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The Literature Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  960 ratings  ·  131 reviews
A global look at the greatest works of Eastern and Western literature and the themes that unite them, for students and lovers of literature and reading.

The Literature Book is a fascinating journey through the greatest works of world literature, from the Iliad to Don Quixote to The Great Gatsby. Around 100 crystal-clear articles explore landmark novels, short stories, plays
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by DK Publishing
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F Both! I really liked reading it front to back, but then I started skipping around because it mentioned books that I'd read and I'd want to read about …moreBoth! I really liked reading it front to back, but then I started skipping around because it mentioned books that I'd read and I'd want to read about certain books that I'm familiar with first.(less)

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May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful collection of literary history - a treasure chest for book lovers!

During the past couple of weeks, I have read one or two chapters in this book each night, following the history of literature from the earliest epics and legends to modern movements in novel, drama and poetry. Since university, the impossible question of establishing a sense of what "world literature" means has been of great interest to me, and I have read various reference books on literary developments over ti
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I’ve started reading this book almost two years ago and it was a slow process. I’ve been reading one or two pages every few days and I still haven’t finished because I read only about the books that I already went through or do not plan to read at all(mainly poetry). Some entries contain spoilers so I will get to them later.

The Literature Book is a chronological and thematic introduction to the history of global literature. The best European classics stand together with the biggest literature p
Educational reading! / Lectura educadora!

This review is bilingual. First on English and later you can find the Spanish version.

This book is a guide to many of the best books of all time, but as you must suppose, in every book that tries to gather the best about something, the experience was both illustrating and outrageous.

Illustrating, because I definitely learned a lot about authors and their books that I honestly did not know existed; as well as to better understand several books that I k
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever wondered about the earliest form of storytelling, the kind that endured because it was somehow recorded? Or when the transition from oral stories to written ones was? Or what the difference between the evolution of "literature" is from Europe to Asia to India to other places? Have you ever wondered how many truly ancient words or expressions have endured until today and how they permeated societies they didn't originate from? And did you want examples / recommendations for all the ...more
Freda Mans-Labianca
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding book!
I love how this book pieces together the most epic stories in literature. So much so, it prompted me to start reading the books inside. The first book recorded in history happened more than two thousand years before Christ. It's called; The Epic of Gilgamesh. I found an online copy and read it since it's pretty small.
Between you and me, I would have never known about its' existence had I not read this book.
This book is like an encyclopedia of books, but put together in a more ex
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've skimmed and flicked my way through this book for six months. Getting inspiration for books to read, or learning more about past favourites. I'm not always a fan of these sort of compilations, but I think these DK publishing books are done very well. ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ενα σπουδαίο βιβλίο απαραίτητο εργαλείο για κάθε λάτρη της λογοτεχνίας.
✨    jamieson   ✨
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a non fiction book with a brief history of .. the entirety of literature and it's pretty interesting! I did really enjoy reading about the books and the authors, I especially enjoyed the sections on romanticism and modernism.

I read this cover to cover but you can definitely jump around and read a little bit here and there if you wanted to. It's not /super/ in depth, but it does pretty well for a three hundred page book. I just wish more diverse writers had been included prior to the cont
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a book lovers dream. It divides literature into categories, like Depicting Real Life 1855-1900, and offers books that best represent the ideas of the category. Each category opens with a timeline of the important works before moving on to the descriptions of the books. Initially, highlighting one of the most prominent books and it's author over four or five pages. Then, moving on to shorter sketches of other titles. My "to read" list is going to explode after reading this book. ...more
Just what I expected - in the course of reading this book I came across many examples of books I either wanted to read for ages or books I've never heard of. Anyway, my tbr is now much longer.

This should keep me occupied for the next couple of years.
Jolanta (knygupe)
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal guide to the literature.
Angela Blount
Originally reviewed for YA Books Central:

Pace yourself! Reading this primer is a bit like taking a college-level literature class. Or perhaps an entire semester worth of literature classes…

