Literature Knowledge

Expand your general knowledge!
Learn about great literature!

“Learning about the classics is not vanity. For starters, if we learn about many classics, we can increase our background knowledge. By increasing our background knowledge, we are one step closer to improving our characters. Along with getting background knowledge and improving characters, we will also learn to not be a slave to big corporations and buy useless products because we will know, after learning about the classics, that expensive things are not all that matter. And…being taught the classics…can teach and inspire us to do greater things.” – Paul

Read more comments by students: The Value of Classic Novels

Andersen, Hans Christian. Fairy Tales.
– a collection of stories by a Danish man who lived in the 19th century
– includes ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice.
– a British novel about Elizabeth Bennet, her four sisters and her expectations for marriage during the early 19th century

Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan.
– a British fantasy story from the early 20th century about a young boy who can fly and who never grows up

Baum, Frank. The Wizard of Oz.
– an American fantasy novel, first published in 1900, about a girl named Dorothy who gets swept up from Kansas in a tornado and goes on an adventure with a cowardly lion, a scarecrow and a tin man

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre.
– a British novel from the mid-19th century about a young governess who falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester

Burnett, Frances H. The Secret Garden.
– a British novel from the early 20th century about a young orphan, Mary, who is sent from India to England where she makes friends with a gardener’s son

Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
– a British fantasy novel from 1865 about a girl who has adventures with strange, nonsensical creatures in an alternate world

Collodi, Carlo. Pinnochio.
– an Italian children’s novel from 1883 about a little wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a boy; his character is famously remembered because every time he lied, his nose grew longer

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe.
– a British adventure novel from 1719 about a man who is stranded on a tropical island near Trinidad where he lives for 28 years before being rescued

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist.
– British novels about poor people during the 1800s; remembered for the many vivid characters

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
– 4 Scottish novels from the 19th/20th century about a detective who lives in London and solves mysteries using his superior observational skills

Dumas, Alexandre. The Three Musketeers.
– a French novel written in the mid-19th century about a young man and his three friends who all live in Paris and have adventures during the 17th century

Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows.
– an English children’s novel, first published in 1908, about little anthropomorhic animals who have adventures in the countryside of southeastern England

Grimm, W. Fairy Tales.
– a German collection of folk stories from the early 19th century including ‘The Three Bears’ and ‘Goldilocks’

Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables.
– a French novel from the mid-19th century about an ex-convict, Jean Valjean; considered one of the most important novels of the 19th century

Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle.
– an American short story written in the early 19th century and set in the late 18th century about a man who falls asleep in the woods of New York State and wakes up 20 years later to discover many changes have taken place

Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book and Just So Stories.
– British children’s stories from the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century; tell about life during the British reign of India

Lofting, Hugh. The Story of Dr. Doolittle.
– the first of several British children’s novels about a doctor who can talk to animals; the author started writing the stories, set in the mid-1800s, when he was a soldier in the trenches of WW1

London, Jack. The Call of the Wild.
– a short American novel, written in the early 20th century, about Buck, a dog from California who struggles to survive as a sled dog in the Yukon Gold Rush of the 19th century

Melville, Herman. Moby Dick.
– a novel, from the mid-19th century, about Ishmael, a sailor who has adventures on the ship captained by Ahab, who is determined to catch a huge white sperm whale called Moby Dick; considered one of the greatest American novels

Milne, A.A. Winnie-the-Pooh.
– the first of several British children’s novels from the early 20th century about Christopher Robin and his animal friends, Winnie, Owl, Piglet, Kanga and Eeyore; another anthromorphic series

Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables.
– the first of several Canadian children’s novels from the early 20th century about a lively orphan, Anne, who has adventures on Prince Edward Island

Nesbit, E. The Railway Children.
– a British children’s novel from the early 20th century about three children who move with their mother to the country after their father is falsely accused of being a spy

Norton, Mary. The Borrowers.
– the first in a series of British children’s novels from the mid-20th century about some tiny people who secretly live in homes and borrow things

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty.
– a British children’s novel from the late 19th century about the life and adventures of a beautiful horse

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein.
– a British novel from the early 19th century about a monster created by a scientist; it was intended to be a horror story and is now considered one of the earliest examples of science fiction

Spyri, Johanna. Heidi.
– a Swiss children’s novel from the late 19th century about a little orphan girl who lives in the Alps with her grandfather

Stevenson, R.L. Treasure Island.
– a Scottish adventure novel about pirates from the late 19th century

Stoker, Bram. Dracula.
– an Irish novel from the late 19th century about a vampire that wants to move from Transylvania to England

Tolkein, J.R.R. Lord of the Ring series.
– a series of British fantasy novels from the mid-20th century about some imaginary people called hobbits

Twain, Mark. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
– American novels from the late 19th century describing the adventures of two friends in small-town Missouri during the 1840s

Verne, Jules. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
– a French science fiction novel from 1870 about Captain Nemo and his submarine

Wyss, Johann. The Swiss Family Robinson.
– a German adventure novel from the early 19th century about a Swiss family that is shipwrecked while on a journey to Australia

Be acquainted with these fictional or legendary characters:

Achilles – a mythical Greek hero from the Trojan War
Aladdin – a young man who is tricked into retrieving a magical lamp
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – a character who is partly good and partly evil
Helen of Troy – the mythical daughter of the Greek god Zeus
Icarus – the son of Daedalus, in Greek mythology, who flies to close to the sun
King Arthur – a legendary leader in 5th and 6th century Britain who defended his country against the Saxon invaders
Mary Poppins – a fictional nanny in London who can fly and takes the children in her care on many marvellous adventures
Merlin – a wizard from the time of King Arthur
Midas – a mythical Greek king; everything he touched turned to gold
Minotaur – a mythical Greek creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man
Narcissus – a mythical Greek young man known for his beauty and vanity
Odysseus (Ulysses) – a mythical Greek character who takes ten years to travel home after the Trojan War
Pandora – in Greek mythology, the first woman and the one who let out of a box all the evils in the world
Pegasus – a mythical Greek winged horse
Phoenix – a mythical bird that lives up to 1,000 years before burning up in a fire and then rising again from the ashes
Pollyanna – a fictional character who is always optimistic
Robin Hood – a legendary English character from the Middle Ages who stole from the rich and gave to the poor
William Tell – a legendary Swiss character who was to be executed, along with his son, unless he could shoot an apple off the top of his son’s head with a single shot from a crossbow

[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2011 Sophie Rosen.]

Practise your knowledge by playing pictionary!

Guess the Classic!

Literature Test 1
Name ________________________________________ Div. ______
Score: / 24
Tip: remember that the 1800s are the 19th century

1. Hans Christian Anderson
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

2. Jane Austen
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

3. J.M. Barrie
a. country
b. century
c. writing

4. Frank Baum
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

5. Charlotte Bronte
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

6. Frances H. Burnett
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

7. Lewis Carroll
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

8. Carlo Collodi
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

Literature Test 2
Name ________________________________________ Div. ______
Score: / 24
Tip: remember that the 1800s are the 19th century

1. Hans Christian Anderson
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

2. Frank Baum
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

3. Lewis Carroll
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

4. Carlo Collodi
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

5. Daniel Defoe
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

6. Charles Dickens
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

7. Arthur Conan Doyle
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

8. Alexandre Dumas
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

Literature Test 3
Name ________________________________________ Div. ______
Score: / 21
Tip: remember that the 1800s are the 19th century

1. Kenneth Grahame
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

2. William Grimm
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

3. Victor Hugo
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

4. Washington Irving
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

5. Rudyard Kipling
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

6. Hugh Lofting
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

7. Jack London
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

Literature Test 4
Name ________________________________________ Div. ______
Score: / 24
Tip: remember that the 1800s are the 19th century

1. Charles Dickens
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

2. Arthur Conan Doyle
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

3. Victor Hugo
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

4. Herman Melville
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

5. A. A. Milne
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

6. L.M. Montgomery
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

7. Edith Nesbit
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

8. Mary Norton
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

 

Literature Test 5
Name ________________________________________ Div. ______
Score: / 27
Tip: remember that the 1800s are the 19th century

1. Anna Sewell
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

2. Mary Shelley
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

3. Johanna Spyri
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

4. R.L. Stevenson
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

 

5. Bram Stoker
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

6. J.R.R. Tolkein
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

 

7. Mark Twain
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

 

8. Jules Verne
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

 

9. Johann Wyss
a. country
b. century
c. writing
d. bonus information

Literature Test 6
Name ________________________________________ Div. ______
Score: / 15
Match the authors and titles.

1. Hans Christian Anderson _______
2. Jane Austen_______
3. Lewis Carroll _______
4. Daniel Defoe _______
5. Charles Dickens _______
6. Arthur C. Doyle _______
7. Victor Hugo _______
8. Jack London _______
9. Herman Melville _______
10. A. A. Milne _______
11. Mary Shelley _______
12. Bram Stoker _______
13. J.R. R. Tolkein _______
14. Mark Twain _______
15. Jules Verne _______

a. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
b. The Ugly Duckling
c. Tom Sawyer
d. Pride and Prejudice
e. Lord of the Rings
f. Alice in Wonderland
g. Robinson Crusoe
h. Sherlock Holmes
i. The Call of the Wild
j. Winnie-the-Pooh
k. Dracula
l. Frankenstein
m. Moby Dick
n. Les Miserables
o. A Christmas Carol

Literature Test 7
Name and Div. ____________________________
Score / 15
Match the characters and descriptions

1. a mythical hero from the Trojan War ____________
2. the mythical daughter of the Greek god Zeus ___________
3. son of Greek Daedalus who flew to close to the sun ___________
4. mythical Greek king whose touch turned things to gold ___________
5. mythical Greek creature with head of bull and body of man ___________
6. mythical Greek winged horse ___________
7. mythical bird that burns up and then rises from the ashes ___________
8. mythical Greek young man known for his beauty and vanity ___________
9. mythical Greek young woman who let in all the evils in the world
10. mythical Greek who takes ten years to travel home after Trojan War ___________

a. Achilles
b. Midas
c. Phoenix
d. Odysseus (Ulysses)
e. Pegasus
f. Icarus
g. Minotaur
h. Helen
i. Narcissus
j. Pandora

Literature Test 8
Name and Div. ____________________________
Score / 8
Match the characters and descriptions

1. a young man tricked into retrieving a magical lamp ________________
2. legendary leader in 5th-6th century Britain _______________
3. legendary English character who stole from rich and gave to poor _____________
4. legendary Swiss character who shot an apple off his son’s head _________________
5. fictional nanny from London who can fly ________________
6. wizard from the time of King Arthur ________________
7. fictional character who is always hopeful and optimistic ________________
8. fictional character who is sometimes good and sometimes evil ________________

a. Aladdin
b. Mary Poppins
c. Merlin
d. William Tell
e. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
f. Pollyanna
g. Robin Hood
h. King Arthur

[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2012 Sophie Rosen.]

Print Friendly