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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, October 24, 2020

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...
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.
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
7 Everyday English Idioms and Where They Come From
How did the proof get in the pudding? Britannica spills the beans on some of the most common idioms!
List / Literature
Happy, smiling, flying pig
Korean literature
Korean literature, the body of works written by Koreans, at first in Classical Chinese, later in various transcription systems...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Portuguese literature
Portuguese literature, the body of writing in the Portuguese language produced by the peoples of Portugal, which includes...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Jo?o de Barros, lithograph by Luiz after a portrait by Legrane.
Polish literature
Polish literature, body of writings in Polish, one of the Slavic languages. The Polish national literature holds an exceptional...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Author
Author, one who is the source of some form of intellectual or creative work; especially, one who composes a book, article,...
Encyclopedia / Literature

Literature Quizzes

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) only confirmed photograph of Emily Dickinson. 1978 scan of a Daguerreotype. ca. 1847; in the Amherst College Archives. American poet. See Notes:
Poetry: First Lines
Who wrote these famous words? Test your knowledge of the opening lines of famous poems and the poets who penned them.
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) portrait by Carl Van Vecht April 3, 1938. Writer, folklorist and anthropologist celebrated African American culture of the rural South.
Writers of the Harlem Renaissance
How much do you know about the writers of the Harlem Renaissance? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
Scene from the silent motion picture "Romeo and Juliet" with Francis X. Bushman (Romeo) and Beverly Bayne (Juliet), 1916. Directed by Francis X. Bushman and John W. Noble.
Romeo and Juliet
Wherefore art thou Romeo? Think you know all about this famous love story? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
Book Jacket of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by American children's author illustrator Eric Carle (born 1929)
Classic Children’s Books
Do you remember the classic books of your childhood, or do you read them to your kids or students now? See how well you know...
Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote. Miguel de Cervantes Spanish novelist, poet and playwright, author of Don Quixote. Engraving from 1843 by E.Mackenzie and published in London by Charles Knight, Ludgate Street.
Cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes is much more than Spain's most famous novelist. Test what you know about him with this quiz.
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 Bront? Sisters
Think you know Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Bront?, the trio behind some of the greatest Victorian novels? Take this Bront?...
Undated photograph of Russian author Leo Tolstoy.
Russian Literature
Do you think you know about Russian literature? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
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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
Special podcast episode for parents!
Raising Curious Learners
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