English Literature Guide

Overview / News


Welcome to UNB Libraries' (Saint John) Guide to English Literature. The purpose of this guide is to help you find resources related to this discipline and enhance your learning. If you are taking a English Literature course at UNB Saint John, you may find you also have a specific course guide available.

How you want to begin your research depends on your topic and your knowledge. If your topic is brand new to you, you might want to start with book based material. The data and information in books, at least, in non-fiction, academic books, generally differs from that found in articles. It is presented at length but tends to be presented in less depth and with less specificity. Book content may be less "cutting edge" and more likely to present standard, and accepted information. Journal articles often present more controversial content and preliminary research results which require more testing before they are accepted.

For students, books are a logical starting point for research because they often introduce several relevant topics around a broader subject while articles often deal with a single, very specific topic with an assumed context -- that is, articles may assume an audience with a high level of subject knowledge.

Once you have some background on your topic which may help you think critically about related information and data, you will be ready to plunge into journal articles, grey literature, and beyond. Enjoy the search!

In this guide, you will find links leading you to reference materials (dictionaries, specialized encyclopedias, handbooks ...), books (both online and in print), databases (containing full-text journals, full-text articles, and linked material), and more. That said, not everything you will need will be here. Remember, you can always visit a library and ask a librarian for more help.

In addition to this subject guide in English Literature, you might also wish to explore:

UNB Libraries' (Saint John) Guide to Canadian Literature

UNB Libraries' (Saint John) Guide to Irish (and Anglo-Irish) Literature


News and Views

Books: Book Reviews, News ..., Washington Post

Books, BBC

Books, The Guardian

Book Reviews, Telegraph (UK)

Book News and Reviews, New Zealand Herald


Reference / Statistics

In addition to the suggestions below, more reference resources for the field of English literature can be found by checking UNB WorldCat, and the Reference Materials collection, or may be publicly accessible via the internet.


Biography and Bibliography

Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online (DLB Online), licensed resource

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL), 4 simultaneous users, licensed resource

Victorian Literature, Oxford Bibliographies Online, licensed resource

Chaucer Bibliography Online, University of Texas at San Antonio Library and The New Chaucer Society, public access


Dictionaries, Encyclopedias and Guides

Oxford English Dictionary (OED Online), 5 simultaneous users, licensed resource

Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, 5 simultaneous users, licensed resource

Encyclopedia of British literature, licensed resource


Literary Criticism

Literature Criticism Online, includes: Twentieth-century literary criticism, Nineteenth-century literature criticism, Literature criticism 1400-1800, Shakespeare criticism, Contemporary literary criticism, and Children's literature review, licensed resource

Cambridge Histories Online, including Cambridge history of literary criticism, vols. 1-9, licensed resource

Literary Index, Gale, public access


Maps, Atlases, ...

Atlas of English Literature, Clement Tyson Goode and Edgar Finley Shannon, 1925, public access

Map of Early Modern London, University of Victoria, public access

A literary pilgrimage among the haunts of famous British authors, Theodore F. Wolfe, 1895, public access

MLA Language Map, public access

The Goodly Land: Alabama's Literary Landscape, University of Alabama, public access

Literary L.A., Los Angeles Times, public access

Literary City, San Francisco Chronicle, public access

Literary Map of Maine, Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram, public access

NYSCA Literary Map of New York State, public access

North Carolina Literary Map, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, public access

The Literary Map of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Center for the Book, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, public access

Literary and Cultural Heritage Map of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvannia Center for the Book, PennState, public access

West Virginia Literary Map, Fairmont State University, public access


Statistics, Data, Data Sets ...

Book Publishers (87F0004X), Statistics Canada, public access

Book Industry Profile, Ontario Media Development Corporation, public access

Bowker Data, publishing trend reports, public access

Statistical Handouts, Publishers Association, UK, some public access

Books / Book-Length Works

UNB WorldCat searches the WorldCat database and offers up-to-date availability information for material held by UNB Libraries. WorldCat contains more than 130,000,000 bibliographic records (including books, journals, videos, music ...) referring to the holdings of libraries world wide. Many of these items may be retrieved for UNB users through the Libraries' Document Delivery Service. WorldCat also catalogues selected journal articles, often available through document delivery, and internet-based resources.

Mobile users should note that although UNB Libraries has moved to a responsive web design, mobile interfaces and apps may NOT yet provide all the functionality of other types of web-based access.

Search UNB WorldCat:     

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

For members of the UNB/STU community of users, the Library provides access to individual electronic books, through UNB WorldCat. As well, the University community may access several collections of electronic books.


