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Literature in English: Encyclopedias & Reference

Browse library materials for the study of literature in English


Best Bets


Encyclopedia of Caribbean literature.  Ed. D. H. Figueredo.  2 vols. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006. Doe Reference  PN849.C3.E53  2006

Encyclopedia of frontier literature.  Mary Ellen Snodgrass. Oxford, [U.K.]; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Doe and Bancroft Reference   PS169.F7.S65 1997

Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean literature, 1900-2003.  Eds. Daniel Balderston and Mike Gonzalez.  London; New York: Routledge, 2004. Doe Reference Hall  PQ7081.A1.E558 2004

Encyclopedia of literature and criticism.  Ed. Martin Coyle et al. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991.   e-book and Main PN81.E53 1991    

Encyclopedia of literature in Canada.  Ed. William H. New.  Toronto; Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press, 2002.  Doe Reference  PR9180.2.E53 2002

Encyclopedia of medieval literature.  Eds. Robert T. Lambdin and Laura C. Lambdin. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000. Doe Reference Hall  PN669.E53 2000

HarperCollins reader's encyclopedia of American literature. Eds. George B. Perkins, Barbara Perkins, and Phillip Leininger.  2nd ed.  New York: HarperCollins, 2002.  Doe Reference  PS21.B4 2002

The Oxford encyclopedia of American literature.  Chief ed. Jay Parini.  4 vols.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.    e-book   and  Doe Reference Hall  PS 21.E537 2004   

The Oxford encyclopedia of British literature. Ed. by David Scott Kastan.  5 vols. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.    e-book   and Doe Reference Hall  PR19.O95 2006   

South Asian literature in English: an encyclopedia. Jaina C. Sanga. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004. Doe Reference Hall  PR9570.S643.S67 2004


Dictionaries of Phrases, Concepts, and Symbols

Dictionaries of Specific Forms of English

Dictionaries of Critical and Philosophical Terms

Language Dictionaries of Interest to Scholars of Literature in English

Welsh Dictionaries



Additional materials, print and e-, that may prove useful in doing your research.

Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature  and Doe and Moffitt Reference PS21. E537 2004

Harmon, William.  A Handbook to Literature.  10th ed.  Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006.  Doe Reference  PN 41.H355 2006

Abrams, M. H.  A Glossary of Literary Terms.  9th ed.  Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009. Doe Reference  PN 41.A183  2009


What is it?

A concordance is an alphabetical listing of words in a text or writer's oeuvre, with where the words can be found.

Ways to find:

  1. Keyword search: writer AND concordance*
  2. Subject search: use the format writer -- Concordances
    example: Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 -- Concordances


Library Catalogs

National Union Catalog, pre-1956 Imprints (NUC) Main Z733.U57.C22556     Catalog of holdings of many U. S. libraries, including the Library of Congress.  Useful for tracking editions.

Library of Congress Online Catalog   Does NOT include every title in the NUC but has the newer titles.

The British Library General Catalogue of Printed Books to 1975   Gardner Stack Z921 .B8542 1975

British Library     Advanced search (with search tips) for the British Library site.



What Is Reference?

Reference sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, and atlases.

They may give you a succinct overview of a topic. 

They may help you identify a topic to explore in depth.

They may provide quick, reliable facts.

They may include bibliographies that will lead you to detailed studies.

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