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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, June 21, 2020

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
7 Quintessential National-Spelling-Bee-Winning Words
Can you spell these? (T-h-e-s-e!)
List / Literature
Spelling bee. Nathan J. Marcisz of Marion, Indiana, tries to spell a word during the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition June 3, 2010 in Washington, DC. Spellers competition to become best spelling bee of the year.
The “Howl” Heard Round the World
In 1956, Allen Ginsberg’s groundbreaking Beat poem “Howl” was published in the collection Howl and Other...
Spotlight / Literature
"Howl and Other Poems" by Allen Ginsberg published by City Lights books in 1956
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)
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
English literature
English literature, the body of written works produced in the English language by inhabitants of the British Isles (including...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Copernicus, Nicolaus: 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
African literature
African literature, the body of traditional oral and written literatures in Afro-Asiatic and African languages together with...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Athol Fugard (centre) with actors John Kani (left) and Winston Ntshona, 1973.

Literature Quizzes

English author Aphra Behn, oil on canvas by Sir Peter Lely, c. 1670; in the Yale Center for British Art.
Women Writers of England (Mostly) Quiz
This is a quiz about the lives and works of women writers from England—with one exception. Can you find it?
William Shakespeare and Lord Chamberlain's Men performing "Love's Labour's Lost" for Queen Elizabeth I, from the Works of William Shakespeare; etching, dated c. mid-19th century.
English and Irish Playwrights (Part Two) Quiz
Do you know who wrote She Stoops to Conquer? Which 17th-century playwright was arrested and thrown...
Irish author Oscar Wilde, photograph (albumen silver print)by Napoleon Sarony, 1882.
English and Irish Playwrights (Part One) Quiz
The British Isles have a long history of theatre, with many notable playwrights. How much do you know about those from England...
Lobby card for the motion picture film "Things to Come" (1936); directed by William Cameron Menzies. (science fiction, futurism)
Science Fiction Writers Quiz
Science fiction has a long history and wide influence. Here’s a quick tour through some of this genre’s greatest writers....
"The Feast of Sada", folio 22v from the Shah-nameh Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp, by Ferdowsi; painting attributed to Sultan Muhammad, c. 1525; made in Tabriz, Iran. (Shahnama, poems, poetry)
Poets and Poetry (Part One) Quiz
Do you know who wrote “The Wild Swans at Coole”? What’s the title of the first known play in blank verse? Take a tour of...
Encyclopaedia Britannica thistle graphic to be used with a Mendel/Consumer quiz in place of a photograph.
Literary Terms (Part Two) Quiz
Do you know what an oxymoron is? How about the name of a line or lines that are repeated in a poem? Test what you know about...
Beginning of the old English poem, Beowulf, believed to have been composed between 700 and 750. (Old English literature)
Poets and Poetry (Part Two) Quiz
Do you know which ancient Roman poet wrote Metamorphoses? Who wrote poetry to a woman named Laura?...
Japanese poet Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (Kakinomoto Hitomaro), woodblock print by Yashima Gakutei, c. 1820; in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Japanese Literature: A Pop Quiz
Here’s an extremely short quiz about the long history of Japanese literature. (Hint: It’s mostly about renga.)...
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?...
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...
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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
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
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
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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