scenes and has human significance. One can find anachronisms. Written in dactylic hexameter. There is an essential unity of concept. Written about four centuries after the war.

800 BC. The Odyssey. Homer. Greek. Epic Poetry. First novel. Flashbacks. Dramatic structure and consistent style. Largely a collection of folk tales. Has continuity and coherence by attributing the adventures to a single hero. Hercules, in contrast, never has any unifying point. Just a series of tales.

722-418 BC? Spring and Autumn Annals. Anonymous. China. Chronicle. Chronicle of the feudal state. Terse, dry in style. One of the Chinese Five Classics.

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