Literature: American, British, and the World

  • The purpose of this guide is to assist you in your literary research. This first section of this guide contains a selection of Reference sources related to the study of American, British, and world literatures. Sources are organized by topic (biography and criticism) and genre (novel, fiction, drama, poetry). The second part deals with finding books on literary topics that can be borrowed, and the third deals with finding periodical articles on authors and their works.
     

    Selected Reference Books 

     
    Listed below are reference books that may help you with your research (All books located in the Reference Collection will have the abbreviation Ref. printed on the spine of the book above the call number.):
     

    Author Biographies

     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Cyclopedia of World Authors, 4th rev. ed. Pasadena: Salem Press, 2004.
    Provides concise introductions to the lives and works of over 2,000 authors from around the world, from antiquity to the present. 
    CALL NUMBER: PN451 .M36 2004 v.1-5
     
    Scott-Kilvert, Ian, ed. British Writers. New York: Scribner's, 1979.
    An excellent source. Provides more in-depth and lengthy critical essays on the major British writers from all eras and their works.
    CALL NUMBER: PR85 B688 v.1-8 with Supplements
     
    Serafin, Scott R., ed. Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century, 3rd ed. Farmington Hills, MI: St. James, 1999.
    This four volume set gives signed, biographical articles on authors from around the world. Also included are overview articles on the literature of different countries.
    CALL NUMBER: PN771 E5 1999 v.1-4
     
    Ungar, Leonard. American Writers. New York: Scribner's, 1974.
    Provides more lengthy and in-depth critical essays on the lives and works of major American writers.
    CALL NUMBER: PS129 A55 v.1-4 with Supplements
     

    General Criticism 

     
    Groden, Michael and Martin Kreiswirth, eds. The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism, 2nd ed. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.
    This comprehensive guide surveys literary theory and criticism, literary critics and theorists, and critical schools and movements from Plato to the twentieth-century. 
    CALL NUMBER: PN81 .J554 2005
     
    Leitch, Vincent B., William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John McGowan, Jeffrey Williams, eds. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001.
    This anthology offers selections from 148 authors, representing multiple theoretical perspectives in literary theory and criticism from antiquity to the present. 
    CALL NUMBER: PN86 .N67 2001
     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterplots II: World Fiction Series. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem, 1988.
    Arranged alphabetically by title of work, gives plot summaries and short critical essays on works of literature from around the world.
    CALL NUMBER: PN3326 M28 1988 v.1-4


    Novels 

     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Long Fiction, 4th ed. Pasadena: Salem, 2010.
    The first seven volumes of this set present critical assessments of the canons of 463 authors with extended analyses of some of their major novels. Volume 8 contains essays exploring the development and history of the literary forms the novel and novella.
    CALL NUMBER: PN3451 C7 2010 v.1-10
     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterplots II: American Fiction Series. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem, 1986.
    Using a broad definition of "American", this set provides plot synopses and critical analyses of major novels from Central and South America as well as from the United States. A good source of criticism of novels by women and African American writers.
    CALL NUMBER: PN846 M37 1986 v.1-4
     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterplots II: British and Commonwealth Fiction Series. Pasadena: Salem, 1987.
    Provides plot synopses and critical evaluations of 373 major novels by British authors and writers from the Commonwealth nations. Choose this if looking for criticism of a particular novel. 
    CALL NUMBER: PR881 M39 1987 v.1-4
     

    Short Fiction

     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Short Fiction, 2nd rev. ed. Pasadena: Salem, 2001. 
    Choose this if looking for critical materials on the entire output of over 480 short story writers from around the world. Also provides essays that deal historically and critically with the entire genre of short fiction.
    CALL NUMBER: PN3373 M24 2001 v.1-7
     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterplots II: Short Story Series, rev. ed. Pasadena: Salem, 2004.
    This set gives plot summaries and critical evaluations of 732 outstanding short stories from world literature. 
    CALL NUMBER: PN3326 M27 2004 v.1-8
     
    Watson, Noelle, ed. Reference Guide to Short Fiction, 2nd ed. Detroit: St. James, 1999.
    The first half of this work provides for each author listed a short biographical passage and extensive bibliographical lists, and then a brief critical analysis of the whole body of that person's work. The second section analyzes specific works of short fiction. Covers authors from around the world.
    CALL NUMBER: PN3373 R36 1998 

