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  • Access to over 15 million words in reference and critical material
  • Coverage of world literatures: British, American, Canadian, Classics, German, French, Italian, postcolonial and more
  • Selective, reliable and authoritative material, commissioned and refereed by specialist subject editors
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  • We are delighted to launch the second edition of The Literary Encyclopedia Book Prizes for major scholarly contributions to the understanding of literature. Two prizes of £2000 each will be awarded, one for scholarly contributions to our understanding of literature originally in the English language, the other for scholarly contributions to our understanding of literature originally in another language.
  • The LE is are also resuming its Research Travel Award Programme suspended in 2021 on account of Covid19-related restrictions.
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Featured Bookshelf

American post-1945 poetry

A list of postwar American poets whose profiles we have covered in the LE.

Quotation of the Day

If words fall into disrepair, what will substitute? They are all we have.

Tony Judt, "Words", The New York Review of Books

Dreams in European Literature

Dreams in European Literature Featured Article

Part of our cycle of contextual articles focusing on comparative literature, reception and influences (see, the article offers an incursion into the thematic of literary dreams and interpretations from the earliest antiquity to the 18th and 19th centuries. From Virgil’s Aeneid to Dante’s Divine Comedy and the medieval English Piers the Plowman, through Christine de Pisan and Calderón's La Vida es sueño [Life is a Dream], onto the multitude of ‘Romantic Dreams’, the essay is a tour de force, replete with interesting and evocative detail and painting a tapestry of visionary continuity in the history of European letters.
Hayy ibn Yaqzan by Ibn Tufayl: its influence on European Thought and Literature

Hayy ibn Yaqzan by Ibn Tufayl: its influence on European Thought and Literature Featured Article

As the title itself suggests, the essay is ambitious in its scope and coverage, providing a discussion of one of the most seminal works in the whole of Western literature, its sources in medieval Islamic philosophy and folklore, and its reverberations across the centuries in European culture. It is definitely one of the Encyclopedia’s finest examples of historically-informed reference works – wide-ranging in approach and knowledge, subtle in its analysis and informed by the kind of cross-cultural thinking that we would like to see more of in today’s literary scholarship.
Labouring-Class Poets

Labouring-Class Poets Featured Article

The article offers a comprehensive coverage of the group of poets of working-class origin who came to prominence in significant numbers during the eighteenth century and thereafter. Its range (discussing poets as diverse as Stephen Duck, Mary Collier, Robert Bloomfield, Ann Yearsley), depth and historical expanse (offering, in addition to critical reception, over 50 titles of recommended reading) recommend it as an indispensable reference tool to all scholars interested in the development of alternative poetic tendencies in the England of the 1800s and 1900s.


Vorticism Featured Article

The article proposes an in-depth look at what is commonly seen as the first British avant-garde movement, placing it within the context of other European avant-gardes flourishing after the end of the First World War, such as Cubism, Expressionism and Futurism. Covering tendencies in the art world as well as literature, the essay focuses on the work of Wyndham Lewis, its main creator and theoretician, and discusses its commitment to representing the industrial present as well as some of the controversial ideas it has generated.

Recent publications by LE contributors

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