English and American Literature

Contact Your Librarian

  • Michaelyn Burnette
  • picture of books and computer

  • Office Hours: by appointment
  • Office Location: 438 Doe Library
  • Contact Info:

    510 664-9822

Key Indexes

Got a lot of research to do?  Need 10+ citations for your bibliography?  These are the in-depth resources for you to use to find the articles, books, and dissertations you'll need.  A word of caution: you must use library catalogs such as Oski for the best coverage of books.  As always, if you are a Berkeley student and need help, contact me or someone at a reference desk or sign up for the Research Advisory Service or use chat reference.  We're here to help.

Additional Indexes


Dissertations and Theses (Dissertation Abstracts)   Indexes graduate dissertations from over 1,000 North American and selected European schools. Dissertations published since 1980 and master's theses since 1988 include brief abstracts written by the authors. Full text for most dissertations added since 1997.

Dissertations and Theses (University of California)   Full-text access to University of California dissertations filed since 1996 and citations for those filed prior to 1996.


Whether looking for historical context, interviews, reviews or biographical information, the careful researcher ignores newspapers at his/her peril.  News resources are especially helpful for finding information about contemporary authors and playwrights who are not yet the subjects of scholarly attention.

Online Collections

Large-scale book scanning projects:

Google Book Search UC contributes to what may be the largest scan in history.

HathiTrust Contains millions of books scanned from UC and other major research libraries, including those digitized by Google and the Internet Archive. Full text is available for items not covered by copyright.  Records for Hathi are in Oski too. 

Internet Archive: Text Archive Working with an impressive list of participants, including the University of California, Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive are scanning public domain texts and making them freely available.  Includes audio and video resources.

Universal Library The Million Books Project is the first part of establishing the Universal Library, which aims to provide free access to all human knowledge. The MBP adheres to current U.S. copyright law so is concentrating on books in the public domain.

Books Online Good database with links to over a million electronic texts and journals. Can search by author, title, subject.

Bartleby Library A "national digital library" of various texts and reference works ranging from Leaves of Grass to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

Oxford Text Archive Simple and advanced search options. Be aware that some texts have access restrictions.

Project Gutenberg  A  pioneer in making texts freely available online.  Try the Anacleto search which searches Gutenberg for words and phrases.

Themed and/or targeted collections:

Literature Online (UCB only) Good source for English and American poetry, novels and drama, especially those out of copyright. Can be searched in a variety of ways, including for single words or phrases.

Archive of Americana (UCB only) A grouping of full-text books, pamphlets, newspapers and government publications. Titles include those listed in Early American Imprints, Series 1 (1639-1800), which is based on the American Bibliography by Charles Evans and covers every aspect of life in 17th- and 18th-century America. It also includes Early American Imprints, Series II (1801-1819), which is based on the Shaw/Shoemaker extension of Evans. The Archive also consists of Early American Newspapers, Series I (1690-1876), American State Papers, 1789-1838, and the U. S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1970.

Making of America (Cornell) and Making of America (Michigan) together contain over 10,000 monographs and thousands of journal articles published in the U.S. in the 19th century.

Dictionary of Old English/Old English Corpus (UCB only) A complete record of most surviving Old English texts.

Middle English Compendium (UCB only) The Middle English Compendium offers easy access to and interconnectivity with three major Middle English electronic resources: an electronic version of the Middle English Dictionary, a HyperBibliography of Middle English prose and verse, based on the MED bibliographies, and an associated network of electronic resources, including a large collection of Middle English texts. 

TEAMS Middle English Texts Series   TEAMS Middle English text series makes available texts which occupy an important place in the literary and cultural canon but which are not readily available in student editions.  Copyrighted.

Early English Books Online (EEBO) (UCB only) When finished, this collection will contain images of almost every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700. In essence, reproductions of the works listed in Pollard & Redgrave, Wing, and the Thomason Tracts.