Some internet sites offer full-text, public access books, and book-length works either as collections or as individual linked titles. Some full-text titles are free to view / access, others may not be. Examples of such sites of interest include:

Hathi Trust Digital Library, Hathi Trust

Google Books

Oxford Text Archive

Treasures in Full, British Library

eBooks@Adelaide, University of Adelaide

Renascence Editions, works printed in English, 1477-1799, University of Oregon

Victorian Women Writers Project, Indiana University

Wright American Fiction, Indiana University

Dime Novel and Story Paper Collection, Stanford

Australian Literary and Historical Texts, a collection of 18th, 19th and early 20th century Australian texts, SETIS, University of Sydney


Poetry collections include:

Internet Poetry Archives, University of North Carolina

Representative Poetry Online, version 2.04, University of Toronto

British Women Romantic Poets, 1789-1832, University of California at Davis

American Verse Project, pre-1920, Humanities Text Initiative, University of Michigan


Article / Research Databases

For those interested in English literature and related fields, several of the available licensed bibliographic databases are listed in Key and Additional Resources below. These databases will be especially useful when you are beginning a research project and looking for information on a topic.

For all of the Libraries' licensed databases, please see the Article Databases page.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Additional Resources

  • 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.
  • ESTC (English Short Title Catalogue)
    ESTC is an electronic bibliography of books, serials, pamphlets and other material printed in English-speaking countries from 1473 to 1800, as collected from over 1600 institutions worldwide. Published by the British Library.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • JSTOR Current Collection
    In addition to being an archive, JSTOR offers current access to a range of titles from various publishers. UNB has access to current and archival content for almost 50 of these journals.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Other textual databases, bibliographic databases and citation indexers for English literature and related fields include:

English Poetry Database, licensed resource

British Fiction, 1800–1829: A Database of Production, Circulation, and Reception, Cardiff University, public access

Literary Index, Gale, public access

JSTOR, freely searchable and offers some free access to selected material. Search and then choose "Content I can access"

FictionMags Index, edited by William G. Contento and Phil Stephensen-Payne, public access


There is also a wide variety of individual periodical titles available to UNB/STU users. You can locate these by searching UNB WorldCat or through the UNB Libraries' Journals & Newspapers list. These include:

English Literature in Transition, licensed resource

English Literary Renaissance, licensed access

Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, licensed resource

Year's Work in English Studies, licensed resource


Some periodicals may be publicly accessible via the internet, including:

The Albatross, public access

Ambit, significant full-text, public access

Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies, public access

Blackbird an online journal of literature and the arts, public access

The Bottle Imp, public access

Canadian Poetry, public access

CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, public access

Contrary Magazine, public access

Danforth Review, public access

Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, public access

Digital Defoe: Studies in Defoe & His Contemporaries, public access

Early Modern Literary Studies, public access

English Language and Literature Studies, public access

Qwerte, a literary zine from the University of New Brunswick, public access

Studies in Bibliography, public access

Utne Reader, select public access

Victorian Network, public access


Internet / Multimedia


Collective Resources

Literature, British Council

Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature

Nineteenth-century Scholarship Online

Discoving Literature: Romantics and Victorians, British Library

Romantic Circles, University of Maryland

Middles English Text Series, University of Rochester

Old English Literature: A Hypertext Course Pack, Oxford

Oklahoma Center for the Book, Oklahoma Department of Libraries

Pennsylvannia Center for the Book, PennState


Associations, Organizations ...

Alliance of Literary Societies

British Association for Modernist Studies

British Association for Romantic Studies

British Comparative Literature Association

Children's Literature Association

Modern Language Association

PEN American Center

SHARP, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing


Authors / Works

Naropa Poetics Audio Archives, the "Beats" and more, Internet Archive

Poetry Archive

Australian Poetry Library

Early Stuart Libels, "early seventeenth-century political poetry"

Wired for Books, Ohio University, WOUB Online

From Stage to Page: Medieval and Renaissance Drama, Gerard NeCastro, University of Maine, Machias

William Blake Archive

Cornell Wordsworth Collection

Touchstone Database, UK Shakespeare collections, University of Birmingham

Internet Shakespeare Editions, University of Victoria


Citing / Writing

Citations are a natural by-product of a good literature or bibliographic search -- they come from the results your search produces. They may be found, collectively, in bibliographic databases and citation indexes. They may be derived from statistical databases and other data collections. They may make reference to individual books, periodicals (journals, magazines and newspapers), working papers, and technical reports. They may be gathered from compilations such as bibliographies or appear in lists of works cited and references. Citations may also be produced in reference to material you read or heard, to images you discover, and to all kinds of electronic files which are displayed, read, played, or otherwise accessed.

To structure citations appropriately it helps to have a good guide. There are several standard guides from which you may choose. In university, choosing the "best" one will depend on the requirements of the assignment, the nature of the contents and the preferences of the individual professor. Some guides emphasize a particular discipline, some are cross-discipline and some may emphasize a particular form of material.


Style Guides

Chicago Manual of Style, HWK-REF Z253 .U7 2010

MLA handbook, HWK-REF LB2369 .G52 2016

MLA Formatting and Style Guide, Purdue, public access

APA Style Guide to Electronic References, 2012 edition, licensed resource

APA Style, American Psychological Association, public access


Citation Management Software

Zotero, public access

UNB Libraries' Guide to Zotero