[University of South Alabama]

American Literature

Selected Resources


August 2008
(251) 460-7025

This a selective guide to resources.  Ask a reference librarian for additional assistance; call or email to
The following are basic examples for searching.  Capitalization is unnecessary.  Do not punctuate (including commas or  hyphens).  The Library of Congress Subject Headings  (in Government Documents) is the authority for
subject searching.  Keyword searching offers flexibility with less precision.  Examples:

                              dickinson emily      (for subject or author search)
                              keyword: emily dickinson
                                          “emily dickinson” and criticism (keyword with boolean)
                               American  literature  (subject)
                                      “african american” and literature  (keyword with boolean)


Harner, James L.  Literary Research Guide. 5th ed. MLA.  Ref. PR 83 .H37  2008
Baker, Nancy L. A Research Guide for Undergraduate Students: English and American Literature.  Ref. PR 56 .B34 2006 (also Bookstacks)


Access these subscription databases through the Library home page.  Link through "Articles,
Indexes, Databases" on the Library home page:  http://library.southalabama.edu           

MLA International Bibliography
This is the most comprehensive database for the field.
Not a full text database, but often there are links to full text.
Full text of scholarly articles.  Latest 5 years not included. 
Expanded Academic ASAP.  GaleInfoTrac.
Academic Search Complete. EBSCO.
Project Muse.
Periodicals Archive Online.


These are highly selective bibliographies or excerpted literary criticism sources.
American Literary Scholarship. 1963- . Annual. Bookshelves PS 3 .A47
Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction, 1919-1988. Ref. PS 379 .F32 1991
Facts on File Companion to the American Short Story. Ref. PS 374 .S5 F33 2000
American Drama, 1918-1960: An Annotated Bibliography. Ref. PS 350 .S58 1992
Guide to American Drama Explication. Ref. PS 332 .O84 1995
Guide to American Poetry Explication Ready Ref. Z 1231 .P7 1989
Vol. I: Colonial and 19th century
Vol. II: Modern and contemporary
Literature Resource Center. Link through "Electronic Reference Sources.”
Incorporates and enhances a number of printed sources on many authors.
LitFinder. Gale. Find a poem, story, or play. Full text. Go to “Electronic Reference Sources.”


Search the Catalog by subject, for example: taylor edward
For brief biographical information, try one or more of the following:
Biography and Genealogy Master Index. Link from “Electronic Reference Sources.”
Index To the Wilson Authors Series. Ref. PN 451 .I5 1986
American National Biography. 24 vols. Ref. CT 213 .A68 1999
American Women Writers series. Various call numbers.
Title search= American Women Writers.
American Writers. 1974-. 4 vols. Supplements. Ref. PS 129 .A55
Many updated supplements. Much of this is incorporated into Literature Resource Center.
African American Writers. Hatch :& Strickland. Ref. PS 153 .N5 A3444 2000
Writing African American Women: an Encyclopedia. Ref. PS 153 .N5 W756 2006
Asian American Literature. Ref. PS 153 .A89 A82 1999.
Contemporary Poets and Novelists of the South. Ref. PS 261 .C568 1994
Dictionary of American Biography. 1957. 11 vols. Supp. Index. Ref. E 176 .D57
Dictionary of Literary Biography. 1978-. Ref. PS 129 .D5 Indexed set
Hispanic Literature of the United States: A Comprehensive Reference. Ref. PS 153 .H56 K36 2003


A Handbook to Literature. Ready Ref. PN 41 .H355 2006
Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Ref. PS 153.N5O96 1997
The Feminist Companion To Literature in English. Ref. PR 111 .B57 1990
Harper Collins Readers Encyclopedia of American Literature. 2nd ed. Previously published as Benets. Ref. PS 21 .R4 2002
Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism. Ref. PN 81 .J554 2005
Oxford Companion to American Literature. Ref. PS 21 .H3 1995
Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. 4 vols. Ref. 21 .E537 2003
Dictionary of Fictional Characters. Ref. PN 56.4 .S49 1992
Companion to Southern Literature. Ref. 261 .C55 2002


The MLA Style Manual. 3d ed, Ready Ref. PN 147 .G444 2008
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers . 6th ed. Ready Ref. LB 2369 .G53 2003- also in Reserve
Columbia Guide to Online Style. Ready Ref. PN 171 .F56 W35 2008
Research and Documentation Online. Includes MLA style. http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/hacker/resdoc


Altick, R. The Art of Literary Research. Ref. PR 56 .A68 1993
Redrawing the Boundaries: The Transformation of English and American Literary Studies. MLA.Bookshelves PR 21 .R43 1992;
also in Reference. Possible searches, among others: new criticism, feminist criticism, deconstruction, canon literature.


Index of American Periodical Verse. 1971-. Ref. PN 1021 .I53
Schofer, Y. and B. Richards. "Little Magazine Interview Index."
This annual list appears in an issue of Serials Review. Print holdings to 1998. Now available through Science Direct; link through "Articles, Indexes, Databases." Search by name of journal, Serials Review, and use these terms: “little magazine” and “interview.”
International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses. Ref. Z 6944 .L5 D5
Library has latest annual issue. Lists current publications and backlists of publishers as well as being a directory.


The English Server http://eserver.org
American Verse Project. http://www.hti.umich.edu/english/amverse
Pre-1920's archives of American poetry
Alex: Catalog of Electronic Texts on the Internet. http://www.infomotions.com/alex/
VoS – Voice of the Shuttle http://vos.ucsb.edu/index.asp

For additional websites, go to the Library home page and click on “Topic Guides.”
From the left column select “Literature and Languages.”


More search examples -

Keyword with boolean:
“american literature” and 20th
“authors american” and mystery
“american fiction” and “women authors’
“asian american” and collection?

Keyword (default)
Science fiction
American literature

Subject (browse):
Whitman Walt
Wharton Edith
Authors women

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Questions (jwright@jaguar1.usouthal.edu) or call (251) 460-7025.
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Last updated:6/14/2012 ap

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