07:11:42 PM Oct 9th 2010
"the oldest tale in western literature, attributed to Homer, the first author whose name is still remembered. There are older stories, perhaps including parts of the Bible, but they are anonymous, and their canonical form was not established until later." So are we including Sin-leqi-unninni, author of the canonical form of Gilgamesh, or not? Because he's several centuries older than Homer, but I can't tell whether this paragraph is meant to refer to Near Eastern/world literature, or only Western literature.
08:40:07 AM Feb 25th 2011
same quote Moses and David are both older than Homer. They are named even if authors of Joshua, Judges, et c seem to be collectives. "their canonical form was not established until later" what modern experts say of Homer too. Doubtful in both cases.
04:42:49 AM Feb 6th 2012
Homer was the first writer of European literature, but not western literature.
04:20:21 PM Mar 11th 2012
Since western culture gets traced back to Greece, and Greece says that they come from the east, they sorta come from Mesopotamia, in which case the epic of Gilgamesh is technically the first of western lit and the Iliad is the first in European lit.
12:46:17 PM Mar 12th 2012
I was the guy who swapped "European lit" back to "Western lit". Reading the passage again, I wouldn't object to 'European'. I don't agree, however, on the assessment that the Epic Of Gilgamesh is the first (major) work of "Western" literature. There are various definitions floating around of what exactly the "Western World" and, consequently, "Western literature", is. But not even the broadest definition includes Old Mesopotamian literature. The Greeks also didn't come from Mesopotamia. In this case, both "European" and "Western" literature are correct; the only difference is that "Western literature" includes American literature and other non-European literature written by 'Westerners', while "European literature" does not include it. I preferred "Western" because it is the broader term. On the other hand, "Western lit" is the continuation of "European lit", so it's really the same thing in this context.