Shakespeare Quartos Archive   Formed by a consortium of major research libraries, the Archive contains digital versions of 32 pre-1642 quartos of Hamlet.  Use in conjunction with The British Library's Shakespeare in Quarto, which has 107 quartos and allows comparision of different printings.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) (UCB only) When completed, this collection will contain images of almost every work printed in Great Britain or its colonies from 1701-1800.

18thConnect: Eighteenth Century Scholarship Online  A resouce for plain-text searching of open access and proprietary and digital archives, including EEBO and ECCO

Empire Online (UCB only) Primary texts relating to colonial and empire studies.

At the Circulating Library--A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837-1901    Lists nearly 7800 novels, including many from periodicals.  Can be browsed by author, title, publisher, year, and genre (just in case you need a quick list of deceased wife's sister novels), and groups.  Links to online versions of many texts.

Victorian Plays Project    Digitized selection of 350 plays published in T. H. Lacy's Acting Edition of plays.

NCSE: Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition  Online runs of six Victorian periodicals: Monthly Repository (1806-1837) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Northern Star (1838-1852), Leader (1850-1860),  English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Tomahawk (1867-1870) and Publishers’ Circular (1880-1890)

Yellowbacks  Emory University has digitized over 1200 of its yellowback novels, many by obscure authors. Most are free and can be downloaded as a PDF.  Finding and viewing are not intuitive: in the discoverE search box on the right side of the screen, type the word "yellowbacks" and click the search button.  On the next screen, under results on the left side of the screen, click " full text online." You can also refine the search by genre, topic and author. Click on the title of the yellowback you wish to read.  Scroll down under details, and at the second blue arrow, click "PDF version."

Westminster Detective Library: American Detective Fiction Prior to July 1891.   This project aims to identify, catalog, digitize, and post online all short detective fiction printed in US magazines and newspapers before 1891. So far the catalog holds more than 1000 titles, including British-authored pieces (some of which might have been pirated).


ebrary = ebooks

ebrary is our largest collection of full text ebooks, with 40,000 titles on a wide range of subjects. Find them in the UCB catalog, OskiCat (keyword: ebrary or limit to "Available Online"), or search the ebrary site directly:

Search ebrary


Getting started with ebrary


Encyclopedia of Caribbean literature.  Ed. D. H. Figueredo.  2 vols. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006. Doe Reference  PN849.C3.E53  2006

Encyclopedia of frontier literature.  Mary Ellen Snodgrass. Oxford, [U.K.]; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Doe and Bancroft Reference   PS169.F7.S65 1997

Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean literature, 1900-2003.  Eds. Daniel Balderston and Mike Gonzalez.  London; New York: Routledge, 2004. Doe Reference Hall  PQ7081.A1.E558 2004

Encyclopedia of literature and criticism.  Ed. Martin Coyle et al. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991.   e-book and Main PN81.E53 1991    

Encyclopedia of literature in Canada.  Ed. William H. New.  Toronto; Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press, 2002.  Doe Reference  PR9180.2.E53 2002

Encyclopedia of medieval literature.  Eds. Robert T. Lambdin and Laura C. Lambdin. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000. Doe Reference Hall  PN669.E53 2000

HarperCollins reader's encyclopedia of American literature. Eds. George B. Perkins, Barbara Perkins, and Phillip Leininger.  2nd ed.  New York: HarperCollins, 2002.  Doe Reference  PS21.B4 2002

The Oxford encyclopedia of American literature.  Chief ed. Jay Parini.  4 vols.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.    e-book   and  Doe Reference Hall  PS 21.E537 2004   

The Oxford encyclopedia of British literature. Ed. by David Scott Kastan.  5 vols. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.    e-book   and Doe Reference Hall  PR19.O95 2006   

South Asian literature in English: an encyclopedia. Jaina C. Sanga. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004. Doe Reference Hall  PR9570.S643.S67 2004


Oxford English Dictionary   (OED)  Entries contain definitions, etymologies, and quotations showing use over time.  

