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Literature Research Guide

Page history last edited by Martinique 12 years, 4 months ago

Literary Criticism Research

Suggestions for how to find literary criticism about a particular work (a novel, poem, or play for example), or for a body of work (the novels of Mark Twain, or Harlem Rennaissance poetry, for example). You can use these article to find out how other scholars have reacted to works of literature.

Suggested Databases


MLA Bibliography

reminder: from off campus you will need your student ID to follow these links. (for more information click here)

This is the premier database for literary research. It contains some full-text articles and over 1.5 million citations from more than 4,400 journals and series and 1,000 book publishers. Begin your research early so you have time to order articles that are not available online.



A growing full-text archive of 306 scholarly journals offering complete back runs from the very first issues (sometimes as far back as the 1700s) to a "moving wall" of 2-5 years before the current issue. Includes 22 journals in Languages and Literature


Academic Search Premier

This database functions just like MLA Bibliography. It is a multi-disciplinary full-text database full text for nearly 4,515 scholarly journals, including more than 3,630 peer-reviewed titles and houses many Literarture journals.


Academic One File

(click 'proceed' after following link)

Similar to Academic Search Premier, Academic One File provides a combination of indexing, abstracts, images, and full text for scholarly and general interest journals embracing all academic disciplines.  Offers citations to articles in 8,000 scholarly journal titles, nearly 4,000 of which afford full text.


Select Scholarly Journals

What is a scholarly Journal? To find out click here.


To access a comprehensive list of available print and online journals for Literature Research:

1. On the Library home page, click on Find Journals & Newspapers by Title

2. In the Browse Journal by Subject box,  choose Languages and Literature

3. Choose whichever category best suits your interests to find journals like


19th Century Literature

Disourse Studies     

African American


American Literature


Keep in mind that while we have a few hundred journals and you can search them individually by following the above instructions, you are searching hundreds of thousands of journals and citations all at once when you use a database.


Suggested Reference Books

Online Reference Books:

(available through credo reference, to learn more click here)

Search the full-text of the following reference books online. Click on the picture to learn more and to search the book. From off-camups you will be prompted for user authentication, which is your student ID starting with'23311' as it appears on your ID card.


The Columbia Comapnion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story



Print Reference Books:



Call number

African American Literary Criticism

SCH REF PS153 .N5 A33 1999

AUD PS153 .N5 A33 1999

American Authors 1600-1900


Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature


British Authors before 1800


British Authors of the 19th Century


Literary research guide : an annotated listing of reference sources in English literary studies

AUD REF. PR83 .H34 1998

A companion to the literature and culture of the American South

AUD REF. PS261 .C555 2004

Contemporary Poets

SCH REF PR603 .C6 2001

AUD REF PR603 .C6 1995

Critical Survey of Long Fiction

SCH REF PN3451 .C75

Critical Survey of Short Fiction

SCH REF PN3321 .C7 2001

AUD REF PN3321 .C7 1993


Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century

SCH REF PN771 .E5 1981

AUD REF PN771 .E5 1999

Encyclopedia of erotic literature

AUD REF. PN56.E7 E53 2006

Encyclopedia of feminist literature

SCH REF. PN471 .W455 2004

Greenwood encyclopedia of American poets & poetry

AUD REF. PS303 .G74 2006

The Johns Hopkins guide to literary theory & criticism

AUD/SCH REF. PN81 .J641994

Latino and Latina Writers

SCH REF PS153 .H56 L39 2004

Literary Cultures of Latin America

AUD/SCH REF PQ7081 .A1 L525 2004

Modern black writers

AUD REF. PN841 .M58 2000

Mystery & Suspense Writers  Vol. 1 & 2

SCH REF PR830 .D4 M97 1998

Oxford Companion to American Literature

AUD/SCH REF PS21 .H3 1995

Oxford Companion to English Literature

AUD REF PR19 .D73 2000

Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the U.S.

AUD/SCH REF PS147 .O94 1995

Twayne Companion to Contemporary World Literature

SCH REF PN771 .T93 2003

World Poets

AUD/SCH REF PN1021 .W67 2000


Suggested Websites 

Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts -   A collection of digital documents of English & American literature, and Western philosophy.

Biography.com: A&E Television Network site - Biographical sketches of historical and current prominent figures

Booklist - Digital counterpart of the American Library Association's Booklist magazine 

Bartelby Online - Search dozens of online reference books on language and style, mythology, literature, shakespeare, quotations and more.

Internet Public Library - Collection of evaluative or explanatory writings about works of literature from the Online Literary Criticism Collection.

