Finding Biographical Information
The following databases are good places to look for biographical information about a given playwright:
Includes more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, 131 full-text literature journals, and other key criticism and reference resources. Includes reference works on literary criticism and biographical information. Go directly to Literature Online - poetry texts, Literature Online - drama texts, Literature Online - prose texts, Literature Online - search authors or Literature Online - Criticism and Reference
Literature Resource Center (LRC)
Indexes biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of more than 120,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, and other writers by providing access to content of numerous print counterparts including Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select, and Dictionary of Literary Biography.
North American Theatre Online
More than 40,000 pages of critical, in-copyright reference works about authors, plays, theatres, productions, production companies, casts and related information covering the world of theatre from colonial times to the present. This collection includes Black Drama, Twentieth Century North American Drama, and North American Indian Drama
Biography Reference Bank
Contains biographical information on approximately 500,000 individuals from antiquity to the present. Contains the full text of well-known biographical resources like Current Biography, the World Authors Series, Nobel Prize Winners, World Artists, World Film Directors and many other sources.
American National Biography
Biographical portraits of more than 17,400 American men and women.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Includes more than 50,000 biographies of individuals who shaped the history of Great Britain and beyond, from the 4th century BCE to the 2000's.
Finding Biographical and Background Info in OskiCat
OskiCat lets you know what books are available in the UC Berkeley Libraries. OskiCat does NOT index articles, but it's a good way to find out what books we have and which magazines and journals the Library subscribes to. To see if any books have been written about the playwright you're researching, try using their name as a subject (last name first).
From the Quick Search screen, choose the "Subject begins with..." option from the pulldown menu, then enter your playwright's name (e.g., chin, frank). This will let you find books ABOUT Frank Chin. To find books both by and about Frank Chin, enter his name in the Keyword (default) search box. Either frank chin or chin, frank wil work in Keyword search.
To find books that discuss and critique a given playwright's works, use the Keyword search. Enter the playwright's name plus the words criticism and interpretation, like this: amiri baraka criticism and interpretation.
To find books about a specific play, just type the play's title into the Keyword search box. You may need to include the author's name if the title is a very common word, e.g. fences august wilson.