Acknowledging that storytelling is as old as humanity itself, The Literature Book takes on the daunting challenge of giving readers a historical and functional overview of literary works and their progression through the ages. The book starts with 4,600-year-old Sumeri
Catherine Espinosa
Es una guía maravillosa a través de las diferentes épocas de la literatura. Muchas de las novelas son contextualizadas históricamente y esto hace que uno quiera o no quería leer alguna obra. Es un libro para poner a la vista de todos en casa.
Quí Hiển
Cho cuốn này 2 sao rưỡi. So với các cuốn Triết và Chính trị trong bộ thì cuốn Văn rời rạc hơn hẳn. Có một số bài hay (tập trung vào các bài trọng tâm 6 trang), nhưng nhiều bài rất vụn, dĩ nhiên là do không có chỗ viết và làm sách dạng này thì cắt xén cho vừa trang là điều không tránh được. Càng về phần văn hiện đại thì số bài hay càng tăng. Điển hình như là Hoàng tử bé, 1984, Nếu một đêm đông có người lữ khách, Cái trống thiếc, vân vân. Bài Cái trống thiếc còn làm nguyên một cái sơ đồ Venn về cá ...more
Aurora Arnautu
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It took me a month fo finish this book and it was worth it. It takes the reader on a travel from the first written texts like The epic of Ghilgamesh to contemporary literature . You are able to see the big picture.The book is well structured and the concepts are well explained. You also become interested in further reading.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sachbücher
Wow. Ganz cool gemacht. Ich muss gestehen ich hab nicht alles gelesen, werde aber immer wieder ein wenig durchschmökern. Super Aufbau, tolle und für mich absolut stimmige Wahl der Werke. Nur zu empfehlen!
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a reference book and it is quite good. Its graphs, illustrations, and succinct summaries and analyses are interesting and informative. It gives an overview of the big literary movements through history, and then examines/explains the editors’ choices for the most important literary works of each of those movements or time periods. In addition to plot summaries (without spoilers), the editors point out stylistic or thematic significances. As always, reading about a book is no substitute f ...more
DK Publishing's The Literature Book, which I recieved through, takes on the enormous task of creating an overview of the history of literature. It does so in a concise manner that keeps the subject matter fresh. It is filled with photographs, charts, biographies, and side notes that illustrate links throughout history. For example how some of the earliest writing such as Greek drama influenced writers as recently as the twentieth century. I feel like I would have learned so much mo ...more
Yasin S.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bu tarz bol görselli DK kitaplarını genelde çok beğenip alır, bir kaç sayfasına bakıp kitaplığıma koyarım. Ama bu kitap çok farklıydı benim için. Gerek okuyup gerekse okumadığım onlarca kitabın detaylı incelemesini okuyarak edebiyatın tarih içerisinde ilerleyişini görmek gayet keyifliydi. Ayrıca okuma listeme ekleyecek bir çok kitap adı daha keşfettim.
Irina Tretiak
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Un'enciclopedia da avere nella propria libreria, utile per farsi un quadro generale delle correnti letterarie, per conoscere autori ancora non affrontati e per trovare ispirazione nella scelta di una nuova lettura. Inoltre, le pagine sono così belle e colorate che è un piacere per gli occhi. ...more
Yasi tamjidi
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
این کتاب به دلیل غنی بودن از مطالب مفید، تصویرسازی‌های بی‌نظیر و منسجم کردن و نظم بخشیدن به بخش بزرگی از ادبیات جهان لایق چهار ستاره هست. کتاب به شکلی تدوین شده که شما از ابتدای تاریخ با آن همراه می‌شوید و آثار مهم هر دوره با توجه به طبقه‌بندی زمانی انجام شده ارائه می‌شود. ارائه‌ی آثار به این صورت شکل گرفته که در عنوان مقاله، نه نام کتاب یا نویسنده، که جمله‌ی زیبایی از کتاب انتخاب شده که بسیار جذاب و گیراست و شما را ترغیب به ادامه‌ی خواندن می‌کند. در زیر این جمله نام کتاب، نویسنده و سال انتشار آ ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is truly a treasure for students (myself included) or just anyone who loves literature!
Sophie Joy
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book takes the reader through a chronological journey of some of the most influential and important pieces of literature starting from as far back as 3000 BCE up to the present day. I, for one, loved reading this book and was able to first, get a fuller understanding of different genres of stories, get a broader range of texts outside of the US, and to add new books to my reading list. In the beginning of the book it directly quotes in saying that this book isn't to be read as a reading lis ...more
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book for young teens who are avid readers. It divides history into eras and picks some of the great classics of that time frame and relates them to the news, events and politics of that era. It gives bios of the authors who contributed the many wonderful books and the influences in their lives. It gives additional titles to enjoy from Ancient Greece to modern day. It reviews poems, books , short stories and plays. A perfect gift for the book lover in your family.
Faisal Bashir
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's strange to say that I have read this book given the nature of the work. I consider it an invaluable resource to track the historical development of Literatures throughout the world, particularly in the western world. Every important literary work is briefly discussed and the description quickly moves into contextualizing it as it it is placed within a historical moment where similar literary works preceded and followed it. This was incredibly useful although the brief descriptions of each w ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Wonderful reference for types of literature, starting with heroic tales and sagas. Moving though time to last chapter "Contemporary Literature 1970 to Present." Great guide for "modern fiction."
Answers the question: What category of literature is this book?

New National Voices: Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Derek Walcott, VS Naipaul,
Multiculturalism: Zadie Smith,
International Literature:Thomas Pynchon, Jose Saramago, Italo Calvino,
The Encyclopedic Novel: Moby Dick, Gravity's Rainbow, Infinite Je
André Sposito
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ótimo guia para apresentar livros menos conhecidos do cânone ocidental. Descobri várias obras interessantes que não conhecia da África e da Ásia principalmente. Não é um guia perfeito. Algumas falhas de tradução em comparação com passagens clássicas da literatura traduzida em português, nomes traduzidos, etc. Nada que estrague o propósito do livro.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Çeviride ve redaksiyonda çok basit hataları olsa da; kronolojik olarak edebiyatta iz bırakmış yazar, eser ve akımları incelemek için harika bir başvuru kitabı. Salgın kaynaklı evde oturma sıkıntısından, baştan sona oturup okuması da keyifli :)
Juliana Costa
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritos
Esse livro é um ótimo guia literário! Ele apresenta obras que foram consolidadas em determinados movimentos literários e mostra as influências antes e depois da obra ser publicada.
Há uma mini biografia dos principais escritores e suas obras, além de indicações extra no final de cada parte em que o livro é dividido.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Interessante viaggio nella letteratura mondiale, ricco di consigli preziosi
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James Canton teaches the Wild Writing MA course at the University of Essex, exploring the fascinating ties between literature and the landscape of East Anglia. He has run workshops to encourage writing on nature and landscape and is the author of Out of Essex: Re-Imagining a Literary Landscape, which was inspired by rural wanderings in the county.

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“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind." Don Quixote” 0 likes
“Tell me, Senor Don Alvaro,’ said Don Quixote, ‘am I at all like that Don Quixote you talk of?” 0 likes
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