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French 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 French Literature. To find additional reference materials, check UNB WorldCat or our Reference Materials database.

Key Resources

  • Grand Robert de la langue française
    The electronic version of the Grand Robert de la langue française includes all 6 volumes of the most current edition.
    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.
  • 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.
  • New Oxford Companion to Literature in French, The [HIL-REF, HWK-REF PQ41 .N48 1995]

    Rabelais and Montaigne, Moliere and Racine, Stendhal and Proust--the literature of France boasts a long and glorious tradition. In The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French, readers will have at their fingertips a trusted guide to this rich literary heritage.Written by an international team of experts, the Companion's 3,000 entries capture ten centuries of work produced in France and, more recently, in other French-speaking countries around the world. The coverage they provide is superb. The volume highlights not only poets, novelists, and dramatists, but also historians, scientists, statesmen, and philosophers--providing a sweeping tour of French culture. Here readers will find lengthy articles on the giants of French letters, from Voltaire, Flaubert, and Balzac, to Valery, Cocteau, and Sartre. Among the new features of the Companion are substantial essays that reflect the latest scholarship on topics such as literary movements and genres; historical subjects such as chivalry or Occupation and Resistance in wartime France; intellectual movements from Scholasticism to Feminism; linguistic topics; coverage of the sciences; and the arts and media, including opera, cinema, and journalism. There is generous coverage of painters such as Degas and Delacroix, and composers such as Meyerbeer and Debussy. Scientists and philosophers also appear in thse pages (ranging from Poincare and Cuvier to Descartes, Pascal, and Rousseau). There is even an entertaining entry that cites 100 well-known quotations from French literature. Finally, the contributors have approached the literature of France in the widest terms possible, challenging the traditional canon as they examine everything from strip cartoons and pamphlets. Adventurous and wide ranging, the New Companion is more than a simple revision of the original work.Whether you are interested in Condillac or Condorcet, Lamartine or Lamarck, Madame de Stael or Madame Deficit (Marie-Antoinette), The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French provides informed and engaging coverage of the vast literary tradition of France. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Dictionnaire de la litterature francaise et francophone [HIL-REF PQ41 .D526 1987 vols. 1-3]
  • Dictionary of Modern French Literature : From the Age of Reason through Realism [HIL-REF PQ41 .D65 1986]
  • Dictionnaire des litteratures de langue francaise [HIL-REF PQ41 .B4 1984 vols. 1-3]
  • Guide to French Literature : 1789 to the Present [HIL-REF PQ146 .L48 1992]
  • Guide to French Literature : Beginnings to 1789 [HIL-REF PQ146 .L46 1994]

Additional Resources

  • Contemporary Authors [HIL-REF CT220 .C63]

    "A bio-bibliographical guide to current authors and their works."

  • Canadian Encyclopedia
    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 use UNB WorldCat. UNB WorldCat contains most books, videos, e-Resources and other material held by UNB libraries as well as material held by other libraries around the world. Some journal articles are also searchable in UNB WorldCat. Below are some additional catalogues for resources in French Literature.

Search UNB WorldCat:
Limit to: 

To browse the shelves for books in French Literature, try the following ranges:

Range Subject Area


French literature


Literary history and criticism


Folk literature


Juvenile literature


Collections of French literature


Old French literature


Provincial, local, colonial, etc.


Canadian literature (includes French Canadian literature)


History and criticism of Canadian literature


Collections of Canadian literature


Individual authors


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 anthropology. For other databases, check the Article & Research Datases page of the library website.

Key Resources

  • Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography & Directory of Periodicals (EBSCO)
    MLA International Bibliography is a subject index for books, articles and websites published on modern languages, literature, folklore, film, literary theory and criticism, dramatic arts, as well as the historical aspects of printing and publishing. Listings on rhetoric and composition and the history, theory and practice of teaching language and literature are also included. Dating back to 1925, the database contains more than 2.7 million citations, over 6,000 journals and series, 1,200 book publishers and over 372,000 subject names and terms and adds over 66,000 records annually (May 2018).

    Coverage is international and includes titles and full-text links from online publishers including JSTOR, Project MUSE, Wiley-Blackwell and Taylor & Francis.

    The MLA Directory of Periodicals contains all information available on the journals and series on the bibliography's Master List of Periodicals.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)
    Academic Search Premier is a multidisciplinary resource that "provides journal coverage for most academic areas of studies."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • 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.

UNB Libraries subscribe to a wide variety of academic journals, both in print and online. Some important journal titles in French Literature include:


  • Les Cahiers naturalistes
    HIL-STACKS PQ2526 .C33 2006
  • L'Espirt createur
    HIL-STACKS PQ1 .E78 v.1-45
  • Érudit
  • Etudes litteraires
    HIL-STACKS PQ2 .E83 v. 1-36
  • Francophonies d'Amérique
  • French forum
  • French studies
  • Nouvelle revue francaise
    HIL-STACKS PQ2 .N689 no.516-577 / HIL-STORA PQ2 .N689 no. 76-515
  • Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France
    HIL-STACKS PQ2 .R5 annee35-105

French Canadian Literature:

  • Etudes francaises
    HIL-STACKS PS8001 .E782 vol. 1-41
  • Les Lettres quebecoises
    HIL-STACKS PS8073 .L4 no.1-116
  • Studies in Canadian Literature
    HIL-STACKS PS8071 .4 .S782 vol. 1-29
  • Tangence
    HIL-STACKS PS8001 .u732 No. 55-79
  • Voix et images
    HIL-STACKS PS8073 .V6 vol. 1-30


Find Internet Sites

While there is a wealth of information freely available on the internet, not all sites are created equal. Careful evaluation is a critical part of doing research on the Internet. Below are some recommended sites:


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 French Literature is Moden Language Association (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.

For research tips and more information on citing your sources, see the Citing Sources module of UNB LILT (Library Information Literacy Tutorial)


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