Chapter 13. English Literature

Table of Contents

Section M includes works devoted primarily to literature in England or the British Isles generally. Works limited to Irish, Scottish, or Welsh literature will be found in their respective sections.


This part includes works that encompass several periods of English literature. Works limited to a movement, century, or period will be found in the appropriate parts of section M. Users should note that most of the reference works in sections A–L of the Guide are useful to research in English literature.

Histories and Surveys

Literary Histories


The Oxford History of English Literature (OHEL). Ed. F. P. Wilson et al. 15 vols. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1945–97. PR823.09 820.9.

  • Vol. 1, pt. 2: Bennett, J. A. W. Middle English Literature. Ed. and completed by Douglas Gray. 1986. (M1785).

  • Vol. 2, pt. 1: Bennett, H. S. Chaucer and the Fifteenth Century. 1947. (M1780).

  • Vol. 2, pt. 2: Chambers, E. K. English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages. 2nd impression with corrections. 1947. (M1790).

  • Vol. 3: Lewis, C. S. English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama. 1954. (M1975).

  • Vol. 4, pt. 1: Wilson, F. P. The English Drama, 1485–1585. Ed. G. K. Hunter. 1969. (M2125).

  • Vol. 4, pt. 2: Hunter, G. K. The English Drama, 1586–1642: The Age of Shakespeare. 1997. (M2117).

  • Vol. 5: Bush, Douglas. English Literature in the Earlier Seventeenth Century, 1600–1660. 2nd ed. rev. 1962. (M1970).

  • Vol. 6: Sutherland, James. English Literature of the Late Seventeenth Century. 1969. (M2215).

  • Vol. 7: Dobrée, Bonamy. English Literature in the Early Eighteenth Century, 1700–1740. Corrected rpt. 1964. (M2210).

  • Vol. 8: Butt, John. The Mid-Eighteenth Century. Ed. and completed by Geoffrey Carnall. 1979. (M2205).

  • Vol. 9: Renwick, W. L. English Literature, 1789–1815. 1963. (M2460).

  • Vol. 10: Jack, Ian. English Literature, 1815–1832. 1963. (M2455).

  • Vol. 11, pt. 1: Turner, Paul. English Literature, 1832–1890, Excluding the Novel. 1989. 522 pp.

  • Vol. 11, pt. 2: Horsman, Alan. The Victorian Novel. 1990. 465 pp.

  • Vol. 12: Stewart, J. I. M. Eight Modern Writers. 1963. 704 pp.

In 1990 Oxford University Press needlessly complicated the lives of researchers and bibliographers by reprinting, without revision but with new volume numbers and titles, 14 of the published volumes:

  • Vol. 1: Bennett. Middle English Literature, 1100–1400.

  • Vol. 2: Bennett. Chaucer and Fifteenth-Century Verse and Prose.

  • Vol. 3: Chambers. Malory and Fifteenth-Century Drama, Lyrics, and Ballads.

  • Vol. 4: Lewis. Poetry and Prose in the Sixteenth Century.

  • Vol. 5: Wilson. English Drama, 1485–1585.

  • Vol. 7: Bush. The Early Seventeenth Century, 1600–1660: Jonson, Donne, and Milton.

  • Vol. 8: Sutherland. Restoration Literature, 1660–1700: Dryden, Bunyan, and Pepys.

  • Vol. 9: Dobrée. The Early Eighteenth Century, 1700–1740: Swift, Defoe, and Pope.

  • Vol. 10: Butt. The Age of Johnson, 1740–1789.

  • Vol. 11: Renwick. The Rise of the Romantics, 1789–1815: Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Jane Austen.

  • Vol. 12: Jack. English Literature, 1815–1832: Scott, Byron, and Keats.

  • Vol. 13: Horsman. The Victorian Novel.

  • Vol. 14: Turner. Victorian Poetry, Drama, and Miscellaneous Prose, 1832–1890.

  • Vol. 15: Stewart. Writers of the Early Twentieth Century: Hardy to Lawrence.

A traditional history of English literature, with each volume by a distinguished scholar. Most volumes open with a chapter on the social, scientific, political, and religious background; examine major and minor writers; include a chronology (with sections for public events, literary history, verse, prose, and drama); and conclude with a highly selective bibliography (with sections for reference works, collections and anthologies, literary history and criticism, studies of topics and subjects, background studies, and authors). Indexed by persons, anonymous works, and a few subjects. Although their bibliographies are dated in varying degrees, many volumes rank among the better histories of their respective periods; a few are classics (especially those by Bush and Lewis); but others have met with a mixed reception (such as those by Dobrée and Butt) or are clearly inadequate (such as those by Stewart and Renwick). See the individual entries for fuller discussions of volumes not superseded by Oxford English Literary History (see below). The manifold inadequacies of the original vol. 12 are detailed in the review by Robert Martin Adams, Hudson Review 16.4 (1963–64): 594–600.

To replace OHEL, Oxford University Press is publishing the Oxford English Literary History:

  • Vol. 1: Georgianna, Linda, and Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe. To 1350: The Literary Cultures of Early England.

  • Vol. 2: Simpson, James. 1350–1547: Reform and Cultural Revolution. 2002. (M1778).

  • Vol. 3: Burrow, Colin. 1533–1603: The Elizabethans.

  • Vol. 4: Maus, Katharine Eisaman. 1603–1660: Literary Cultures of the Early Seventeenth Century.

  • Vol. 5: Ezell, Margaret. 1645–1714: The Later Seventeenth Century.

  • Vol. 6: Mullan, John. 1709–1784: The Eighteenth Century.

  • Vol. 7: Robertson, Fiona. 1785–1832: The Romantic Period.

  • Vol. 8: Davis, Philip. 1830–1880: The Victorians. 2002. (M2462).

  • Vol. 9: Bristow, Joseph. 1875–1914: From “Victorian” to “Edwardian.”

  • Vol. 10: Baldick, Chris. 1910–1940: The Modern Movement. 2004. (M2752).

  • Vol. 11: Rylance, Rick. 1930–1970: Literature among the Wars.

  • Vol. 12: Stevenson, Randall. 1960–2000: The Last of England? 2004. (M2753).

  • Vol. 13: King, Bruce. 1948–2000: The Internationalization of English Literature. 2004. (M2753a).

While each volume “offers an individual scholar’s vision of a discrete period of literary history,” all give attention to the institutions associated with literary creation, forms and genres, and “the relationship between literature and broader historical continuities and transformations.” The selective bibliographies that conclude each volume vary substantially in their quality: some (e.g., Simpson) are little more than inadequate—and sometimes untrustworthy—lists of editions and studies; others (e.g., Davis) offer fuller, evaluative guides to further reading. Indexed by persons and subjects.

Some of the individual chapters in the Cambridge History of English Literature (CHEL), ed. A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller, 15 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1907–27; online as The Cambridge History of English and American Literature []), have never been completely superseded, although the work as a whole is outdated. George Sampson, The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature, rev. R. C. Churchill, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1970; 976 pp.), is a revised digest of CHEL that extends coverage to the mid-twentieth century for British literature and adds discussions of Commonwealth and American literature (through James).


Baugh, Albert C., ed. A Literary History of England. 2nd ed. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1967. 1,605 pp. PR83.B3 820.9.

A traditional history in four books written (and then updated with bibliographical supplements) by eminent scholars: Kemp Malone and Albert C. Baugh, the Middle Ages (to 1500); Tucker Brooke, Renaissance (1500–1660), supplemented by Matthias A. Shaaber; George Sherburn, Restoration and eighteenth century (1660–1789), supplemented by Donald F. Bond; Samuel C. Chew, nineteenth century and after (1789–1939), supplemented by Richard D. Altick. The second edition reprints with minor corrections the text of the 1948 edition with bibliographical supplements at the back. Indexed by authors and titles. Although dated in many respects, the work is still the best single-volume history of English literature. Review: René Wellek, Modern Philology 47.1 (1949): 39–45.

Other Histories


New Oxford History of England. Ed. J. M. Roberts. 16 vols. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1989– .

  • Bartlett, Robert. England under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075–1225. 2000. 772 pp. DA195.B28 942.02.

  • Prestwich, Michael. Plantagenet England, 1225–1360. 2005. 638 pp. DA225.P744 942.03.

  • Harriss, Gerald. Shaping the Nation: England, 1360–1461. 2005. 705 pp. DA245.H3155 942.04.

  • Williams, Penry. The Later Tudors: England, 1547–1603. 1995. 606 pp. DA355.W4835 942.05.

  • Hoppit, Julian. A Land of Liberty? England, 1689–1727. 2000. 580 pp. DA460.H66 941.06′8′092.

  • Langford, Paul. A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783. 1989. 803 pp. DA480.L26 941.07′2.

  • Hilton, Boyd. A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People? England, 1783–1846. 2006. 755 pp. DA520.H64 941.07.

  • Hoppen, K. Theodore. The Mid-Victorian Generation, 1846–1886. 1998. 787 pp. DA560.H58 941.081.

  • Searle, G. R. A New England? Peace and War, 1886–1918. 2004. 951 pp. DA560.S396 941.081.

  • Harrison, Brian. Seeking a Role: The United Kingdom, 1951–1970. 2009. 658 pp. DA589.4.H37 941.085′5.

  • Harrison. Finding a Role? The United Kingdom, 1970–1990. 2010. 679 pp. DA589.4.H36 941.0857.

A general history of England that focuses on the political but that also treats, as the period demands, military, demographic, cultural, religious, economic, and governmental topics. Each volume concludes with a chronology, selective bibliography, and an index of persons and subjects. Review: (Hilton) Rohan McWilliam, Journal of Victorian Culture 15.1 (2010): 164–67. New Oxford History of England is gradually superseding the following:

  • The Oxford History of England. Ed. George N. Clark. 17 vols. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1936–91.

    • Vol. 1a: Salway, Peter. Roman Britain. 1981. 824 pp. DA145.S26 936.1′04.

    • Vol. 1b: Myres, J. N. L. The English Settlements. 1986. 248 pp. DA152.M97 942.01. (This and the preceding volume replace R. G. Collingwood and Myres, Roman Britain and the English Settlements, 2nd ed. [1937, 515 pp.].)

    • Vol. 2: Stenton, F. M. Anglo-Saxon England. 3rd ed. 1971. 765 pp. DA152.S74 942.01.

    • Vol. 3: Poole, Austin Lane. From Domesday Book to Magna Carta, 1087–1216. 2nd ed. 1955. 541 pp. DA175.P6 942.02.

