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Common literature

 

 

 

 

 

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.  (c) James Bryce

One of the main objectives of the project  is the common reading and analysis of the literature during international meetings. Partners during the second  meeting (Iskenderun, Turkey) by majority voting have chosen three books that will be read in the near future by project participants and then jointly analyzed (for this purpose a set of questions for participants had been prepared) during meetings in Lithuania, Latvia, Italy and Poland. The main selection criterion was the content of the book, which in some way had to refer to travel or to moving between countries – that is the main character(s) had to migrate in a way.  Another requirement was the availability of books in the native language of partners, therefore classical literature was the main source from which we could choose the appropriate books.

After the voting had been carried out we got the following results – 1). The Little Prince (9 votes), then 2). Gulliver’s Travels (7 votes) and 3). The Alchemist (6 votes) – hence these books will be read and analyzed during our project during the upcoming  meetings.  A list of all books proposed by the partners for voting is available in the Common Literature.

The Little Prince (French: ”Le Petit Prince”), first published in 1943, is a novella and the most famous work of the French aristocrat writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944, Mort pour la France).

The novella is both the most read and most translated book in the French language, and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, selling over a million copies per year with sales totaling over 200 million copies worldwide, it has become one of the best-selling books ever published.

Though ostensibly a children’s book, The Little Prince makes several profound and idealistic observations about life and human nature. For example, Saint-Exupéry tells of a fox meeting the young prince during his travels on Earth. The story’s essence is contained in the lines uttered by the fox to the little prince: On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. (“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”) Other key thematic messages are articulated by the fox, such as: “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed” and “It is the time you have devoted to your rose that makes your rose so important.”

he reader is introduced to the narrator who, as a young boy, drew a boa constrictor eating an elephant. However, he is discouraged from drawing when all adults who look at his picture see a hat, instead. The narrator attempts to explain what his first picture depicts by drawing another one clearly showing the elephant, disturbing the adults as a result. As such, he decides to become a pilot, which eventually leads to a crash in the Sahara desert.

In the desert, the narrator meets the little prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. Not knowing how to draw a sheep, the narrator shows him the picture of the elephant in the snake. To the narrator’s surprise, the prince recognizes the drawing for what it is. After a few failed attempts at drawing a sheep, the narrator draws a box in his frustration, claims that the box holds a sheep inside. Again to the narrator’s surprise, the prince is delighted with the result.

The little prince’s home asteroid, or “planet”, is introduced.

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Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known simply as Gulliver’s Travels (1726, amended 1735), is a novel by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift (also known as Dean Swift) that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the “travellers’ tales” literary sub-genre. It is Swift’s best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.

The book became popular as soon as it was published (John Gay wrote in a 1726 letter to Swift that “It is universally read, from the cabinet council to the nursery”); since then, it has never been out of print. Gulliver’s Travels has been the recipient of several designations: from Menippean satire to a children’s story, from proto-Science Fiction to a forerunner of the modern novel.

Published seven years after Daniel Defoe‘s wildly successful Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels may be read as a systematic rebuttal of Defoe’s optimistic account of human capability. In The Unthinkable Swift: The Spontaneous Philosophy of a Church of England Man Warren Montag argues that Swift was concerned to refute the notion that the individual precedes society, as Defoe’s novel seems to suggest. Swift regarded such thought as a dangerous endorsement of Thomas Hobbes‘ radical political philosophy and for this reason Gulliver repeatedly encounters established societies rather than desolate islands. The captain who invites Gulliver to serve as a surgeon aboard his ship on the disastrous third voyage is named Robinson.

The book begins with a short preamble in which Lemuel Gulliver, in the style of books of the time, gives a brief outline of his life and history before his voyages. He enjoys travelling, although it is that love of travel that is his downfall.

During his first voyage, Gulliver is washed ashore after a shipwreck and finds himself a prisoner of a race of tiny people, less than 6 inches tall, who are inhabitants of the island country of Lilliput.

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The Alchemist is a novel by Paulo Coelho first published in 1988. Originally written in Portuguese, it has been translated into 71 languages as of 2011. An allegorical novel, The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago in his journey to Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding treasure there.

The book has gone on to becoming an international bestseller. According to AFP, it has sold more than 65 million copies in more than 160 countries, becoming one of the best-selling books in history and winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.

he Alchemist follows the journey of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. Santiago, believing a recurring dream to be prophetic, decides to travel to a gypsy in a nearby town to discover its meaning. She tells him that there is a treasure in the Pyramids in Egypt. As he leaves, the gypsy mentions one thing: If he does find the treasure, she wants 10 percent of it.

Early into his journey, he meets an old king, Melchizedek, who tells him to sell his sheep to travel to Egypt, and his Personal Legend: what he always wanted to accomplish in his life. And that “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This is the core philosophy and motto of the book.

 

Along the way, he encounters love, danger, opportunity, disaster and learns a lot about himself and the ways of the world. During his travels, he meets a beautiful Arabian woman named Fatima who explains to him that if he follows his heart, he shall find what it is he seeks.

Santiago then encounters a lone alchemist who tells about personal legends. He says that people only want to find the treasure of their personal legends but not the personal legend itself. He feels unsure about himself as he listens to the alchemist’s teachings. The alchemist states “Those who don’t understand their personal legends will fail to comprehend its teachings.” It also states that treasure is more worthy than gold.

The book’s main theme is about finding one’s self destiny. According to The New York Times, The Alchemist is “more self-help than literature”