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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.
Browse Subcategories

Featured content, September 22, 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
Why Do Languages Die?
How does someone become the last known speaker of a language?
Demystified / Literature
Portion of the Aleppo Codex, a manuscript of the Hebrew Bible written in the Hebrew language in the 10th century CE; in the Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Diagnosing 9 of Charles Dickens’s Most Famous Characters
Dickens had a knack for expertly portraying human diseases.
#WTFact / Literature
Scene from "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, 1843. The irascible, curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge with the Ghost of Christmas Present, the third of the four apparitions that visit him on Christmjas Eve. From "A Christmas Carol" by...
12 Novels Considered the “Greatest Book Ever Written”
How many of these great novels have you read?
List / Literature
Close up of books. Stack of books, pile of books, literature, reading. Homepage 2010, arts and entertainment, history and society
Literature
Literature, a body of written works. The name has traditionally been applied to those imaginative works of poetry and prose...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Chinese literature
Chinese literature, the body of works written in Chinese, including lyric poetry, historical and didactic writing, drama,...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Sima Qian, detail, ink and colour on silk; in the National Palace Museum, Taipei.
Literary criticism
Literary criticism, the reasoned consideration of literary works and issues. It applies, as a term, to any argumentation...
Encyclopedia / Literature
George Gascoigne, woodcut, 1576.
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

Literature Quizzes

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...
French and English Stop and no Parking Signs
Official Languages: Fact or Fiction?
Is Spanish the official language of Andorra? Is Portugese the official language of Brazil? Sort fact from fiction, and test...
William Shakespeare, title page from the First Folio edition, 1623, of Shakespeare's comedies, histories, & tragedies.
William Shakespeare: The Prose and the Playwright
Where is Shakespeare buried? Who says "Alas, poor Yorick"? See if your answers are "to be" or "not to be" in this quiz about...
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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.
Articles
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.
Articles
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.
Articles
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.
Articles
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.
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
subcategory placeholder Literary Terms
This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
Articles
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Articles
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