    • Vol. 4: Powicke, Maurice. The Thirteenth Century, 1216–1307. 2nd ed. 1962. 829 pp. DA225.P65 942.034.

    • Vol. 5: McKisack, May. The Fourteenth Century, 1307–1399. 1959. 598 pp. DA230.M25 942.037.

    • Vol. 6: Jacob, E. F. The Fifteenth Century, 1399–1485. 1961. 775 pp. DA245.J3 942.05.

    • Vol. 7: Mackie, J. D. The Earlier Tudors, 1485–1558. Rpt. with corrections. 1978. 699 pp. DA325.M3 942.05.

    • Vol. 8: Black, J. B. The Reign of Elizabeth, 1558–1603. 2nd ed. 1959. 539 pp. DA355.B65 942.055.

    • Vol. 9: Davies, Godfrey. The Early Stuarts, 1603–1660. 2nd ed. 1959. 458 pp. DA390.D3 942.06.

    • Vol. 10: Clark, George N. The Later Stuarts, 1660–1714. 2nd ed., rpt. with corrections. 1961. 479 pp. DA435.C55 942.06.

    • Vol. 11: Williams, Basil. The Whig Supremacy, 1714–1760. 2nd ed., rev. C. H. Stuart. 1962. 504 pp. DA498.W5 942.071.

    • Vol. 12: Watson, J. Steven. The Reign of George III, 1760–1815. 1960. 637 pp. DA505.W38 942.073.

    • Vol. 13: Woodward, Llewellyn. The Age of Reform, 1815–1870. 2nd ed. 1962. 681 pp. DA530.W6 942.07.

    • Vol. 14: Ensor, R. C. K. England, 1870–1914. 1936. 634 pp. DA560.E6 942.08.

    • Vol. 15: Taylor, A. J. P. English History, 1914–1945. 1965. 708 pp. DA566.T38 942.083.

    • Raper, Richard, comp. The Oxford History of England: Consolidated Index. 1991. 622 pp. DA32.A1 R36 016.942.

A general economic, social, political, and military history. Individual volumes are variously organized, but each includes a selective bibliography, maps, and an index of persons and subjects.


The Victoria History of the Counties of England (Victoria County History, VCH). Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer for Inst. of Hist. Research, 1900– . DA670 942. <>.

A collaborative history, with several volumes devoted to each county. Among the topics covered are the physical environment; prehistory; archaeology; schools; industries; sports and pastimes; topography (with descriptions of manors, estates, and other places); and natural, political, social, and economic history. Some volumes have an index of persons, places, and subjects; a cumulative index is planned for each county when all the volumes are published. The quality of the essays varies considerably, but coverage has generally become more thorough over the years; however, there is no consistency in the publication schedule of volumes for each county. Although frequently pedestrian, the volumes offer an incomparable accumulation of local history. The General Introduction, ed. R. B. Pugh (1970; 282 pp.), and Supplement, ed. C. R. Elrington (1990; 67 pp.), offer a thorough discussion of the origin and history of the project; an overview of changes in titles, publishers, and printers; and a detailed list of contents of all volumes published by 1990. For the status of the work on each county and links to volumes and drafts available online, consult the Victoria County History Web site.

For a county-by-county survey of histories, see English County Histories: A Guide: A Tribute to C. R. Elrington, ed. C. R. J. Currie and C. P. Lewis (Stroud: Sutton, 1994; 483 pp.).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Ed. Dinah Birch. 7th ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 1,164 pp. PR19.O94 820.9. Online through Oxford Reference (I530).

A wide-ranging encyclopedia, with entries for authors, works, characters, literary prizes, movements, critical theories, periods, groups, historical figures and foreign writers important to English literature, critics, theaters, periodicals, terminology, places, prosody, and allusions (although the last two are treated less fully than in the fourth edition). The 31 pages devoted to four prefatory essays (“Literary Culture and the Novel in the New Millennium,” “Cultures of Reading,” “Black British Literature,” and “Children’s Literature”) could better be filled instead with additional entries. The seventh edition offers enhanced coverage of science fiction, fantasy, postcolonial literature, travel writing, and (especially) children’s literature. There is a helpful index of new and extensively revised entries (most of which are for individuals). Entries emphasize information rather than critical evaluation, although the latter is inevitably present. Discussions of authors are very inconsistent in directing readers to standard editions and critical works. This edition concludes with a chronology and lists of poets laureate, children’s laureates, and literary awards, which unfortunately replace the valuable appendixes that conclude the fifth and earlier editions (“Censorship and the Law of the Press”; “Notes on the History of English Copyright”; “The Calendar,” with tables for the Gregorian and Julian calendars, movable feast days, and saints’ days—all essential to dating documents). Individuals with separate entries in the fourth, fifth, revised fifth, sixth, and revised sixth editions are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Despite omissions, errors, and inconsistencies, the Oxford Companion retains its stature as the most reliable and readable single source for essential information on English literary culture. Review: (7th ed.) Henry Hitchings, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 30 Oct. 2009: 32.

On the genesis of Paul Harvey’s first edition of the Oxford Companion (1932) and the changes made to it by Margaret Drabble in the fifth edition (1985) and Birch in the seventh edition, see A. Bannerjee, “Oxford Companions,” Sewanee Review 120.4 (2012): 658–67.

The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature, ed. Steven R. Serafin and Valerie Grosvenor Myer (New York: Continuum, 2003; 1,184 pp.; online through Credo Reference []) offers lengthier entries on some 1,200 authors and topics associated with British literature; however, it is not even remotely the “comprehensive survey” or “most extensive single-volume treatment of its subject,” and far too few contributors can legitimately be called “literary authorities.”

The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, ed. David Scott Kastan, 5 vols. (New York: Oxford UP, 2006; online through The Oxford Digital Reference Shelf [] and through Oxford Reference [I530]) offers even longer entries on more than 500 themes, genres, movements, institutions, and (predominantly) “major authors.” Written for the most part by established scholars, entries conclude with suggestions for further reading. The electronic version can be searched by keyword or browsed by entry; entries can be e-mailed. There will be quibbles over admissions (e.g., Richard Barnfield) and omissions (e.g., Nicholas Rowe), but Oxford Encyclopedia will be welcomed by those who need more information than Oxford Companion can offer.


The Encyclopedia of British Literature, 1660–1789. Gary Day and Jack Lynch, gen. eds. Malden: Wiley Blackwell, 2015. 1474 pp. PR442.E67.

A three-volume encyclopedia covering genres, individuals, criticism, movements, and various facets thereof, this encyclopedia defines the eighteenth century as beginning in 1660 with the restoration of the Stuart monarchy (and the year Pepys began his diaries, although he is not given an entry in the encyclopedia) and as ending in 1789 with the French Revolution. An introduction explains the scope in detail, attempting comprehensiveness by incorporating new and original interpretations of the literature while maintaining an awareness of traditional scholarship. Essays on historically marginalized authors provide an expanded landscape of the eighteenth century.

The encyclopedia begins with an alphabetical list of entries, followed by a thematic list of entries, and includes a list of contributors with academic affiliations. Signed articles range from approximately 100 to 5,000 words and contain extensive references and suggestions for further reading. Includes cross-references and a comprehensive index (vol. 3).


The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain and Ireland. Ed. Daniel Hahn and Nicholas Robins. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. 370 pp. PR109.E18 820.9. Online through Oxford Reference (I530).

A guide to some 2,000 places, real and imaginary, associated with some 1,364 living and dead authors. Organized alphabetically within nine regions (three of which are subdivided), the entries succinctly identify associations with writers and works (occasionally quoting relevant passages) and provide directions for locating places. New to this edition are eleven short essays “on writers whose work demonstrates a particularly strong sense of place” (e.g., James Joyce and Dublin) and maps of ten cities with numerous literary sites (e.g., Bath). Two indexes: authors; places. Based on visits to most of the places described and offering aptly chosen illustrations, the work offers the fullest, most authoritative general guide to British literary topography (and is a delight to browse).


Goode, Clement Tyson, and Edgar Finley Shannon. An Atlas of English Literature. New York: Century, 1925. 136 pp. PR109.G6 820′.9.

A series of historical maps, each accompanied by a list of writers and associated places. The maps and lists for England and Wales are organized by period (449–1066, 1066–1500, 1500–1660, 1660–1798, and 1798–1900); a single map and list cover each of the following: Scotland, Ireland, London, and Italian locales associated with British authors. Two indexes: places (with authors listed under each); authors. Although in need of revision, the Atlas remains useful for identifying the literary associations of locales as they existed in various periods.

Although lacking this historical perspective, Michael Hardwick, A Literary Atlas and Gazetteer of the British Isles (Detroit: Gale, 1973; 216 pp.), prints detailed county maps (keyed to terse explanatory notes on literary associations) and is more current.

See also

Sec. C: Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias.




Oxford Chronology of English Literature. Ed. Michael Cox. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. Z2011.O98 016.82. CD-ROM.

A selected chronological record of printed works authored, for the most part, by British writers and printed between 1474 and 2000 in Britain, but the approximately 4,000 individuals include some foreign authors who made their home in the British Isles, some colonial writers who were published primarily by British publishers, and some postcolonial writers influential in the United Kingdom. The focus is imaginative writing, but some translations, periodicals, works for children, and nonfictional works are admitted (by the editor’s count, there are approximately “30,000 works—over 11,000 works of fiction, nearly 6,000 poetry titles, 2,500 dramatic works, and over 6,500 works of non-fiction”). Entries are organized chronologically by date of publication (which can differ from the imprint date and, sometimes substantially, from date of composition), then alphabetically (first by title of anonymous works, then by author); a typical entry includes date of birth (and date of death if the work was published posthumously), category (e.g., fiction, prose satire, verse), title, imprint, and a note (including, e.g., date of first performance for a play, bibliographical information, names of illustrators, references to later editions, or cross-references to related works). Three indexes: authors (with titles listed chronologically under each); titles; translated authors (with titles listed chronologically under each).

Although a work that is so catholic in its scope will always invite carping over who or what did or did not survive the editorial delete key, coverage seems even-handed and representative. Users must remember, however, that titles and bibliographical information are not based on copies in hand.

A substantially expanded successor to Annals of English Literature, 1475–1950: The Principal Publications of Each Year Together with an Alphabetical Index of Authors with Their Works, [ed. R. W. Chapman and W. K. Davin], 2nd ed. rpt. with corrections (Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1965; 380 pp.), Oxford Chronology of English Literature is the best print-based resource for placing a work in its literary milieu, tracing changes in reading tastes, and charting more clearly the outlines of a literary period; however, the chronological sorting capabilities of several electronic databases (e.g., English Short Title Catalogue [M1377]) can provide a much more detailed conspectus of the print record for many periods.

