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Literature in English: Digital Texts

Browse library materials for the study of literature in English

Digital Texts

Major Online Collections

Themed Collections

Specific Authors: Digital Texts

Digitized Texts: Poetry

Digitized Texts: Drama

Digital Companions

Online Collections

Themed and/or targeted collections:


Literature Online (UCB only) Good source for English and American poetry, novels and drama, especially those out of copyright. Can be searched in a variety of ways, including for single words or phrases.

Archive of Americana (UCB only) A grouping of full-text books, pamphlets, newspapers and government publications. Titles include those listed in Early American Imprints, Series 1 (1639-1800), which is based on the American Bibliography by Charles Evans and covers every aspect of life in 17th- and 18th-century America. It also includes Early American Imprints, Series II (1801-1819), which is based on the Shaw/Shoemaker extension of Evans. The Archive also consists of Early American Newspapers, Series I (1690-1876), American State Papers, 1789-1838, and the U. S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1970.

Making of America (Cornell) and Making of America (Michigan) together contain over 10,000 monographs and thousands of journal articles published in the U.S. in the 19th century.

Dictionary of Old English/Old English Corpus (UCB only) A complete record of most surviving Old English texts.

Middle English Compendium (UCB only) The Middle English Compendium offers easy access to and interconnectivity with three major Middle English electronic resources: an electronic version of the Middle English Dictionary, a HyperBibliography of Middle English prose and verse, based on the MED bibliographies, and an associated network of electronic resources, including a large collection of Middle English texts. 

TEAMS Middle English Texts Series   TEAMS Middle English text series makes available texts which occupy an important place in the literary and cultural canon but which are not readily available in student editions.  Copyrighted.

Early English Books Online (EEBO) (UCB only) When finished, this collection will contain images of almost every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700. In essence, reproductions of the works listed in Pollard & Redgrave, Wing, and the Thomason Tracts.

Shakespeare Quartos Archive   Formed by a consortium of major research libraries, the Archive contains digital versions of 32 pre-1642 quartos of Hamlet.  Use in conjunction with The British Library's Shakespeare in Quarto, which has 107 quartos and allows comparision of different printings.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) (UCB only) When completed, this collection will contain images of almost every work printed in Great Britain or its colonies from 1701-1800.

18thConnect: Eighteenth Century Scholarship Online  A resouce for plain-text searching of open access and proprietary and digital archives, including EEBO and ECCO

Empire Online (UCB only) Primary texts relating to colonial and empire studies.

At the Circulating Library--A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837-1901    Lists nearly 7800 novels, including many from periodicals.  Can be browsed by author, title, publisher, year, and genre (just in case you need a quick list of deceased wife's sister novels), and groups.  Links to online versions of many texts.

Victorian Plays Project    Digitized selection of 350 plays published in T. H. Lacy's Acting Edition of plays.

NCSE: Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition  Online runs of six Victorian periodicals: Monthly Repository (1806-1837) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Northern Star (1838-1852), Leader (1850-1860),  English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Tomahawk (1867-1870) and Publishers’ Circular (1880-1890)

Yellowbacks  Emory University has digitized over 1200 of its yellowback novels, many by obscure authors. Most are free and can be downloaded as a PDF.  Finding and viewing are not intuitive: in the discoverE search box on the right side of the screen, type the word "yellowbacks" and click the search button.  On the next screen, under results on the left side of the screen, click " full text online." You can also refine the search by genre, topic and author. Click on the title of the yellowback you wish to read.  Scroll down under details, and at the second blue arrow, click "PDF version."

Westminster Detective Library: American Detective Fiction Prior to July 1891.   This project aims to identify, catalog, digitize, and post online all short detective fiction printed in US magazines and newspapers before 1891. So far the catalog holds more than 1000 titles, including British-authored pieces (some of which might have been pirated).


Primary Sources

Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:

For specific search strategies, see the Library's Guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources

Learn more about your topic in advance:

  • names of relevant individuals and organizations
  • dates of events
  • places
  • what terminology was used at the time by participants and observers? (ex:  negro or colored instead of african american)

Use the bibliographies of secondary sources and reference sources to find citations to specific primary sources; search OskiCat to locate them on campus, or ask for assistance at the Library.

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