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    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, March 08, 2021

    Why Do We Say “A Pair of Pants”?
    Well, there are more than a pair of answers.
    Demystified / Literature
    jeans, denim, pants, clothing
    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
    6 Fictional Languages You Can Really Learn
    Pedich Edhellen? Do you speak Elvish?
    List / Literature
    The Fairy Queen's Messenger, illustration by Richard Doyle, c. 1870s.
    The Bizarre Origins of the Words Nerd and Geek
    On the nature of nerdiness…or geekiness.
    #WTFact / Literature
    Student girl writing formulas on transparent wall
    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
    Japanese literature
    Japanese literature, the body of written works produced by Japanese authors in Japanese or, in its earliest beginnings, at...
    Encyclopedia / Literature
    Nise-e of Minamoto Kintada, one of the 36 poets, from a handscroll by Fujiwara Nobuzane, Kamakura period (1192–1333); in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
    African American literature
    African American literature, body of literature written by Americans of African descent. Beginning in the pre-Revolutionary...
    Encyclopedia / Literature
    title page of Olaudah Equiano's autobiography
    American literature
    American literature, the body of written works produced in the English language in the United States. Like other national...
    Encyclopedia / Literature
    Smith, John: Virginia

    Literature Quizzes

    Edgar Allan Poe, American poet, short story writer, editor and critic c1909. Poe (1809-1849) was one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. Edgar Allen Poe
    The Works of Edgar Allan Poe
    You may know what the raven "quoth," but in what story does the narrator confess a murder? What woman is buried not quite...
    Child's alphabet blocks
    ABCs of English
    What letter begins more English words than any other? What letter does not appear in the English numbers 1 through 100? Learn...
    pile of international newspapers in various languages
    Official Languages
    What is the official language of Grenada? What language do most Argentineans speak? Translate your smarts into a high score...
    The modern Greek alphabet, with English sound equivalents.
    Languages of the World
    What is the last letter of the Greek alphabet? From which language does the motto of the United States come? Dot your I’s...
    Close up of the Quran or Koran written in Arabic Islam's sacred and liturgical language. text, words, Ramadan
    From What Language...
    From "Ubuntu" and "vindaloo" to "syrup" and "pajamas", test your knowledge of word origins and world languages in this quiz.
    Cyrillic inscription on sign, Macedonia. (language, letters)
    Learning the Alphabet
    How many characters does the Russian alphabet have? What is the ancestor of the Hebrew and Arabic alphabets? Test your knowledge...
    Weathy, upper-class lady reading, fifteenth century. Book.
    From the Latin
    See how much you really know about the Latin-derived words in this quiz.
    Letters used for typesetting.
    Antonyms and Synonyms
    You may know that opposites attract and likes repel, but how much do you know about synonyms and antonyms? Turn your knowledge...
    Child tracing letters of the alphabet
    English 101
    What is the term for words that sound like themselves, such as "ding dong" and "purr"? From morphemes to homophones, see...
    Person reading Bible, close-up of hands. King James Version (KJV) King James Bible Holy Bible Antique Christianity Church Gospel old book Religion religious Spirituality Homepage blog 2011 arts and entertainment history and society
    The Meanings of Words
    From "paradise" to "substitute", test your knowledge of words and their meanings in this quiz.
    Never Miss a Day in History
    Sign up for daily fun facts about this day in history, updates, and special offers delivered right to your inbox.

    Literature Subcategories

    subcategory placeholder 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.
    Fantastic Four 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.
    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.
    Edward O. Wilson 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.
    wine bottle 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.
    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.
    To the Lighthouse Literary Terms
    This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
    subcategory placeholder 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.
    The War of the Worlds 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.
    Justus of Ghent: Saint Augustine 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.
    Hamlet 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.
    subcategory placeholder 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.
    Help your kids power off and play on!
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