Uncluttered, well ordered and generous, this collection of classic writing from the Arabic, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Persian opens the door to a rich storehouse. Under the headings of Story, Drama, Song, and Scripture come sections containing parable, prose fiction, epic, play, poetry-celebrating man and nature, man and God, sacred and profane love, scriptural offering. In each category there is a full sample of more than one great work from more than one culture; before each category there is a readable editorial comment on the relation of the work to others (as of the Panchatantra through the Greek and Persian to La Fontaine), the significance of the work to its people and time, the realization of literature in it. Translations are also weighed, selected for readability. A measure of the ampleness of selections comes in the scriptures from Confucian, Taoist, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic religions -- ten of twenty-six chapters of the Dhamma pada are included, for example. Other selections include samples of The Thousand and One Nights, the Tale of Genji, the Mahabharata, Firdaust's Shahnamah, a No drama, Rumi's Divan, the Hindu Gita Govinda, the , Bhagwad Gita, Confucian Analects. Perhaps ""samples"" is not a good word, for in choosing from the works, the editor has attempted both to give representative passages and those revealing the core of the work.