Portrait of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, by Vasily Perov (1872).
Vasily Perov/Wikimedia Commons
When penning his novel 'Demons,' Fyodor Dostoevsky was influenced by political turmoil in Russia. But his impulsive, crass antagonist bears a striking similarity to the GOP's candidate for president.
Icelandic sagas are under-appreciated in the world of European literature.
Oscar Wergeland [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Family feuds, love affairs, empire writing back to the motherland - the medieval Icelandic saga have it all. Though less known than other classics of European literature they richly deserve a place among the best.
Perfect poolside fiction.
Get your summer reading recommendations from the literature and crime professors themselves.
Is there weight to claims that reading can make you a better person – or are they just tall tales?
Portrait of Miriam Tlali as part of Adrian Steirn’s 21 Icons South Africa project. Date: 15.10.2014.
Adrian Steirn/Courtesy of 21 Icons South Africa
A South African novel, published in 1980 and dealing with the Soweto student uprising four years earlier, still provides lessons for students today.
Journalism's rocky road of respectability and those who have told the tale.
The global South has more in common than just proximity – our cultural heritage links our literature.
Seasons, stars, settler colonialism: the nations of the south – Australia, Argentina and South Africa – have much in common. And the 2003 Nobel laureate for literature, JM Coetzee, is helping reframe Australian writing within this southern context.
With our attention diverted, we’re no longer in the moment.
'Concert' via www.shutterstock.com
Whether it’s through Facebook or Snapchat, images and videos are changing how we communicate. But as words become more trivial, our attention, our creativity, and even our empathy may be at stake.
Its critics complain that current Afrodiasporic literature is not in tune with everyday life on the continent. They see its versions of Africa as sanitised and Westernised.
Writer Thomas Wolfe is played by Jude Law in ‘Genius.’
The president of the Thomas Wolfe Society explains why Law had his work cut out for him when he agreed to portray a man who was "a hydroelectric plant of emotion."
Victorian-era, middle-class black women who loved to read and write didn’t have many role models.
When biographer Gretchen Gerzina came across an old British newspaper article calling Sarah E. Farro "the first negro novelist," she wondered: who was Farro, and why had she been lost to history?
Both Hamlet and ‘True Detective’’s Rust Cohle make audiences wonder whether they’re deserving of sympathy or blame.
Nick Lehr/The Conversation
The psychological complexity of Shakespeare's characters has rendered them timeless. Today, we see The Bard's influence in shows like 'Breaking Bad' and 'True Detective.'
A whole world lies in these pages.
Dismissing children's books as childish only means that adult readers miss out on a world of fantastic literature.
Today's employment crisis is as serious as the Great Depression – so why aren't we up in arms?
Posters advertise the dramatization of Sinclair Lewis' ‘It Can’t Happen Here.’
Sinclair Lewis' 1935 novel 'It Can't Happen Here,' which described the rise of an American dictator, was turned into a play seen by over 500,000 people.
‘All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost’ - ancient Elvish verse of prophecy.
Quenya, Sindarin, Klingon and Dothraki – there's an art to making up languages.
EL James: the infamous ‘Fifty Shades’ author.
A poor review doesn't make for a bad book. But a good one doesn't make for a good one either.
Let’s critique the literary canon, but we shouldn’t throw the Brontës out with the bathwater.
The Brontë Sisters, by Patrick Branwell Brontë, circa 1834.
Like it or not, the literary canon is part of the cultural capital of the West. Universities that choose not to teach it – or refuse to critically engage with it – are actually disempowering students.
Discworld is a wildly inventive literary creation that sprawls over dozens of books.
This Saturday it will be a year since Alzheimer's stole Terry Pratchett from the world. We mark the occasion with a beginner's guide to his most enduring creation, the 41-book Discworld series.
Umberto Eco, who has died aged 84.
He offered a glorious insight into the wonders of semiotics.