Introduction

The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) is a canonical piece of children's literature and one of the best-selling books ever published.
The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) is a canonical piece of children's literature and one of the best-selling books ever published.

Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to include oral literature, much of which has been transcribed. Literature is a method of recording, preserving, and transmitting knowledge and entertainment.

Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as autobiography, diaries, memoir, letters, and the essay. Within its broad definition, literature includes non-fictional books, articles or other printed information on a particular subject. (Full article...)

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Selected work

Pattern Recognition is a novel by science fiction writer William Gibson published in 2003. Set in August and September 2002, the story follows Cayce Pollard, a 32-year-old marketing consultant who has a psychological sensitivity to corporate symbols. The action takes place in London, Tokyo, and Moscow as Cayce judges the effectiveness of a proposed corporate symbol and is hired to seek the creators of film clips anonymously posted to the internet.

The novel's central theme involves the examination of the human desire to detect patterns or meaning and the risks of finding patterns in meaningless data. Other themes include methods of interpretation of history, cultural familiarity with brand names, and tensions between art and commercialization.

Pattern Recognition is Gibson's eighth novel and his first one to be set in the contemporary world. Like his previous work, it has been classified as a science fiction and postmodern novel, with the action unfolding along a thriller plot line. Critics approved of the writing but found the plot unoriginal and some of the language distracting. The book peaked at number four on the New York Times Best Seller list, was nominated for the 2003 British Science Fiction Association Award, and was shortlisted for the 2004 Arthur C. Clarke Award and Locus Awards.

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Selected figure

Honoré de Balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience.

Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multifaceted characters, who are morally ambiguous. His writing influenced many subsequent novelists such as Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Eça de Queirós, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Benito Pérez Galdós, Marie Corelli, Henry James, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and Italo Calvino, and philosophers such as Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. Many of Balzac's works have been made into or have inspired films, and they are a continuing source of inspiration for writers, filmmakers and critics.

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Selected excerpt

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Selected illustration

  • An illustration from the story "The Knights of the Joyous Venture" from the first printing of Rudyard Kipling's 1906 fantasy book Puck of Pook's Hill, featuring the legend "Thorkild had given back before his Devil, till the bowmen on the ship could shoot it all full of arrows". The book consists of a number of stories, all narrated to two children living near Burwash, in the area of Kipling's own house Bateman's, by people magically plucked out of history by the elf Puck, or told by Puck himself.See another illustration
    An illustration from the story "The Knights of the Joyous Venture" from the first printing of Rudyard Kipling's 1906 fantasy book Puck of Pook's Hill, featuring the legend "Thorkild had given back before his Devil, till the bowmen on the ship could shoot it all full of arrows".

    The book consists of a number of stories, all narrated to two children living near Burwash, in the area of Kipling's own house Bateman's, by people magically plucked out of history by the elf Puck, or told by Puck himself.

