Canadian Literature Guide

Find Articles

 

When searching for journal articles, an indexing and abstracting database or print index is usually the best place to begin. Below are some recommended print indexes and databases for research in Canadian Literature. 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.
  • 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.
  • Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL)
    Based on the annual print publication by the Modern Humanities Research Association, the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature provides bibliographic records for monographs, journal articles, doctoral dissertations and book reviews published since 1920, with selected materials included from 1892 - 1919. Part of the Literature Online collections.
    4 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.

Additional Resources

  • Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA) Reference (ProQuest)
    Please note: CBCA Reference is now searchable as part of the larger CBCA Complete collection. Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA) Complete is the nation's largest and most comprehensive bibliographic full-text reference and current events database. Available through the ProQuest Web interface, CBCA Complete combines full text and indexed content from all four CBCA database subsets (Business, Current Events, Education, and Reference). Subject coverage is comprehensive and information is available from the broadest range of Canadian sources anywhere.
    NOTE: In certain instances ProQuest has decided to omit particular 'articles' from full-text access due to copyright restrictions or because the item has not met their criteria for being an 'article' (ie. too short, a letter, not attributed to an author, etc.).
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly (CPI.Q)
    Indexes over 400 Canadian periodicals (English and French) with full-text and reports from 165 periodicals.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Academic Search Premier
    Academic Search Premier is a multidisciplinary resource that "provides journal coverage for most academic areas of study."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

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 Canadian Literature. To find additional reference materials, check the library catalogue (UNB WorldCat) or our Encylopedias, Etc database.

Key Resources

  • Canadian Oxford Dictionary

    The Canadian Oxford Dictionary combines coverage of international English with information on English as it is particularly used in Canada. Definitions are presented so that the meaning most familiar to Canadians appears first and foremost. It features 2,200 uniquely Canadian words and senses, 350 usage notes, 7,000 idiomatic expressions, 5,500 biographical entries, and over 5,600 place names.

  • Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature, The
    see also [multiple locations HIL-REF PS8015 .O93 1997]

    The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature was first published in 1983 to great acclaim. In the fourteen years since its publication Canadian literature has enjoyed an explosion of creative talent. This exciting new edition reflects this vivid flowering, adding more than 360 new entries as well as updating material from the original to reflect recent publications and changes in the biographies of writers previously included. As before, the entries cover fiction, prose, poetry, and drama, prominent writers, literary magazines, and publishers. Highlights include The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Sandra Birdsell, Neil Bissoondath, Boston Mills Press, Caribbean-Canadian literature, Censorship, Creeps, The English Patient, William Gibson, Gay and Lesbian Literature, Barbara Gowdy, The Handmaid's Tale, Alberto Manguel, and The Rebel Angels, among many others. This completely revised edition is not only an indispensable resource, but a browser's delight for anyone interested in Canadian literature. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • New Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, The [HIL-REF PS8015 .E53 2002]

    This up-to-date reference book brings together three hundred leading Canadianists to look at literature in Canada from a variety of perspectives. In over two thousand entries that attest to Canada's cultural plurality, the Encyclopedia covers literature in English and French, and also in such other languages as Yiddish, Spanish, Haida, and Cree. It discusses authors and their work, related literary and social issues, professional institutions that play a role in the lives of Canadian writers, and the major historical and cultural events that have shaped Canada. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • 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.
  • 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.

Additional Resources

  • ECW's Biographical Guide to Canadian Novelists [multiple locations HIL-REF PS8081 .E32 1993]

    This matched pair of books is not a good choice for most libraries on several counts. First, the paper binding will not withstand normal library use. But more important, the contents are not what the publisher suggests. The promotional literature states that all major Canadian authors are included, but French Canadian novelists and poets are excluded. Even among English Canadians, many popular authors have been passed over, including L.M. Montgomery (famous for her Anne of Green Gables series) and W.P. Kinsella (author of Shoeless Joe, the novel on which the movie Field of Dreams was based). Also missing are Arthur Hailey (Airport), W.D. Valgardson, and several others. Given the current sensitivity toward balance for ethnic minorities, it should be noted that aboriginal Canadians are not included in appropriate numbers. Women are also underrepresented relative to their contribution to Canadian literature. Finally, none of the writers included was born within the past 50 years. The books' organizational features are also a concern: neither volume has a preface or introduction; entries are listed chronologically by the writers' birthdates; and there is no alphabetical index to the contents, so it is tedious to determine whether on not a given author is included. The selection criteria used by the editors (who are not identified on the title page) are not explained, and the credentials of the contributors are not supplied. Entries vary in length from two to ten pages, and there is no standard format, resulting in inconsistencies in treatment. Five writers who are both novelists and poets are covered in both volumes. In one case the same essay is used; in others there are different essays by the same contributor, or essays by different contributors. For biographical information, the volumes of Dictionary of Literary Biography that treat Canadian authors (v. 53, 60, 68, 88, 92, 99) are a much better choice. The titles are recommended here (but without enthusiasm) only for smaller libraries that do not own DLB. From: Syndetics Solutions, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • ECW's Biographical Guide to Canadian Poets [multiple locations HIL-REF PS8081 .E33 1993]

