Literature

  1. Where Does The Word “Dracula” Come From?

    What comes to your mind when you see or hear the word Dracula? Probably vampires, right? But what about ruthless Romanian royalty … or dragons? It’s time for the story of Dracula—the word. Where does the character Dracula come from? We dress up as vampires on Halloween and watch dramas like True Blood thanks in large part to Irish author Bram Stoker, whose 1897 Gothic …

  2. headshot of Frankenstein's monster

    What Does The Name “Frankenstein” Actually Mean?

    In 2012, as Halloween quickly approached, a Frankenstorm was sneaking up on the East Coast. Forecasters were calling the hurricane headed for New York, New Jersey, and as far inland as Ohio, “Frankenstorm” because (like the monster in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus) this storm was stitched together from three different weather systems, Hurricane Sandy from the Caribbean, a western early winter …

  3. Did You Know You Were Reading These Unusual Literary Genres?

  4. 10 Songs You Had No Idea Were Inspired By Literature

    Sometimes it’s hard not to hum that song that’s stuck in your head. It’s also incredibly satisfying when you’re able to hum it all the way through. What you may not realize, however, is that sometimes as you hum your favorite earworm, you might be humming about a piece of literature, motifs and all. Take a look at the rock songs below, and see which …

  5. The Frabjous Words Invented By Lewis Carroll

    When we think of Lewis Carroll, we think of whimsical worlds … and words. The man who penned Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, “Jabberwocky,“ and countless other timeless poems and works of literature has taken our imaginations to the furthest limits for decades.  His stories—published during the mid- to late-1800s—are full of life, adventure, humor, and some of the most fantastical words. You see, …

  6. “Hero” vs. “Protagonist”: What Is The Difference?

    Many stories have one thing in common: a brave main character who ends up saving the day. But does slaying the dragon or defusing the bomb make this person a hero or a protagonist? And can the two words be used interchangeably? The correct answer to both is yes, with the caveat that the words are not always synonymous. Both nouns have multiple definitions and …

  7. Do You Know These Popular Reading Slang Terms?

  8. Why Is The Name “Jack” Used In So Many Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales?

    Since Jack went up the hill with Jill, Jack jumped over the candlestick, and Jack climbed the beanstalk (to name just a few of his exploits,) he must be wiped out. Doesn’t it seem like a disproportionate number of nursery rhymes and fairy tales contain a hero named Jack? Is this just a coincidence? What’s a nursery rhyme vs. a fairy tale?  First things first, …

  9. Dr. Seuss’s Most Magical Made-Up Words

    Let’s take a quick look at some of our favorite examples of Seuss's fanciful linguistics.

  10. Are The Spells In Harry Potter Real Words?

    There are dozens of spells that are used by the characters in Harry Potter’s fictional world of wizardry. But are any of them real words? What language are the spells in Harry Potter? The names of many of the spells are indeed derived from other languages, especially Latin. However, for the most part, they aren’t proper words. Author J.K. Rowling created words that resemble other …

  11. Fantastic Beasts That Can Be Found In The Dictionary

  12. This Word Of The Day Fan Explains Bardolatry

    We asked this Word of the Day fan to explain his "bardolatry." Do you know as much about this word as he does?