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English, American 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

  • 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.
  • Bibliography of Native North Americans
    The Bibliography of Native North Americans contains citations to literature about native peoples of North America published from the sixteenth century to the present.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • America: History and Life (EBSCO)
    "America: History & Life is the definitive index of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. With indexing for 1,700 journals from 1964 to present ... The database also includes citations and links to book and media reviews."--Database information page.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

You can view a list of e-Journals on various topics related to American Literature here.

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 American Literature. To find additional reference materials, check Quest (the library catalogue) or our Reference Materials database.

Key Resources

  • Literary research and the era of American nationalism and romanticism : strategies and sources [HIL-REF PS217 .R6 C68 2008]

    Literary Research and the Era of American Nationalism and Romanticism: Strategies and Sources examines literary and affiliated resources dealing with literature produced in the early years of American nationhood. Approximately seventy years of antebellum American literature are covered, beginning at the close of colonial rule and ending with the onset of the Civil War. The volume provides best-practice suggestions and discusses how to take advantage of a wide selection of primary text resources in a variety of formats-bibliographies, indexes, research guides, archives, special collections, microforms, and digital files-for literary research projects. Appropriately, the text encourages efficient and effective use of electronic resources based on their bibliographic predecessors. Book jacket. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Literary research and the American modernist era : strategies and sources [HIL-REF PS228 .M63 M38 2008]

    Librarians Matuozzi and Lindsay (both Washington State U.) introduce scholars and researchers to contemporary library resources and practices for researching American modernist writing. The reference is designed to enable researchers to improve their information skills and fluency in the real or virtual library, even if they do not have access to some of the resources described. Annotation #169;2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Facts on File companion to American poetry, The [HIL-REF PS323.5 .F33 2008 vols. 1-2]

    Huff (The Revolutionary War Era), Burt Kimmelman (English, New Jersey Inst. of Technology), and poet Temple Cone (Considerations of Earth and Sky) have compiled a current and comprehensive reference source on American poetry that features over 1100 entries ranging in length from 500 to more than 3500 words. Volume 1, with entries written by Huff, covers poems and poets from the early Colonial era to the 19th century. Volume 2, a revised and updated edition of The Facts On File Companion to 20th-Century American Poetry (2005), is edited by Kimmelman and Cone and written by over 260 contributors; it reflects the diverse poetic schools and movements of a more complex and dynamic literary epoch. Volume 1 includes members of the literary pantheon such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson and represents literary schools ranging from Quaker poetry to poetry in translation. Poetry aficionados at the cusp of adulthood will appreciate Volume 2 more: it includes the pathos of Sylvia Plath's poetry, the Roman Catholic/Buddhist-influenced Beat works of Jack Kerouac, plus the imagist school, objectivist poetry, and the New York school. The literary method used in both volumes follows the new criticism school of the mid-20th century, a pedagogical style in keeping with current high school and first-year university teaching of English literature. In Volume 1, biographical entries are accompanied by bibliographies, though this literary aid is not available for literary works, whereas bibliographies are available for all entries in Volume 2. BOTTOM LINE Stylistic inconsistencies between the two volumes do not mar the set's overall value. Although written by scholars, it is recommended not just for high school, junior, and community college libraries but also for public libraries. [Available only in print.] Kam W. Teo, Weyburn P.L., Saskatchewan, Canada Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information

  • A to Z of American women writers [HIL-REF PS147 .K67 2007]

    "Whether as poets, essayists, biographers, or editors, American women have had a long and important history as writers. Through writing, countless American women have told their own stories, the stories of others, or created other worlds." "A to Z of American Women Writers, Revised Edition profiles 186 American women whose words have had an impact in the literary world and society in general. Among the profiles included are those of journalists, literary wordsmiths and critics, memoirists, and numerous other types of writers. In these pages are the stories ofwomen from a wide array of cultures and generations who share a love of writing. These women are also united by the unique challenges facing women writers-some having to opt for masculine pen names in order to be published." "This thoroughly revised book now updates the story of each individual to the present day and contains 36 new profiles." "This book is essential for anyone interested in women's studies and literature. It includes an updated bibliography; three subject indexes that list writers by literary genre, subject matter and style, and year of birth; a comprehensive index; and more than 60 photographs that enhance the text throughout the book by depicting the remarkable women profiled."--BOOK JACKET. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Greenwood encyclopedia of African American literature, The [HIL-REF PS153 .N5 G73 2005 vol. 1-5]

