The Atlantic

The Books Briefing: Ancient Tales Make an Epic Comeback

Your weekly guide to the best in books
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The oldest stories known to humanity are also some of the most powerful. Over thousands of years, they’ve worked their way into the fabric of culture, with numerous retellings that reflect the values of the present or reveal the biases of the past. The scholar Martin Puchner shows how works such as , the very first novel in history, mark major technological and cultural milestones. A popular, an ancient Hindu epic poem about the divine prince Rama, has helped many kids understand their Indian identity—but also contains portrayals that reinforce certain prejudiced ideals.

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