THE BEGINNING OF LITERATURE AND SHORT STORIES By Kristina Yegoryan ORIGINS • 12oo BC - The NGADJONJI people have a story that describes the formation of a local volcano. Carbon 14 dating of the crater gives it an age of 12,000 years. This means the legend is likely the oldest datable story on earth , pre-dating writing by about 2000 years. • 1250 BC Egyptian Book of the Dead- on Papyrus • 2750 – 2500 bc- GILGAMESH IS FROM ANCIENT SUMER: Gilgamesh is one of the oldest recorded stories in the world. It tells the story of an ancient King of Uruk, Gilgamesh, who may have actually existed, and whose name is on the Sumerian King List. The story of Gilgamesh, in various Sumerian versions, was originally widely known in the third millennium B.C. After a long history of retellings, this story was recorded, in a standardized Akkadian version, in the seventh century B.C., and stored in the famous library of King Assurbanipal. Later, the story of Gilgamesh was lost to human memory, except for occasional fragments. The story was rediscovered in the mid-nineteenth century A.D., and made available in translation to German by the beginning of the twentieth century. People were especially amazed when they read this most ancient of stories, and realized that the flood story in Gilgamesh was a close analogue of the flood story in the Hebrew Bible. • 1400 BC: The Bible: Moses’ first book 700 bc • Short stories date back to oral story-telling traditions which originally produced epics such as HOMER's Iliad and Odyssey. Oral narratives were often told in the form of rhyming or rhythmic verse, often including recurring sections or, in the case of Homer, Homeric epithets. Such stylistic devices often acted as mnemonics for easier recall, rendition and adaptation of the story. Short sections of verse might focus on individual narratives that could be told at one sitting. The overall arc of the tale would emerge only through the telling of multiple such sections. • 600 bc Fables, succinct tales with an explicit "moral," were said by the Greek historian Herodotus to have been invented in the 6th century BC by a Greek slave named Aesop, though other times and nationalities have also been given for him. These ancient fables are today known as Aesop's Fables. • 1000 AD- Beowulf • 1300 In Europe, the oral story-telling tradition began to develop into written stories in the early 14th century, most notably with Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales • 1700 The appearance of Antoine Galland's first modern translation of the Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights) (from 1704; another translation appeared in 1710–12) would have an enormous influence on the 18th century European short stories of Voltaire, Diderot and others. • 1800 Novels appeared in the eighteenth century The short story, as we know it today, began in the early 19th century the The short story was invented as soon as human beings could talk. However, the term ‘short story’ is said to have first been coined by Professor Brander Matthews, of Columbia University, in 1901. According to some authorities, the first short story of any significance, by a writer of any standing, was The Two Drovers, by Sir Walter Scott. This was published in 1827. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, in the 1820s, was a famous and influential collection of folk tales In England, Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Tales (1888) was the first volume of short storie to enjoy a major success.