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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, January 18, 2021

The Time a Law Clerk Successfully Forged a New Shakespeare Play to Impress His Dad
A law clerk once convinced London that he had discovered dozens of documents written by Shakespeare.
#WTFact / Literature
Facsimile of one of William Henry Ireland's forgeries, a primitive self-portrait of William Shakespeare(tinted engraving). Published for Samuel Ireland, Norfolk Street, Strand, December 1, 1795. (W.H. Ireland, forgery)
Was there a feud between William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway?
Was there a feud between William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway?
Companion / Literature
Combo image of Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner to be used in high engagement content only
Why Is There an R in Mrs.?
There’s no r in missus, so what’s it doing in the abbreviation?
Demystified / Literature
Sign for wedding "Mr & Mrs" (mister and missis) with flowers in the grass
10 Chicago Writers
Check out these Windy City writers.
List / Literature
Ernest Hemingway with pigeons, Venice, Italy, 1954. Ernest Hemingway American novelist and short-story writer, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
Dramatic literature
Dramatic literature, the texts of plays that can be read, as distinct from being seen and heard in performance. The term...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Mother Courage and Her Children)
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.

Literature Quizzes

French author Honore de Balzac; undated portrait. (Honore Balzac)
Literary Terms (Part Three) Quiz
Do you know what figure of speech relies on the words like or as to compare two things? If you do, take...
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) in 1876. Russian novelist and short-story writer. Also spelled Dostoevsky
Another Russian Literature Quiz
Who wrote Dead Souls? Which character is the protagonist in Crime and Punishment? Test what you know about...
Handscroll is one of a set that illustrates the 305 poems in the Shijing (The Book of Odes), a work traditionally believed to have been compiled by Confucius, by Ma Hezhi and assistants, Southern Song dynasty, mid-12th century.
Chinese Literature Quiz
How much do you know about the history of Chinese literature? Find out with this quiz.
Sappho (early 6th century B.C.), engraving 1866
Ancient Greek Literature Quiz
How well do you know Old Comedy? Who wrote Oedipus the King? Figure out what you know about ancient Greek literature...
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) only confirmed photograph of Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847; in the Amherst College Archives. American poet
Poets of America Quiz
Poetry derived from European traditions dates to the early 17th century in the Americas. How much of that history do you...
Colorized engraving of English author Samuel Johnson; undated portrait.
Literary Terms and More Quiz
This quiz will test your knowledge of literary terms—and a few other stray facts about writers whose work gave rise to literary...
American playwright Tennessee Williams, 1955.
Quick Quiz: American Playwrights
You need to know three American playwrights and their work to ace this very short quiz. How quickly can you bring the curtain...
Shakespeare Reading, oil on canvas by William Page, 1873-74; in the collection of the Smithsonian American Museum of Art, Washington, D.C. (William Shakespeare)
Shakespeare and His Plays Quiz
“If quizzes be the food of knowledge, play on...” is something Shakespeare didn’t write. But maybe he should have. If you...
Margaret Fuller, oil on canvas by Thomas Hicks, 1848; in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
American Women Writers Quiz
Who wrote The Good Earth? How about Song of Solomon? Test what you know about American women writers with...
Page from the Mayan document Popol Vuh. The Newberry's manuscript of the Popol Vuh is one of the most widely known and possibly the earliest surviving copy. It was transcribed between 1700 and 1715 in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, by the Dominican...
Quick Quiz: Latin American Literature
This quiz has only three questions about Latin American literature, but it encompasses many different countries and hundreds...
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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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