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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.

Take an in-depth look at Joseph Conrad's haunting short story “The Secret Sharer” with Charles Van Doren Travel to the turn of the 19th century to experience the Romantic musical, literary, and artistic movement Woolf, Virginia Storm, Theodor Woldsen: The Rider on the White Horse (The Dykemaster) Analyze short fiction elements evidenced in “The Gift of the Magi,” “The Necklace,” and “The Magic Shop” Shakespeare, William: Hamlet Learn from Norris Houghton about Anton Chekhov's methodology by analyzing Chekhov's drama The Seagull Explore John Keats's life through a dramatization penned by Archibald MacLeish and narrated by James Mason Listen to Odysseus wax poetic over homeland Ithaca in dramatization of Homer's epic poem Odyssey Learn about the function of textual scholarship with Shakespeare's Hamlet and King Lear as examples Discuss Herman Melville's classic American short story “Bartleby the Scrivener” with Charles Van Doren Weimar, Germany Watch Lady Macbeth exhort Macbeth to murder Duncan in William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth Watch Hamlet's tragic protagonist confront his mother, Queen Gertrude, and accidentally kill Polonius Watch Shakespeare's tragic protagonist Hamlet deliver a soliloquy in the second act of Hamlet Compare Shirley Jackson's short story “The Lottery” to the Old Testament's Naboth with James Durbin Discuss Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story “Dr. Heidegger's Experiment” with Clifton Fadiman The Merchant of Venice Watch a film adaptation of the final scene of Anton Chekhov's last play The Cherry Orchard Watch the chorus in Sophocles' tragedy Oedipus the King discuss human disregard of the gods and the Apollo prophecy Shakespeare, William: Comedy of Errors, The Listen to Shakespeare's Macbeth suffering guilt for murder encouraged by Lady Macbeth Learn about Whitman's novel Life and Adventures of Jack Engle and how it adumbrated themes in Leaves of Grass Discover how George Bernard Shaw might compare his Caesar and Cleopatra to William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar Follow a dramatization of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic American short story “Dr. Heidegger's Experiment” care of rare books Stow, John: A Survey of London Mark Twain: autobiography Watch a dramatization of The Well of the Saints by Irish literary renaissance poetic dramatist J.M. Synge Mansfield, Katherine Watch self-blinded Oedipus confer with chorus leader about fulfillment of Apollo's prophecy in Oedipus Rex Cocteau, Jean: Romeo and Juliet Discover how Voltaire might present Candide and discuss the Age of Enlightenment Watch Shakespeare's eponymous protagonist confront his mother's treachery against her husband and king Observe Classicist Gilbert Highet's three themes tying together Homer's Greek epic poem The Odyssey Watch dramatized scenes of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations with literary commentary by Clifton Fadiman Watch the Weird Sisters conspire in the opening scene of William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth Watch the protagonist in Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet consider killing his king, uncle, and stepfather Claudius Hamlet See Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky's short story “The Crocodile” brought to life Listen to the letters of poet Emily Dickinson and Col. Thomas Higginson to glimpse her unique character The Tempest: Prospero Unpack Ernest Hemingway's short story “My Old Man” and learn about the author's time as an expatriate in Paris Learn how Audre Lorde became a poet Observe Clifton Fadiman's analytical commentary on Thornton Wilder's three-act drama Our Town Witness Western theatre in the Middle Ages by following a troupe performing The Play of Abraham and Isaac Watch a dramatization of Shirley Jackson's allegory of barbarism and social sacrifice “The Lottery” Discuss how a novel establishes mood, motivation, characterization, and style with Clifton Fadiman and actors Agamemnon's spirit telling Odysseus how he was murdered Explore a dramatization of Walter van Tilburg Clark's short story “The Portable Phonograph” Observe science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury's remarks on Edgar Allan Poe's “The Fall of the House of Usher” Clarke, Austin: Mnemosyne Lay in Dust Experience a dramatization of Joseph Conrad's chilling short story “The Secret Sharer” Richard III: Kean, Edmund; Booth, Junius Brutus questions and answers about To Kill a Mockingbird Odysseus interrogating Penelope in dramatization of Homer's Odyssey Watch William Shakespeare's tragic eponymous protagonist bemoan the unweeded garden that is the world Congress, Library of Hamlet: soliloquy Pericles: An Extraordinary Adventure Play Join Clifton Fadiman in discussing the publication of Frank Stockton's short story “The Lady, or the Tiger?” Compare Middle English and modern English readings of the opening lines of The Canterbury Tales Investigate the moral and philosophical implications of Shakespeare's tragic protagonist's murderous crimes Midsummer Night's Dream, A Explore English novelist Charles Dickens's early Victorian era and literature with Clifton Fadiman Take a seat at the Phaeacian feast and listen to Odysseus tell of his blinding cyclops giant Polyphemus The story of Hamlet Enjoy an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's classic American short story “My Old Man” Learn about Charles Dickens and his contributions to the serial publication genre Shakespeare, William: First Folio Experience a choral passage from the tragedy Oresteia by Classical Greek playwright Aeschylus Aeschylus: Persians Can Shakespeare Films be Studied in Other Languages? Listen to Norris Houghton discuss the difficulty of staging Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard Hear Oedipus question a shepherd who affirms the prophecy is fulfilled in Sophocles' tragedy Oedipus Rex A letter by “Shakespeare” Follow a dramatization of “Pardoner's Prologue” from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales comic book; graphic novel Follow Claire Bloom, Anthony Quinn, and Tennessee Williams behind the scenes of a theatrical production Learn which five writers J.E. Luebering deems the essential Victorian authors Roald Dahl sonnet: female poets Macbeth Travel to Frank Stockton's contemporary world in a production of the short story “The Lady, or the Tiger?” Shakespeare: speeches Learn why Herman Melville's enigmatic hero in the short story “Bartleby the Scrivener” prefers not Listen to Clifton Fadiman's analysis of Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky's short story “The Crocodile” Frankfurt am Main: German National Library Hear a reading of ancient Greek poet Pindar's first Olympic ode, commissioned by Sicilian prince Hiero Dante: The Divine Comedy; Irish literature Hear Donald Moffatt as George Bernard Shaw discuss William Shakespeare's eponymous protagonist Julius Caesar Watch dramatized scenes of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations with literary commentary by Clifton Fadiman Shakespeare, William: Othello Explore the use of music, theme and variations, and condensed words in Thornton Wilder's Our Town Learn about William Shakespeare's early boyhood and path to London to become a playwright and actor Discover what George Bernard Shaw might have to say about William Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar See Penelope recognize Odysseus and explain her distrust in dramatization of Homer's epic Odyssey Explore five questions about Shakespeare's life Watch William Shakespeare's eponymous protagonist dismiss Calpurnia's cautions in Julius Caesar Experience a dramatization of Thornton Wilder's one-act drama The Long Christmas Dinner English literature: 16th- and 17th-century women authors Watch an animated interpretation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem The Lady of Shalott Discover the age of Enlightenment's influence on biologic categorization, encyclopedias, and literature Listen to Shakespeare's titular character converse with Mark Antony about Cassius's loyalty Great Chicago Fire; Chicago Public Library Watch the exchange between self-blinded Oedipus and Creon in Sophocles' Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex Check out Britannica's new site for parents!