Related Topics


Handbook of British Chronology. 3rd ed., corr. Ed. E. B. Fryde et al. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996. 605 pp. Royal Hist. Soc. Guides and Handbooks 2. DA34.P6 942.002.

A chronology of rulers, officers of state, archbishops, and bishops to 1985 and of peers, parliaments, and church councils for earlier periods. Entries are organized in six divisions: rulers (by country, with details of “parentage, birth, accession, death [or removal], marriage and issue” as well as changes in titles and regents); officers of state (by country, office, then ruler, with dates of assumption and demission); archbishops and bishops (by country, see, then date of accession); dukes, marquesses, and earls (by country, then title, but covering only 1066 to 1714 for England); English and British parliaments and related assemblies to 1832; and provincial and national councils of the church in England, c. 600–1536. An introduction to each division (and to many sections) fully explains content, organization, limitations, and sources. Although access is hampered by the lack of an index and information is provisional for the period to 1066, the Handbook is the standard chronology and an indispensable source for dating documents.

Equally important for dating documents is A Handbook of Dates for Students of British History, ed. C. R. Cheney, new ed. rev. Michael Jones (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000; 246 pp.; Royal Hist. Soc. Guides and Handbooks 4), which provides tables listing rulers of England and regnal years, popes, saints’ days and festivals, law terms, and dates of Easter.

Bibliographies of Bibliographies


Howard-Hill, T. H. Index to British Literary Bibliography. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1969–98. Z2011.A1 H68 [PR83] 016.82.

  • Vol. 1: Bibliography of British Literary Bibliographies. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. 1987. 886 pp.

  • Vol. 2: Shakespearian Bibliography and Textual Criticism: A Bibliography. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. Signal Mountain: Summertown, 2000. 290 pp.

  • Vol. 3: British Literary Bibliography to 1890: A Bibliography. See below.

  • Vol. 4: British Bibliography and Textual Criticism: A Bibliography. 1979. 732 pp.

  • Vol. 5: British Bibliography and Textual Criticism: A Bibliography (Authors). 1979. 488 pp.

  • Vol. 6: British Bibliography and Textual Criticism, 1890–1969: An Index. 1980. 409 pp.

  • Vol. 7: British Literary Bibliography, 1970–1979. 1992. 912 pp.

  • Vol. 8: Dissertations on British Literary Bibliography to 2000. A preliminary version was published as British Book Trade Dissertations to 1980 (Signal Mountain: Summerton, 1998; 314 pp.).

  • Vol. 9: British Literary Bibliography, 1980–1989: A Bibliography (Authors). 1999. 591 pp.

The British Book Trade, 1475–1890: A Bibliography. 2 vols. London: British Lib.; New Castle: Oak Knoll, 2008. Z324.H69 016.381′.450020941. (This replaced the planned vol. 3, above.)

Additions and corrections to volumes are posted at Bib Site (

The work is a broad-ranging index of bibliographies and bibliographical and textual studies originally intended to cover books, substantial parts of books, and periodical articles written in English and published in the English-speaking Commonwealth and the United States after 1890, on the bibliographical and textual examination of English manuscripts, books, printing and publishing, and any other books published in English in Great Britain or by British authors abroad, from the establishment of printing in England, except for material on modern (post-1890) printing and publishing not primarily of bibliographical or literary interest. Coverage was extended back to the beginning of printing in Britain by British Book Trade, 1475–1890.

Among kinds of publications initially excluded are bibliographical and textual discussions in editions; catalogs of manuscripts; and most library, auction, booksellers’, and private library catalogs. During the course of publication, Howard-Hill has included some studies in foreign languages and on foreign language books published in Britain; has added coverage of manuscripts before 1475 by authors for whom studies of printed books are listed; has included some material on some modern private presses, studies published before 1890, and discussions in editions; and has modified organization and citation form. For a full discussion of changes in scope, see his ““The Index to British Literary Bibliography ”,” TEXT: Transactions of the Society for Textual Scholarship 2 (1985): 1–12.

In general, entries are organized by date of publication within sections. The brief descriptive annotations frequently note contents and selected reviews. Since a work is usually entered only once and seldom cross-referenced, users must check the index volume (vol. 6) or the CD-ROM accompanying British Book Trade, 1475–1890 to locate all entries relevant to an author or topic.

Vol. 1 classifies enumerative bibliographies (published c. 1890–1969) in divisions for general bibliographies, periods, regions (generally works printed at or written by inhabitants of—rather than those about—a place), book production and distribution, forms and genres (e.g., ballads, emblem books, forgeries, poetry, unfinished books), subjects (e.g., alchemy, circus, fencing, tobacco, witchcraft), and authors. Under some literary authors, the bibliographies of primary works are preceded by a selective list of bibliographies of scholarship; both are organized by date of publication, and the latter sometimes admits works belonging to the former list. The brief descriptive annotations frequently note organization, type of bibliography, content of bibliographical descriptions, revised editions or supplements published after 1969, and reviews. Indexed by persons and subjects; vol. 6 also indexes most entries in the revised edition of vol. 1.

British Book Trade, 1475–1890 generally follows the organization of vol. 1 but adds an initial division for general works on bibliography and textual criticism, moves authors to the general and period bibliography division, emphasizes works about places in the regional division, and combines forms and subjects. The author and title index and the subject index are on a CD-ROM.

Vol. 2 organizes Shakespearean textual and bibliographical research (published c. 1890 through 1995) in divisions for general bibliographies and guides, editions (with sections on quartos and the various folios), and textual studies (with sections on handwriting and paleography, collected emendations, and individual works). Bibliographies appear first in each section, followed by studies in chronological order. Coverage of suggested emendations is not complete. Two indexes: persons; subjects.

Vols. 4 and 5 classify bibliographical and textual studies (published c. 1890–c. 1969) on printed works and manuscripts in divisions for bibliography and textual criticism; general and period bibliography; regional bibliography; book production and distribution; forms, genres, and subjects; and authors. Only a very few entries are annotated. Corrections appear in vol. 6 (pp. xvii–xix).

Vol. 6 indexes vols. 1 (including most entries in the revised edition), 2 (the original 1971 edition), 4, and 5 in two sequences: persons and titles of anonymous works; subjects. The organization of the subject index requires considerable study before it can be used efficiently, as it must be if all entries on an author or subject are to be located.

Vol. 7 continues the coverage of vols. 1, 2, 4, and 5 but excludes most publications in Asian languages.

Vol. 8 includes doctoral dissertations, master’s theses, and other diploma theses.

Vol. 9 continues the coverage of vols. 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7.

Mastering indexing principles and changes in scope and organization amply rewards a user’s perseverance because Howard-Hill offers the fullest single guide to bibliographical scholarship on and bibliographies of English literature. Reviews: (vols. 4–6) Peter Davison, Library 6th ser. 4.2 (1982): 185–87; (British Book Trade) David McKitterick, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 103.4 (2009): 533–38; David Pearson, Library 7th ser. 10.3 (2009): 330–31.

For bibliographies published after 1969, see Bibliographic Index (D145); for recent bibliographical and textual studies, see ABHB: Annual Bibliography of the History of the Printed Book (U5275).


Bracken, James K. Reference Works in British and American Literature. 2nd ed. Englewood: Libs. Unlimited, 1998. 726 pp. Reference Sources in the Humanities Ser. Z2011.B74 [PR83] 016.8209.

An annotated bibliography of “bibliographies (including exhibition, book dealer’s, and library catalogs); dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks (ranging from chronologies and gazetteers to companions and prefaces); indexes and concordances (including topical indexes and collections of quotations, proverbs, symbolic language, and critical terminology); and currently published, or recently ceased periodicals (ranging from yearbooks to newsletters, but excluding monographic series)” and a few electronic resources devoted to one of about 1,500 British or American authors or anonymous works (such as Beowulf). The most important or useful separately published English-language works (through early 1997) receive full entries, with annotations frequently citing journal articles and sections of composite or collective reference sources (such as NCBEL [M1385] or BAL [Q3250]). The annotations are thorough (with nicely succinct descriptions of scope, organization, contents, kinds of annotations, and indexing), helpfully cite related or superseded works, usually compare works when two or more are listed under an author, and—unlike in the first edition—are more pointedly evaluative. Unfortunately, the indexing is inadequate: main entries are indexed by persons and titles; titles of books (but not their authors or editors) cited in annotations are indexed (unaccountably by page rather than entry number like other titles); journal articles mentioned in annotations are not indexed. Nonetheless, Bracken is an invaluable starting place for identifying and sorting through published book-length single-author reference works, and it serves to highlight the many authors awaiting a bibliographer.

See also

Sec. D: Bibliographies of Bibliographies.

Guides to Primary Works


Bibliographies and Indexes

Index of English Literary Manuscripts. Ed. P. J. Croft, Theodore Hofmann, and John Horden. 4 vols. London: Mansell; New York: Bowker, 1980–97. Z6611.L7 I5 [PR83] 016.82908.

  • Vol. 1: 1450–1625. Comp. Peter Beal. 2 pts. 1980. (M1985).

  • Vol. 2: 1625–1700. Comp. Beal. 2 pts. 1987–93. (M1985).

  • Vol. 3: 1700–1800. Comp. Margaret M. Smith and Alexander Lindsay. 4 pts. 1986–97. (M2225).

  • Vol. 4: 1800–1900. Comp. Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White. 3 pts. 1982–93. (M2465).

A descriptive catalog of extant literary manuscripts by about 300 British and Irish writers who flourished between 1450 and 1900. The authors included are essentially those listed in Concise Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, 600–1950, ed. George Watson, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1965; 270 pp.). The emphasis is on literary manuscripts, including an author’s typescripts, corrected proof sheets, diaries, notebooks, and marginalia in printed books, but excluding letters; scribal copies to c. 1700 are also included. The individual volumes are organized alphabetically by author, with entries listed as the nature of the surviving manuscripts and canon demands. An introduction to each author describes the manuscripts generally, summarizes scholarship, alerts researchers to special problems, comments on nonliterary papers, discusses canon, and concludes with an outline of the arrangement of entries. A typical entry provides a physical description, dates composition of the manuscript, lists editions and facsimiles, notes provenance, cites relevant scholarship, and identifies location (with shelf mark). Additions and corrections were to be printed in vol. 5, but publication of the Index ceased in 1997. Since some entries are based on inquiries to libraries and collectors, on bibliographies and other reference works, and on booksellers’ and auction catalogs, rather than on personal examination by a compiler, the descriptions vary in fullness and accuracy. Terminology and format also vary somewhat from volume to volume. Although there are inevitable errors and omissions, and although the scope is unduly restricted by reliance on the Concise Cambridge Bibliography, the Index has brought to light a number of significant unrecorded manuscripts and is an essential, if limited, source for the identification and location of manuscripts. It must, however, be supplemented by the works listed in section F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives.


