Invitation to World Literature is a multimedia series introducing drama, epic poetry, and novels from many times and cultures. Thirteen half-hour videos form the centerpiece of the project, and feature a mix of writers, scholars, artists, and performers with personal connections to world literature, from Philip Glass to Alan Cumming, Wole Soyinka to Kristin Chenoweth, all brought together by Professor David Damrosch of Harvard University, a world-renowned expert on world literature. The project was funded by Annenberg Media.
The thirteen texts explored in Invitation to World Literature are:
- The Epic of Gilgamesh Sumerian, 2600 BCE and older
- My Name Is Red Turkish, Orhan Pamuk, 1998
- The Odyssey Greek, ca. eighth century BCE
- The Bacchae Greek, Euripides, 405 BCE
- The Bhagavad Gita Sanskrit, first century CE
- The Tale of Genji Japanese, Murasaki Shikibu, ca. 1014
- Journey to the West Chinese, Wu Ch'êng-ên, ca. 1580
- Popul Vuh Quiché-Mayan, ca. 1550s
- Candide French, Voltaire, 1759
- Things Fall Apart English, Chinua Achebe, 1959
- One Hundred Years of Solitude Spanish, Gabriel García Márquez, 1967
- The God of Small Things English, Arundhati Roy, 1998
- The Thousand and One Nights Arabic, ca. fourteenth century
This mixture of old and new, novel, drama, and epic poem, English-language and translation, gives viewers a jumping-off point for an exploration of literature from around the world and across time. Guiding viewers through these great works is Professor Damrosch, whose passion for world literature connects viewers to every text as he shines a light on ancient cultures, modern questions, and powerful stories.