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Survey of World Literature
Reviews Index

Survey of World Literature

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Publisher: Smarr Publishers
Author: Robert W. Watson

List Price: $99.00

Ages: 15-18 Years

Reviewed By: Beverly Krueger


Survey of World Literature is a complete one-year high school language arts curriculum. It incorporates literature study, vocabulary study, and critical writing. It is not a typical high school literature survey course in that it does not present short excerpts of many works along with author biographies. Survey of World Literature focuses on the works themselves, presenting an assortment of works from ancient times onwards in a variety of genres including poetry, epic poetry, drama, the short story, and the novel.

The course package consists of two ring-bound notebooks. The teacher’s notebook includes an introduction to the course with helpful suggestions on how to answer the different types of questions found in the student notebook and information for grading the course. A suggested schedule is included that breaks the course into daily lessons over 36 weeks. The course is structured to be studied at that pace. A portion of the teacher’s guide also gives instructions on how to evaluate written work. If you are unsure of how to evaluate a student’s essay you will be pleased to see that this section, in a few short pages, covers the essentials. Answers to all student questions except critical thinking questions are available in the teacher notebook. The yellow writing section pages include the answers to the critical writing lesson questions. You’ll also find vocabulary quizzes with answers, eight writing assignments, and five impromptu writing assignments.

The student notebook contains vocabulary lists for each lesson, vocabulary exercises, reading assignments, recall questions, and critical thinking questions. Many lessons include additional notes that add historical context, points of information on literary analysis, and information that helps bring meaning to the work being read. A glossary of words is provided for each individual work at the end of the lesson section for that work. “A Guide to Critical Writing, Grammar, and Style,” printed on yellow paper, is used to present eight weeks of writing lessons sprinkled throughout the course. The first writing assignment follows the poetry section of the course, which requires students to analyze the imagery, figurative language, and poetic devices used in one poem of a selection of poetry. There are eight total writing assignments throughout the course following the study of one or more of the selected works. Writing lessons typically follow one of these writing assignments. The first week’s writing lesson covers the basics of writing an argumentative paper. Additional writing lessons cover the basics of good writing including discussing grammar, usage, sentence structure, and the problems most often found in writing by students on this level. The writing lessons are essentially the same as those found in each of the literature courses published in this series. That is the text is the same. Exercises are different and examples are centered on world literature in this guide. While this may seem repetitious to some, most students will benefit from a review of the basics of good writing annually. Were this series used over the course of a high school career, the parent should see improvement in writing skills each year. In fact, the publisher has included a performance guarantee promising to pay for the cost of the SAT test for any student who completes the course and does not score at least a 650 on the verbal portion of the SAT test.

This course is part of the Smarr Publisher’s English for Classical Studies series. The selection of texts is thus strongly classical. The first half of the course is spent on works from ancient literature such as epic poetry, Greek drama, and Greek and Roman mythology. The second half of the course includes a play by William Shakespeare, the French epic poem “Song of Roland,” the early 19th century novel Ivanhoe, La Vita Nuova by Dante (rather than the more usual Inferno), The Misanthrope (a 17th Century play by Moliere), The Law by Frederic Bastiat (a pamphlet published in the 19th century on the nature and purpose of legislative laws), and a selection of short stories including The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy written in the 19th century. The lessons on poetry require "Studies in Poetry" by Robert W. Watson, a Smarr Publisher’s publication. That text includes instruction as well as the poetry used in the lessons. Most of the other additional required texts can be purchased in any edition. When a particular version is recommended, it is often an inexpensive version published by Dover Publications. Several of the required texts are available online by visiting the Smarr Publishers site.

In addition to the course package, the following additional texts are required for the course:

Studies in Poetry – a Smarr Publishers publication
The Epic of Gilgamesh – This, too, is available as a Smarr Publishers publication.
The book of Job - Authorized Version of the Bible is used.
The Age of Fables by Bullfinch
The Odyssey
Oedipus Rex
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
The Song of Roland
La Vita Nuova
The Misanthrope
The Law by Frederic Bastiat
– a Smarr Publishers publication
The Kreutzer Sonata

More Information
Available From: Smarr Publishers
Address: 211 Collins Ridge Drive, Forsyth, Georgia 31029
Phone: 478.994.8981
Other Notes:

Add Your Own Review

Beverly Krueger
Beverly Krueger is Editor in Chief of the Eclectic Homeschool Online and a homeschool conference speaker. Her publishing company, EEG Publishing, also publishes a number of helpful websites including,,,,,,, and The Krueger family also participate in the ministry of Mission of Joy, a Christian mission to the people of India.
Copyright © 2005 Eclectic Homeschool Association


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