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.
Featured content, November 25, 2020
10 Failed Doomsday Predictions
Predictions for the end of the world that (obviously) didn’t come true.
List / Literature
Diagnosing 9 of Charles Dickens’s Most Famous Characters
Dickens had a knack for expertly portraying human diseases.
#WTFact / Literature
Why Do Languages Die?
How does someone become the last known speaker of a language?
Demystified / Literature
Southeast Asian arts
Southeast Asian arts, the literary, performing, and visual arts of Southeast Asia. Although the cultural development of the...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Belgian literature, the body of written works produced by Belgians and written in Flemish, which is equivalent to the Standard...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Brazilian literature, the body of written works produced in the Portuguese language in Brazil. Brazil was claimed for Portugal...
Encyclopedia / Literature
Literary Library: Fact or Fiction?
Did the writers of the German Sturm und Drang literary movement disdain emotion? From European literature to epistolary novels,...
A Book Review: Fact or Fiction?
In The War of the Worlds, were the enemies of Earth from Venus? Unlock your imagination and discover...
Literary Character Study: Fact or Fiction?
Is Jane Eyre a fictional explorer and adventuress? Was Sherlock Holmes a real detective? Sort fact from talking pigs, Christmas...
Test Your Literacy Rate: Fact or Fiction?
Were most people literate in ancient times? Was reading once considered a form of physical exercise? Exercise your mental...
Author Showcase: Fact or Fiction?
Is Frankenstein a novel by Percy Bysshe Shelley? From Jane Austen and Jack London to Mark Twain and...
Literary Fun Facts: Fact or Fiction?
Does Starbucks Coffee take its name from the novel Moby-Dick? Is the film Apocalypse Now...
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...
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...
What is the official language of Grenada? What language do most Argentineans speak? Translate your smarts into a high score...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Helen Archibald Clarke and Charlotte Endymion Porter
- Literary criticism
This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.