Welcome to The Literary Web, a hypermedia guide to literary resources available on the World Wide Web. The Literary Web is geared toward readers of fiction and poetry as well as those who write it, and those who teach it. Communication of great literature, whether in printed or electronic form, allows the power of ideas expressed by the author to be animated and shared within the community of readers. Online sites dedicated to literature are capable of engaging the intellect and imagination of the reader.
Our listing of resources is limited, as much as was possible, to literary fiction and poetry. With an overwhelming array of choices available on the World Wide Web, our selections were based on quality and timeliness. To give some order to our selections, we divided our findings into the following categories:
As noted, each category is divided into sections to help organize your search. We are well aware that the Internet changes rapidly. All of the sites were functioning at the time this page was posted. We cannot guarantee their longevity. If you find a site not working the editor would appreciate hearing from you.
Several sites appear in multiple sections of this page, attesting to their breadth. This is intentional, so you will feel comfortable perusing what you enjoy the most without missing out on a good site. Will the growing breadth and popularity of the Internet mean the demise of the printed book? We will tell you what we think at the end.
We hope that readers and writers of all ages will enjoy these resources. This project was produced by a select group of MLS students taking Information Sciences 490, The Information Environment, taught by Dr. Gretchen Whitney, at theUniversity of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Books are the one technology to stand the test of time. As Will Manley states in his article, "The Cockroach,"
"they have full color, full text, and are fully indexed. They need no batteries, require no hardware, they are portable, easy to handle, and can be accessed when sitting, standing, lounging, or taking a bath."
The World Wide Web is a nice companion to the book. Readers and writers have access to many online sources of information about books and writing. We found book lists, reviews, poetry, and even sites working hard to educate people about censorship and keep good literature available to all.
A writer once labored in isolation with little chance of having his or her work read. Now, with the interactive capabilities of the World Wide Web such as online journals and writing clubs, writers have access to conversation as well as critiques of their work and its relevance to life. Writers can work together as well on a cyber novel or on a continuous tale without traveling to workshops.
The Internet will not change the book itself, or literature, but it does add a new dimension. Ease of access to sites for readers may allow them to spend less time searching for reviews and more time reading. Browsers of online literature sites may have better access to news, features, commentary, and analysis that those who rely solely on traditional newspaper and monthly magazines.
How about the concept of the Web as a college? All that is necessary for the student to participate is the ability and desire to read, discuss, and expand intellectual horizons. The Web could be a non-discriminating school that exists for everyone. The presence of quality sites on the World Wide Web that are dedicated to reading and writing allows us to share in the preservation of the tradition of great literature.
A caveat is that just as one scans or reviews a book before reading it, so one must scan and evaluate Web sites before using them. The fact that many of the sites listed here have been in existence for a relatively long time (in Web terms), are updated regularly (some were updated multiple times during preparation of this page), and link to each other as recommended resources, attests to their quality and usefulness to literary students, scholars, and aficionados.
While we, the authors of The Literary Web, will continue to use the Web
resources we have cited here and to look for new ones, we also agree that
hugging your laptop will never be as warm and cozy as curling up in your
favorite corner with a good book.