Dictionary of Old English    A complete record of over 3000 Old English texts (except for some manuscript variants).  We will soon have online access to the dictionary as well as the corpus.

Middle English Compendium  Contains an electronic version of the Middle English Dictionary, a HyperBibliography of Middle English prose and verse based on the MED bibliographies, the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse, and links to related electronic resources.

Ferber, Michael.  A Dictionary of Literary Symbols. 2nd ed.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.    Main PN56.S9.F47 2007      e-version of 1st ed., 1999

Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Ed. by Elizabeth Knowles.   2nd ed.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print available in Doe Reference Dictionaries  PN43.O94 2005


Other Databases

Literature Criticism Online    Quick way to trace reception and locate early reviews.

Literature Resource Center (LRC)    Biographical information and some selected criticism.

American National Biography   Reliable biographical information about thousands of famous people who have shaped the U.S.  The honor of being listed is counterbalanced by the necessity of being dead before inclusion.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB)     Reliable biographical information about nearly 60,000 people who shaped Great Britain.  Updated 3 times a year.  No living person need apply for inclusion.

Book Review Digest Retrospective: 1905-1982  & Book Review Digest Plus 1983-    Indexes and excerpts reviews of English-language fiction and non-fiction.

ArchiveGrid       Important tool for locating personal papers and the location of various archives.

Guide to Reference     Master listing of thousands of reference works.  Crucial tool for finding print and online reference sources.

British Council's Writers Directory    Information about contemporary writers, all of whom have to be from the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Commonwealth or be from a region worked with by the British Council.  Gives brief biography, bibliography of works, awards, and links to further information.


Additional materials, print and e-, that may prove useful in doing your research.

Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature  and Doe and Moffitt Reference PS21. E537 2004

Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism   Historical survey of movements and figures which is updated annually.

Harner, James L. Literary Research Guide: An Annotated Listing of Reference Sources in  English Literary Studies.  New York: Modern Language Assn., 2008.   5th ed.   Doe Ref Z2011.H34 2008    The bible for any kind of literary research.  Thorough descriptions and evaluations of resources with crucial information about contents.  Web version  is updated periodically but harder to browse. 

Harmon, William.  A Handbook to Literature.  10th ed.  Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006.  Doe Reference  PN 41.H355 2006

Abrams, M. H.  A Glossary of Literary Terms.  9th ed.  Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009. Doe Reference  PN 41.A183  2009

Library Catalogs

National Union Catalog, pre-1956 Imprints (NUC) Main Z733.U57.C22556     Catalog of holdings of many U. S. libraries, including the Library of Congress.  Useful for tracking editions.

Library of Congress Online Catalog   Does NOT include every title in the NUC but has the newer titles.

The British Library General Catalogue of Printed Books to 1975   Gardner Stack Z921 .B8542 1975

British Library     Advanced search (with search tips) for the British Library site.



Listings of subject-related associations, learned societies, or professional organizations.

Modern Language Association

Modern Humanities Research Association

Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing 



Australian Poetry Library     Tens of thousands of poems by Australian poets freely available. Gives biographical information.  Can look at poems grouped by type such as wedding or bereavement poems or by poetic form.

Naropa Poetics Archive
Over 5,000 hours of recordings of readings, lectures, performances, conferences and seminars held at Naropa University. Includes significant information about the Beats and avant-garde poetry from the United States.  Hosted by the Internet Archive.

PennSound   Wide selection of contemporary poetry reading and discussing poetry.

Poet Laureate's Site at the Library of Congress

Poetry Archive    Founded in 1999 by poet Andrew Motion and record producer Richard Carrington, this Web site streams recordings of English-language poets reading their own work; poets range from Robert Browning to the contemporary.   Can be search or browsed by poet, title, theme or form.

Poetry Foundation
Poetry, criticism, news, biographical information, podcasts, videos, recordings presented by the foundation that publishes Poetry.

