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ENGL 3933: Shakespeare: Reference Books/E-Books

This guide will cover the OSU Library resources to help you in English 3933 taught by Dr. Andrew Wadoski.

Criticism in Reference Books/E-Books

Reference Books such as encyclopedias, guides, handbooks, and dictionaries can provide background information when researching authors and literary works.  Some have very brief entries, but others have more substantive discussions and even original or reprinted biographies and criticism.  Some are available as e-book databases with full-text articles online.  There are a number of reference books specifically on Shakespeare.

Print Reference Books

Many reference books for literary criticism are shelved on the first floor, west side, the General Reference Area.  Literary reference books are in the 800s.  Others, including many of the Shakespeare-specific reference books, are shelved in the 822.33 call number range on the 4th floor.

To search for reference books on literary topics or authors in BOSS or the Catalog, use the author's name of title of the literary work, and the keywords Encyclopedia, Guide, or Handbook.

Below are some reference books specific to Shakespeare.  They represent some, but not all, of the sources to consult for looking up information on his plays, language, time, and other topics.

Reference E-Book Databases for Literary Criticism

Below are several reference e-book series from Gale Cengage Learning to help students, faculty, and beginning as well as advanced researchers find scholarly commentary on British, American, and world authors, literary works, and overviews of literary periods and topics. These databases offer searchable online PDF versions of the well-known Gale reference book series, and include biographical information about writers, lists of their works, bibliographies of criticism, and interpretive essays and excerpts from scholarly books, journal articles, and other publications.

You will need to log in with your OSU email address and O-Key password to access these database off-campus.  Click HERE to log in.

  • Literature Resource Center offers up-to-date biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism, and reviews on more than 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world.  Look for biographies, work overviews, and important critical articles and book chapters on many writers and literary works.

Also consult the following:

  • Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online provides more than 16,000 biographical and critical essays from the celebrated Dictionary of Literary Biography series, the DLB Documentary series, and the DLB Yearbook series. It covers the lives, works, and careers of the most influential literary figures in the world from all eras and genres. Browse by author or volume of the print series, or search keyword, full text, or named author. See more information on this database in the Biographical Databases tab of this guide.

  • Literary Criticism Online offers a comprehensive compilation of literary commentary on authors, works, and topics. It contains scholarly and popular literary criticism from broadsheets, pamphlets, encyclopedias, books and articles delivered in an online format. Series included in this online collection are Shakespearean Criticism (SC), the best series for research in this course.  It also includes conent from Poetry Criticism (PC), Short Story Criticism (SSC), Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism (NCLC), Twentieth-Century Literature Criticism (TCLC), and Contemporary Literature Criticism (CLC). Browse by author, literary work, or topic, or search by keyword, full text, named author, named work, critic, or source publication.

  • Something About the Author provides first-time comprehensive online access to the acclaimed and long-standing Something About the Author Gale series, which examines the lives and works of authors and illustrators for children and young adults and is the preeminent source on authors and literature for young people. Includes biographies, brief biographies, autobiographies, and obituaries. Browse authors or search by keyword, full text, or named author.