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As with our study of the 400s, the 800s are broken down by language. That being said, I won’t have a ton to say about each topic, as they are generally the same as each other, only differentiated by language. What I mean by this is each section will contain literature and poetry for a variety of languages. Keep reading for more information.

800 (Literature)

Classifications 800-809.99 covers various topics of literature. This includes, but is not limited to literary theory, anthologies, and books on writing and reading

810 (English–North America)

The 810s focus on writings about English language literature of North America (ie. the literature of the United States and Canada). This section includes United States poetry, literature, drama, fiction, essays, speeches, letters, wit and humor, with a small section tacked on the end (819) for American literature outside of the U.S. (American here meaning “North America” as opposed to United States of America). This class includes the literature of Canada, Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, Bermuda, and South America.

Instead of repeating myself each time, I’ll say this all once here. In the 800s, regardless of the country of origin, you can find the following types of literature under these subclasses:

*Literature is “0”. So, 810 (American Literature), 820 (British Literature), etc.
*Poetry ends in “1”. So, 811 (American Poetry), 821 (British Poetry)
*Drama ends in “2”. So, 821 is American Drama, etc.
*Fiction ends in “3” etc.
*Essays ends in “4”
*Speeches ends in “5”
*Letters ends in “6”
*Wit and Humor ends in “7”
*Miscellany ends in “8”

820 (English and Old English Literature)

The 820s covers English Literature (but of Great Britain this time) as well as Old English (Anglo-Saxon) literature. As with 810, you’ll find poetry, drama, fiction, essays, speeches, letters, wit, and humor. Classification 828 covers miscellaneous writings and is a catch-all for non-American English speaking countries, such as Scotland, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, India, Australia, and South Africa. 829 is devoted to Anglo-Saxon literature, such as Beowulf.

830 (German Literature)

The 830s concern German literature, poetry, drama, fiction, etc. Classification 839 covers the literature of other Germanic languages, including Yiddish, Frisian, Dutch, Low German, Nordic, Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian.

840 (French Literature)

In addition to French literature of all sorts, the 840s also covers Occitan, Catalan, and Franco-Provençal in 849.

850 (Italian Literature)

850 is Italian literature. But, you can also find Romanian, Dalmatian, Rhaetian, Sardinian, and Corsican languages in 859.

860 (Spanish and Portuguese Literature)

In addition to Spanish literature, et. all, you’ll also find Portuguese literature in 869.

870 (Latin Literature)

Latin literature (meaning the writing of the Ancient Romans) can be found in 870. However, the subcategories are slightly different from the other languages we’ve covered. For example, there isn’t really Latin “fiction” in the way that we think of it. Instead, 873 is dedicated to “epic poetry” (not to be confused with 871, “Latin poetry”). And 874 is not dedicated to essays, but to “Latin Lyric Poetry”. And finally, class 879 is “other Italic Languages” but was formerly meant to cover Medieval and Modern Latin.

880 (Greek and Other Classical Literature)

880 covers Greek and Other Classica Literatures. And like 870, the categories are slightly different. For example, 884 is Classic Historiography. And in a slight twist, Medieval and Modern Greek can be found in 889.

890 (Literature of Other Languages)

One of DDS’s limitations are the small classes at the end of each section that are a sort of “catch-all” for everything else that didn’t fit neatly into a different category. (It always makes me think of the original Gilligan’s Island theme song when they lump Mary Ann and the Professor in as “the rest”). Honestly, though, these call numbers are some of my favorites.

890 covers a wide array of different languages (literally everything not listed above), starting with 891 (Literature of East Indo-Europeans and Celtic Languages) which is everything from Indo-Iranian and Sanskrit to Irish, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton to Russian, Polish, Czech, Old Prussian, and Latvian. And that’s just the start. 892 is Middle Eastern Languages, followed by Egyptian, Coptic, and North African Languages in 893. 894 is Altaic, Finno-Ugric, Uralic and Dravidian languages; 895 is Asian languages; 896 is African languages; 897 covers the languages of North America; 898 is languages of South America; and 899 is everything else, from the Pacific Islands to Basque, Mesopotamian to “artificial languages” like Esperanto.


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