SOAS helps BBC selects ‘100 Stories that Shaped the World’

Dr Amina Yaqin, Senior Lecturer in Urdu and Postcolonial Studies

“To assemble a list of the 100 stories that shaped the world you need a global perspective.”

Well it’s a good thing the BBC came along and asked some of our academics for their suggestions then.

And they did not disappoint. Whilst the titles that made the top 10 will no doubt be familiar to anyone with even the slightest interest in literature (1984, Frankenstein, 100 Years of Solitude), the nominations from SOAS scholars include some lesser known masterpieces of storytelling.

Here’s what they went with:

Amina Yaqin, Senior Lecturer in Urdu and Postcolonial Studies 

1. Toba Tek Singh (Saadat Hasan Manto, 1955)
2. Untouchable (Mulk Raj Anand, 1935)
3. Umrao Jaan Ada (Mirza Hadi Ruswa, 1899)
4. Heer Ranjha (Waris Shah, 1766)
5. Lihaaf (Ismat Chughtai, 1942)

Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema

1. The Mahabharata (attributed to Vyasa, 4th Century BC)
2. The Odes (Horace, 23-13 BC)
3. The Iliad (Homer, 8th Century BC)
4. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1798)
5. The Odyssey (Homer, 8th Century BC)

Andrew George, Professor of Babylonian

1. The Epic of Gilgamesh (author unknown, circa 22nd-10th centuries BC)
2. War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy, 1865-1867)
3. Middlemarch (George Eliot, 1871-1872)


You can see the full top 10 list on BBC Culture’s Twitter page.

But what about you? Let us know your top 5 in the comments below or on our Twitter/Instagram channels.


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