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Literature

With the development of language, the human imagination has found a way to create and communicate through the written word. A literary work can transport us into a fictional, fantastic new world, describe a fleeting feeling, or simply give us a picture of the past through novels, poems, tragedies, epic works, and other genres. Through literature, communication becomes an art, and it can bridge and bond people and cultures of different languages and backgrounds.
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Featured content, May 19, 2020

Why Do We Say “A Pair of Pants”?
Well, there are more than a pair of answers.
Demystified / Literature
jeans, denim, pants, clothing
9 Precursors to Science Fiction
Sci-fi’s roots go deeper than you think.
List / Literature
Lemuel Gulliver, set ashore after a mutiny, finds himself in kingdom of the Houyhnhns. He discusses mankind with his master. From Gulliver's Travels, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts by Jonathan Swift.
The Bizarre Origins of the Words Nerd and Geek
On the nature of nerdiness…or geekiness.
#WTFact / Literature
Student girl writing formulas on transparent wall
Harry Potter Turns 18
The wildly popular book series celebrates its 18th anniversary.
Spotlight / Literature
Bloomsbury Auctions readies 550 first edition Harry Potter books for auction Feb. 28, 2008 in London. The collection range: Finnish Gaelic Bulgarian Macedonian Welsh 6 Indian dialects Hebrew Turkish Polish Indonesian ancient Greek Latin
What were Sir Walter Scott’s influences?
What were Sir Walter Scott’s influences?
Companion / Literature
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, Scottish historical novelist and poet, 1870. Portrait of Scott author of Ivanhoe. From "A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen" by Thomas Thomson and Robert Chambers (London, 1870). Scotland
Epic
Epic, long narrative poem recounting heroic deeds, although the term has also been loosely used to describe novels, such…
Encyclopedia / Literature
Epic of Gilgamesh
Short story
Short story, brief fictional prose narrative that is shorter than a novel and that usually deals with only a few characters.…
Encyclopedia / Literature
Panchatantra
German literature
German literature, German literature comprises the written works of the German-speaking peoples of central Europe. It has…
Encyclopedia / Literature

Literature Quizzes

Emily Dickinson, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right
Emily Dickinson
How much do you know about Emily Dickinson? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
Magazines on display in a store in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. There are more than 1300 English and French magazines that are published in Canada.
Magazines: Fact or Fiction?
Test your knowledge of magazines with this fact-or-fiction quiz about the magazine industry’s history.
American author Toni Morrison, 2009. (Nobel Prize for Literature 1993)
Nobel Laureates in Literature
Are you a Nobel know-it-all? Match the Nobel laureates in literature to the year they earned the award!
Emily Bronte from a painting of a family group by Branwell Bronte. ca 1820-1848
The Brontë Sisters
Think you know Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Brontë, the trio behind some of the greatest Victorian novels? Take this Brontë…
Undated photograph of Russian author Leo Tolstoy.
Russian Literature
Do you think you know about Russian literature? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
Abstract question-mark background on black, punctuation, grammar
Punctuation
How do you use the Oxford comma? What’s the difference between an en dash and an em dash? How do you use ellipses? Test your…
Jane Austen an English writer who first gave the novel it's distinctly modern character through her treatment of ordinary people in everyday life.
Jane Austen
Test your knowledge about Jane Austen and her works with this quiz!
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron. Lord Byron English poet (1788-1824) was a leading figure in the Romantic movement.
English Romantic Poets
Are you well versed in English Romantic poetry? Do you know about the lives of the poets? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
Nobel Prize Gabriel Garcia Marquez on the Fifty Thousand Colombian Pesos Bill
Latin American Authors
How much do you know about the magical realists, poets, and novelists from Latin America? Test your knowledge with this quiz!
Part of a fresco showing Dante Alighieri and view of Florence by Domenico di Michelino located at the Duomo (Italy).
Literature of Italy Quiz
The peninsula now known as Italy has been a home to great writers for millennia. Take this short quiz to learn how much you…
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Literature Subcategories

