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

Key Resources

  • Contemporary Authors [HIL-REF CT220 .C63]

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

  • 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.
  • Oxford companion to German literature, The [HIL-REF PT41 .G3 1997]

    This new edition of Mary and Henry Garland's classic Oxford Companion to German Literature substantially revises and extends its coverage, making an invaluable reference work available to a new generation of readers. Designed to be a reliable source of information on the whole sweep of literature from German-speaking countries from the eighth century onwards, the Companion now comes right up to the mid-1990s, including such recent works as Gunter Grass's controversial novel about the unification of East and West Germany, Ein weites Feld (1995). The entries, arranged in a single alphabetical sequence, cover authors and their major works, as well as historical, intellectual, and cultural backgrounds. For this new edition much of the original material has been thoroughly reworked in the light of up-to-date scholarship, and many completely new entries have been added, allowing improved coverage of the twentieth century, general topics, and women writers of all periods.The Companion's unrivauled historical coverage and depth of information--on subjects as various as Kafka and Kleist, Werther and Christa Wolf, Nietzsche and the Nibelungenlied, Jung and Jelinek, Rilke and Die Reformation--makes it an indispensable reference book for everyone with an interest in the literature and literary culture of the German-speaking world. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • New History of German Literature, A [HIL-STACKS PT91 .N49 2004]

    Editor in chief Wellbery (Univ. of Chicago), general editor Ryan (Harvard), and their fellow editors and contributors, distinguished scholars all, make an ambitious attempt to retell the history of German literature. Accordingly, what sets this literary history apart from its competitors is its original approach. Instead of being divided according to epochs or movements, each of the 188 short essays captures one moment in the history of German literature. The goal is not to create another overarching narrative of literary historiography but rather, as Wellbery writes in his introduction, to "preserve the quality of 'encounter' that characterizes the most exhilarating experiences of reading." This the book does by providing a mosaic view of German literature, history, culture, and history of ideas. Wellbery gathered some of the best (mostly American) scholars for this project, and they employ a number of methodological and ideological approaches. The essays are geared toward educated readers, and they offer cutting-edge scholarship. Researchers in particular will appreciate the short bibliography that accompanies each essay. Though one could lament the complete absence of some important authors (e.g., Odon von Horvath, Rose Auslander, Heimito von Doderer, Ilse Aichinger), this is an indispensable resource for everyone interested in German literature. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; large public collections. General Readers; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty. Reviewed by G. A. Thuswaldner. From: Syndetics Solutions, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Companion to German Literature : from 1500 to the present, A [HIL-REF PT236 .S55 1997]

    Presents a readable yet scholarly account of the history of German literature from the Reformation and Renaissance to the late 20th century, in the wider context of Germanic culture, over the whole of German-speaking areas of Europe. Nine generically structured narrative chapters combine synthesis of long-term trends, perennial themes, and characteristics of German literature, focusing on the perspective of writers and readers of the time period and place. Includes biographical profiles of authors discussed and referred to. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

Additional Resources

  • 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.
  • Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online
    Wiley/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.

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.

Search UNB WorldCat:     

Advanced Search | Locations Guide | Help

To browse the shelves for books in German Literature, try the following call number ranges:

RangeSubject Area


German literature


Literary history and criticism / History of German literature


Folk literature


Children's literature


Collections of German literature


Individual authors or works


Provincial, local, colonial, etc.


Low German literature

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 German Literature. For other databases, check the Article Databases page of the library website.

Key Resources

  • Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography & Directory of Periodicals (ProQuest)
    "The MLA International Bibliography is a subject index for books, articles and websites published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics. It is produced by the Modern Language Association (MLA), an organization dedicated to the study and teaching of language and literature. The electronic version of the Bibliography dates back to 1925 and contains over 2.2 million citations from more than 4,400 periodicals (including peer-reviewed e-journals) and 1,000 book publishers. It is compiled by the staff of the MLA Department of Bibliographic Information Services with the cooperation of more than 100 contributing bibliographers in the United States and abroad. Such international coverage is represented by literature from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America, and while the majority of records are from English-language publications, at least sixty other languages are represented including French, Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese, Norwegian, and Swedish.

    The database also has an identifiable subset of more than 100,000 records that constitute the JSTOR subfile. This consists of citation records for documents in JSTOR's Language and Literature Collection as well as relevant articles from their Asian Studies collection. The documents date back as far as 1881 and contain direct links to the full-text articles on the JSTOR website, available to subscribers of JSTOR.

    Your subscription to the MLA International Bibliography also includes access to the MLA Directory of Periodicals database. Full text links to Project Muse journal and ProQuest Digital Dissertations are also included in this database.

    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
    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 German Literature include:


Note: Current issues of journals are located on the first floor of the HIL.

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. 

Citing Your Sources




RefWorks is a freely available (to the UNB community) web-based citation management software. With RefWorks you can build, organize, and produce bibliographies according to your specifications. Learn more here:

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