This issue of the journal AOQU stems from the project entitled World Epics in Puppet Theater: India, Iran, Japan, Italy, co-sponsored by the Humanities War and Peace Initiative, through the Division of Humanities in the Arts & Sciences, Columbia University, conceived and coordinated by Jo Ann Cavallo of the same institution. Yet the volume extends beyond the four above-named countries to explore epic narratives in oral tradition, primarily puppet theater, in several different regions across Europe, Africa, and Asia. As the contributors make evident, the dramatization of epic stories is both a genuinely local and quintessentially global art form that invites comparative analysis and critical thinking on a number of themes essential to the human condition that remain utterly relevant today.

World Epics and Puppet Theater / L’epica e il teatro di figura mondiale (AOQU 4.2) contains contributions in Italian by Anna Carocci and Alessandro Napoli, in French by Flora Mele, and in English by Yanna Kor, Elisabeth den Otter, Brunhilde Biebuyck, Yassaman Khajehi, Claudia Orenstein, Elyzabeth Oyler, Matthew Isaac Cohen, Kathy Foley, Anurupa Roy, and Paula Richman.

The journal is open access, so both the entire volume and individual chapters can be downloaded. The volume will also be published in paperback format by the Edizioni Pasqualino (Museo internazionale delle Marionette ‘Antonio Pasqualino’) in 2024.