    See another illustration
  • The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania is an oil painting on canvas by the Scottish artist Joseph Noel Paton. Painted in 1849, it depicts the scene from William Shakespeare's comedy play A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which the fairy queen Titania and fairy king Oberon quarrel. When exhibited in Edinburgh in 1850, it was declared the "painting of the season". The painting was acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland in 1897, having initially been bought by the Royal Association for Promoting the Fine Arts.
    The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania is an oil painting on canvas by the Scottish artist Joseph Noel Paton. Painted in 1849, it depicts the scene from William Shakespeare's comedy play A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which the fairy queen Titania and fairy king Oberon quarrel. When exhibited in Edinburgh in 1850, it was declared the "painting of the season". The painting was acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland in 1897, having initially been bought by the Royal Association for Promoting the Fine Arts.
  • The Hunting of the Snark is a poem composed by the English writer Lewis Carroll between 1874 and 1876, typically characterised as a nonsense poem. The plot follows a crew of ten who cross the ocean to hunt the Snark, which may turn out to be a highly dangerous Boojum. This is the second of Henry Holiday's original illustrations for the first edition of the poem. It introduces some of the crew, whose names all start with "B"; the Bellman and Baker are on the upper deck, with the Barrister seated in the background; below are the Billiard-marker, the Banker and the Broker, with the maker of Bonnets and Hoods visible behind.
    The Hunting of the Snark is a poem composed by the English writer Lewis Carroll between 1874 and 1876, typically characterised as a nonsense poem. The plot follows a crew of ten who cross the ocean to hunt the Snark, which may turn out to be a highly dangerous Boojum. This is the second of Henry Holiday's original illustrations for the first edition of the poem. It introduces some of the crew, whose names all start with "B"; the Bellman and Baker are on the upper deck, with the Barrister seated in the background; below are the Billiard-marker, the Banker and the Broker, with the maker of Bonnets and Hoods visible behind.
  • A scene from an 1886 edition of Sir Walter Scott's historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor, originally published in 1819. Although fictional, the story is based on an actual incident of the family of James Dalrymple: Dalrymple's daughter Janet was betrothed to one man in an arranged marriage, but in love with another. On her wedding night, Janet stabbed her husband. She was judged to be insane and died within a month. The book is part of Scott's Tales of My Landlord series and is the basis for Gaetano Donizetti's 1835 opera Lucia di Lammermoor.
    A scene from an 1886 edition of Sir Walter Scott's historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor, originally published in 1819. Although fictional, the story is based on an actual incident of the family of James Dalrymple: Dalrymple's daughter Janet was betrothed to one man in an arranged marriage, but in love with another. On her wedding night, Janet stabbed her husband. She was judged to be insane and died within a month. The book is part of Scott's Tales of My Landlord series and is the basis for Gaetano Donizetti's 1835 opera Lucia di Lammermoor.
  • An engraving by Gustave Doré of a scene from Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote, the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age in the Spanish literary canon. The scene illustrated here occurs early in the novel, when Alonso Quixano (Quixote's real name) has become obsessed with books of chivalry, and believes their every word to be true, despite the fact that many of the events in them are clearly impossible. Don Quixote was published in two separate volumes, ten years apart. It is considered a founding work of modern Western literature, and it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.
    An engraving by Gustave Doré of a scene from Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote, the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age in the Spanish literary canon. The scene illustrated here occurs early in the novel, when Alonso Quixano (Quixote's real name) has become obsessed with books of chivalry, and believes their every word to be true, despite the fact that many of the events in them are clearly impossible. Don Quixote was published in two separate volumes, ten years apart. It is considered a founding work of modern Western literature, and it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.
  • In this scene from Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Uncle Toby's colonel invents a device for firing multiple miniature cannons at once, based on a hookah. Unfortunately, he and Toby find the puffing on the hookah pipe so enjoyable that they keep setting the cannons off. The novel was published in nine volumes over ten years, starting in 1759. Although it was not always held in high esteem by other writers, its bawdy humour was popular with London society, and it has come to be seen as one of the greatest comic novels in English, as well as a forerunner for many modern narrative devices and styles.
    In this scene from Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Uncle Toby's colonel invents a device for firing multiple miniature cannons at once, based on a hookah. Unfortunately, he and Toby find the puffing on the hookah pipe so enjoyable that they keep setting the cannons off. The novel was published in nine volumes over ten years, starting in 1759. Although it was not always held in high esteem by other writers, its bawdy humour was popular with London society, and it has come to be seen as one of the greatest comic novels in English, as well as a forerunner for many modern narrative devices and styles.
  • The frontispiece to a c. 1825 edition of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, a lengthy narrative poem by Lord Byron. The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. This poem proved to be quite popular upon its publication in 1812. Byron himself said of this, "I awoke one morning and found myself famous."
    The frontispiece to a c. 1825 edition of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, a lengthy narrative poem by Lord Byron. The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. This poem proved to be quite popular upon its publication in 1812. Byron himself said of this, "I awoke one morning and found myself famous."
