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English Resources: Background Info

Getting Started with Reference

Reference resources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases and handbooks. Entries in such sources tend to be rather short and they are meant to help you get started with research on a new topic.

General Reference Databases

Subject-Specific Online Reference Resources

Reference Books


African American Writers

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PS153 .N5 A344 2001 vol. 1-2

American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide From Colonial Times to the Present

CALL NUMBER:  Ref PS147 .A4 vol. 1-5

Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: Biography Series

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PN56 .P55 B43 1996  vol. 1-3

Contemporary American Women Fiction Writers: An A-Z Guide

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PS374 .W6 C66 2002

Critical Survey of Mystery and Detective Fiction

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PN3448 .D4 C75 2008  vol. 1-5

Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PS221 .D5 1990-2001

Latin American Writers

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PQ7081 .A1 L37 1989 vol. 1-3

Southern Writers: A New Biographical Dictionary

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PS261 .S595 2006


The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PR85 .C29 2006

Dictionary of Literary Symbols

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PN56 .S9 F47 1999

Oxford Companion to English Literature

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PR19 .O94 2009

Oxford English Dictionary Online


All Things Shakespeare:  An Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's World

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PR2892 .O56 2002 vol. 1-2

Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: Analyses Series

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PN56 .P55 B432 1996  vol. 1-13

Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PS316 .E53 1998

The John Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PN81 .J554 2005


The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry in Anthologies

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PN1022 .H39 2007

The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry in Collected and Selected Works

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PN1022 .C63 2004

Last Lines: An Index to the Last Lines of Poetry

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PN1022 .K55 1992 vol. 1-2

Short Story Index

CALL NUMBER:  Ref. PN3373 .C62