Certain literary texts contain elements which transcend the language, the time and the general cultural climate within which they originated, and these transits sometimes happen over vast stretches of geographical distances and historical times. Themes and concepts, images and metaphors, verses of whole groups of verses, phrases and even archetypal poetic meterial float around between texts which originated in entirely different languages and historical periods and therefore also entirely different cultural, religious or national circumstances. That is what gives literature its dynamic, synchronic and global character. Five such texts will be dealt with in this article, Hymn to the sun by the enigmatic Egyptian Pharaoh Achnaton, some Old Testament Psalms, the Iliad by Homer, the mystifying Secret History of the Mongols by an unknown author, and the Dutch poem Mei by Herman Gorter.
Keywords: Comparative literature, global character of literature, Achnaton, Homer, Herman Gorter, Secret History of the Mongols, Psalms.
> Tydskriff vir Letterkunde Vol. 44 (2) 2007: pp. 46-61