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, December 26, 2022
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.
Persian literature, body of writings in New Persian (also called Modern Persian), the form of the Persian language written...
Japanese literature, the body of written works produced by Japanese authors in Japanese or, in its earliest beginnings, at...
African American literature
African American literature, body of literature written by Americans of African descent. Beginning in the pre-Revolutionary...
American literature, the body of written works produced in the English language in the United States. Like other national...
Word Nerd Quiz
If you live for word associations, derivations, and definitions then you’re going to love this quiz!
The Literary World (Famous Novels)
How much do you really know about the stories and the authors of the classics you love, from Jane Eyre to Brave...
Languages & Alphabets
Parlez-vous français? ¿Habla usted español? See how M-U-C-H you know about your A-B-Cs in other languages.
The Literary World (Authors & Poets)
Roses are red, violets are blue, this poem is bad, but our quiz will challenge you!
The Literary World (Characters Quiz)
The March sisters, Beowulf, and even Tweedledee and Tweedledum are just some of the most enduring characters ever created....
The Literary World
Hey, bookworm! In between reads, try this novel idea: a quiz on all things literature.
Word Nerd: Fact or Fiction?
You love words. You adore alliteration. And you chortle at the thought of nailing this quiz.
Literary Favorites: Fact or Fiction?
Love literature? This quiz sorts out the truth about beloved authors and stories, old and new.
Parlez-Vous Français? And Other Languages
What language is spoken in Mexico? Which South American nation speaks Portuguese? Test your knowledge of languages around...
Foreign Language Club
What is the official language of China? What is the prinicipal language of Bangladesh? Test your comprehension of languages...
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.
- heroic poetry
Jean de La Fontaine
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.
American journalist, columnist, and author
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.
Egyptian astronomer, mathematician, and geographer
Albrecht von Haller
Literatures of the World
Literature knows no geographical bounds; authors can be found in nearly all corners of the globe. 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.
Canadian literary critic
- literary criticism
Want to be able to distinguish your limericks from your haikus and your paeans from your panegyrics? Dive deep into literary terms and forms.
- nonfictional prose
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! Or that's the idea, at least. Nonfiction works center on 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 Feminine Mystique
work by Friedan
The Diary of a Young Girl
work by Frank
- nonfictional prose
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.
The War of the Worlds
novel by Wells
The Fall of the House of Usher
story by Poe
The Catcher in the Rye
novel by Salinger
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.
Roman statesman, scholar, and writer
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.
play by Chekhov
play by Sophocles
Waiting for Godot
play by Beckett
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; sonnets, haikus, nursery rhymes, epics, and more are included.
poetry and music
poetry and song
- light verse