Medieval Literature Guide

Reference Sources

When researching a new topic it is often necessary to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of English Literature. To find additional reference materials, check in UNB WorldCat (the library catalogue), explore Encyclopedias, etc on the library website, or try our Guide to Finding Reference Materials

Key Resources

  • Dictionary of the Middle Ages [HIL-REF D114 .D5 1982 vols. 1-13]

    Interim Index available.

  • Encyclopedia of the Medieval World [HIL-REF D114 .E55 2005 vols. 1-2]

    High school and undergraduate students as well as general readers will find this two-volume reference a useful starting point to their study of the medieval era in Europe and the Mediterranean. The entries are detailed, providing lengthy treatment of the life of the figure, or the era, noting the significant political events and people. The entries are cross referenced and conclude with a bibliography of scholarly sources. Care has been taken to include essential figures and concepts of Islam. A selection of entry topics--including Edessa, Eleanor of Aquitaine, eschatology, al- Farabi, furs and fur trade, al-Fustat, heaven, pallium, parasites, and Theophano--demonstrates the range of subjects. English teaches history at the U. of California, Santa Barbara. Annotation #169;2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages
    Consists of articles on all aspects of the period from the fifth to the fifteenth century, exploring art, architecture, religion, law, science, language, philosophy, and theology, as well as cultural, religious, intellectual, social and political history. With a focus on focus on Europe and Christendom, the Encyclopedia also covers the rise of Islam and people of other cultures with whom Europeans came into contact.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, The
    "The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages is an essential new reference work covering all key aspects of European history, society, and culture from 500 to 1500 A.D., as well as the Byzantine Empire, Islamic dynasties, and Asiatic peoples of the era. It is designed both for medievalists, who need a detailed and reliable reference tool, and for students and general readers seeking an accessible guide to the period. Over 800 scholars have assembled thousands of comprehensive entries, lavishly supplemented by hundreds of illustrations and dozens of maps."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB)
    Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is an illustrated/fulltext reference tool providing 55,000 specially-written signed biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of the British past from the earliest times to the end of the year 2000. It is the product of research instituted at the University of Oxford and funded by the British Academy and by Oxford University Press. It is the achievement of 10,000 contributors and advisers staff in Oxford. The Oxford DNB aims to provide full, accurate, concise, and readable articles on noteworthy people in all walks of life. No living person is included: the Dictionary's articles are confined to people who died before 31 December 2000.
    3 simultaneous users.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online (DLB Online)
    Provides more than 16,000 biographical and critical essays on the lives, works, and careers of the world's most influential literary figures from all eras and genres. Comprised of the award-winning Dictionary of Literary Biography series, which over its 30-year history has been dedicated to making literature and its creators better understood and more accessible to students and interested readers, DLB Complete Online provides reliable information in an easily comprehensible format while placing writers in the larger perspective of literary history. Specifically, DLB Complete Online includes the DLB main series, the DLB Documentary Series, and the DLB Yearbook Series - the latter two of which have never been electronically available. Additionally, DLB Complete Online will include the extremely valuable images from the above DLB series - again, content that has never been available online.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Oxford English Dictionary (OED Online)
    "This unique and powerful resource offers unprecedented access to the definitive record of the meaning, history and evolution of more than 600,000 words over the last 1,500 years." A complete text of the 2nd. ed. of the Oxford English dictionary with quarterly updates, including revisions not available in any other form.
    5 simultaneous users.
  • Middle English Dictionary
    see also [HIL-REF PE679 .M54]

    "The greatest achievement in Medieval scholarship in America." The MED offers a comprehensive reference tool for English language and usage in the period 1100-1500.

Additional Resources

  • Blackwell Reference Online
    WARNING: This resource loads slowly and may need a page reload. Blackwell Reference Online "is a vast new online library giving instant access to the most authoritative and up-to-date scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. With more than 350 reference volumes to be published in Blackwell Reference Online by the end of 2008, it is the largest academic reference collection available online and includes the critically-acclaimed Blackwell Companions and Handbooks, major reference works such as the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management and the Companion to Syntax, and a whole host of other valuable reference materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and concise companions."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Cambridge Histories Online (Cambridge Core)
    This resource, part of Cambridge Core, contains the online versions of over 270 Cambridge Histories publications in the following 15 areas: American History, British History, Economic History, General History, History of Science, History of the Book, Language and Linguistics, Literary Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political and Social Theory, Regional History, Religious Studies, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, and Warfare. For a complete listing of titles in each area, please refer to the publisher's site, at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we-publish/collections/cambridge-histories
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Oxford Reference
    Multi-part database of the online versions of Oxford University Press texts. Each topical division contains the searchable version of the latest edition of published dictionaries and encyclopedias. Additionally, information about Oxford University Press is provided. Online texts will be updated after new editions of the print monographs are published. Covers the humanities and social sciences.
    5 simultaneous users.
  • Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature [HIL-REF PN669 .R88 2005]

