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Literary Research: Start with Reference Sources

This guide is to help you to get started researching literature-related topics using Library resources and services.

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Reference works can help you refine your topic and discover other resources. They are incredibly useful for gaining background knowledge and for building bibliographies.

These sources form a selected list; the library has many more, both in print and online. Choose from a category that fits your topic.

All of the books listed in this section can be found in the library's reference stacks, located on the Main Level of the building.


Online Reference Sources

General and Comprehensive Sources

Use these sources to find information on people (writers and characters), themes, and literary terms and movements. You'll find definitions, biographies, and lists of books, articles, and web resources for different topics.

Groups of Authors

If you're looking for information on an author who falls into a specific group, these sources may have more in-depth information, as well as lists of sources for further reading.

Genre-Specific Sources

Use these sources to find literary criticism and historical context for specific works. If you are writing a paper about a specific novel, essay, poem, play, or short story, start here.

Eras and Geographies

These sources may have more in-depth information on authors and works from certain eras (like the Renaissance) or places (like Latin America).