Aladdin Folk Literature & Fable
Not all literature is created on a page or screen. Folk literature comprises the lore of cultures that have no written language; their narratives, poems, songs, dramas, myths, etc. are transmitted by word of mouth. Fables, which appear both within and outside of folk literature, constitute a narrative form that aims to highlight human follies and weaknesses and that incorporates a moral that is often explicitly formulated at the end of the story. Aesop's fables, which are thought to have been created starting about the 4th century BCE, represent one well-known example, but there are much more recent examples as well: the fable found a new audience during the 19th century with the rise of children's literature, and authors such as Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, and Beatrix Potter employed the form.
Articles
Gustin, Grant: the Flash Fictional Characters
Here you'll find some of your favorite fictional characters from literature, film, television, and the like, whether it's the analytical mastermind Sherlock Holmes and his endearing associate Dr. Watson or the menacing and helmeted Darth Vader, the ill-tempered Donald Duck or the teenage sleuth Nancy Drew.
Articles
Christiane Amanpour, 2010. Journalism
Extra, extra! Although the content and style of journalism and the medium through which it is delivered have varied significantly over the years, journalism has always given us a way to keep up with current events, so that we always have our fingers on the pulse.
Articles
subcategory placeholder Libraries & Reference Work
Looking to impress your friends with your expansive knowledge of historical events, philosophical concepts, obscure words, and more? We may be biased, but it seems fair enough to say that reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and textbooks have provided such a service for years (in some cases, hundreds or even thousands of years). You can look for them at your local public library, which likely stores books, manuscripts, journals, CDs, movies, and other sources of information and entertainment.
Articles
Copernicus, Nicolaus: heliocentric system Literatures of the World
Literature knows no geographical bounds; authors can be found in nearly all corners of the globe (except, perhaps, on the open sea). Find out more about regional literary styles and forms.
Articles
subcategory placeholder Literary Criticism
Everyone's a critic. But not all literary criticism involves judging the quality of a text; it can also focus on interpreting the meaning of a work or evaluating an author's place in literary history.
Articles
Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeyevich Literary Terms
This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
Articles
Gro Harlem Brundtland Nonfiction
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! Nonfiction works are all about facts and real events. Although there is some debate about which kinds of literature qualify as nonfiction, the genre typically includes books in the categories of biography, memoir, science, history, self-help, cooking, health and fitness, business, and more.
Articles
Hill, Lawrence: The Book of Negroes Novels & Short Stories
Whether it's "Don Quixote," "Pride and Prejudice," "The Great Gatsby," or "The Fall of the House of Usher," novels and short stories have been enchanting and transporting readers for a great many years. There's a little something for everyone: within these two genres of literature, a wealth of types and styles can be found, including historical, epistolary, romantic, Gothic, and realist works, along with many more.
Articles
subcategory placeholder Oratory
"I have a dream..." "Four score and seven years ago..." It's not a fluke that these phrases came to be so widely known and remembered. Truly great and persuasive speeches elicit strong emotional reactions in their audiences and may have broad historical repercussions. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, quoted above, are two iconic examples of successful oratory, as are Elizabeth I's speech to the troops at Tilbury and Winston Churchill's first speech as prime minister to the House of Commons.
Articles
subcategory placeholder Plays
All the world's a stage, as Shakespeare put it in "As You Like It"; and the stage is where you'll find performances of works by such famed playwrights as Anton Chekhov, Eugene O'Neill, and the Bard himself, among many others.
Articles
The Poor Fisherman, oil on canvas by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, 1881; in the Louvre, Paris. Poetry
Poetry is a vast subject that encompasses much more than your average "Roses are red, violets are blue" poem. Delve into the category of literature that Percy Bysshe Shelley called "a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted," and which includes sonnets, haikus, nursery rhymes, epics, and more.
Articles
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