Mullins, E. L. C. Texts and Calendars: An Analytical Guide to Serial Publications. Rpt. with corrections. London: Royal Historical Soc., 1978. 674 pp. Royal Hist. Soc. Guides and Handbooks Main Ser. 7. Texts and Calendars II: An Analytical Guide to Serial Publications, 1957–1982. 1983. 323 pp. Royal Hist. Soc. Guides and Handbooks Main Ser. 12. Z2016.M82 [DA30] 016.941.

Guide to Record Societies and Their Publications (Texts and Calendars). Royal Historical Society. Royal Historical Soc., 2013. 29 Aug. 2013. <>.

An annotated guide to the contents of serial publications issued by government bodies or learned societies since the eighteenth century and devoted to printing texts or calendars of records and documents important to the history of England and Wales. In the print volumes, serials are grouped by issuing body in four divisions: official bodies (including the Public Record Office and Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, which merged to form the National Archives [F285]), national societies (e.g., Hakluyt Society), English local societies (including records, antiquarian, historical, and archaeological societies), and Welsh societies. Vol. 2 adds a division for series begun after 1957. The citation to each publication is accompanied by a full description of contents and, in vol. 2, a summary of prefatory matter. Corrections to the corrected reprint appear in vol. 2, pp. 317–20. Indexed in each volume by persons, places, subjects, and types of documents. Guide to Record Societies and Their Publications (Texts and Calendars) (which replaces the defunct online Texts and Calendars since 1982: A Survey, ed. Ian Mortimer) continues Texts and Calendars and David Stevenson and Wendy B. Stevenson, Scottish Texts and Calendars: An Analytical Guide to Serial Publications (London: Royal Historical Soc.; Edinburgh: Scottish Historical Soc., 1987; 233 pp.; Royal Hist. Soc. Guides and Handbooks Main Ser. 14) as an alphabetical list of organizations with links to PDF bibliographies of their publications. Besides being the only sources that index many of these volumes, Texts and Calendars and Guide to Record Societies offer an invaluable conspectus of the numerous publications of the Public Record Office (in the print volumes) and Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.

See also

Sec. F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives.

Storey and Madden, Primary Sources for Victorian Studies (M2450).

Text Archives

British Literary Manuscripts Online, c. 1660–1900. Gale Digital Collections. Gale, 2009. 19 Mar. 2013. <>.

British Literary Manuscripts Online, Medieval and Renaissance. Gale Digital Collections. Gale, 2010. 19 Mar. 2013. <>.

Digitized images of British literary manuscripts based on a series of microfilm collections (listed and described under “Source Microfilm Collections”). The c. 564,000 pages in Medieval and Renaissance and the c. 400,000 pages in 1660–1900 include letters, diaries, poems, novels, plays, and other materials. Users must remember that only the metadata associated with a manuscript can be searched; the text of the manuscript itself is not searchable. Records can be searched in three ways: Search, Advanced Search, and Browse. Search allows a keyword search of the citation or catalog entry to be limited by century. Advanced Search allows Boolean searches of fields (full citation or catalog entry, document author, title, document type, persons about, manuscript number, Gale document number, and previous search) to be limited by date, document type, source library, specific library collection, and source microfilm collection. Browse is limited to document authors. Users can search both modules simultaneously or select one. Results can be sorted by relevance, source library or collection, or manuscript number and can be narrowed by document author, document type, century, or source library (the pull-down menu helpfully generates links). For each record, a searcher can elect to view the manuscript, thumbnail images, or full citation and to mark records (not the manuscripts themselves) for viewing or comparing manuscripts, downloading, printing, bookmarking, or e-mailing. Images of the manuscripts can be resized to fit the full screen (a necessity for most of the images); a screen image—which consists of two manuscript pages—can be bookmarked, and up to eight images at a time can be printed or downloaded as a PDF file. The quality of the microfilm images varies, and many screen images are inevitably difficult—and sometimes impossible—to read, but this archive offers a valuable resource that allows a researcher to do meaningful preliminary work before sitting in front of the actual manuscript.

Printed Works


The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (CBEL). 3rd ed. 6 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999. Z2001.N45 [PR83] 016.82. (Cambridge UP has suspended publication; no other volumes will appear.)

  • Vol. 1: 600–1500. Ed. Peter Brown.

  • Vol. 2: 1500–1700. Ed. Douglas Sedge.

  • Vol. 3: 1700–1800. Ed. Shef Rogers. (See M2255.)

  • Vol. 4: 1800–1900. Ed. Joanne Shattock. 2,995 cols. (M2467).

  • Vol. 5: 1900–2000.

  • Vol. 6: Index.

More a reconceptualization than a revision of NCBEL (M1385), CBEL was to focus on primary works, textual and bibliographical studies, biographies, the initial reception of an author’s works, and critical studies before 1920. For many authors and subjects, it would have offered the fullest information available on primary works, but the general exclusion of post-1920 secondary works (based on the unfounded assumption that such studies are adequately covered and easily identified in MLAIB [G335] and ABELL [G340]) meant that CBEL—unlike NCBEL—would no longer be one of the principal starting points for research.


English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC; EngSTC); formerly The Eighteenth-Century Short-Title Catalogue. British Lib.–U of California, Riverside, 2010. 12 Nov. 2012. <>. Updated daily. <>; <>.

A bibliographic database and union list of editions; issues; impressions; and variant states of books, serials, pamphlets, bookplates, and single sheets printed in any language in the British Isles (including those with false London imprints), North America, and British territories (for a list, see Michael S. Smith, comp., The English and British Empires, c. 1497–1800 []) and printed entirely or partly in English, Irish, Welsh, or Gaelic throughout the rest of the world between c. 1473 and 1800. Excludes most engraved single sheets without letterpress (unless the text is significant), forms intended to be completed in manuscript, trade cards, tickets, playbills, concert and theater programs, playing cards, maps, and games. The database includes records of the North American Imprints Program (Q4010) as well as expanded, edited RSTC (M1990) and Wing (M1995) entries.

A typical record includes author; title; edition; imprint; pagination; illustrations; format; notes on authorship, language, type of work, and content (if not clear from the title) and bibliographical and publication details; references to other bibliographies; identification of microform copies; and locations (with call number or shelf mark and notes on provenance or imperfections); many records also include a subject field. The amount of detail and degree of bibliographical sophistication vary; many records taken over from RSTC and Wing are placeholders that will eventually be expanded. Users should be aware that information included in entries is frequently not precise enough to identify reprints and variant issues, that many titles for eighteenth-century publications are not fully recorded (but full transcriptions are being added), and that the list of locations of copies is frequently seriously incomplete. For an informative analysis of the errors and omissions in records for eighteenth-century publications, see James E. May, “Who Will Edit the ESTC? (and Have You Checked OCLC Lately?),” Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography ns 12.3-4 (2001): 288–304. For a convenient summary of cataloging practices, see R. C. Alston, The First Phase: An Introduction to the Catalogue of the British Library Collections for ESTC, Occasional Paper 4, Factotum: Newsletter of the XVIIIth Century STC (London: British Lib., 1983; 29 pp.); fuller details are provided in J. C. Zeeman, The Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue: The Cataloguing Rules, 1991 ed. (London: British Lib., 1991; 140 pp.).

Basic Search allows users to search by keyword, author, title, place of publication, publisher, date, subject (i.e., Library of Congress subject heading), shelf mark, library, or ESTC number. Advanced Search allows users to combine the preceding fields with ones for language, genre, notes, and format and to restrict searches by language, date, format, and country of publication. Users can also browse lists of authors, titles, places of publication, subjects, genres, shelf marks, and libraries. Up to 1,000 results, which are listed in ascending order by title then by date of publication, can be sorted by author or date and can be marked for e-mailing, printing, downloading, or moving to a personal folder at the site. (If a search returns more than 1,000 records, only the first 1,000 will appear in ESTC number order and cannot be re-sorted.) Searchers should consult the most recent help screen for search instructions. The guides published by ESTC—M. J. Crump, Searching ESTC on Blaise-Line: A Brief Guide, Occasional Paper 6, Factotum: Newsletter of the XVIIIth Century STC (London: British Lib., 1989; 37 pp.); and John Bloomberg-Rissman, Searching ESTC on RLIN, Factotum: Newsletter of the English STC, Incorporating the XVIIIth Century STC (1996; 22 pp.; Occasional Paper 7; also available at the project’s Web site []); and Searching the ESTC (—are obsolete.

A portion of the database was published as The Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue 1990 (ESTC 1990) (London: British Lib., 1990; microfiche), an author-title list of about 284,000 entries from the database, with indexes for date and place of publication and five types of publications (advertisements, almanacs, directories, prospectuses, and single-sheet verse); the 2003 CD-ROM has about 465,000 records. On the vagaries of the search interface for the 2003 CD-ROM, see the review by E. Thomson Shields, Jr., Early Modern Literary Studies 10.3 (M2005): 9 pars. <>.

Factotum: Newsletter of the English STC, Incorporating the XVIIIth Century STC (1978–95) carried progress reports as well as notes derived from research in ESTC records; for an index see (From 1978 to 1980, ESTC Facsimile: The Newsletter of the Eighteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue in America recorded the progress of the North American group.) For a history of the project and examples of research based on ESTC, see M. Crump and M. Harris, eds., Searching the Eighteenth Century: Papers Presented at the Symposium on the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue in July 1982 (London: British Lib. in association with Dept. of Extra-mural Studies, U of London, 1983; 104 pp.) and Henry L. Snyder and Michael S. Smith, eds., The English Short-Title Catalogue: Past, Present, Future (New York: AMS, 2003; 290 pp.). Alston also recounts the history of the project in “The History of ESTC,” Age of Johnson 15 (2004): 269–329.

