English Resources

 Literary Criticism & Literary Biography

The purpose of this guide is to lead the beginning researcher to the most important and useful sources in the Reference Collection and online for the study of English.  The list of sources is not exhaustive; please consult with a Reference Librarian for additional suggestions. 


The following reference books (In Print) are located at Napa Valley College Library and will provide helpful background information. 

Contemporary Literary Criticism:  Criticism of the Works of Today's Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Short Story Writers, Scriptwriters and other Creative Writers.  Thomas J. Schoenberg & Lawrence J. Trudeau, eds.  Call number:  REF 809 Contemporary v1-130.  (For authors now living or who died after Dec. 31, 1999).

A Handbook to Literature.  William Harmon and C. Hugh Holamn.  Call number:  REF 803 Harmon.

The Longman Dictionary of Literary Terms:  Vocabulary for the Informed Reader.  X.J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia, and
Mark Bauerlein.  Call number:  REF 803 Kennedy.

Masterplots:  1,801 Plot Stories and Critical Evaluations of the Word's Finest Literature.  Frank N. Magill, ed.  Call number:  REF 809 Masterplots v1-12.

Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism:  Commentary on Various Topics in Twentieth-Century Literature, including Literary and Critical Movements, Prominent Themes and Genres, Anniversary Celebrations and Surveys of National Literatures.  Thomas J. Schoenberg & Lawrence J. Trudeau, eds.  Call number:  REF 809 Twentieth v1-218.  (For authors who died between 1900 and 1999).

CONNECT TO SNAP (Solano, Napa and Partners Online Catalog to locate additional books and materials)

Napa Valley College subscribes to the following magazines and scholarly journals relating to literature:

New York Review of Books
Writer's Digest 

See Periodical List for additional titles


The following databases may be useful in locating information on literary criticism and literary biography. These reference sources are available online through Solano, Napa and Partners (SNAP) databases and require a library card or e-card to access them.

Academic Search Complete (Ebsco)
AudioBooks (Ebsco)
E-books (Ebsco)
General OneFile (Gale)
Literature Resource Center - LRC (Gale)

NoveList (Library) (Remote)
Opposing Viewpoints In Context (Gale) 


English Literature:  A Select Bibliography of Reference Sources  (
This exhaustive guide from Yale University includes Internet resources and print resources.  It is categorized by type of source, genre, and time frame.  Accessible Writing  (
One of the most comprehensive websites for all aspects of English and American literature.  Now based at the University of Washington, this "is a unique website where 281 writers, artists, editors, and scholars gather to publish and discuss their works.  The site contains pointers to texts, electronic journals, and other Internet materials covering 44 interesting collections."  It also provides a search gateway to Project Gutenberg, Project Muse, Bartlett's Quotations, Voice of the Shuttle and other useful collections. 

Internet Public Library Literary Criticism Site (
" The ipl2 Literary Criticism Collection contains critical and biographical websites about authors and their works that can be browsed by author, by title, or by nationality and literary period.  In January 2010, the website "ipl2: information you can trust" was launched, merging the collections of resources from the Internet Public Library (IPL) and the Librarians' Internet Index (LII) websites." The site is hosted by Drexel University's College of Information & Science Technology.

The British Library  (
The British Library offers high quality digital texts.  Selections include Shakespeare, Caxton's Chaucer, The Gutenberg Bible, the Magna Carta, & Renaissance Festival books.  Their online gallery showcases landmarks in literature, art, history and music.

Literary Resources on the Net (
This is another page which deals mainly with English and American Literary sources on the net and is limited to collections of information useful to academics.  It is possible to search by literary time frame or literary genre.  Compiled by Jack Lynch of Rutgers University. 

Luminarium  (
Background articles, biographical information, critical essays, selected full-texts and bibliographies on over 110 English authors active between 1485 and 1785.

Modernist Journals Project  (
This website seeks to document the rise of the Modernist movement in English language literature by providing searchable texts of key literary and cultural periodicals from the period 1890-1922, inclding the 1912-1922 issues of Poetry.

Napa Valley College English 90 Orientation to Literary Criticism Research
Guide to conducting research written by NVC Librarian Nancy McEnery.

Perspectives in American Literature  (
This is a marvelous site which covers the ten literary movements in American Literature.  It includes information on over 220 authors.

Representative Poetry Online  (
This site is an online anthology of poetry, which also includes biographical information and criticism about many of the poets listed in it.

Romantic Circles Praxis Series  (
The Romantic Circles Praxis Series is devoted to using computer technologies to investigate critically the languages, cultures, histories, and theories of Romanticism.

Some Interesting and Useful Book on the Bible for Use in Research Papers for the Bible as Literature(
Created by Professor Paul Brians of Washington State University for his students, this comprehensive list will help all students taking a Bible as Literature course.

Voice of the Shuttle:Victorian  (
An excellent collection of links for the literature of the Victorian era.

Voices from the Gaps:  Women Writers and Artists of Color  (
Information about the lives and works of North American women writers of color.


[Austen] Jane Austen Information Page 
Very comprehensive.  Includes electronic texts, biography, images, selected literary criticism, etc.

[Cather] Willa Cather Archive  (
Digital editions of many of Cather's works and a consider amount of open access, born-digital scholarly criticism and commentary, including all volumes of Cather Studies.

[Dickinson]  Dickinson Electronic Archives (
A portal to various materials by and about the American poet Emily Dickinson.

[Fitzgerald]  The F. Scott Fitzgerald Society  (
Includes a brief biography, a primary bibliography, lists of and links to resources, announcements of recent Fitzgerald scholarly activities, links to collections of Fitzgerald manuscripts, and similar information.

[London] The Jack London Online Collection at Sonoma State University  (
Collection of on-line texts of Jack London's books and short stories, photos, biographical information, and documents and papers relating to his work.

[London]  Jack London Collection  (
A one-stop introduction to London's life and works.

[Steinbeck]  Center for Steinbeck Studies (
A guide to the resources of the  Steinbeck Research Center at San Jose State University, including an extensive bibliography, with links to other important Steinbeck resources.

[Twain] Mark Twain in His Times  (
This  archive, drawn largely from the resources of the Barrett Collection at the University of Virginia, focuses on how Mark Twain and his works were created and defined, marketed and performed, reviewed and appreciated.

[Wharton] The Edith Warton Society  (
Includes links to all of Wharton's works available on the web. 

[Whitman]  Walt Whitman Archive  (
This site includes published works of Walt Whitman, manuscripts, biography and correspondence, criticism, as well as portraits of Whitman. 


The Academy of American Poets 
Information about membership, online exhibits, poet biographies and more.

The Bibliographical Society of America  (
Organizational information.

The Modern Language Association  (
Information about membership, publications, conventions, and job listings (for paid subscribers).

The Society for Critical Exchange (
North America's oldest scholarly organization devoted to theory.  Information about memberships, projects and more.

The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (
 "Created in 1991 to provide a global network for book historians, who until then had usually worked in isolation. SHARP now has over 1000 members in over 20 countries, including professors of literature, historians, librarians, publishing professionals, sociologists, bibliophiles, classicists, booksellers, art historians, reading instructors, and independent scholars."

Copyright (C) 2010 Napa Valley College                                                  By:  Napa Valley College Library
Last updated:  June 2, 2014                                                                  Questions & Comments: Nancy McEnery