Introduction to Literary Context: World Literature provides richly detailed essays on significant works of literature from around the world that are studied by high school and undergraduate college students. With coverage of both novels and works of short fiction, the essays provide an in-depth examination of the most-studied, historical and contemporary works of literature from around the world.
This series is designed to introduce students to the world’s greatest works of literature—including novels, short fiction, novellas, and poems—not only placing them in the historical, societal, scientific and religious context of their time, but illuminating key concepts and vocabulary that students are likely to encounter.
Scope & Coverage
World Literature covers 41 works—novels, short stories, and poems—written by authors from around the world, published between 1719 and 2003. Authors featured include, Daniel Defoe, Voltaire, Isak Dinesen, Isabel Allende, Roy Arundhati, and Franz Kafka.
Organization & Format
Each essay is 6-8 pages in length and include the following sections:
-Content Synopsis: summarizes the plot of the work, describing the main points and prominent characters in concise language.
-Historical Context: describes the relevance to the story of the moods, attitudes and conditions that existed during the time period in which the novel took place.
-Societal Context: describes the role that society played within the work, from the acceptance of traditional gender roles to dealing with mental illness.
-Religious Context: explains how religion—of the author specifically, or a group generally—influenced the novel.
-Scientific & Technological Context: analyzes to what extent scientific and/or technological progress has affected the story.
-Biographical Context: offers biographical details of the author’s life, which often helps students to make sense of the story.
-Discussion Questions: a list of 8–10 thoughtful questions that are designed to develop stimulating and productive classroom discussions.
-Essay Ideas: a valuable list of ideas that will encourage students to explore themes, writing techniques, and character traits.
World Literature ends with a General Bibliography and Subject Index.
A great starting point from which to embark on further research, Introduction to Literary Context is a perfect foundation for Critical Insights, Salem’s acclaimed series of critical analysis written to deepen the basic understanding of literature via close reading and original criticism.