The ESTC is the most sophisticated and accessible of the short-title catalogs, and supplants—but does not supersede—RSTC and Wing. Since the database can be searched in a variety of ways and is continually updated to reflect corrections and additions, it is an important source for identifying extant works by an author, about a topic, or published within a time period and for locating copies. A major international cooperative project that has already unearthed a number of unknown works and unrecorded editions, the ESTC is effecting a revolution in all areas of pre-nineteenth-century studies, and it has precipitated similar projects such as the ISTC (M1820a). Users must, however, be aware that the disparate nature of the records brought together in this database means that there are substantial inconsistencies and hundreds of errors (for which, see the exchange of letters between Peter W. M. Blayney and Henry L. Snyder and M. J. Crump in Library 7th ser. 1.1 [2000]: 72–78). For important strictures on using ESTC records for 1475–1700, see William Proctor Williams and William Baker, ““ Caveat Lector, English Books 1475–1700 and the Electronic Age”,” Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography ns 12.1 (2001): 1–29. For suggestions on how this continually evolving database could be improved, see Stephen Tabor, “ESTC and the Bibliographical Community,” Library 7th ser. 8.4 (2007): 367–86.


Records of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers”. Stationers’ Hall, London EC4M 7DD. <>.

The records, which date from 1554, are in three main groups: the court books (valuable for biographical research on printers and publishers and essential sources for publishing history); miscellaneous documents; and—of primary interest to literary researchers—the registers of printed books, usually called the Stationers’ Register (SR). The registers are virtually complete for 1554–1911, when compulsory registration halted. For 1554–1708, the registers consist of works entered for ownership by a member of the company; for 1710–1911, of works entered for copyright. The so-called voluntary register (1920–2000) is not available to researchers. Arranged chronologically, the registers identify the member claiming ownership or copyright, title (frequently descriptive in the early registers), author (but infrequently in the early years), and registration fee.

The registers for 1554–1842 and other records of the company are available to researchers at Stationers’ Hall (by appointment only); the registers for 1842–1911 are held by the National Archives (F285). In addition, many records can be consulted in microfilm (Robin Myers, ed., Records of the Stationers’ Company, 1554–1920 [Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1987]) or in various published transcripts:

  • 1554–1640: Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers (M2000).

  • 1640–1708: Transcript of the Registers of the Worshipful Company of Stationers (M2005).

  • (David Foxon has unfortunately had to abandon his transcript of the registers for the period 1710–46.)

  • The court books of the company have been indexed in Alison Shell and Alison Emblow, Index to the Court Books of the Stationers’ Company, 1679–1717 (London: Bibliog. Soc., 2007; 433 pp.).

Review: (microfilm) Michael Robertson, Microform Review 20 (1991): 85–88.

Since the records are the property of the company, scholars should seek permission to cite them in books and articles.

Essential reading for those consulting the records is Robin Myers, The Stationers’ Company Archive: An Account of the Records, 1554–1984 (Winchester: St. Paul’s Bibliographies; Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1990; 376 pp.), which offers a brief history of the archives, an essential glossary, an analytical catalog of records in the muniment room (together with references to editions, indexes, and published commentary), and registers of documents (together with a name index). For a history of the company, see Cyprian Blagden, The Stationers’ Company: A History, 1403–1959 (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1960; 321 pp.), portions of which are superseded by The Stationers’ Company: A History of the Later Years, 1800–2000, ed. Robin Myers (London: Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, 2001; 265 pp.), and Peter W. M. Blayney, The Stationers’ Company before the Charter, 1403–1557 (London: Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspapermakers [sic], 2003; 62 pp.).

Researchers must remember that the registers are records of ownership or copyright by members of the company and thus do not include everything actually printed or published in England and that many works entered were never published or appeared under a different title. See entry M2000 for a further discussion of problems in the use of the early registers. The records—many of which await adequate exploration—are essential sources for identifying lost works, aiding in dating composition or publication, and researching all aspects of printing or publishing history.

See also

Sec. U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Anonymous and Pseudonymous Works/Dictionaries.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Surveys of Research


Greenblatt, Stephen, and Giles Gunn, eds. Redrawing the Boundaries: The Transformation of English and American Literary Studies. New York: MLA, 1992. 595 pp. PR21.R43 820.9′0001.

A collection of surveys of conceptual, methodological, and theoretical shifts since the 1960s in literary studies. Essays—which typically examine significant developments in the field, comment on major studies, and conclude with a selective annotated bibliography—cover historical periods in English and American literature; composition studies; and feminist, gender, African American, Marxist, psychoanalytic, deconstruction, new historicist, cultural, and postcolonial criticism (but not textual criticism). The omission of a subject index is inexplicable in a volume devoted to shifts and interdisciplinarity in literary studies; limiting the index to persons makes it impossible to use the collection to trace across periods or critical schools the effects of a methodology, concept, approach, ideology, or critical school. Despite this drawback, the volume does offer a convenient overview of the evolution of literary studies from the 1960s to the early 1990s.

Other Bibliographies


The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (NCBEL). Ed. George Watson and I. R. Willison. 5 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1969–77. Z2011.N45 [PR83] 016.82.

  • Vol. 1: 600–1660. Ed. Watson. 1974. 2,476 cols. (M1675, M1840, and M2035).

  • Vol. 2: 1660–1800. Ed. Watson. 1971. 2,082 cols. (M2255).

  • Vol. 3: 1800–1900. Ed. Watson. 1969. 1,948 cols. (M2505).

  • Vol. 4: 1900–1950. Ed. Willison. 1972. 1,408 cols. (M2785).

  • Vol. 5: Index. Comp. J. D. Pickles. 1977. 542 pp.

A selective, but extensive, bibliography of works by and about “literary authors native to or mainly resident in the British Isles” from the Old English period through those established by 1950. Because of the scope, coverage of scholarship is necessarily selective and excludes unpublished dissertations, ephemeral publications, encyclopedia articles, insignificant notes, and superseded studies. Parts of books are omitted from the lists of secondary materials, thus leading researchers to overlook important studies. Otherwise, the thoroughness of coverage and terminal date (from c. 1962 to 1969) vary widely from section to section, with only extended use revealing how adequate an individual part is.

Entries are organized by literary period and then by six major divisions (each extensively subdivided and classified as its subject and the period require): introduction, poetry, novel, drama, prose, and Scottish or Anglo-Irish. For a fuller account of the organization of each period, see entries for the individual volumes.

Listings under individual authors are divided into bibliographies, collections, primary works, and secondary materials. Headnotes sometimes locate manuscripts or unique items. The full entry for an author who writes in several genres appears under the genre with which he or she is most closely associated; briefer entries emphasizing primary works usually appear under other genres or forms. Since these entries are not always cross-referenced, users must check the index volume (vol. 5) to locate all listings for an author. In the various subdivisions and author entries, primary and secondary works are listed chronologically by date of publication. Editions and translations follow, in chronological order, a primary work. When a list of secondary materials includes more than one study by a scholar, the chronological sequence is unnecessarily violated by grouping all the studies under the earliest publication date of those cited. This practice, which requires considerable backtracking in lengthy lists (since scholars are not indexed), is almost universally condemned by reviewers and users.

Scholars are identified by surname and initial(s); titles are short titles, with only the first word capitalized and no designation of a title within a title; bibliographical information is incomplete. Although these conventions save space and create an uncluttered page, they also frequently prolong searches in library catalogs and volumes of journals.

The index (vol. 5) lists literary authors, major anonymous works, and some headings for subdivisions but is insufficiently detailed to provide adequate access to the wealth of information in vols. 1–4. To be certain of locating all sections on an author, form, or genre, users must consult vol. 5 rather than the provisional index in each volume. Entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Although NCBEL is a revision of The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (CBEL), ed. F. W. Bateson, 4 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1940), and Supplement, ed. George Watson (1957), CBEL is still occasionally useful for its sections on political and social background and Commonwealth literature dropped from NCBEL. See the entries on individual volumes for details of differences in coverage. For a discussion of the significance and history of CBEL and NCBEL, see George Watson, CBEL: The Making of the Cambridge Bibliography (Los Angeles: School of Lib. Service, U of California, 1965; 13 pp.).

NCBEL, despite its unevenness, errors, inconsistencies, and deficiencies in organization, remains frequently the best starting point for research, especially for authors, forms, genres, and subjects that are not themselves subjects of bibliographies.

Reviews: (vol. 1) Fred C. Robinson, Anglia 97.3 (1979): 511–17; (vol. 2) TLS: Times Literary Supplement 15 Oct. 1971: 1296; Eric Rothstein, Modern Philology 71.2 (1973): 176–86; (vol. 3) Richard D. Altick, JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology 70.1 (1971): 139–45; (vol. 4) TLS: Times Literary Supplement 29 Dec. 1972: 1582; T. A. Birrell, Neophilologus 59.2 (1975): 306–15.

Addressed to the student and general reader, The Shorter New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, ed. Watson (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1981; 1,612 cols.), emphasizes the traditional canon of English literature by reprinting, with few changes, the sections on primary works by major authors and several minor ones, listing only a very few basic studies about each author, and completely cutting or severely trimming other sections. Although the Shorter NCBEL includes a few additions and corrections, it is, as Peter Davison points out in his review, “an unimaginative scissors-and-paste job which shows little thought for the needs of” its intended audience (Library 6th ser. 4.2 [1982]: 188–89).


Oxford Bibliographies Online: British and Irish Literature. Ed. Andrew Hadfield. Oxford UP, 2009– . 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

Oxford Bibliographies Online are peer-reviewed, concisely annotated, expertly selected bibliographic citations. Each of the articles within a bibliography, written by scholars in the field, consists of an introduction that covers the history behind the field or subfield, followed by a categorized list of useful academic publications (e.g., introductions, textbooks, journals, handbooks and guides, reference works, primary texts or documents) and sections on debates and controversies, criticism, genres, and more. The lists of citations are highly selective, chosen to represent the best scholarship in a given field. Some articles include links to full text or Web content.

British and Irish Literature includes articles covering such topics as 1916; Anglo-Irish poetry, 1500–1800; John Gower; Charles and Mary Lamb; coffeehouse; Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Tobias Smollett; and Robin Hood literature.

Content is browsable, and users can search the database with the option of limiting by resource type. Searches can be saved, and users can receive e-mails alerting them to new additions.


Baer, Florence E. Folklore and Literature of the British Isles: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1986. 355 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 622: Garland Folklore Bibliogs. 11. Z2014.F6 B34 [PR149.F64] 016.82′09.

