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Last Updated: Aug 8, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Writing Tools

Annotated Bibliographies
See Purdue's excellent guide to creating annotated bibliographies: lists of scholarly sources with brief descriptions.

Avoiding Plagiarism
Learn how to recognize and avoid plagiarism with Purdue's helpful guide.


Style Guides

MLA: Documenting Sources
Learn how to create MLA in-text citations and a list of works cited with this online guide.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Call Number: Reference LB2369 .G53 2009


Writing Tools

Annotated Bibliographies
See Purdue's excellent guide to creating annotated bibliographies: lists of scholarly sources with brief descriptions.

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Writing Literature Reviews - Galvan, Jose L.
Call Number: Reference H61.8 .G3 2006


These are the best databases for finding articles and more on Literature topics.

  • Academic Search Premier
    Find scholarly and popular articles about general literature topics or individual authors and works. In advanced search, you can change the Document Type to what you need, including Literary Criticism, Book Review, Poetry Review, and more.
  • MLA International Bibliography
    Search here for scholarly criticism and discussion of all genres of literature and film, including authors, their works, and important themes. For best results, pay close attention to the captions where you enter your search terms; see the Help page for tips.
  • Films on Demand
    Stream educational films about American literature, British and Irish Literature, world literature, and more. Click "Humanities and Social Sciences" then scroll to see the English and Language Arts categories.
  • Find It!
    No full text? Click "Find It" by the article to get it elsewhere, or to order it (learn more).


Explore Literature topics using the books below. Doing a close reading and analysis? The first four books can be especially helpful.

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Oxford English Dictionary - Oxford University Press
Use it online!
Need to know what a word meant when the author used it in the 1600s? Use the OED to find the origin of words with examples throughout history, obscure meanings, derivatives, and obsolete uses.

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The Longman Dictionary of Literary Terms: Vocabulary for the Informed Reader - Kennedy, X.J., et al.
Call Number: Reference PN44.5 .K46 2006
This dictionary has clear and concise definitions of literary terms.

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A Dictionary of Literary Symbols - Ferber, Michael
Call Number: Reference PN56.S9 F47 2007
Find descriptions and meanings of literary symbols with references to a variety of sources, including the Bible, Greek and Roman classics, and Shakespeare.

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A Glossary of Contemporary Literary Theory - Hawthorn, Jeremy
Call Number: Reference PN44.5 .H37 2000
Find short descriptions of both common and obscure literary theory terms with references to theorists and their work for further reading.

Contemporary Literary Criticism
Call Number: PN 771 C59 vols. 1-194, 1973-2005
Look here for critical essays on literature and biographies of authors currently living or who died after January 1, 2000.

Contemporary Authors
Call Number: Z 1224 C6 vols. 1-225, 1962-2004

Contemporary Authors (New Revision Series)
Call Number: Z 1224 C62 vols. 1-130, 1962-2005
In these two series, find detailed biographical information, lists of works, and citations for further readings about modern authors, including those active prior to 1960. Ask a librarian how to use the index.

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Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory - Herman, David; Jahn, Manfred; Ryan, Marie-Laure
Call Number: Reference PN212 .R68 2005
Learn about the core concepts and terms of narrative theory, including theoretical approaches and topics by genre with references for further reading.

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Encyclopedia of Literature and Criticism - Coyle, Martin
Use it online! (1990)
Explore literature topics through essays covering history, theory, criticism, poetry, drama, the novel, and much more. Entries include suggestions for further reading.

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Arts & Humanities through the Eras - Thomson Gale
Call Number: Reference NX440 .A787 2005 v. 1–5
Look here for overviews of literature and writers throughout antiquity, including prose, poetry, drama, speeches, and more.
v. 1: Ancient Egypt, p. 111
v. 2: Ancient Greece and Rome, p. 117
v. 3: Medieval Europe, p. 143
v. 4: Renaissance Europe, p. 117
v. 5: Age of the Baroque and Enlightenment, p. 149

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Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst Nightmares - Joshi, S.T.
Call Number: Reference PN56.H6 I26 2007 v. 1–2
Find in-depth essays about recurring horror figures and themes (vampires, zombies, haunted houses, etc.) in fiction and film, with discussions of their origins and lasting influence in popular culture.

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Encyclopedia of Literary Modernism - Poplawski, Paul
Call Number: Reference PN56.M54 E53 2003
Focusing on the 1890–1939 period, this work has entries on key authors, works, movements, theories, places, and events associated with literary modernism.

Web Resources

  • Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism (OWL at Purdue University)
    Find quick overviews of literary theories (formalism, structuralism, etc.), including notable theorists, further readings, and questions to ask when critiquing a work. Though not a scholarly source (i.e., you shouldn't cite it), it is great for background information.
  • Voice of the Shutte – Literature
    Look here for links on literature topics and authors, from medieval times and the Renaissance to the Romantics, Victorians, Modernists, and more.
  • NINES – Nineteenth Century Scholarship Online
    Find peer-reviewed articles, bibliographies, and more related to the long 19th century, both British and American. You can search by keyword or tags.
  • Romantic Circles
    Co-managed by former Augsburg English major Dave Rettenmaier, this peer-reviewed, scholarly website contains resources for the study of Romantic literature and culture.
  • Poetry Foundation
    Find poet biographies and selected poems. Use the poetry tool to search by first line, category, the poet's location, and more. The glossary is also great for poetry terms, including forms, types, rhythm and meter, schools, periods, techniques, theory, and criticism.

New Literature Titles

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Created by Meg Holle Fall 2009.


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