This course is an introductory survey of the "classical" literatures of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, stretching from antiquity to about the beginning of the 19th century. It examines the critical areas of difference and similarity between the literary traditions of the three regions through the study of excerpts of sample "canonical" texts. It begins with an overview of the oral tradition and proceeds to demonstrate its enduring impact on the written word in various genres such as epic, folk tale and poetry across time and space. It also explores new literary formations that have arisen out of the historical interchange between the peoples of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. In the process, students will also be exposed to the different kinds of scripts, both original and improvised, that have been used over the centuries in the written traditions of the societies of these interlocking regions of the world.