Poetry International Web
Poems, essays, discussion, biographical information from poets around the world both in the original language and in English translation.  Many video clips of readings.

Poetry Portal
A gateway to all sorts of information about poetry such as explanations of poetry terms and concepts, events, publishing, competitions, book news.

Poetry Translation Centre
Translations of established poets from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Poetry Society of America
The PSA, founded in 1910, is the oldest poetry society in the U.S.  The Resources section features useful lists/links to poetry, events, contests, publishers, journals, and articles.

Founded in 1934, the Academy of American Poets works "to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry."  Their site is particularly rich and deserves careful exploration.  The Poets & Poetry section has links to information about poets, audio and video clips, podcasts, poems for all occasions, essays, and reading recommendations.  Also useful is the National Poetry Map with its listing of poets; poems; literary organizations, journals and presses; bookstores; readings and other poetry events.  The For Educators section has such helpful information as tips about which poems to teach, essays on the teaching of poetry and a discussion forum.

Silliman's Blog: a weblog focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Poet Ron Silliman's long running blog is filled with comments, film, and all sorts of information about contemporary poetry and poets.


Broad, subject-related sites and subject-specific search engines available without restriction on the Web.

Literatures in English (Library of Congress)
An extensive annotated guide to reference websites on literatures written in English including directories, full-text sites, criticism, prizes, poetry and drama and a separate listing of country-specific resources for the U. S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Literature Links, British Council
Many links to publishing, publishing, periodicals, poetry, prizes and other information.

Labyrinth Library
A good web resources for medievalists; it's the product of an international collaborative project.

NetSERF, the Internet Connection for Medieval Resources
Information about all areas of medieval life.

New Chaucer Society
The Society aims to "provide a forum for teachers and scholars of  Geoffrey Chaucer and his age." The website supports that aim, and one does not have to be a member to have access.  Of primary interest to nonmembers are the sections Links to Chaucer Resources, which has links to many other sites,  and Chaucer Bibliography Online, which includes materials from the Annotated Chaucer Bibliography published annually in Studies in the Age of Chaucer, though a July 2011 search for “wife of bath” brought up nothing more recent than 2007.  

Geoffrey Chaucer
Created for use by Chaucer students at Harvard, this site gives an impressive overview of Chaucer and his times. It includes glossed texts, critical articles, and a bibliography.  A truly useful site for the study of the period.

ITER: Gateway to the Renaissance (UCB only)
Our subscription gives us access to the massive Iter Bibliography which is drawn from more than a thousand medieval and Renaissance journal titles and covers the European Middle Ages and Renaissance,  400-1700. 

The English Renaissance in Context
A collection of tutorials and texts prepared with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The texts come from the Furness Shakespeare Library at the University of Pennsylvania and include many early editions of Shakespeare as well as the writings of other authors.  The multimedia tutorials, 4 on Shakesapearian plays and 4 on topics such as Editing and Unediting, are useful.

Shakespeare's Staging: Shakespeare's Performance and His Globe Theatre
Created by Hugh Richmond, distinguished scholar, this site concentrates on Shakespeare in performance. Currently the site has two main sections; Performance Bibliography gives written responses to staging of Shakespeare, and the Performance Gallery, a visual outline of approaches to staging Shakespeare. The site also has links to other websites about the performance of Shakespeare.

Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet
The site is no longer being updated but still has useful context and links.

Treasures in Full
The British Library has created digital images of various editions of Shakespeare plays published in quarto, Caxton's Chaucer,  and  Malory's Arthurian manuscript. Users can compare different editions side-by-side and read supporting articles by Library curators and others. 

British Cartoon Archive    
Searchable online archive of over 150,000 editorial, social-political and pocket cartoons published in the British press and dating back to the 1790s. 

Victorian Web
Woven by George Landow at Brown, this is an example of what an intelligently done web site can be. Useful for many aspects of Victorian life.

Victorian Research Web    Helpful for anyone doing research on Victorian Britain. 

