Detroit: Gale Group, 1998–. An online portal to a number of literature resources including the text of Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Twayne’s Authors Series, Scribner Writers Series, and the full text of other reference works. Many libraries have some of the contents of this database in print form (see Reference Books in Literature, p. 41, for descriptions).
New York: Modern Language Association, 1921–. The most important ongoing index of scholarship in literature and linguistics. Includes citations to books, book chapters, articles, and dissertations in all languages on literature, linguistics, folklore, and some film criticism. It covers literary criticism in depth; book reviews and articles appearing in popular magazines are not included.
http://ipl.org/div/litcrit. A collection of links to literary criticism and biographical information available on the Web, organized by author, title, nationality, and period.
http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca. A site that offers a search engine for Shakespeare’s plays and poems as well as information about his life and times, critical studies, and performance history.
4 vols. New York: Scribner, 1979–87. With supplements. Offers essays analyzing the life and work of major American writers, arranged chronologically with an alphabetical index. Scribner publishes a similar series for British, Latin American, and European writers. These works are also available in electronic format as part of the Literature Resource Center (see Databases and Indexes in Literature, p. 40).
By Claire Buck. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, 1992. A thorough compendium of information on women’s literature from around the world, from early times to the present. This text provides concise and informative articles and includes lengthy regional surveys. Its coverage of non-Western women writers is particularly useful.
By Chris Baldick. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Defines and briefly discusses terms used in current critical theory. Notable for its clear and succinct language, this dictionary is also available in electronic format.
Detroit: Gale Group, 1962–. 275 vols. to date. A long-running series that offers profiles of modern authors, including some whose work is not strictly literary. To locate author profiles, consult the most recent index. This work is available online as a separate database or as part of the Literature Resource Center (see Databases and Indexes in Literature, p. 40).
Detroit: Gale Group, 1973–. 264 vols. to date. A series that offers background on contemporary authors, with excerpts from critical essays and reviews. Citations for original sources are included. Consult the most recent cumulative index, which includes cross-references to other Gale biographical series. This series provides a quick sense of how a writer’s work has been received. Available online as Contemporary Literary Criticism Select or as part of the Literature Resource Center (see Databases and Indexes in Literature, p. 40).
(DLB). Detroit: Gale Group, 1978–. 352 vols. to date. A series that offers lengthy biographies of authors with criticism of their works. Volumes are arranged thematically. To find an author, consult the index in the most recent volume. Though the DLB emphasizes American and British literary authors, it offers substantial coverage of writers from other countries and of journalists and historians. This work is available online as part of the Literature Resource Center (see Databases and Indexes in Literature, p. 40).
Ed. Matthias Konzett. 2 vols. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000. Covers authors and topics such as literary movements.
Ed. Steven R. Serafin. 3rd ed. 4 vols. Farmington Hills: St. James, 1999. Covers twentieth-century authors and movements and provides lengthy surveys of the modern literature of different countries.
Ed. Anthony Levi. 2 vols. Chicago: St. James, 1992. Includes biographical information as well as entries on movements and themes, covering Francophone Africa, the Caribbean, and France.
By James L. Harner. 5th ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 2008. A guide to tools and methods of literary scholarship, emphasizing English literature; includes annotated lists of reference sources.
Ed. Margaret Drabble. 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Brief descriptions of writers, literary works, schools and movements, and places of literary significance, arranged alphabetically. A number of Oxford Companions cover other national literatures and genres.
(OED). Ed. J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. 2nd ed. 20 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1989. Includes supplements. An invaluable source for understanding the meanings of words and their changing definitions, the OED provides chronological examples showing how a word has been used throughout history. It is unequaled in its depth of coverage.