    This matched pair of books is not a good choice for most libraries on several counts. First, the paper binding will not withstand normal library use. But more important, the contents are not what the publisher suggests. The promotional literature states that all major Canadian authors are included, but French Canadian novelists and poets are excluded. Even among English Canadians, many popular authors have been passed over, including L.M. Montgomery (famous for her Anne of Green Gables series) and W.P. Kinsella (author of Shoeless Joe, the novel on which the movie Field of Dreams was based). Also missing are Arthur Hailey (Airport), W.D. Valgardson, and several others. Given the current sensitivity toward balance for ethnic minorities, it should be noted that aboriginal Canadians are not included in appropriate numbers. Women are also underrepresented relative to their contribution to Canadian literature. Finally, none of the writers included was born within the past 50 years. The books' organizational features are also a concern: neither volume has a preface or introduction; entries are listed chronologically by the writers' birthdates; and there is no alphabetical index to the contents, so it is tedious to determine whether on not a given author is included. The selection criteria used by the editors (who are not identified on the title page) are not explained, and the credentials of the contributors are not supplied. Entries vary in length from two to ten pages, and there is no standard format, resulting in inconsistencies in treatment. Five writers who are both novelists and poets are covered in both volumes. In one case the same essay is used; in others there are different essays by the same contributor, or essays by different contributors. For biographical information, the volumes of Dictionary of Literary Biography that treat Canadian authors (v. 53, 60, 68, 88, 92, 99) are a much better choice. The titles are recommended here (but without enthusiasm) only for smaller libraries that do not own DLB. From: Syndetics Solutions, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Who's Who in Canadian Literature 1992-93 [HIL-REF PS8081 .W46 1992/93]

    The 1983/84, 1985/86, 1987/88, and 1992/93 editions are held in HIL-REF.

  • Profiles in Canadian Literature
    see also [HIL-REF PS8071 .P76 vols. 1-8]
    Profiles began life in 1980 with two pilot volumes, and appeared at intervals throughout the eighties on a schedule determined largely by the availability of suitable contributors, the perseverance of the editor, and the sometimes comic setbacks native to the publishing process. The project sprang from the desire to make lively introductions to representative Canadian writers available to an audience that would not necessarily be a scholarly one.

    APA (American Psychological Assoc.)
    Heath, J. M. (1991). Profiles in Canadian Literature 7. Toronto: Dundurn Press.

    MLA (Modern Language Assoc.)
    Heath, Jeffrey M. Profiles in Canadian Literature 7. Dundurn Press, 1991. EBSCOhost.
  • Canadian Encyclopedia, The
    Free online encyclopedia, containing the full text of the print Canadian Encyclopedia, "the most comprehensive source of information on all things Canadian." Includes the full text of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
    The Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada provides detailed biographies of important figures in Canadian history from the year 1000 to 1930. This free online resource is produced by Library and Archives Canada, in partnership with Universite Laval and the University of Toronto, and reproduces the full contents of the print Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Find Books

To search for books at UNB Libraries, first use the library's online catalogue, UNB WorldCat, below. UNB WorldCat contains records for books, ebooks, audiovisual materials, and much more, both at UNB and at libraries around the world. 

Search UNB WorldCat:     

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

Bibliographies list publications that have been written about a particular subject, including books, journals, government publications, etc. Annotated bibliographies provide concise summaries of what has been published in a given area.

  • Bibliography of Canadian Bibliographies
    HIL-REF Z1365 .A1 L6 1994
  • English-Canadian Literary Anthologies:
    An Enumerative Bibliography
    HIL-REF PS8071 .L43 1997
  • Ethnic and Native Canadian Literature:
    A Bibliography
    HIL-REF PS8075 .A1 M57 1990
  • The Brock Bibliography of Published Canadian Plays in English, 1766-1978
    HIL-REF PS8305 .B77
  • A Comprehensive Bibliography of English-Canadian Short Stories, 1950-1983
    HIL-REF PS8187 .W44 1988

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 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.