    "Medieval" is used loosely in the title of this volume, as literatures of the world from 500-1500 are included, with literatures of India, China, Japan, and all the Islamic world featured beside those of western Europe (though European entries predominate). The result is a rich resource of the most well known examples world literature. The author entries discuss the author's most famous work, often by detailing its narrative content. Some entries are included on characters, motifs or term, with discussion of its occurrence and use in several examples. The approximately 700 entries, which were written by Ruud (English, U. of Arkansas) and 12 other scholars at American universities, are alphabetical by name of author or work; each concludes with a brief bibliography. Annotation #169;2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Medieval England: An Encyclopedia [HIL-REF DA129 .M43 1998]

    Covers social, cultural, and political life from the Anglo-Saxon invasions of the fifth century to the turn of the sixteenth century. Includes such aspects as art, architecture, law, literature, kings, commoners, women, music, commerce, technology, warfare, and religion. Also provides insights into England's ties with the Celtic world of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland; the French and Anglo-Norman world on the continent; the Viking and Scandinavian world of the North Sea; and to Christendom. The articles are signed, and sometimes present contradictory opinions, demonstrating the uncertainty of much modern scholarship about the period. Each article concludes with a bibliography, divided when appropriate into primary and secondary, and indicates related topics. The index distinguishes between main entries and passing mentions. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia [HIL-REF HQ1147 .E85 W66 2006]

    Female patronage of the arts and the church, female mysticism and devotional practices, women's medicine and understandings of the female body, and women's roles in politics and diplomacy are among the activities discussed in the 563 signed articles, each with cross-references to other articles and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. The very few illustrations are monochrome. Annotation #169;2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Women in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopeda [HIL-REF HQ1143 .W643 2004 (2 vols)]

    More than 300 entries (many biographical) detailing women's experience in the medieval world. 

  • Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia [HIL-REF HQ1115 .W6 1999 vols. 1-17]

    Projected to be 15 volumes upon completion in late 2000 (with an index to follow in mid-2001), this ambitious set will be international in scope and span from antiquity to the 20th century. (The first three volumes are reviewed here.) The scope is generally limited to women born before 1926, except for those active in the women's movement or whose place in history is assured. Initially hatched while the editors were working on Historic World Leaders (1994)--which profiled mainly men--this resource will include more than 10,000 entries varying in length from several pages to brief paragraphs. Frequent sidebars give information on women closely associated with the main entry, and numerous See references address name variations. Although indexes by time period, nationality, and subject would greatly enhance its usefulness as a reference, this set far exceeds recent single-volume international dictionaries (the Larousse Dictionary of Women, LJ 1/97, has about 3000 entries) and is unlikely to have any competitors on this scale soon. Recommended for large public and academic libraries and women's studies collections.Patricia A. Beaber, Coll. of New Jersey, Ewing Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information

  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, The
    The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, edited by Bonnie G. Smith, captures the experiences of women throughout history in a far-reaching, four-volume work. Although there has been extensive research on women in history by region, no other text or reference work has comprehensively covered the role women have played throughout world history. With over 650 biographies of influential women and over 600 topical articles covering topics such as geography and history, culture and society, organizations, movements, and gender studies, Women in World History is the definitive reference work in the field.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Orlando : Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present
    Orlando "provides entries on authors' lives and writing careers, contextual material, timelines, sets of internal links, and bibliographies. Interacting with these materials creates a dynamic inquiry from any number of perspectives into centuries of women's writing."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Find Books

To search for books at UNB Libraries, first use the library's online catalogue, UNB WorldCat. UNB WorldCat (searchable below) searches for books and other materials held at UNB Libraries and other institutions worldwide.

Search UNB WorldCat:     

Advanced Search | Locations Guide | Other Catalogues | Help/FAQ

UNB Libraries also makes available several full-text electronic book collections. Although most electronic book titles are available through the catalogues, you may also find it useful so search these collections directly.