    Gwendolyn Bennett was a poet and writer of short stories, and although she never published a book of either she kept the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance alive. Anne Spencer worked on her poetry 16 years before she was discovered and published, but it took almost no time before actor and writer Paul Robeson was discovered to be a socialist and reviled. In hundreds of objective and accessible entries, high school students, undergraduates and general readers can get the basics on the issues, events and people of African American literature. Contributors describe how writers, filmmakers and commentators reacted to social and political events, a unique approach that helps to define contexts. Writers, journalists, and editors are joined by others generally ignored in the literary world, including publishers, writers' collectives, niche journals, advocacy groups and marketeers. Entries include impressive lists of resources. Annotation #169;2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance [HIL-REF PS153 .N5 A24 2003]

    This alphabetical reference contains approximately 370 entries covering the emergence of new ideas in political thought, civil rights, racial pride, and the arts during New York City's Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and 1930s. Ranging from several paragraphs to several pages in length, the cross-referenced entries include people, places, and institutions such as Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Louis Armstrong, Apollo Theatre, Gwendolyn Brooks, Abyssinian Baptist Church, Regina Andrews, and Marcus Garvey. The reference includes a chronology, a glossary of slang, maps, and some 100 black and white photographs. Aberjhani and West are both experienced writers and editors who have published nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Cambridge companion to Native American literature, The [HIL-REF PS153 .I52 C36 2005]

    The Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature provides an informative and wide-ranging overview of a relatively new field of literary-cultural studies, covering literature written and narrated in English by American Indians in many genres from the 1770s to present day. In addition to the seventeen chapters written by respected experts - Native and non-Native, American, British, and European scholars - the Companion includes bio-bibliographies of forty authors, maps, suggestions for further reading, and a timeline which details major works of Native American literature and mainstream American literature, as well as significant social, cultural, and historical events. Book jacket. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Greenwood encyclopedia of Latino literature, The [HIL-REF PS153 .H56 G74 2008 vols. 1-3]

    This three-volume encyclopedia of Latino literature is a result of a project initiated by the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage organization, and covers a wide range of works from the colonial era to around 1960, with cultural repercussions and observations reaching well into the 21st century. Editor Kanellos (U. of Houston) has brought together entries that include more than just biographical information on hundreds of noteworthy Latino authors. Important themes and topics in Hispanic art and culture are also explored in depth, such as Latino perspectives of life during wartime, aesthetic concepts in Latino literature and even how references to the Virgin of Guadalupe seem to permeate so many different Latin cultures. Contributors from throughout Latin America and the United States also comment upon the influences of different countries such as Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico, and how these cultural foundations affect life in America. Students of Latin American literature and culture will find these volumes to be a comprehensive and valuable reference. Annotation #169;2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Through the pale door: a guide to and through the American gothic [HIL-REF PS374 .G68 F72 1990]

    Bibliographical guide to the primary sources and central texts of American Gothic literature, examining around 200 writers working in the period 1798-1982. The book includes an historical introduction, explaining and emphasizing what made it different from the British model form.

  • Beats : a literary reference, The [HIL-REF PS228 .B6 B42 2003]
  • American writers in Paris, 1920-1939 [HIL-REF PN41 .D5 vol. 4]

    Paragraph and heading tags not suitable here. Hyperlinks, bold, italic, colour are acceptable.

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.

Here are some bibliographies that you may find useful:

  • Bibliographical guide to the study of the literature of the U.S.A.
    PS88 .G64 1984
  • Bibliography of American literature: a selective index
    PS88 .W56 1995
  • Folklore and literature in the United States: an annotated bibliography of studies of folklore in American literature
    PS169 .F64 J66
  • Contemporary Native American literature : a selected & partially annotated bibliography
    PS153 .I52 J32
  • American Indian novelists: an annotated critical bibliography
    PS153 .I52 C64
  • African-American literature: overview and bibliography
    PS153 .N5 A27 2003
  • A sourcebook for Hispanic literature and language : a selected, annotated guide to Spanish, Spanish-American, and Chicano bibliography, literature, linguistics, journals, and other source materials
    PC4071 .B53 1983
  • Nineteenth-century American women writers: a bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook
    PS217 .W64 N56 1997

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.

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