English, Eighteenth-Century 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 English Literature. For other databases, check the Indexes and Abstracts 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.

Additional Resources

  • Academic Search Premier
    Academic Search Premier is a multidisciplinary resource that "provides journal coverage for most academic areas of studies."
    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.
  • 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.

You can view a list of electronic journals that cover topics related to the eighteenth century here.

Reference Sources

Please note that some of the resources in this guide also cover the period known as the English Restoration, which began in 1660.

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 English literature of the eighteenth century. To find additional reference materials, check Quest (the library catalogue) or our Reference Materials database.

Key Resources

  • Victorian literature handbook, The [HIL-REF PR463 .V533 2008]

    The Victorian Literature Handbook is an accessible and comprehensive introduction to literature and culture in the Victorian period. It provides a one-stop resource for literature students from introducing the historical and cultural context to key authors, texts and genres. It includes case studies for reading literary and critical texts, a guide to key critical concepts, introductions to key critical approaches, and a timeline of literary and cultural events. Essays on changes in the canon, interdisciplinary research and current and future directions in the field lead into more advanced topics and guided further reading enables further independent work. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Companion to the eighteenth-century English novel and culture, A
    see also [HIL-REF PR851 .C57 2005]

    A Companion to the Eighteenth-Century English Novel and Culture provides an up-to-date resource for the study of this subject, foregrounding those topics of most historical and political relevance to the twenty-first century. It considers not only the canonicl literature of the period, but also the noncanonical literature, and the contexts in which the eighteenth-century novel was produced.

  • Eighteenth-century British literary biographers [HIL-REF PN41 .D5 vol.142]

    The 21 British literary figures selected for this volume were chosen because their biographical works significantly influenced the emergence of literary biography as an established genre. Each entry includes a likeness of the author and a bibliography of his or her publications, including but not limited to literary biographies. Signed articles present a critical view of the biographical works and their standing within the genre during this period of its development. Articles vary in length from six to 46 pages and include references to primary and secondary sources for each subject. The only omission this reviewer questions is that of Thomas Birch, who, according to John Butt (The Oxford History of English Literature, v.8, CH, Dec'79), contributed more to British biography than anyone else. Completing the text are Donald W. Nichol's reviews of two major works, Biographia Britannica (1746-66) and Theophilus Civver's The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753). There is no subject index; however, serious students will appreciate the impressive "Checklist of Further Readings." Recommended for all libraries that support literary research. From: Syndetics Solutions, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Eighteenth-century British poets : First series [HIL-REF PN41 .D5 vol.95]

    Essays on the works and lives of 25 poets who wrote and published in the 18th century, some famous and familiar (Defoe, Gay, Johnson, Pope, Prior), some less known, and some (women) only recently recovered thanks to the impetus of feminist criticism and the new social history.

  • Eighteenth-century British poets. Second series [HIL-REF PN41 .D5 vol.109]
  • Restoration and eighteenth-century dramatists. First series [HIL-REF PN41 .D5 vol.80]
    Profiles eighteen playwrights born between 1621 and 1666, presenting primary and secondary bibliographies and illustrated biographical essays that chronicle each writer's career in detail.
  • Restoration and eighteenth-century dramatists. Second series [HIL-REF PN41 .D5 vol.84]
    Contains alphabetically arranged entries that provide career biographies of eighteen distinguished writers of the eighteenth century; each with a list of principal works and a bibliography.
  • Restoration and eighteenth-century dramatists. Third series [HIL-REF PN41 .D5 vol.89]
    Contains alphabetically arranged entries that provide career biographies of eighteen distinguished writers of the eighteenth century; each with a list of principal works and a bibliography.
  • 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.
  • International directory of eighteenth-century studies [HIL-REF D2 .I61 1995]

    Directories from 1991 and 1995 are held.

  • Eighteenth century : guide to the microfilm collection, The [HILREF PR441 .E474 1984 Index vols. 1-7]

    British Library. Eighteenth century short title catalogue.

Find Books

To search for books at UNB Libraries, first use the library's online catalogue, Quest. Quest contains materials held at the Harriet Irving, Science and Forestry, Engineering, and Law libraries, as well as the Ward Chipman Library in Saint John. Course reserves are also available via Quest's Reserve Desk.

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.

  • Backgrounds to restoration and eighteenth-century English literature : an annotated bibliographical guide to modern scholarship
    HIL-REF PR441 .B3 1989
  • The eighteenth-century British novel and its background : an annotated bibliography and guide to topics
    HIL-REF PR851 .H33 1985
  • Eighteenth-century English literary studies : a bibliography
    HIL-REF PR441 .G496
  • The eighteenth-century Gothic novel : an annotated bibliography of criticism and selected texts
    HIL-REF PR858 .T3 M35

Additional bibliographies can be found through Quest, the library catalogue.

Books and other materials not available at UNB may be available for loan from another institution through our document delivery service. To search for materials not held by UNB Libraries, try World Cat or select from our list of other library catalogues. See the document delivery page for electronic request forms and more details.

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 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.

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

Primary Sources

These primary sources are documents such as letters, poems, or books that are from (rather than about) the eighteenth century. Using primary sources can help you learn more about the author(s) you are researching and/or develop a historical context for your literary analysis.

Key Resources

  • Past Masters (Intelex)
    InteLex Past Masters is comprised of 100+ full-text humanities and sciences databases that make available cohesive collections of editions, in both original language and in English translation, of seminal figures in the humanities and sciences.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)
    A comprehensive digital edition of The Eighteenth Century microfilm set, which has aimed to include every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom, along with thousands of important works from the Americas, between 1701 and 1800. Consists of books, pamphlets, broadsides, ephemera. Subject categories include history and geography; fine arts and social sciences; medicine, science, and technology; literature and language; religion and philosophy; law; general reference. Also included are significant collections of women writers of the eighteenth century, collections on the French Revolution, and numerous eighteenth-century editions of the works of Shakespeare. Where they add scholarly value or contain important differences, multiple editions of each individual work are offered. Allows searching Early English Books Online as an option.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Eighteenth Century Journals (Adam Matthew Digital)
    Portal to newspapers and periodicals c1685-1815 offers integrated access to the Hope Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Eighteenth Century Journals I) and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center University of Texas (Eighteenth Century Journals II). It brings together rare journals printed between c1685 and 1815, illuminating all aspects of eighteenth-century social, political and literary life. Topics include: the writings of Sir Isaac Newton; the French Revolution; reviews of literature, the theater, and fashion throughout Europe; the origins and rise of Romanticism; political debates; gender, religion, influence of the press, and coffee house gossip and discussion.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • English Poetry Database
    The English Poetry Database "contains poems in English from Anglo-Saxon times to the end of the nineteenth century by writers from the British Isles. The database covers the works of 1,257 named poets and many items by different anonymous hands."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries
    British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries spans more than 400 years of personal writings, bringing together the voices of women from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. This database allows researchers to view history in the context of women’s thoughts – their struggles, achievements, passions, pursuits, and desires.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

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