Introduction

The Literary Encyclopedia is a state-of-the-art reference work focused on literature originally written in English or translated into English. All of its entries have been written since 1999 by a network of nearly 1200 named university scholars and literary professionals who also own this publication and edited by a distinguished scholarly board. Unlike most free literary resources on the internet it can therefore be cited and quoted with authority.

The Literary Encyclopedia aims to provide detailed profiles of authors and texts, and basic knowledge on their cultural contexts. The publication lists more than 5700 writers, philosophers and other persons of note, more than 17,000 works and 1600 literary and historical topics and events. Of these, more than three thousand have been provided with profiles with an average length of 2500 words, in total more than 6 million words. On average we add 12 new profiles each week and we welcome offers of contribution from qualified scholars and writers.

We pride ourselves that The Literary Encyclopedia not only reflects the highest scholarly and pedagogic values, it is also a very modern and sophisticated IT environment the likes of which are still rare on the internet. Already our databases enable readers to generate lists of writers and works by genre, year, gender and country, something you can do nowhere else. You can also list the contemporary personalities, works and topics for any entry you happen to be reading. Our dynamic timeline search enables the construction of customised listing of works in relation to their historical context. In December 2005 we added discussion forums where students, colleagues and general readers can share ideas, classified advertising so that we can earn money to enable us to grow the publication, and some fun as well—a draw for free books donated by our publisher partners. Many new software additions and improvements are scheduled for 2006.

Visits to the The Literary Encyclopedia have increased 400% per annum since it was launched in October 2000 and in 2005 we provided 27 million pages to over 3 million visits.

To read more about who we are, click on "About" on the navigation bar above.

Robert Clark, Editor
January 10th 2006