A bibliography of studies that discuss folklore elements in literary works written in English in the British Isles. Baer includes scholarly and popular studies (all but a few in English and published between 1890 and 1980) as well as dissertations after 1950 but excludes most of the standard reference works. Listed alphabetically by scholar, the 1,039 entries are accompanied by descriptive annotations offering clear, informative summaries that isolate significant elements of a study; cite tale types, motifs, or Child numbers for ballads; provide appropriate cross-references; and sometimes include an astute evaluation. Because of the organization, users must approach the contents through the detailed general index, which covers literary and folklore genres, literary authors, titles, subjects, theoretical approaches, and theorists. Three additional indexes cover tale types, folklore motifs, and Child ballad numbers. Although the work is not comprehensive, the careful annotations and thorough indexing make it a valuable, time-saving source for identifying studies of the folklore content and relationships of British literature. Until MLAIB for 1981 (G335), such studies are not easily identified in the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

See also

Secs. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Folklore and Literature/Guides to Scholarship and Criticism.

ABELL (G340): English Literature division.

Bailey and Burton, English Stylistics (U6080).

Gaillet, Present State of Scholarship in the History of Rhetoric (U5565).

Hayes, Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation (N2980).

Horner, Historical Rhetoric (U5600).

Kallendorf, Latin Influences on English Literature from the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century (S4895).

Kirby, America’s Hive of Honey (Q4190).

MLAIB (G335): English Language and Literature (or English Literature) division through the volume for 1980; the Literatures of the British Isles/General and English Literature sections in the volumes for 1981–90; the British and Irish Literatures/General and English sections in the volumes for 1991–2008. Researchers must also check the “English Literature” and “British and Irish Literatures” headings in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Ross, Film as Literature, Literature as Film (U5800).

Schwartz, Articles on Women Writers (U6605).

YWES (G330) has a chapter on general literary history and criticism.

Dissertations and Theses


Howard, Patsy C., comp. Theses in English Literature, 1894–1970. Ann Arbor: Pierian, 1973. 387 pp. Z2011.H63 [PR83] 016.82.

A list of baccalaureate and master’s theses accepted by American and some foreign institutions. Includes a limited number of institutions (whether completely is unclear) and apparently only theses on an identifiable author. Entries are organized alphabetically under literary authors. Cross-references identify studies of multiple authors. Two indexes: subject (inadequate); thesis author. Although marred by an insufficient explanation of scope and coverage, Theses in English Literature will save some hunting through elusive institutional lists. A companion volume is devoted to Theses in American Literature (Q3315).

See also

Sec. H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

Related Topics


Bibliography of British and Irish History. Brepolis. Royal Historical Soc., Inst. of Historical Research, and Brepols, 2001. 29 Dec. 2014. <>. Updated three times a year.

A bibliographic database of historical writings about the British Isles (including their relations with the British Empire and Commonwealth) from 55 BC to the present. Coverage is more complete for publications after 1900 than before. The database incorporates and supersedes the following:

  • The Royal Historical Society Bibliography: A Guide to Writing about British and Irish History. The Web site closed 1 Jan. 2010.

  • Annual Bibliography of British and Irish History: Publications of [1975–2002]. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1976–2003. Annual. Coverage is highly selective, with many entries taken at second hand.

  • Writings on British History, [1946–74]: A Bibliography of Books and Articles on the History of Great Britain from about 450 A. D. to 1939. 12 vols. London: Inst. of Historical Research, U of London, 1973–86.

  • Writings on British History, [1934–45]: A Bibliography of Books and Articles on the History of Great Britain from about 450 A. D. to 1914, Published during the Year [1934–45], with an Appendix Containing a Select List of Publications . . . on British History since 1914. Comp. Alexander Taylor Milne. 8 vols. London: Cape, 1937–60.

  • Writings on British History, 1901–1933: A Bibliography of Books and Articles on the History of Great Britain from about 400 A. D. to 1914, Published during the Years 1901–1933 Inclusive, with an Appendix Containing a Select List of Publications in These Years on British History since 1914. 5 vols. London: Cape, 1968–70. An important complementary work is E. L. C. Mullins, comp., A Guide to the Historical and Archaeological Publications of Societies in England and Wales, 1901–1933 (London: Athlone, 1968; 850 pp.).

  • Royal Historical Society Bibliography on CD-ROM. Oxford UP, 1998. Covers 1901–92.

In addition, the database includes pre-1901 publications listed in Graves, Bibliography of English History to 1485 (M1845); Read, Bibliography of British History: Tudor Period, 1485–1603 (M2050); Davies, Bibliography of British History: Stuart Period, 1603–1714 (M2045); Pargellis and Medley, Bibliography of British History: The Eighteenth Century, 1714–1789 (M2260); Brown and Christie, Bibliography of British History, 1789–1851 (M2515); and Hanham, Bibliography of British History, 1851–1914 (M2520).

Simple Search allows a keyword, author, title, or index term search to be limited by date. Advanced Search allows users to combine the following fields: keyword, author, title, journal or series title, date of publication, index term, subject, place-name, person as subject, and period covered. Records, which can be sorted by author, title, or date (ascending or descending), can be downloaded or e-mailed. Bibliography of British and Irish History offers the most current list of publications on British history and is useful for literature researchers because of its inclusion of several literary studies from periodicals not covered by the standard bibliographies and indexes in section G.


Guides to Primary Works


Alston, R. C., comp. A Bibliography of the English Language from the Invention of Printing to the Year 1800: A Systematic Record of Writings on English, and on Other Languages in English, Based on the Collections of the Principal Libraries of the World. 22 vols. N.p.: Privately printed, 1965– . Z2015.A1 A4.

  • Vol. 1: English Grammars Written in English and English Grammars Written in Latin by Native Speakers. 1965. 119 pp.

  • Vol. 2: Polyglot Dictionaries and Grammars; Treatises on English Written for Speakers of French, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Persian, Bengali, and Russian. 1967. 311 pp.

  • Vol. 3, pt. 1: Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English: Miscellaneous Works; Vocabulary. 1970. 205 pp.

  • Vol. 3, pt. 2: Punctuation, Concordances, Works on Language in General, Origins of Language, Theory of Grammar. 1971. 66 pp.

  • Vol. 4: Spelling Books. 1967. 277 pp.

  • Vol. 5: The English Dictionary. 1966. 195 pp.

  • Vol. 6: Rhetoric, Style, Elocution, Prosody, Rhyme, Pronunciation, Spelling Reform. 1969. 202 pp.

  • Vol. 7: Logic, Philosophy, Epistemology, Universal Language. 1967. 115 pp.

  • Vol. 8: Treatises on Short-Hand. 1966. 152 pp.

  • Vol. 9: English Dialects, Scottish Dialects, Cant and Vulgar English. 1971. 178 pp.

  • Vol. 10: Education and Language-Teaching. 1972. 75 pp.

  • Supplement: Additions and Corrections, Volume I–X; List of Libraries; Cumulative Indexes. 1973. 117 pp.

  • Vol. 11: Place Names and Personal Names. 1977. 148 pp.

  • Vol. 12, pt. 1: The French Language: Grammars, Miscellaneous Treatises, Dictionaries. 1985. 208 pp.

  • Vol. 12, pt. 2: The Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romansh Languages: Grammars, Dictionaries, Miscellaneous Treatises. 1987. 55 pp.

  • Vol. 13: The Germanic Languages. 1999. 208 pp.

  • Vol. 14: The British Isles; Hebrew; Eastern Europe; Africa; South Asia; Australasia; The Americas; Pacific Islands. 2000. 561 pp.

  • Vol. 15: Greek; Latin to 1500. 2001. 454 pp.

  • Vol. 16: Latin, 1651–1800. 2 vols. 2002.

  • Vol. 17: Botany, Horticulture, Agriculture. 2 vols. 2003.

  • Vol. 18, pt. 1: Zoology, Geology, Chemistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Mathematics, Astronomy, Miscellaneous. 2 vols. 2004.

  • Vol. 18, pt. 2: Law, Art, Architecture, Building, Heraldry. 2 vols. 2004.

  • Vol. 18, pt. 3: Military and Naval Arts and Sciences. 2 vols. 2005.

  • Vol. 18, pt. 4: Horsemanship, Commerce, Trade, Classics, Cookery, Technology, Religion, Recreation, Sports, Music, Satire. 3 vols. 2006.

  • Vol. 19: Periodical Literature. 3 vols. 2007–11.

  • Vol. 20: Materials in Manuscript. 2 vols. 2009.

  • Vol. 21: Addenda: Volumes I–X. 3 vols. 2008.

  • Vol. 22: Indexes. In progress.

(The compiler’s annotated copies of vols. 1–10 were reprinted, without the facsimiles, in a single volume [Ilkley: Janus, 1974]. The corrections and additions are incorporated into the printed supplement to the first ten volumes.)

A massive bibliography of English-language works through 1800 related to the history of the English language. Works are organized by publication date within various subject classifications; subsequent editions follow, in chronological order, the first. A typical entry provides author, short title, publication information, format, pagination, citations to standard bibliographies, locations, references to important scholarship and contemporary reviews, and occasional notes on content. Most volumes print several facsimiles of title pages and other printed material. Each volume has up to four indexes: titles; authors; subjects and other persons; places (however, indexing is less thorough in recent volumes). Based on research in an extensive number of libraries, Alston is an indispensable guide to the identification and location of works essential for the study of the early history of the English language. Review: (rpt. of vols. 1–10) TLS: Times Literary Supplement 8 Nov. 1974: 1267.

Alston supersedes (for publications before 1800) Arthur G. Kennedy, A Bibliography of Writings on the English Language from the Beginning of Printing to the End of 1922 (Cambridge: Harvard UP; New Haven: Yale UP, 1927; 517 pp.). For extensive additions and corrections to Kennedy, see the following reviews: Arvid Gabrielson, ““Professor Kennedy’s Bibliography of Writings on the English Language: A Review with a List of Additions and Corrections”,” Studia Neophilologica 2.2 (1929): 117–68; Rudolph Brotanek, “Englische Sprachbücher aus frühneuenglischer Zeit,” Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik 4.1 (1956): 5–18; and Hermann M. Flasdieck, Anglia Beiblatt 39.6 (1928): 166–74.

Guides to Scholarship


Sec. U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Linguistics and Literature/General Linguistics/Guides to Scholarship.

ABELL (G340): English Language division.

MLAIB (G335): English Language and Literature division in the volumes for 1922–25; English Language and Literature I/Linguistics in the volumes for 1926–66; Indo-European C/Germanic Linguistics IV/English in those for 1967–80; and Indo-European Languages/Germanic Languages/West Germanic Languages/English Language in later volumes. Researchers must also check “British English Dialect” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.



Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED Online). Oxford University Press. Oxford UP, 2013. 29 Aug. 2013. <>. Updated quarterly.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Ed. J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. 2nd ed. 20 vols. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1989. CD-ROM. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. Simpson and Weiner. New ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1991. (A micrographic reprint of the second edition; a third edition is in progress; a draft of the preface is at the OED Web site.) PE1625.O87 423.

Oxford English Dictionary Additions. Ed. Simpson and Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1993– .

An integrated expansion of the following:

  • The Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Ed. James A. H. Murray et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1933. (A corrected reissue of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles [NED], originally published in 125 fascicles between 1884 and 1928.) CD-ROM.

  • A Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. R. W. Burchfield. 4 vols. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1972–86.

  • The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles. Ed. Lesley Brown. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1993. CD-ROM.

A historical dictionary that attempts to record all English words (including obsolete ones, dialect terms before 1500, and archaisms, as well as a considerable number of scientific, technical, and slang terms) used since c. 1150. Words obsolete by 1150 and dialect terms new after 1500 are excluded. Although the OED emphasizes standard British usage and vocabulary, it admits meanings and senses used in English worldwide (especially for words added in the Supplement and second edition). The entries for more than 600,000 words are based on several million excerpts from written works (a majority of which are belles lettres).

The best access to the OED is offered by OED Online, which allows parallel searching of the text of the second edition and the database containing additions and revisions for the third edition; searches display a link to earlier versions of revised entries. Quick Search allows keyword searching of main entries (including phrases and compounds). In Advanced Search, users can restrict searches of full entries, quotations, headwords, lemmas, definitions, or etymologies to parts of an entry, a subject, language of origin, region, usage (e.g., archaic), date, part of speech, and entry letter or range of letters; most of the preceding options have a pull-down menu or are linked to a list. In addition, users can browse the dictionary alphabetically or by category (subject, usage, region, or language of origin), timeline, or sources; Browse is also linked to Kay et al., Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (M1420). Entries consist of two parts: the headword section (which includes status [e.g., obsolete], pronunciation, variant spellings, etymology, and label indicating context in which the word is used); the sense section (which includes definitions that list quotations in which the word appears, compound forms, and derivatives). Entries can be printed, e-mailed, or saved to a personal account. Many entries are linked to earlier versions and other dictionaries. To search the OED Online efficiently and thoroughly, users must read the Help page.

For an examination of the post-1928 evolution of the OED see Charlotte Brewer, Treasure House of the Language: The Living OED (New Haven: Yale UP, 2007; 334 pp.), and the author’s Web site, Examining the OED ( For an overview of the principles guiding the revision of the etymology and other linguistic elements appearing in brackets at the beginning of an entry, see Philip N. R. Durkin, ““Root and Branch: Revising the Etymological Component of the Oxford English Dictionary ”,” Transactions of the Philological Society 97.1 (1999): 1–49; for a critique of the plan to rely on MED (M1860) and DOST (O3090a) for Middle English etymologies, see William Rothwell, ““ OED, MED, AND: The Making of a New Dictionary of English”,” Anglia 119.4 (2002): 527–53; for changes in the use of literary works as sources of quotations, see Brewer, ““The Use of Literary Quotations in the Oxford English Dictionary”,” Review of English Studies 61.248 (2010): 93–125. For examples of the kind of revision being undertaken in the third edition, see John Simpson, Edmund Weiner, and P. Durkin, ““The Oxford English Dictionary Today”,” Transactions of the Philological Society 102.3 (2004): 335–91.

In the printed OED there are three classifications of headwords: main words (all single words, whether radical or derivative, as well as compounds requiring separate treatment), subordinate words (mostly obsolete and variant forms, irregular inflections, or alleged words), and combined forms. Entries for subordinate words and combinations typically refer users to related main words for fuller information. A typical entry for a main word consists of four parts: (1) identification, with the headword appearing in its current or most usual spelling, pronunciation, part of speech, any specification of vocation, status, earlier spellings (with indication of chronological range), and inflected forms; (2) morphology, with etymology, history of the form, and notes on the history of the word; (3) signification, with senses organized from the earliest to most recent; (4) dated illustrative quotations listed chronologically (averaging one per century for words in the first edition and one per decade for those added in the Supplement or later). Each grammatical form of a main word is accorded a separate entry. New entries (including headwords as well as new senses and collocations) are also recorded in Oxford English Dictionary Additions, each volume of which prints words from throughout the alphabet. Cumulatively indexed beginning with vol. 2.

The 1933 corrected reissue adds a supplement that records new words and senses, corrections, and spurious words and lists the sources of illustrative quotations. Except for the list of sources, the 1933 supplement is superseded by the four-volume Supplement, which records new words or senses since 1884–1928 to 1965–85 (depending on when the part of the alphabet was sent to the printer), includes several words (especially “taboo” terms) and senses omitted from or overlooked in the original volumes and offers more substantial coverage of colloquialisms and English outside the British Isles. The necessity of having the original volumes in hand for effective use of the Supplement is remedied by the second edition, which integrates (but does not correct or revise) the original volumes and Supplement, adds 5,000 new words or senses, and converts Murray’s phonetic system to the International Phonetic Alphabet. (For an explanation of the phonetic theory behind and practice in the original edition and Supplement, see M. K. C. MacMahon, ““James Murray and the Phonetic Notation in the New English Dictionary ”,” Transactions of the Philological Society 83.1 [1985]: 72–112.)

To make effective use of the OED users must study the introductory explanation (in the 1933 reissue, Supplement, second edition, and OED Online) of principles of compilation and editorial practices and must keep in mind the following points:

  1. The OED is not exhaustive in its coverage of standard vocabulary and is limited in its treatment of slang, dialect, scientific, and technical terms. Thus, it must be supplemented by more specialized dictionaries such as Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: Colloquialisms and Catch-Phrases, Solecisms and Catachreses, Nicknames and Vulgarisms, ed. Paul Beale, 8th ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1984; 1,400 pp.; for an important discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of this edition, see the review by Richard A. Spears, American Speech 62.4 [1987]: 361–68); Tom Dalzell and Terry Victor, eds., The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, 2nd ed., 2 vols. (London: Routledge–Taylor and Francis, 2013; <>), which covers slang after 1945; Jonathon Green, Green’s Dictionary of Slang, 3 vols. (London: Chambers, 2010; online through Oxford Reference [I530]; in her review [English Language and Linguistics 16.1 (2012): 193–99], Julie Coleman asserts that this “is quite simply the best historical dictionary of English slang there is, ever has been or (in print at least) is ever likely to be” [193]; see also the reviews by Brewer, Review of English Studies 63.258 [2012]: 139–44, and Michael Adams, Dictionaries 33 [2012]: 208–44); (; Dictionary of Old English (M1690); Middle English Dictionary (M1860); Dictionary of the Scots Language (O3090); Dictionary of American English (Q3355); Dictionary of Americanisms (Q3360); Webster’s Second and Third (Q3365); Dictionary of American Regional English (Q3350); and English Dialect Dictionary (M1415). For an important account of the day-to-day editing of the original OED (including decisions to drop words and to restrict coverage of scientific terminology), see Lynda Mugglestone, Lost for Words: The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary (New Haven: Yale UP, 2005; 273 pp.).

  2. Each grammatical form of a main word has a separate entry; thus, explicators in search of a definition must be certain to locate the entry for the grammatical form of the word as it is used in the literary work.

  3. Subsequent research has corrected several etymologies; since erroneous ones are not revised in the Supplement or second edition, users must consult a good etymological dictionary such as The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, ed. C. T. Onions, G. W. S. Friedrichsen, and R. W. Burchfield, rpt. with corrections (Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1969; 1,024 pp.). For others, see Anatoly Liberman, “An Annotated Survey of English Etymological Dictionaries and Glossaries,” Dictionaries 19 (1998): 21–96.

  4. Dates of first recorded uses are frequently incorrect (for an important study of the unreliability of first citations, see Jürgen Schäfer, Documentation in the O. E. D.: Shakespeare and Nashe as Test Cases [Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1980; 176 pp.]).

  5. Additions of new words and senses, corrections, and antedatings are regularly published in a variety of journals (especially Notes and Queries and American Speech; several of these are indexed in Wall and Przebienda, Words and Phrases Index [U6025]). More than 5,000 additions, antedatings, and corrections from the period 1475–1640 make up Jürgen Schäfer, Early Modern English Lexicography, vol. 2: Additions and Corrections to the OED (Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1989; 227 pp.). Neither the Supplement nor the second edition records antedatings before 1820; the OED Online includes numerous antedatings.

For a detailed critique of the unreliability of readers, selection of source material, and editorial processing of data from readers in the first edition and Supplement and of the implications of merging first-edition entries unrevised into the second edition, see Brewer, ““The Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary”,” Review of English Studies ns 44.175 (1993): 313–42. Users should also consult John Willinsky, Empire of Words: The Reign of the OED (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1994; 258 pp.), which explores the prejudices underlying the compilation and questions the assumptions behind the ongoing revision.

Novices—and those who have never bothered to read the introduction to the OED—will benefit from Donna Lee Berg, A Guide to the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993; 206 pp.), a remarkably clear guide to the parts and types of entries, with a glossary of terms used in and related to the dictionary.

One of the truly great dictionaries, the OED is an indispensable source for the historical study of the English language and for the explication of literary works. Reviews of Supplement: (vol. 1) Fred C. Robinson, Yale Review 62.3 (1973): 450–56; Donald B. Sands, College English 37.7 (1976): 710–18; (vol. 2) Robinson, Yale Review 67.1 (1977): 94–99; (vol. 3) Roy Harris, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 3 Sept. 1982: 935–36; Thomas M. Paikeday, American Speech 60.1 (1985): 74–79; (vol. 4) Pat Rogers, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 9 May 1986: 487–88; Gabriele Stein, Anglia 107.2 (1989): 482–91. Reviews of 2nd ed.: John Algeo, Transactions of the Philological Society 88.2 (1990): 131–50; Geoffrey Hill, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 21–27 Apr. 1989: 411–14; E. G. Stanley, Review of English Studies ns 41.161 (1990): 76–88 (with a rejoinder by I. S. Asquith, ns 42.165 [1991]: 81–82, and a reply by Stanley, 82–83). Reviews of 2nd ed. and CD-ROM: Andreas H. Jucker, Literary and Linguistic Computing 9.2 (1994): 149–54; Edward Mendelson, Yale Review 81.4 (1993): 111–23.

