Resources by Subject English & Literary Criticism

Reference Sources (Background)
Locating Books
Locating Articles (Databases & Indexes)
Evaluating Sources
Citing Sources

Reference Sources (Background)

The following list gives some representative reference titles relating to literature and literary criticism and is not exhaustive.

American Writers (1974, 4 volumes plus supplements)
Ref PS129 .A55
Critical and biographical essays on American authors since the 17th century.

ARTstor (images)
An international digital library of approximately 550,000 images in the areas of art, the humanities, and social sciences contributed by museums, individual photographers, scholars, special collections at libraries, and photo archives. View a guide for finding images related to languages and literature.

British Writers (1979, 8 volumes plus supplements)
Ref PR85 .B688
Scholarly essays on the life and work of significant British, Irish, and Commonwealth writers since the 14th century.

Contemporary Literary Criticism (1973 to present, 102 volumes)
Ref PN 771 .C59 and selected articles in Literature Resource Center
Critical essays excerpted from books and journals on contemporary authors.

Credo Reference (current, full text)
Over 500 reference books and sets from several publishers covering all subject areas.

Cyclopedia of Literary Characters (1998, 5 volumes)
Ref PN44 .M3 1998
Arranged alphabetically by title of the work, with short descriptions of major characters.

Dictionary of Literary Biography (1978 to 1996, 163 volumes)
Ref PS129 .D48 and in Literature Resource Center 
A guide to writers from all periods, including biographical information and selective bibliographies of works and other resources.

Literature Resource Center
Provides access to critical analyses and biographical information on more than 120,000 novelists, poets, essayists, and other writers from around the world. Includes the full text of several reference sources.

Magill Index to Masterplots (1993)
PN44 .M334 1994
Guide to several different series containing summaries and criticism of various works. Some articles also have brief bibliographies.

Oxford English Dictionary (1989, 20 volumes)
PE1625 .O87 1989
Premier dictionary of the English language, including definitions, illustrative quotations, and etymology.

Oxford Reference Online (current, full text)
Search reference books published by Oxford University Press. Includes The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature, The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, The Oxford Companion to English Literature, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States, and A Dictionary of Shakespeare, among others.

Poetry Criticism (1991 to present, 71 volumes)
Ref PN1010 .P6
Excerpts from criticism of the works of the most significant and widely studied poets of world literature.

Locating Books

The Library of Congress Classification for Languages and Literature is P:

PN Literature (General)
PQ Romance-language Literature
PR English Literature
PS American Literature
PT Germanic-language Literature

The library's online catalog, providing access to books, journals, music, and movies in the library. To search for information about an author, enter the author's name and search as subject.

A catalog of books and other materials in libraries worldwide.

Books and articles not owned by our library can be obtained from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan. Allow sufficient time for processing.  Average turnaround time is 3-5 days for articles and 3-14 days for books, excluding holidays and weekends. Submit ILL requests well in advance of deadlines.

Locating Articles (Databases & Indexes)

MLA International Bibliography (1925 to present, citation only)
The premier database for literature research. Provides a comprehensive international listing of scholarly books, articles, and dissertations.

Literature Online - LION (full text)
Full text of over 350,000 literary works of English and American poetry, drama and prose; also includes full-text of over 300 journals, author biographies, and reference and criticism resources.

JSTOR (dates vary by journal, full text)
An archive of over 400 journals in many disciplines.

Project MUSE (late 1990s to present, full text)
Coves over 300 journals in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

Dissertations & Theses Global (full text 1997 to present; citations & abstracts primarily 1861 to present, some citations 1637+)
Covers master's theses and Ph.D. dissertations worldwide in all disciplines.

Academic Search Complete (1988 to present, some full-text)
Articles from selected popular magazines and scholarly journals in all disciplines.

Once you know which journals you need, search Journals A-Z to see if they are online or in the library. You may also want to browse through the current and bound periodicals in the library.


Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations
The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) promotes and supports digital research and teaching across all arts and humanities disciplines.

A Celebration of Women Writers (University of Pennsylvania)
Digital library of works by and about women authors as well as other links.

Contemporary Writers (British Council)
Database of living British and Commonwealth authors. Information for each author includes a biographical sketch, bibliography of works, and list of awards. Some entries also feature a brief signed critical essay.