British Literary Annuals and Giftbooks   Extends the indexing of the poetry and prose found in annuals and giftbooks begun by Andrew Boyle's Index to the Annuals (Z2013 .B65 in NRLF). 

NINES: Nineteenth-Century Scholarship Online
The Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Scholarship (NINES) is a scholarly organization “devoted to forging links between the material archive of the nineteenth century and the digital research environment of the twenty-first.” NINES serves a peer review for digital works, develops software tools, and supports scholars in their creation of digital research.

The Literary Gothic
This site is a "Web guide to all things concerned with literary Gothicism, which includes ghost stories, "classic" Gothic novels and Gothic fiction (1764-1820), and related pre- and post-Gothic and supernaturalist literature written prior to the mid-C20. Its target audience is all students and fans of the Gothic, regardless of age, academic level, profession, or just about anything else."  There are many links to Web sites about individual authors, many primary texts, essays and book reviews, and links to related sites.

Antislavery Literature Project    Links to texts produced by various elements of the antislavery movement in the United States.

Anglistik Guide at the State and University Library Göttingen                                        A subject gateway to Anglo-American language and literature.  Offers a variety of ways to find resources including simple and advanced searches and browsing by categories.  Extensive list of author-related sites.                                                           

PAL: Perspectives in American Literature--A Research and Reference Guide--An Ongoing Project
Created by Paul P. Reuben, Emeritus English Professor at California State University, Stanislaus, this site is a rich resource for tracking down information about trends in American literature and American authors.  The site is easy to navigate from the home page and can also be searched. Author entries may have a photo or brief biographical information, a list of primary works (with links to online editions when available), a selected bibliography, and suggested study questions.

Library of Southern Literature
Part of the University of North Carolina University Library's Documenting the American South, this site contains many literary works published before 1924.  The texts can be browsed by subject, author, title or location.

Storytellers: Native American Authors Online
Alphabetical and tribal listing of modern poets and novelists with links to websites designed with the collaboration and cooperation of the authors.  Some biographies, lists of older authors with links to electronic versions of their work when available.  Links to sites about Native American storytelling and to sites of interest to writers and readers.  No longer updated but still useful.

Fictionmags Index   Truly a labor of love by a group of people who love to index the short stories in an impressive number of 19th-21st Century periodicals.  To find an author, look here.  To see what periodicals have been indexed, look here.  The site offers a variety of other ways to search.

Literature, Arts and Medicine Database    An annotated database covering works of literature, the performing arts, and art that relate to the experience of illness and intended to foster teaching and scholarship in the medical humaniaties. 

Paris Review Author Interviews 
Online database of Paris Review interviews of authors in its Art of Fiction, Art of Poetry, Art of Journalism, Art of Theater, and Art of Comics series. The first interview was of E. M. Forster in 1953 and includes such writers as Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur Miller, Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury, A. S. Byatt, Billy Collins, Joan Didion, Ha Jin, Chinua Achebe and many others.

Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History
Online collection of books and manuscripts on learning to read (textbooks, missions to Native Americans, science of reading), reading collectively (choosing, books, book clubs, libraries), and reading on one’s own (commonplace books, marginalia). Highlights include Wordsworth’s list of books in his library, commonplace books of Joseph Conrad and Victor Hugo, and Harvard Library records showing the books used by Emerson, Longfellow and Thoreau.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database
Hal W. Hal's creation, this database indexes writing about science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural and weird fiction. History, criticism, commentary, fan writings and a few reviews are all included.  It combines Science Fiction and Fantasy Reference Index 1878-1985, Science Fiction and Fantasy Reference Index 1985-1991, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Reference Index 1992-1995  and is updated with recent materials. The quick search allows simple searches in a single category:  author, title, imprint, or subject.  The advanced search allows searching of two or more categories or fields, using Boolean operators as connectors.  Hall includes a list of magazines regularly indexed and a thesaurus of terms.


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