Because there is no way to date the entries on Native American and African works (they all originated from the oral tradition, and most were not put into written form until after 1800), we have listed them as having no date (“n.d.”). Dates Entry n.d. African proverbs n.d. Nahuatl poetry, ancient n.d. Chinook myths […]

Writers and Works Covered, by Geographical Area

  AFRICA African proverbs Book of the Dead Epic of Son-Jara Kebra Nagast Chronicles Sundiata, an Epic of Old Mali ASIA China Bai Juyi (Po Chü-i) Book of Songs Cao Zhi (Ts’ao Chih) Confucius Fan Chengda (Fan Ch’eng-t’a) Han Shan Han Yu (Han Yü) Gao Ming (Kao Ming) Laozi (Lao Tzu) Li Bai (Li Bo) […]

Aeschylus (Writer)

  (ca. 525-456 b.c.) tragedian Aeschylus was born in Eleusis, a Greek coastal city not far from Athens that was the center for the worship of Demeter, goddess of the harvest. His father, Euphorion, was descended from nobility, but little else is known about Aeschylus’s family and early years. In 499 b.c., Aeschylus began competing […]

Adam de la Halle (Writer)

(ca. 1250-ca. 1306) musician, playwright Adam de la Halle was born in Arras, France, and spent most of his life there. He was educated in the church but did not take holy orders. Because of his writing talent and connections in literate and cultural circles, Adam became a spokesman for a group of local men […]

Abu Tammam (Abu Tammam HabTb ibn (Writer)

  Aws al-Ta’i) (ca. 805-845) poet, anthologist Abu Tammam was a prime exponent of the badi, or new school of Arab poetry that emerged in the Abbasid period. He was also one of the first to assemble an anthology of pre-Islamic and other early Arabic poetry. Born in Syria to a Christian family, Abu Tammam […]

Abelard and Helo'i'se (Writer)

(12th century)theologian, philosopher, poet; student, abbess Pierre Abelard (1079-1142) is remembered as the most important philosopher and logician of 12th-century France, and Heloise as his most famous student. Abelard was born to a noble Breton family but gave up the life of a knight for the life of a scholar, devoting himself to the study […]

African proverbs (Writer)

  Proverbs distinguish themselves from other forms of oral literature by their brevity, consistency (their word order rarely changes over time), and widespread acceptance within a community. Some African cultures, such as that of the Bushmen, have few proverbs, while others have hundreds. one recent collection contains approximately 3,000 proverbs from 64 Nigerian peoples. Researchers […]

Aesop (Writer)

  (ca. 620-565 b.c.) storyteller, fabulist, orator Aesop was born in Phrygia, an ancient country in the center of what is now Turkey. He may have been taken prisoner by one of his homeland’s many conquering invaders; it is known he was enslaved and eventually sold to a man called Iadmon. On Samos, a Greek […]

Alfred the Great (Writer)

  (849-899) king, scholar,translator, educator King Alfred of Wessex, present-day southern England, is known in history as a strong military and political strategist and cultural and scholarly leader. He is credited with having developed an Old English prose style through his translations of well-known works from Latin. Until the time of Alfred’s reign (871-899) there […]

Alcaeus (Writer)

  (seventh century-sixth century b.c.) poet During the centuries before the Persian Wars, the Greeks produced a number of outstanding literary figures whose works later inspired the more famous Greek poets and playwrights. Among these early figures of Greek literature was the poet Al-caeus. Alcaeus was a native of the city of Mytilene, which was […]