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Related subjects: Language and literature; Portals

The Literary Portal

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Literature is literally "an acquaintance with letters", as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary (from the Latin littera meaning "an individual written character"). The term has generally come to identify a collection of texts or works of art, which in Western culture are mainly prose, both fiction and non-fiction, drama and poetry. In much (if not all) of the world, texts can be oral as well, and include such genres as epic, legend, myth, ballad, other forms of oral poetry, and the folktale. The word "literature" as a common noun can refer to any form of writing, such as essays; "Literature" as a proper noun refers to a whole body of literary work.

The history of literature begins with the history of writing, in the Bronze Age of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, although the oldest literary texts date to a full millennium after the invention of writing, to the late 3rd millennium BC. The earliest literary authors known by name are Ptahhotep and Enheduanna, dating to ca. the 24th and 23rd centuries BC, respectively. More about Literature...

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Nancy Drew is a fictional character in a juvenile mystery fiction series created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer. The character first appeared in 1930; the books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Over the decades the character has evolved in response to changes in US culture and tastes. The books were extensively revised, beginning in 1959, largely to eliminate racist stereotypes, with arguable success. Many scholars agree that in the revision process, the heroine's original character was changed to a less assertive and more feminine character. In the 1980s an older and more professional Nancy emerged in a new series, The Nancy Drew Files, that included romantic plots for the sleuth. In 2004 the original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series, begun in 1930, was ended and a new series, Girl Detective, was launched, in which the title character drives a hybrid electric vehicle and uses a cell phone. Illustrations of the character have also evolved over time to reflect the Nancy Drew type in contemporary terms. The character has proved continuously popular worldwide: at least 80 million copies of the books have been sold, and the books have been translated into over 45 languages. Nancy Drew has featured in five films, two television shows, and a number of popular computer games; she also appears in a variety of merchandise sold over the world.

A cultural icon, Nancy Drew has been cited as a formative influence by a number of women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Sonia Sotomayor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush. Feminist literary critics have analyzed the character's enduring appeal, arguing variously that Nancy Drew is a mythic hero, an expression of wish fulfillment, or an embodiment of contradictory ideas about femininity.

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Chilean author Isabel Allende


Learn as much by writing as by reading.
Lord Acton

Did you know ...

... that A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is a 2005 novel by Marina Lewycka about a Ukrainian immigrant family living in a village near Peterborough, England?

... that with the Restoration of the Stuarts in 1660 theatres in Britain reopened after having been closed during the protectorship of Oliver Cromwell?

... that an acrostic is a poem or other text written in an alphabetic script in which the first letter, syllable or word of each verse, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out another message?

... that the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel is based on Liliom, a 1909 play by Hungarian writer Ferenc Molnár?

... that "Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei, / Led us to this perfect day" is the beginning of a nursery rhyme chanted by brainwashed children in Ira Levin's dystopian novel of 1970, This Perfect Day?

... that in both Grant Allen's The Woman Who Did ( 1895) and Margaret Drabble's The Millstone ( 1965) the female protagonist takes the conscious decision to have an illegitimate child?

... that Magnalia Christi Americana ("Christ's Great American Deeds") by Cotton Mather details the religious development of Massachusetts and other nearby New England colonies in the 17th century?

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