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Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations for literature - first, general works by genre followed by geographic categories organized in chronological periods.
- PA Classical Languages and Literature (Greek, Latin)
- PE English Language
- PG 2001-3987 Russian
- PN 80-99 General Criticism by Genre
- 441-1009 Folklore
- 1010-1551 Poetry
- 1600-3307 Drama
- 3311-3503 Prose Fiction
- 4400-4599 Letters and Essays
- 6010-6790 Collections of General Literature
- 6700-6790 Graphic Novels and Comics
- PQ Romance Literatures (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese)
- 1-3999 French
- 4000-5999 Italian
- 6000-8999 Spanish
- 9000-9999 Portuguese
- PR English Language Literature
- 1-1369 by period and genre
- 1490-1799 Anglo-Saxon
- 1803-2165 Ango-Norman, Early English, Middle English
- 2199-3195 English Renaissance
- 3291-3785 17th and 18th centuries
- 3991-5990 19th century
- 6000-6049 1900-1960
- 6050-6076 1961-2000
- 6100-6126 2001-
- 8309-9680 Commonwealth Literatures
- PS American Literature
- 1-688 by period and genre
- 700-893 Colonial (17th and 18th centuries)
- 991-3390 19th century
- 3500-3549 1900-2000
- 3600-3626 2001-
- 8000-8599 Canadian literature
- PT Germanic Literatures
- 1-6593 German and Dutch
- 7001-7550 Scandinavian
- Z Books, Bibliography, Library Sciences
- 4-115.5 Book History
- 116-659 Book Industry and Trade
Finding Articles About Literature
MLA International Bibliography
The major research resource for information on English literature, foreign languages and linguistics. Includes references to scholarly articles, books, book chapters, book reviews, and dissertations; coverage dates back to the 1920's.
JSTOR is a full-text digital archive of scholarly journals. Unlike most databases it does not include the most recent articles but it goes back many decades. When looking for criticism, be sure to pay attention to dates. Theory and practice of criticism has changed enormously over the years, and a lot of what's in JSTOR may be of historical interest but is often badly out of sync with how we interpret literature now.
Digital Collections for Literarture Scholars
Early English Books Online
Contains digital facsimile images of nearly 100,000 books in English printed between 1473 and 1700 - virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America, plus works in English printed elsewhere. Texts range from the first book printed in English by William Caxton through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the English Civil War. Included are works by Malory, Bacon, More, Erasmus, Boyle, Newton, Galileo; musical exercises by Henry Purcell; novels by Aphra Behn; prayer books, pamphlets, and proclamations; almanacs, calendars, and many other primary sources.
Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats
The electronic edition of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats contains the three volumes of The Collected Letters which have appeared in print. In addition, it includes all of the letters from the remaining eleven (unpublished) volumes; final editing and annotation of these volumes is still in progress.
In the Reference Collection
There is a wealth of information about writers in the reference section - with a focus on national literatures, genres, historical periods, marginalized status, and themes. These are some examples of what's available.
A New Literary History of America by
Call Number: Reference PS92 .N39 2009
Publication Date: 2009-09-23
British Literature by
Call Number: Reference PR19 .O95 2006
Publication Date: 2006-03-03
Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics by
Call Number: Reference PN51 .E63 2005
Publication Date: 2005-09-30
Historical Dictionary of U. S. Latino Literature by
Call Number: Reference PS153.H56 U75 2017
Publication Date: 2016-12-23
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy by
Call Number: Reference PS374.S35 G74 2005
Publication Date: 2005-09-30
Critical Survey of Mystery and Detective Fiction by
Call Number: Reference PN3448.D4 C75 2008
Publication Date: 2008-01-18
Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema by
Call Number: PN1995.9.N4 B433 2015
Publication Date: 2015-05-07
The Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature by
Call Number: Reference PR451 .E553 2015
Publication Date: 2015-08-17
Understanding literature often means understanding contexts and connecting the dots. You might find yourself needing to find out about a particular cultural setting or historical context, or you may need to dip into another field altogether - psychology, art history, music, sociology, philosophy. Sometimes the reference section can get you a running start by defining terms and setting the scene in a way that has more intellectual depth than Wikipedia. Feel free to ask a librarian where to find the treasures of the reference collection.
Where's the Fiction?
Unlike public libraries, academic libraries shelve works of literature with criticism. This can make it harder to browse for something to read, but it might help to know that fiction (and poetry) is generally shelved by country (American literature is PS) and then by chunks of time (recent American writers can be found in PS 3600). In addition to the general collection, where most of the books live, you might be interested in the Browsing Collection near the front door, the Young Adult collection on the lower level, our AV collection for film (lower level) or our Zine Collection (main floor in a nook on the outside of the Hasselquist Room).
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