Key Resources

  • Cambridge Histories Online (Cambridge Core)
    This resource, part of Cambridge Core, contains the online versions of over 270 Cambridge Histories publications in the following 15 areas: American History, British History, Economic History, General History, History of Science, History of the Book, Language and Linguistics, Literary Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political and Social Theory, Regional History, Religious Studies, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, and Warfare. For a complete listing of titles in each area, please refer to the publisher's site, at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we-publish/collections/cambridge-histories
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Blackwell Reference Online
    WARNING: This resource loads slowly and may need a page reload. Blackwell Reference Online "is a vast new online library giving instant access to the most authoritative and up-to-date scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. With more than 350 reference volumes to be published in Blackwell Reference Online by the end of 2008, it is the largest academic reference collection available online and includes the critically-acclaimed Blackwell Companions and Handbooks, major reference works such as the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management and the Companion to Syntax, and a whole host of other valuable reference materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and concise companions."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • ProQuest Ebook Central Collections (formerly ebrary)
    [RECORD UPDATE IN PROGRESS]UNB subscribes to a few collections of eBooks through this one access point, including both a mix of subscribed and purchased titles, along with faculty selected purchased titles. These are fulltext, searchable databases of books, maps and other authoritative documents in all academic disciplines. Many books now allow complete downloading.
    Varying access permissions.
  • MyiLibrary
    When browsing an individual MyiLibrary ebook please use the table of contents to the left of the text or the search function to navigate through the book. Rapid clicking through numerous pages of an ebook will block access to the ebook. MyiLibrary includes titles on a wide variety of subjects, including the humanities, science, technology, and medicine. All ebooks are viewed using the MyiLibrary platform. Some ebooks published by Taylor & Francis do not allow full-text searching.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Find Articles

When searching for journal articles, Article & Research Databases are usually the best place to begin. Below are some recommended databases for research in Medieval Literature. The "Additional Resources" section includes recommended full-text journal collections. For other databases, check the Article Databases page of the library website.

Key Resources

  • Literature Online
    Literature Online offers full text access to rare and inacessible works, up-to-date, reference resources, in addition to the full text of poetry, drama, and prose fiction from the seventh century to the present day. Materials are included from almost every period and genre of English literature as well as many works by 20th century authors. Contemporary criticism is available through the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL).
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Iter - Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance
    A bibliography covering the period 400-1700. Citations are drawn from journals, books, conference proceedings, festschriften, encyclopedias and exhibition catalogues.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography (EBSCOhost)
    "MLA International Bibliography offers a detailed bibliography of journal articles, books and dissertations. Produced by the Modern Language Association (MLA), the electronic version of the bibliography dates back to the 1920s and contains millions of citations from journals & series, as well as book publishers. The indexed materials coverage is international, and includes titles and full-text links from J-STOR and Project Muse. This resource also contains hundreds of thousands of subject names and terms."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Literature Criticism Online
    Provides Online access to the content of the following reference works on literature: Twentieth-century literary criticism, Nineteenth-century literature criticism, Literature criticism 1400-1800, Shakespeare criticism, Contemporary literary criticism, and Children's literature review.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • JSTOR Archival Collection
    JSTOR provides access to back issues of a variety of scholarly journals. UNB Libraries currently subscribes to the Arts & Sciences (I through X) collections, along with the Life Sciences and Ireland collections.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Additional Resources

  • Project Muse
    "Project MUSE covers the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, and many others." UNB subscribes to almost 400 eJournals, and provides access to select Open Access eBooks.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Oxford University Press Journals
    Oxford Journals is a division of Oxford University Press, which is a department of Oxford University. We publish well over 230 academic and research journals covering a broad range of subject areas, two-thirds of which are published in collaboration with learned societies and other international organizations.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Cambridge Journals Online (Cambridge Core)
    Cambridge Journals Online (part of Cambridge Core) provides full text for journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Some journal titles which might be useful for medieval studies include:

Text Collections

Text collections offer online access to a variety of primary source materials, including images of rare or early imprints, full-text transcriptions of letters and correspondence of major literary figures, and electronic versions of scholarly editions of literary works.

Some key text collection for English literature are listed below. To find additional text collections, check the list of Article Databases, or contact Research Help for assistance.

Key Resources

  • Early English Books Online (EEBO)
    "Early English Books Online (EEBO) will contain over 125,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640), Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700), and the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661)..." Allows searching Eighteenth Century Collections Online as an option.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Defining Gender, 1450-1910 (Adam Matthew Digital)
    Defining Gender is structured in five sections, each containing a substantial body of original source material, together with thematic essays by leading scholars in the field. The thematic essays introduce students to the material, suggest possible approaches, and place the documents within a broad historical, literary and cultural context. The sources all have distinct URLs and can be readily integrated into course packs or projected in the classroom.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Parliament Rolls of Medieval England (PROME), The
    Contains full text and translation of the meetings of the English parliaments from Edward I to Henry VII, covering the years from 1275 to 1504.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Citing Your Sources

Accurate, properly formatted footnotes, reading lists, and bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources.

Numerous citation styles exist, and each specifies what elements are required (title, author, journal name, etc.) and how the citation should be formatted. The standard citation style for English Literature is MLA, but your instructor may require or recommend that you use another. Consult your course syllabus or check with your instructor to be sure of using the correct citation style for your assignment.

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Last modified on August 4, 2017 12:15