Monday, February 23, 2009

AD: Fables of Bidpai to The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Anonymous. Arabian and Indian. 750. Fables. The Fables of Bidpai. Arabic version of Indian fables. Bidpai was a court scholar. Allegorical animal stories told as a wise man’s advice to a young Indian prince.

Anonymous. Japan. 750. Poetry anthology. Man’yoshu (Collection of Myriad Leaves). Japan before the importation of Chinese thought and culture.

Murasaki Shikibu. Japanese. 794/1185. Novel. The Tale of Genji. Prince and women with whom he was associated. Ornate style. Elaborate word play. Tremendous influence on subsequent literature. Greatest single work in Japanese fiction.

Anonymous. British. 800. Poetry. “Deor’s Lament.” Old English. Alliterative. Misfortunes of Germanic heroes. His own sad luck in being ousted by his lord in favor of another minstrel. “That has passed; this will too” is the refrain.

King Alfred. British. 891-924. Nonfiction. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. (Old English Annals). Old English history of England. Adapted from Bede. Account of Alfred’s wars against the Danes.

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