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Reference sources for English Literature

Printed books will be found in the Arts and Social Studies Library. Special Collections and Archives (SCOLAR) within the Arts and Social Studies Library contains material from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature
An online version of the 18-volume encyclopaedia written between 1907 and 1921 includes essays on poetry, fiction and drama as well as history, theology and political writing.

Literature Online Criticism and Reference has electronic versions of:

  • Columbia Companion to the 20th Century American Short Story 
  • Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature 
  • Columbia Dictionary of Modern Literary and Cultural Criticism 
  • Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms 
  • Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century 
  • Encyclopedia of the Novel
  • New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English 

Oxford Reference Online has searchable electronic versions of over thirty literature reference works, including the Oxford Companion to English Literature, the Oxford Companion to American Literature and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature.

The Arts and Social Studies Library reference collection has numerous encyclopaedias on literature.

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As well as electronic bibliographic Databases, the following printed resources are available in the Arts and Social Studies Library:

  • National Union Catalogue (NUC)
  • British Museum Catalogue (BM Cat)
  • Bibliographie Nationale Catalogue Paris
  • Year's Work in English Studies
  • Year's Work in Criticism and Theory

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Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
An illustrated collection of 50,000 specially written biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of Britain's past, from the fourth century BC to the year 2000. A print version of this is available in the Arts and Social Studies Library.

Orlando Biographies of British women writers from the earliest records to the present day.

Literature Online Criticism and Reference includes specially commissioned biographical entries for over 3,600 authors.

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The Oxford English Dictionary Online
Searchable online version of the OED, showing current meanings of words as well as their historical development.

The Literature Online Reference Shelf includes versions of the Oxford Concise Oxford Dictionary and Webster’s Third New International Dictionary

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