Literary Biographies

Full-length biographies of individuals may be found by using UNB WorldCat, our library catalogue. The most efficient way of finding such works is usually to choose a Subject search and then enter a person's name followed by the word "biography", as in the following example:

ATWOOD MARGARET BIOGRAPHY

Do not give up if you do not find anything on your subject. There may be a biographical sketch in an encyclopedia, directory, or periodical article. Web users may check the Britannica Online or The Canadian Encyclopedia, available online at: Encyclopedias, Etc (http://www.lib.unb.ca/eresources/index.php?sub=refmat).

Information on literary authors may be found in Contemporary Authors. The series index is shelved with the Contemporary Authors series in the HIL Reference section. The call number is CT220 .C65.

You may wish to use an index to biographical works. They indicate which resources hold information about a person. Some examples are:

Biography and Genealogy Master Index. (2nd ed., Vols 1-8, and supplements). (1980 -). Detroit: Gale.
HIL-REF CT213 .B622

Biography Index. (1946). New York: H. W. Wilson.
HIL-REF CT104 .B5544

General biographical works contain listings of persons from many fields and are sometimes limited by country and sometimes limited to people who are living. In many cases they contain brief entries concerning education, positions held, etc. A few examples are:

Canadian Who's Who. (1910 -). Toronto: University of Toronto.
(Latest edition held at the Reference Desk).
1997 edition available online at: http://www.utpress.utoronto.ca/cgi-bin/cw2w3.cgi
HIL-REF FC25 .C389

Contemporary Authors. (1962). Detroit: Gale.
HIL-REF CT220 .C6

Current Biography Yearbook. (1940). New York: H. W. Wilson.
HIL-REF CT100 .C8

International Who's Who. (1949). London: Europa Publications Ltd.
HIL-REF CT120 .15

Dictionary of American Biography. (1928-36). New York: Scribner's.
Also supplements covering 1935 to 1975. Comprehensive index complete through supplement eight.
HIL- REF E176 .D563

Dictionary of Canadian Biography. (Vols. 1-14). (1966 - 1998). Index to Vols. 1-12. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
A multi-volume set containing signed, scholarly articles about Canadians who died before 1901. Each volume contains biographies of people who died within the period indicated on the spine. Vols. 1-14 cover up to 1920. Additional volumes are in progress.
HIL-REF FC25 .D5

MacKay, W. A. (Ed.). (1978). The MacMillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography ( 4th ed.).
Toronto: Macmillan.
Contains brief articles about Canadians who died before 1976.
HIL-REF FC25 .M33 1978

Profiles in Canadian Literature. (Vols. 1-8). (1980 -). Toronto: Dundurn Press.
HIL-REF PS8071 .P76

Ripley, G., & Mercer, A. (Eds.). Who's Who in Canadian Literature. (1983). Toronto: Reference Press.
HIL-REF PS8081 .W46

Dictionary of National Biography. (Vols. 1-22, and supplements). (1905 - 1909). London: Smith, Elder.
HIL-REF DA28 .D45

Newspapers and journals can also contain valuable biographical information. There are many indexes that will locate articles. A few examples are:

CBCA (Canadian Business and Current Affairs) Fulltext
Provides the fulltext of over 150 Canadian periodicals and other sources of current affairs and business information, as well as indexing of over 600 periodicals and 9 daily news sources. (CBCA Fulltext Business covers 130 industry and professional periodicals.)
Available online via: Indexes and Abstracts (http://www.lib.unb.ca/eresources/Indexes.php)
Available in print at: HIL-REF AI3. C2334

Canadian Index. (1993 -). Toronto: Micromedia.
(Shelved in Microforms Centre). Much the same content as CBCA.

Canadian Periodical Index. (1920 -). Toronto: InfoGlobe.
(Located on index tables in the Main Lobby).

New York Times Obituaries Index 1858-1978. (Vols. 1-2). New York: New York Times.
(For more recent obituaries use the New York Times Index located in the Microforms Centre).

Times Index. (1785 -). Reading, England: Research Publications.
Recent volumes of the index to the London Times are in paper format. Most earlier years are on microfilm. Ask at the Microforms Centre.

Other places to check include books written about the author's genre. For example, there might be biographical information on Conan Doyle in a history of the mystery novel. Biographies of writers may contain biographical information of other writers of the same era. Information on D. H. Lawrence may be found in an Ezra Pound biography. You should also check UNB Libraries' Book Reviews Guide. Please remember: Ask the Reference staff for assistance!

The staff members of UNB Libraries are always happy to provide assistance or instruction. Library staff are available to answer your questions in person at the information desk, by telephone, email, or through UNB Libraries' virtual reference service. For more details, including service hours, see Ask a Librarian.

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Last modified on August 4, 2017 09:07