Literary Resources on the Net - Collection of links to sites on the Internet dealing especially with English and American literature, excluding most single electronic texts, and is limited to collections of information useful to academics

New York Review of Books - Electronic version of the twice-weekly print publication in which the most interesting and qualified minds of our time discuss current books and issues in depth

Chawton House Library- Research library with information on women's writing in English from 1600 to 1830

Shakespeare Folgers Library- Primary source material from Shakespearian England and a large amount of information online about Shakespeare and his works. Select 'Discover Shakespare' and 'Teaching Resources'

Eurodocs- Primary source material, organized by country and time period.

Making of America- Search or Browse American 19th Century Magazines in full text

Encylopedia Mythica-  Award-winning internet encyclopedia of mythology, folklore, and religion.

The Age of Fable- A Online version of the nineteenth century work describing the personages of ancient mythology, as well as those of Arthurian legend and the tales of the Middle Ages.

The Internet Library of Early Journals A joint project by the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Oxford, conducted under the auspices of the eLib (Electronic Libraries) Programme. It aimed to digitise substantial runs of 18th and 19th century journals, and make these images available on the Internet, together with their associated bibliographic data.


    * If you'd like to comment on these sites or share other sites that have been helpful, add a comment at the end of this page, or if you have editing privileges,      just edit the page and add the website.


Reseach on authors and writers

Suggestions for how to find research based on an author. You many want information that is biographical, autobiographical, or critical.


Suggested Databases:


The Twayne Authors Series

     The Twayne Authors Series is the premier literary reference resource series comprising Twayne's U.S. Authors, Twayne's English Authors, and Twayne's World Authors. Each of these individual titles provides literary criticism for approximately 200 authors, bringing the total number of authors covered in the Series to nearly 600.

     The Twayne Authors Series offers criticism by scholars on hundreds of years of literature--from Aristophanes to Bharati Mukherjee. It provides critical introductions to the lives and works of writers, to the history and influence of literary movements, or the development of literary genres. Primarily devoted to critical interpretation and discussion of authors's works, these studies take account of major literary trends and important contributions to scholarship and criticism, and provide new critical insights and original points of view.

     The Twayne Authors Series is structured in a consistent format: All titles feature comment elements, such as a chronology, a biography, a comprehensive critical analysis, and an annotated bibliography.


The Scribner Writers Series

The Scribner Writers Series includes more than 2,400 essays on authors of all nationalities and time periods. Many authors are seen from multiple perspectives in two, three, or even four essays--a broad biocritical overview as well as specialized treatments. Each essay includes a concise introductory preface and a biography placing the author's work within a personal and historical framework. The complete contents of the following Scribner Writers Series are included:


Dictionary of Literary Biography

The essays in the  Dictionary Literary Biography outline the lives and careers of authors from all eras and genres and summarize the critical response to their work. In addition, each DLB entry contains personal information, a list of principal works, and suggested further readings.


Contemporary Authors 

Contemporary Authors provides complete biographies on more than 120,000 U.S. and international authors


Historical Research

Suggestions for finding material published contemporaneously with older texts, or other historical information. (For more in depth sources on History click here)


Historical Abstracts

Abstracts only for over 1,700 periodicals covering world history from 1450 to present.  Some links to JSTOR.  For research in a variety of disciplines, including:  art & art history, popular culture, biography, political science, ethnic studies, history, literature, and women's & gender studies.


Search Historical Journals and Newspapers

The Atlantic Monthly

from 1857-1932  and 1971-1975 in Chicago Print Holdings (use The Atlantic Monthly website to search for articles or a print index in the library)

And more recently online.


The New York Times

from 09/01/1851 to 12/01/2007 in Chicago Microform Holdings (use the NY Times website to search for articles or a print index in the library)

From 1985-Present Online


Use Primary Sources

Click here for the Primary Sources research guide



Frequently Asked Questions about Literature Research

How do I cite the articles I find in these database or on these websites?

If you're in a literature class it is likely that your professor prefers the MLA Format for citing articles and creating bibliographies but it is recommended that you check with your professor before creating your citiations.

Some useful sources for creating a bibliography are:

  1. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (for undergraduates)
  2. MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing for Graduate Students and Faculty.(Both books are available in the library.)
  3. Knight Cite is a website that will create your citation for you. It was created by Hekman Library of Calvin College.
  4. Many of the databases listed above will provide you with a citation. All Ebsco databases have this option, as does Credo Reference.


I still need more help with my research, can a librarian help me?

Yes, there are few options for getting more help from a librarian.

  1. If you have a quick question, either call, email, or or Instant Message us.
  2. If you'd like to set up a one-on-one Research Consultation, fill out this form.  A one-on-one session allows a librarian to prepare for meeting with you by doing some preliminary searching and planning on what will best help you. Be sure to leave as much information as possible about your topic, the assignment, and what you need.
  3. You can email or call the Librarian Subject Liaision to the English Department, Martinique Haller for a quick question or to set up a one-on-one appointment with her directly.


How do I find material published at the same time as this play, poem, novel from the 19th century (or older)?


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