Canadian Literature Guide

Overview / News


Welcome to UNB Libraries' (Saint John) Guide to Canadian 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 Canadian 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 Canadian Literature, you might also wish to explore:

UNB Libraries' (Saint John) Guide to English Literature


News and Views

Quill and Quire

BookNet Canada

Books and Media, Globe and Mail

Books, National Post

CBC Books

Books, Global News


Reference / Statistics

In addition to the suggestions below, more reference resources for the field of Canadian literature can be found by checking the UNB Libraries' Guide to English Literature, 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

Canadian Poetry Online, University of Toronto Library, public access

Dictionary of Canadian Biography, public access

Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Collection of Canadiana, finding aid, Mount Allison University, public access

New Brunswick bibliography : the books and writers of the province, W. G. MacFarlane, public access

New Brunswick Author Portal, New Brunswick Public Library Service, public access

Peel's bibliography of the Canadian prairies to 1953, licensed resource


Dictionaries, Glossaries, ...

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

Dictionary of Newfoundland English, public access

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



Author, Illustrator and Storyteller Directory, Canadian Children's Book Centre, public access


Encyclopedias, Compendia, and Guides

Cambridge History of Canadian Literature, licensed resource

Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature, licensed resource

New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia, St. Thomas University, public access

The feminine gaze: a Canadian compendium of non-fiction women authors and their books, 1836-1945, licensed resource

Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia, public access


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

Literary Index, Gale, public access


Maps, Atlases, ...

Canada: A Literary Tour, archived site, Library and Archives Canada, public access

Literary Map of BC Authors and their Books, public access

Toronto in Literature: Book Lists by Neighbourhood, Toronto Public Library, public access


Statistics, Data, Data Sets ...

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

Book Industry Profile, Ontario Media Development Corporation, public access


Books / Books-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

MPub Project Reports, SFU


Article / Research Databases

For those interested in Canadian 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

  • Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA) Complete (ProQuest)
    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.
    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.
  • Dissertations & Theses (ProQuest PQDT: formerly Digital Dissertations)
    ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (formerly Digital Dissertations) "is the single, authoritative source for information about doctoral dissertations and master's theses. The database represents the work of authors from over 1,000 graduate schools and universities."
    All PhD dissertations and Master's theses from depositing universities are available from 1997 onwards, unless the document's author has requested a temporary delay.
    It is also possible to search within an interface exclusive to Dissertations & Theses @ University of New Brunswick.

    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Other bibliographic databases and citation indexers for Canadian literature and related fields include:

Canadian Book Review Annual Online, public access

Books in Canada, back issues, [1971-2006], public access

History Book Bank, Canadian historical fiction / non-fiction, Canadian Children's Book Centre, 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"


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. They include:

Antigonish Review, licensed resource

Canadian Literature / Littérature canadienne: a quarterly of criticism and review, licensed resource

Literary Review of Canada, licensed resource

Queens Quarterly, licensed resource

Studies in Canadian Literature, licensed resource


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

Canadian Bookman, [1909-1923], public access

Canadian Poetry, public access

CanLit, select public access

The Goblin, [1921-1929], public access

Hazlitt, Penguin Random House, public access

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

Studies in Bibliography, public access


Internet / Multimedia

Collective Resources

Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory

Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing, McMaster

Early Canadiana Online

Canadian Children's Book Centre

CBC Books, podcasts and programs, CBC Radio


Associations, Organizations, Societies ...

Book and Periodical Council

Canadian Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies

Canadian Authors Association

Canadian Comparative Literature Association

Canadian Council for the Arts

Canadian Publisher's Council

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts

Crime Writers of Canada

Writers Guild of Canada

Writers' Trust of Canada

Writers' Union of Canada


Authors / Works

A Celebration of Women Writers: Writers from Canada

Women Writers of Early Canada, University of New Brunswick

Rufus Hathaway Collection of Canadian Literature, University of New Brunswick

Bliss Carman, full-text works, Hathi

Juliana Horatia Ewing, full-text works, Hathi

Stephen Leacock, full-text works,

W.O. Mitchell, University of Calgary

L.M. Montgomery Institute, UPEI

Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill, archived site, Library and Archives Canada

Theodore Goodridge Roberts, full-text works,


Awards and Prizes

Awards, Canadian Authors Association

CBC Literary Prizes

Arthur Ellis Awards, Crime Writers of Canada

Governor General's Literary Awards

RBC Taylor Prize

Scotiabank Giller Prize

East Coast Literary Awards, Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia

Awards, Writers' Trust of Canada



Canadian Poetry Audio Archives, Library and Archives Canada

Atlantic Canadian Poets' Archive, St Thomas University

Canadian Poetry Database, Electronic Text Centre, University of New Brunswick Libraries, licensed resource

Canadian Poetry, University of Western Ontario

Canadian Poetry Archives, Library and Archives, Canada

Representative Poetry Online, University of Toronto


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


More Information