- The MLA International Bibliography tracks scholarship on literature, language, linguistics, and folklore back to 1926. It is both international and multilingual, making it a great general tool for preliminary searching. (As the index is produced in the U.S., there is a natural bias toward anglophone literature and toward works by American scholars.)
- Literature Online (for Anglophone literature) includes a large corpus of literary texts, author biographies, an excellent selection of specialized encyclopedias, and an index to scholarship.
- The Johns Hopkins Guide to Theory and Criticism offers in-depth encyclopedia entries on literary theorists and critical movements.
- Literature, “criticism and interpretation,” rhetoric
- genre terms (novel, fiction, poetry, drama)
- geographic terms (United States, American)
- time period terms (19th, "to 1500")
- Terms for region or language (Italian, Asian)
See Search Vocabulary for more details
HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE
Each page of this guide recommends my favorite tools and strategies:
- Get Organized - access, organize, and cite
- Find Background - from simple encyclopedia entries to detailed guides and histories
- Find Scholarship and Criticism - top sources and search strategies
- Find Primary or Archival Material - when you need newspaper articles, first editions, manuscripts...
- Literary Theory - deceptively tricky to search for!
- Foreign Language Literatures - if you're working with languages other than English
- Distant Reading, Close Reading - computational tools (e.g. chart word usage over time), the OED, rhetorical figures
Literature: A Guide for Graduate Students supplements this guide with:
- Get Started - a to-do list for new graduate students
- Find a Database - how to locate the best search engines for your field or project
- Research Dos & Don'ts - tips to help you be productive and efficient
Hi! I'm Odile Harter, the library liaison to English and Comparative Literature, and I'm available to support researchers via email or in-person consultation. Please get in touch.
Literary Research in Harvard Libraries was originally written by Sue Gilroy and Laura Farwell Blake, and remains deeply indebted to their work.