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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, May 28, 2020

Picturing Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith—the prolific author of Carol and The Talented Mr. Ripley, whose works were much mined…
Spotlight / Literature
Patricia Highsmith with her cat, novelist, writer.
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
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)
International Literary Tour: 10 Places Every Lit Lover Should See
Forget your guidebook, let books be your guide!
List / Literature
Outside the window of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco California, USA, Aug. 22, 2013. City Lights bookshop important breeding ground for the American Beat generation. Founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin.
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
Greek literature
Greek literature, body of writings in the Greek language, with a continuous history extending from the 1st millennium bc…
Encyclopedia / Literature
Kazantzákis, Níkos
Latin American literature
Latin American literature, the national literatures of the Spanish-speaking countries of the Western Hemisphere. Historically,…
Encyclopedia / Literature
Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo, Francisco Javier
Arabic literature
Arabic literature, the body of written works produced in the Arabic language. The tradition of Arabic literature stretches…
Encyclopedia / Literature
World distribution of Islam.

Literature Quizzes

William Shakespeare etching. English poet, dramatist, and actor.
William Shakespeare: Fact or Fiction?
Is William Shakespeare nicknamed "the Bard of Avon?" Did Shakespeare always spell his name one way? Spell check your smarts…
Helen Keller with hand on braille book in her lap as she smells a rose in a vase. Oct. 28, 1904. Helen Adams Keller American author and educator who was blind and deaf.
Write vs. Wrong: Fact or Fiction?
Who did Helen Keller dedicate her autobiography to? What was Lewis Carroll’s profession? Sort right from wrong in this quiz…
"Shakuntala looking back to glimpse Dushyanta" Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906).  (Indian painter, India, art, oil painting, Mahabharata character, Indian folklore)
Indian Literature: Fact or Fiction?
You may be familiar with Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, but how much do you know of Indian literature? Sort…
English novelist Charles Dickens; undated engraving.
Famous Writers: Fact or Fiction?
From the Italian Renaissance and Victorian era to India and Canterbury, delve into the lives of Dante, Isaac Asimov, and…
Frontispiece and title page of Phillis Wheatley's book of poetry, "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral"  1773. Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784). African American slave. Black woman poet.
Poetry Puzzle: Fact or Fiction?
Was the first published African American poet a woman? Were Emily Dickinson’s poems widely published during her lifetime?…
Camelot, engraving by Gustave Dore to illustrate the Arthurian poems in Idylls of the King, by Lord Alfred Tennyson, 1868.
A Study of Poems: Fact or Fiction?
In the poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas, how many reindeer does Santa have? Is Xanadu a real place? What king does…
Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing slightly right, with cigar in hand.
Lives of Famous Writers: Fact or Fiction?
You may be familiar with J.K. Rowling and Dr. Seuss, but how much do you know of A.A. Milne and Dr. Dolittle? Test your knowledge…
Kabuki Theater. Unknown Artist, 'Scene at Kabuki Theater', 19th century. From a private collection. The strongest ties of Kabuki are to the Noh and to joruri, the puppet theatre that developed during the 17th century.
Playing Around: Fact or Fiction?
Is a soliloquy a section of a play in which two characters engage in an extended conversation? From King Lear to…
Scene from "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens, (London c1870). Joe Gargery, the gentle giant, is provoked into violence in his smithy. In the background his brother-in-law Philip Pirrip, known as Pip, the hero of the novel, works the...
Getting Into Character: Fact or Fiction?
From Tarzan and Dracula to Sherlock Holmes and Mowgli, test your smarts and read between this line-up of literary characters.
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1342/43-1400), English poet; portrait from an early 15th century manuscript of the poem, De regimine principum.
The ABCs of Poetry: Fact or Fiction?
Are prose and poetry the same? Do narrative poems tend to be very short? Test the long and short of your poetic knowledge…
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Literature Subcategories

Aladdin Folk Literature & Fable
Step into the world of folklore, fables, legends, 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 readers and listeners 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
Dorothy Thompson, 1934. 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
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
subcategory placeholder 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 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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