Hypertexts: American Studies (University of Virginia)
Online texts and primary sources organized by author.

Introductory Guide to Critical Theory (Purdue University)
Includes sections on Gender & Sex, Marxism, Narratology, New Historicism, Postmodernism, and Psychoanalysis. Each section includes an introduction, modules on major theorists, a glossary of terms, and more.

Literary Criticism (ipl2)
Portal to websites categorized by author and title. Users can also browse by period and language.

Naropa Poetics Audio Archives (Naropa University)
Contains material recorded at Naropa University. Browseable by title, keywords, date, and more. Also allows user reviews.

Online Text Collections in Western European Literature (University of Virginia)
Portal to online literary texts in Western European languages other than English.

PAL: Perspectives in American Literature (California State University)
Includes author information grouped alphabetically and by time period, as well as "appendices" on various topics and themes relating to American literature. All pages include a bibliography of print sources.

The Poetry Archive
Listen to recordings of poets reading their poetry. Searchable and browseable by title, author, theme, and form.

Representative Poetry Online (University of Toronto)
Online texts and biographical information on English-language poetry, particularly the 19th Century. Poems are annotated, and the site also has a timeline, calendar, glossary, links to criticism, and a bibliography. A special section highlights Canadian poetry.

Authors and Works

Beowulf: A New Translation for Oral Delivery (Dick Ringler, University of Wisconsin)
Translation of Beowulf intended to preserve meter for reading aloud. The site includes audio files of the translator's performance.

Carlyle Letters Online (Duke University)
Fully searchable collection of letters from Thomas and Jane Walsh Carlyle. Browse by date, recipient, subject and more. Covers 1812 to 1857.

Chaucer Bibliography Online (University of Texas)
Searchable bibliography of books and articles on Chaucer and his works, 1975 to present.

Geoffrey Chaucer (Harvard University)
A wealth of sources related to Chaucer and his works, including a guide to pronunciation, articles on topics related to Chaucer's time, a chronology, texts of the works, a bibliography, and more.

Links to Chaucer Resources (The New Chaucer Society)
Has a wide variety of links for both Chaucer and Medieval studies.

The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (University of Michigan)
Search for a particular word or browse through the titles. Also includes a concordance.

William Faulkner on the Web (University of Mississippi)
Information on Faulkner's works, life, films, and more, as well as links to other resources on the author.

Leigh Hunt Letters (University of Iowa)
Database of letters between Romantic writer Leigh Hunt and his contemporaries, with an image and transcription of each letter. Browseable and searchable by names and keywords.

The Jack London Online Collection (Sonoma State University)
Includes basic biographical information in addition to images, writings, audio files, and other resources related to the author.

Open Source Shakespeare
The full text of Shakespeare's plays and poems, fully searchable and easy to read and print.

The Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies (San Jose State University)
Information on Steinbeck and his works as well as a searchable bibliography and numerous photos, drawings, etc.

Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture: A Multi-media Archive (University of Virginia)
Browse or search through primary sources, historical documents, and sound and film clips related to Stowe's book.

Walt Whitman Archive (University of Nebraska)
Includes digital editions of Leaves of Grass, contemporary reviews, an annotated bibliography, images, etc.

Periods and Movements

Library of Southern Literature (University of North Carolina)
Collection of digitized primary sources relating southern literature from the 16th Century to 1924. Browse by subject or author. This is part of a larger digital archive, Documenting the American South.

Middle English Texts (Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages)
Online edition of Middle English works, with annotations and lengthy introductions.

The Poetess Archive: 1750-1900 (Miami University)
Searchable database of primary and secondary sources related to the "sentimental" poets. Some full text is available.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database (Texas A&M)
Citations to scholarly and fan writing on science fiction, fantasy, and horror from 1878-present.

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources (R-MC)

Is it POPULAR or is it SCHOLARLY? (R-MC)

Critical Evaluation of Resources on the Internet (University of Alberta Libraries)

Citing Sources

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (2009)
Ref Desk LB 2369 .G53 2009

Citing in MLA Style (R-MC)

Frequently Asked Questions about MLA Style (MLA)

Citing Full-Text from Library Databases (R-MC)

KnightCite (Calvin College)
Automatically formats citation information according to MLA, APA, or Chicago styles.

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