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      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.
      Browse Subcategories

      Featured content, September 27, 2020

      What did Sir Walter Scott write?
      What did Sir Walter Scott write?
      Companion / Literature
      Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, Scottish historical novelist and poet, 1870. Portrait of Scott author of Ivanhoe. Scotland
      Where Does the Concept of a “Grim Reaper” Come From?
      Harvester of souls since when?
      Demystified / Literature
      grim reaper, death
      10 Captivating Contemporary Novels Set in the British Isles
      These works of fiction will leave you dreaming of the wonderful and diverse lands of the British Isles.
      List / Literature
      Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales.
      What Did Shakespeare Sound Like?
      “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.”
      #WTFact / Literature
      William Shakespeare, 1564-1616. c 1907
      Japanese literature
      Japanese literature, the body of written works produced by Japanese authors in Japanese or, in its earliest beginnings, at...
      Encyclopedia / Literature
      Nise-e of Minamoto Kintada, one of the 36 poets, from a handscroll by Fujiwara Nobuzane, Kamakura period (1192–1333); in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
      American literature
      American literature, the body of written works produced in the English language in the United States. Like other national...
      Encyclopedia / Literature
      Smith, John: Virginia
      English literature
      English literature, the body of written works produced in the English language by inhabitants of the British Isles (including...
      Encyclopedia / Literature
      Nicolaus Copernicus: heliocentric system
      Persian literature
      Persian literature, body of writings in New Persian (also called Modern Persian), the form of the Persian language written...
      Encyclopedia / Literature
      wine bottle

      Literature Quizzes

      Hand with pencil writing on page. (handwriting; write)
      Word Nerd Quiz
      If you live for word associations, derivations, and definitions then you’re going to love this quiz!
      Textbook chalkboard and apple. Fruit of knowledge. Hompepage blog 2009, History and Society, school education students
      The Literary World (Famous Novels)
      How much do you really know about the stories and the authors of the classics you love, from Jane Eyre...
      Buddhist engravings on wall in Thailand. Hands on wall. Hompepage blog 2009, history and society, science and technology, geography and travel, explore discovery
      Languages & Alphabets
      Parlez-vous fran?ais? ?Habla usted espa?ol? See how M-U-C-H you know about your A-B-Cs in other languages.
      Three stacked volumes of collected works by William Shakespeare. Shakespearean tragedies, Shakespearean comedies, books.
      The Literary World (Authors & Poets)
      Roses are red, violets are blue, this poem is bad, but our quiz will challenge you!
      Two costumed actors performing a dance onstage. theater, performers. Hompepage blog 2009, arts and entertainment, history and society
      The Literary World (Characters Quiz)
      The March sisters, Beowulf, and even Tweedledee and Tweedledum are just some of the most enduring characters ever created....
      Row of colorful books on a bookshelf. Stack of books, pile of books, literature, reading. Homepage 2010, arts and entertainment, history and society
      The Literary World
      Hey, bookworm! In between reads, try this novel idea: a quiz on all things literature.
      Chalkboard slate and colored chalk
      Word Nerd: Fact or Fiction?
      You love words. You adore alliteration. And you chortle at the thought of nailing this quiz.
      Stack of books, pile of books, literature, reading. Hompepage blog 2009, arts and entertainment, history and society.
      Literary Favorites: Fact or Fiction?
      Love literature? This quiz sorts out the truth about beloved authors and stories, old and new.
      5:149 Eyes and Ears: Eyes That Hear, Speech That's Seen, eight close-ups of mouths saying a different word
      Parlez-Vous Fran?ais? And Other Languages
      What language is spoken in Mexico? Which South American nation speaks Portuguese? Test your knowledge of languages around...
      13:072 Reading: How Words Work, chart showing the word cat in English, French, and Spanish, in print and cursive
      Foreign Language Club
      What is the official language of China? What is the prinicipal language of Bangladesh? Test your comprehension of languages...
      Never Miss a Day in History
      Sign up for daily fun facts about this day in history, updates, and special offers delivered right to your inbox.

      Literature Subcategories

      Aladdin Folk Literature & Fable
      Step into the world of folklore, fables, legends, tall tales, and epics, in which heroes are known to undertake arduous journeys and dragons, fairies, and giants abound. Stories such as these circulated long before systems of writing were developed; ballads, folktales, poems, and the like were transmitted exclusively by word of mouth before written languages took over, and they continue to captivate listeners and readers to this day.
      Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange 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.
      subcategory placeholder 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.
      subcategory placeholder Libraries & Reference Works
      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.
      Nicolaus Copernicus: 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.
      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.
      subcategory placeholder Literary Terms
      This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
      epitaph 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.
      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.
      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.
      Falstaff and Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part 1. 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.
      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 just 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.
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