LitCharts was founded by Ben and Justin, the original editors of SparkNotes, who believe that LitCharts are the best literature guides ever created.
What Do LitCharts Offer?
LitCharts claim to break the mould for literature study guides in that they present a bulleted-list-style summary of every single plot point in the book side-by-side with analysis and color-coded themes for each point. This allows readers to trace the prevalence of themes as they develop throughout the book.
On the topic of themes, LitCharts use their own ‘Theme Wheels’ to create a visual overview of a whole book in one infographic. It’s pretty cool.
Their website also offers an innovative search function for quotes. All of the quotes in their quotes section can be sorted by location, theme, and character, allowing you to easily find quotes spoken by one character on a particular topic.
One thing to bear in mind is that most of the content and feature LitCharts offer comes with membership of “LitCharts A+”. This offering is a monthly or annual subscription to get you access to a bunch of premium resources. What do you get for your money, we hear you ask?
• PDF downloads of all 1386 LitCharts literature guides (and all new guides).
• Detailed quotes explanations with page numbers for every important quote on the site.
• Teacher Editions with classroom activities for all 1386 titles.
• Line-by-line modern translations of every Shakespeare play and poem.
• Definitions and examples of 136 literary terms and devices.
• Refine any search to find related themes, quotes, symbols, and characters.
Shakespeare On LitCharts
LitCharts have a section on their site called Shakescleare – Shakespeare made clear. This section includes downloadable (PDF) line-by-line translations of every Shakespeare play, and online versions of Shakespeare’s plays, sonnets, and poems.
From what we’ve been able to find on the free version of their websites, only Shakespeare’s original texts are free to view, and if you want the translations you need to pay for monthly or annual membership.
There doesn’t appear to be any Shakespeare content other than his works translated – no articles about his life, works, or times.
About LitChart’s Website
LitCharts is one of the big boys in the online education space – both in terms of their quality Shakespeare translations, and many other authors and books they cover.
Their website currently receives around 7 million visits each month, with website users spending over 4 minutes on average reading around 2.5 pages each visit.
Over half of their users come from the USA, with other English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and India making up the vast majority of the remaining users.
LitCharts In Their Own Words
LitCharts take a completely new approach to analyzing and explaining literature. CliffsNotes and every other literature guide series that followed (including SparkNotes) all use long paragraphs of summary followed by long paragraphs of analysis.
LitCharts break that mold in several ways. LitCharts present a bulleted-list-style summary of every single plot point in the book side-by-side with analysis and color-coded themes for each point. Every LitChart includes a color-coded Themes Key, which assigns a specific color to each theme. Readers can then trace the prevalence of themes as they develop throughout the book.
What Do NoSweatShakespeare Offer?
Our mission is to help everyone understand Shakespeare’s language.
Much like No Fear Shakespeare, we offer a broad range of Shakespeare resources. Our free resources cover everything from play and sonnet translations to in-depth looks at characters, play summaries, themes, settings, and significant and famous Shakespeare quotes from all of his works
We also have lots of general information about Shakespeare’s life, family, homes in London and Stratford, theatres, and use of language. Plus we have a Shakespeare blog that covers some of the fun and modern-day takes on the Bard of Avon.
And last, but certainly not least, we offer a range of NoSweatShakespeare ebooks. These stem from a realisation that although so much good work has been done on textual aspects and the broad grasp of plot, few resources are available to give students a complete grasp of the complexity of a whole Shakespeare text in one short reading. (See samples of Shakespeare’s plays as modern English ebooks.)
That’s our review done of what LitCharts has to offer the online Shakespeare ecosystem. What are your thoughts – have you used them before and have an opinion?
We’d love to hear from you. Please do join in with the comments section below!