  • An illustration from 1896 edition of James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. Set during the French and Indian War,  the novel details the transport of two young women to Fort William Henry. Among the caravan guarding the women are the frontiersman Natty Bumppo, the Major Duncan Heyward, and the Indians Chingachgook and Uncas. In this scene, Bumppo (disguised as a bear) fights against the novel's villain, Magua, as two of his compatriots look on.
    An illustration from 1896 edition of James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. Set during the French and Indian War, the novel details the transport of two young women to Fort William Henry. Among the caravan guarding the women are the frontiersman Natty Bumppo, the Major Duncan Heyward, and the Indians Chingachgook and Uncas. In this scene, Bumppo (disguised as a bear) fights against the novel's villain, Magua, as two of his compatriots look on.
  • Jeeves is a fictional character in a series of comedic short stories and novels by English author P. G. Wodehouse, in which he is depicted as the highly competent valet of a wealthy and idle young Londoner named Bertie Wooster. First appearing in the short story "Extricating Young Gussie" in 1915, Jeeves continued to feature in Wodehouse's work until his last completed novel, Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (1974). He also appeared in numerous films and television series, portrayed by such actors as Arthur Treacher, Michael Aldridge, and Dennis Price. The name and character of Jeeves have come to be identified with the quintessential valet or butler.
    Jeeves is a fictional character in a series of comedic short stories and novels by English author P. G. Wodehouse, in which he is depicted as the highly competent valet of a wealthy and idle young Londoner named Bertie Wooster. First appearing in the short story "Extricating Young Gussie" in 1915, Jeeves continued to feature in Wodehouse's work until his last completed novel, Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (1974). He also appeared in numerous films and television series, portrayed by such actors as Arthur Treacher, Michael Aldridge, and Dennis Price. The name and character of Jeeves have come to be identified with the quintessential valet or butler.
  • William Wallace Denslow's illustration of the poem "The Queen of Hearts" from a 1901 issue of Mother Goose. The poem was originally published in 1782 as part of a set of four playing card based poems, but proved to be far more popular than the others. By 1785 it had been set to music, and it forms the basis of the plot of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Chapter XI: "Who Stole the Tarts?" Although it was originally published in a magazine for adults, it is now best known as a nursery rhyme.
    William Wallace Denslow's illustration of the poem "The Queen of Hearts" from a 1901 issue of Mother Goose. The poem was originally published in 1782 as part of a set of four playing card based poems, but proved to be far more popular than the others. By 1785 it had been set to music, and it forms the basis of the plot of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Chapter XI: "Who Stole the Tarts?" Although it was originally published in a magazine for adults, it is now best known as a nursery rhyme.
  • Sir John Tenniel's illustration of the Caterpillar for Lewis Carroll's classic children's book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The illustration is noted for its ambiguous central figure, which can be viewed as having either a human male's face with pointed nose and protruding lower lip or as the head end of an actual caterpillar, with the right three "true" legs visible. The small symbol in the lower left is composed of Tenniel's initials, which was how he signed most of his work for the book. The partially obscured word in the lower left-center is the last name of Edward Dalziel, the engraver of the piece.
    Sir John Tenniel's illustration of the Caterpillar for Lewis Carroll's classic children's book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The illustration is noted for its ambiguous central figure, which can be viewed as having either a human male's face with pointed nose and protruding lower lip or as the head end of an actual caterpillar, with the right three "true" legs visible. The small symbol in the lower left is composed of Tenniel's initials, which was how he signed most of his work for the book. The partially obscured word in the lower left-center is the last name of Edward Dalziel, the engraver of the piece.
  • An illustration from a ca. 1916 edition of The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby, a children's novel written by Charles Kingsley and originally serialised in 1862–63. The book, a didactic moral fable, tells the story of Tom (lower left), a young boy who drowns and is reincarnated as a "water-baby". He undergoes a series of adventures and eventually regains his human form. It was extremely popular during its day and through the 1920s, but has since fallen out of favour, perhaps due to Kingsley's expression of many of the common prejudices of that time period, such as against Americans, Jews, blacks, and Catholics, particularly the Irish.
    An illustration from a ca. 1916 edition of The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby, a children's novel written by Charles Kingsley and originally serialised in 1862–63. The book, a didactic moral fable, tells the story of Tom (lower left), a young boy who drowns and is reincarnated as a "water-baby". He undergoes a series of adventures and eventually regains his human form. It was extremely popular during its day and through the 1920s, but has since fallen out of favour, perhaps due to Kingsley's expression of many of the common prejudices of that time period, such as against Americans, Jews, blacks, and Catholics, particularly the Irish.
  • An engraving of Charon, in Greek mythology the ferryman of Hades who carried souls of the newly deceased across the River Styx that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. This illustration is from French engraver Gustave Doré's 1857 set of illustrations for Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, an Italian epic poem depicting an allegorical vision of the Christian afterlife. Here, Charon is shown coming to ferry souls across the river Acheron to Hell. The caption is from Henry Francis Cary's translation, from which this particular copy is taken:And, lo! toward us in a bark  Comes on an old man, hoary white with eld,  Crying "Woe to you, wicked spirits!"
    An engraving of Charon, in Greek mythology the ferryman of Hades who carried souls of the newly deceased across the River Styx that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. This illustration is from French engraver Gustave Doré's 1857 set of illustrations for Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, an Italian epic poem depicting an allegorical vision of the Christian afterlife. Here, Charon is shown coming to ferry souls across the river Acheron to Hell. The caption is from Henry Francis Cary's translation, from which this particular copy is taken:

    And, lo! toward us in a bark
    Comes on an old man, hoary white with eld,
    Crying "Woe to you, wicked spirits!"
  • The Princess and the Trolls, by John Bauer (1882–1918), was painted as an illustration for "The Changeling", a short story by Helena Nyblom. A watercolour held by the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, it was first published in the 1913 edition of the anthology Among Gnomes and Trolls.  It shows the princess Bianca Maria between two trolls in a forest. Bauer's illustrations of fairy tales and children's stories made him a household name in his native Sweden, and shaped perceptions of many fairy tale characters.
    The Princess and the Trolls, by John Bauer (1882–1918), was painted as an illustration for "The Changeling", a short story by Helena Nyblom. A watercolour held by the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, it was first published in the 1913 edition of the anthology Among Gnomes and Trolls. It shows the princess Bianca Maria between two trolls in a forest. Bauer's illustrations of fairy tales and children's stories made him a household name in his native Sweden, and shaped perceptions of many fairy tale characters.
  • One of the two earliest illustrations of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, which was first published on January 28, 1813. This engraving comes from the first illustrated edition, published twenty years later, and depicts Elizabeth Bennet (the main protagonist, right) and her father, in fashions that were common in the 1830s, not the story's original time setting. The novel is told from Bennet's point of view and deals with issues of manners, upbringing, moral rightness, education and marriage in the aristocratic society of early 19th century England. The novel retains a fascination for modern readers, having sold some 20 million copies worldwide and continuing near the top of lists of 'most loved books'.
    One of the two earliest illustrations of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, which was first published on January 28, 1813. This engraving comes from the first illustrated edition, published twenty years later, and depicts Elizabeth Bennet (the main protagonist, right) and her father, in fashions that were common in the 1830s, not the story's original time setting. The novel is told from Bennet's point of view and deals with issues of manners, upbringing, moral rightness, education and marriage in the aristocratic society of early 19th century England. The novel retains a fascination for modern readers, having sold some 20 million copies worldwide and continuing near the top of lists of 'most loved books'.

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