    Drama

     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Drama. Pasadena: Salem, 2003.
    Provides individual articles on the output of 198 English-language dramatists. Also includes 24 extensive essays on the development of the drama and on play presentation.
    CALL NUMBER: . PR1625 C74 2003 v.1-6

    Poetry

     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Poetry, 2nd rev. ed.. Pasadena: Salem, 2003.
    Provides a comprehensive overview of the total output of specific poets, and essays on the poetic genre.
    CALL NUMBER: PN1111 C7 2003 v.1-8
     
    Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterplots II: Poetry Series, rev. ed. Pasadena: Salem Press, 2002. 
    Provides analytical entries on individual poems, including explanation of forms, devices, themes, and meanings.
    CALL NUMBER: PN1110.5 .M37 2002 v. 1-8
     
    Padgett, Ron. World Poets. New York: Scribners, 2000.
    Provides articles about poets from all over the world. Articles include biographical information, background on the poet’s life and influences, and examples of the writer’s poetry.
    CALL NUMBER: PN1021 .W67 2000 v.1-3
     
    Preminger, Alex, and T.V.F. Brogan. The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993.
    Provides entries on all aspects of poetry, including, history, types, movements, genre, and critical terminology. 
    CALL NUMBER: PN1021 .N39 1993

    Researching an Author in the Online Catalog

     
    To search for books, videos and DVDs in Grace Library go to the library's home page and click on the link for Grace Library's Online Catalog.
     
    To find books about an author or an author’s work, you should use a subject search and type the last name first. For example, in the online catalog, enter shakespeare william into the Quick Search box, select subject from the drop down menu and click on the search button.
     
    To find books by an author, you would use an Author search and type the last name first.
    For example, in the online catalog, enter shakespeare william into the Quick Search box, select author from the drop down menu and click on the search button.
     
    To find a specific book, you would use a Title search.
    For example, in the online catalog, enter the title, such as macbeth, into the Quick Search box, select title from the drop down menu and click on the search button. 

    Journal Articles

     
    Journal articles are another source for information about books and authors, especially those authors who are still living. The databases below are good resources to use to find journal articles.
    Databases are available by going to the library's home page and clicking on the Find Articles link.

    Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost)
    This database may provide you with some scholarly full text articles on literary topics. To find out if Academic Search Premier has information on a particular novel or short story or poem, the best approach is to type in the author’s name in the first search box (e.g., Mark Twain) and the name of the novel/story/poem in the second search box (e.g., Huckleberry Finn). If you get a lot of material with this type of search, you may wish to put additional words in the third search box, such as a theme or character (e.g., racism or Jim), to further narrow the results. 

    Contemporary Authors (Gale)
    Contemporary Authors provides biographical and bibliographical details on famous writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from anywhere in the world. Use the search box to enter in the author's name (e.g. Mark Twain). Entries are comprised of author-provided updates, a biography or autobiography, a bibliography of publications, awards, and any recent updates. Kinds of writers include novelists, poets, dramatists, nonfiction writers, and prominent journalists.

    MLA International Bibliography (EBSCOhost) 
    The MLA International Bibliography is the most comprehensive index to articles on literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. MLA also features some scholarly full text articles on a vast array of literary topics. To find out if MLA International Bibliography has information on a particular novel, short story, or poem, the best approach is to type in the author's name in the first search box (e.g. Mark Twain) and the name of the novel/story/poem in the second search box (e.g. Huckleberry Finn). If you get a lot of materials with this type of search, you may wish to put additional words in the third search box, such as a theme or character (e.g. racism or Jim), to further narrow your results.

    OmniFile Full Text Select - H.W. Wilson (EBSCOhost)
    OmniFile Full Text Select - H.W. Wilson is a 100% full text database that will provide you with some scholarly articles on literary topics. To find out if OmniFile Full Text Select has any information on a particular novel, short story or poem, type in the author’s name in the first search box (e.g., Mark Twain) and the name of the novel/short story/poem in the second search box (e.g. Huckleberry Finn). If you get a lot of material with this type of search, you may wish to put additional words in the third search box, such as a theme or character (e.g. racism or Jim), to further narrow the results. 

    The National Newspapers database is a full text database that will provide you with book reviews from major newspapers. To find book reviews, enter the title of the book in the search entry box and then click on the More Search Options link in the middle of the page. Then click on the Document Type drop down list, select books reviews and click on the Search button.