An informative and entertaining account of the inception, editing, and publication of OED is K. M. Elizabeth Murray, Caught in the Web of Words: James A. H. Murray and the Oxford English Dictionary (New Haven: Yale UP, 1977; 386 pp.); an equally entertaining account of one individual’s contributions is Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (New York: Harper, 1998; 242 pp.). More scholarly are the essays in Mugglestone, ed., Lexicography and the OED: Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000; 288 pp.), which focus on the first edition. The best short history of the OED appears in three essays in The Oxford History of English Lexicography, ed. A. P. Cowie, vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 2009): Mugglestone, “The Oxford English Dictionary” (230–59); Brewer, “The OED Supplements” (260–78); and Weiner, “The Electronic OED: The Computerization of a Historical Dictionary” (378–409).

In addition to those noted above, the following are important complementary works:

  • Bailey, Richard W. Michigan Early Modern English Materials. Ann Arbor: Xerox U Microfilms, 1975. Microfiche. Bailey, ed. Early Modern English: Additions and Antedatings to the Record of English Vocabulary, 1475–1700. Hildesheim: Olms, 1978. 367 pp. Both can be searched at These works are derived from data collected for the Early Modern English Dictionary, 1475–1700, the materials for which are being incorporated into the third edition of the OED.

  • The Barnhart Dictionary Companion (Q3365a) updates several standard dictionaries, including the OED, Supplement, and Partridge, Dictionary of Slang.

  • Fowler, H. W. The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Ed. R. W. Burchfield. Rev. 3rd ed. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1998. 873 pp. Reissued in 2004 with the title Fowler’s Modern English Usage.) Offers a fuller guide than the OED to usage; the third edition is less prescriptive and idiosyncratic than its predecessors. On the history and reception of the work, see Ulrich Busse and Anne Schröder, “How Fowler Became ‘The Fowler’: An Anatomy of a Success Story,” English Today 26.2 (2010): 45–54. Reviews: Herbert C. Morton, American Speech 73.3 (1998): 313–25 (an important comparison of Fowler’s and Burchfield’s editions); Mugglestone, Notes and Queries 44.4 (1997): 437–43.

  • Garner, Bryan A. Garner’s Modern American Usage. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 942 pp. Includes entries for individual words or phrases as well as essay entries on questions of usage (e.g., “comparatives and superlatives,” “phrasal adjectives,” and “titular tomfoolery”). New to this edition is a language-change index that uses a five-stage system (ranging from unacceptable to universally accepted) “to measure how widely accepted various linguistic innovations have become” (e.g., “butt naked for buck naked: Stage 3” or “interpretate for interpret: Stage 1”).

  • Lancashire, Ian, ed. LEME: Lexicons of Early Modern English. <> (free access); <> (subscription). Allows searches of 166 dictionaries, hard-word glossaries, and similar works from 1480 to 1702.


The English Dialect Dictionary: Being the Complete Vocabulary of All Dialect Words Still in Use, or Known to Have Been in Use during the Last Two Hundred Years. Ed. Joseph Wright. 6 vols. London: Frowde; New York: Putnam’s, 1898–1905. (Originally issued in parts.) PE1766.W8.

EDD Online. Beta vers. Universität Innsbruck. Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Anglistik, 2011. 29 Dec. 2014. <>.

A dictionary of dialect terms (as distinct from those appearing in “the literary language”) and Americanisms used in Great Britain and Ireland. A typical entry consists of headword, geographic area, variant spellings, pronunciation, definitions organized by parts of speech, illustrative dated quotations taken from printed sources and organized by area, and etymology. Vol. 6 includes a supplement (179 pp.), bibliography of sources (59 pp.), and grammar of English dialect (187 pp.).

In the beta version of EDD Online, Simple Search allows users to filter headword or full-text searches by dialect area, usage label, part of speech, source, or etymology; Advanced Search allows users to restrict a search to definitions, compounds, citations, derivations, comments, combinations, variants, or phrases and to filter results as in Simple Search. Users can also browse an index of headwords. Results can be printed or exported.

On the genesis and uses of the Dictionary, see the essays in Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary and Beyond: Studies in Late Modern English Dialectology, ed. Manfred Markus, Clive Upton, and Reinhard Heuberger (Frankfurt: Lang, 2010; 271 pp.).

Although incomplete and dated, the work remains the fullest English dialect dictionary and, for literary scholars, an essential source for explicating dialect terms in English literature.

Two essential complements, both based on data collected for the Survey of English Dialects, are

  • Orton, Harold, Stewart Sanderson, and John Widdowson, eds. The Linguistic Atlas of England. London: Croom Helm; Atlantic Highlands: Humanities, 1978. N. pag. With maps illustrating the distribution of phonological, morphological, lexical, and syntactic features. Review: K. M. Petyt, English World-wide 7.2 (1986): 287–310.

  • Viereck, Wolfgang, and Heinrich Ramisch, dialectological eds. The Computer Developed Linguistic Atlas of England. 2 vols. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1991–97. With maps that illustrate in a more sophisticated fashion the distribution of morphological, lexical, and syntactic features. Unfortunately, the laid-in transparent overlay of localities will likely disappear from most library copies. For a description of the project, see Viereck, ““The Computer Developed Linguistic Atlas of England, Volumes 1 (1991) and 2 (1997): Dialectological, Computational, and Interpretative Aspects”,” ICAME Journal 21 (1997): 79–90. Review: Ossi Ihalainen and Juhani Klemola, Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 94.3-4 (1993): 377–81.



Kay, Christian, Jane Roberts, Michael Samuels, and Irené Wotherspoon. Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary with Additional Material from A Thesaurus of Old English (HTOED). 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. PE1591.H55. (Available online through Oxford English Dictionary Online [M1410]. Updated quarterly.)

A historical thesaurus of the English language that includes Old and Middle English as well as rare and obsolete words and senses from modern English arranged according to sense and with synonymous forms dated and listed in chronological order. In each major section (the external world, the mental world, and the social world) words and phrases are organized by semantic categories and subcateogies (see the list on pp. xxix–xxx of vol. 1). Users should study carefully the guides to using the thesaurus (1: xxi–xxvii) and index (2: vii–ix) and note that the index excludes “words occurring only in Old English, those with no citations after 1399, and phrases of more than four words.” In the online version, users can browse headings or search by heading or word. Based on the OED (2nd ed. [M1410]), the additions to it, and A Thesaurus of Old English (M1707), HTOED is an invaluable resource for analyzing the semantic development of English, explicating literary works, and charting the history of ideas. For the scholar, it supersedes Roget’s International Thesaurus, ed. Barbara Ann Kipfer, 7th ed. (New York: Collins Reference–HarperCollins, 2010; 1,282 pp.). Reviews: Charlotte Brewer, Review of English Studies 61.252 (2010): 801–05; R. F. Ilson, International Journal of Lexicography 24.2 (2011): 241–60.

Biographical Dictionaries


Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in Association with the British Academy: From the Earliest Times to the Year 2000 (ODNB). Ed. H. G. C. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and Index of Contributors. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004. DA28.O95 920.041. <>. Updated three times a year.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2001–2004. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. 2009. 1,268 pp. 2005–2008. 2013. 1,242 pp.

A biographical dictionary of dead individuals of some eminence, celebrity, or notoriety born or resident in the British Isles or the colonies (when under British rule). Of the 54,922 persons in the print edition, 50,113 receive individual entries while the others appear in family entries or in subsidiary notices appended to an individual entry. Included among these are revised or rewritten entries for the 38,607 persons in the ODNB’s predecessor, the Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (DNB), ed. Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, 22 vols. (London: Oxford UP, 1967–68; originally published in 63 parts between 1885 and 1900), and its supplements. Many of the new entries are from “fields that were poorly represented in the DNB: women; people in business and the world of labour; Britain’s Roman rulers . . .; pre-independence Americans; and twentieth-century subjects.” The signed entries typically provide standard details of an individual’s personal life, relationships, and career, along with an assessment of character, reputation, and importance; when possible, they end with a list of primary and secondary sources, the location of archives (manuscript, sound, and film) and important papers, an enumeration of likenesses or portraits, and an indication of wealth at death (sometimes with precise amounts from probate records; sometimes with generalizations, e.g., “died in debtor’s prison”); approximately 20 percent include a portrait or likeness. The introduction supplies a full account of the inception, organization, editorial principles and practices, and production of the work. For the publishing history of the DNB and its relationship to the ODNB, see Robert Faber and B. Harrison, ““The Dictionary of National Biography: A Publishing History”,” Lives in Print: Biography and the Book Trade from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century, ed. Robin Myers, Michael Harris, and Giles Mandelbrote (New Castle: Oak Knoll; London: British Lib., 2000; Publishing Pathways) 171–92.

The online ODNB—which incorporates corrections and updates to the print volumes, adds entries for those who died after 31 December 2000 as well as essays on groups and includes the original text of rewritten or revised articles—allows users to browse entries (alphabetically or by date of birth or death, with the option of limiting the results to males, females, families, or illustrated entries), isolate entries by themes (e.g., Olympic titleholders, poets laureate, or consorts of monarchs), and search the database through six screens: Quick Search (persons and keyword or phrase); People (with the ability to limit a search by combinations of name, field of interest [users should choose the Open Full List option with its nested lists that offer quite narrow fields, e.g. bibliographer, duelist, and forger], sex, birth and death dates, places, date, life events, religious affiliation, presence of a likeness, and keyword or phrase); Full Text (with pull-down menus allowing restriction to specific fields of an entry); Images reproduced in the ODNB (by artist, date, present location, and copyright holder); References (primary and secondary sources, archives, likenesses [i.e., portraits and pictures cited, but not necessarily reproduced, in ODNB], wealth at death); and Contributors. Most search fields support the * and ? wildcards; no search field allows for Boolean operators. Most search functions are intuitive, but users wanting to perform sophisticated searches—especially in the People search screen—will want to study the clear explanations of search protocols in the Help screen or read Rupert Mann, ““Searching the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ”” (Indexer 25.1 [2006]: 16–18), an explanation of the metadata that supports searches. Users must remember (1) to type names in normal order or to insert a comma between surname and forename(s) or initial(s) and (2) to use the Images screen to locate portraits and pictures reproduced in the ODNB and the References/likenesses box to search for pictures and portraits cited in the entries. In general, the user interface is well designed and easily navigated; the database design allows for sophisticated ways of mining the enormous amount of data.

Besides its superior search capabilities, the online ODNB offers other advantages over the print version: it is updated and corrected three times per year (though the noncurrent lists of newly added entries are hidden in the Themes/List All Themes screen, with each headed Updates), hyperlinks allow for easy navigation between related articles (and within longer ones) and for connections to other electronic sources that provide additional information on the biographee, and images are in color.

For an analysis of the place of the ODNB in the evolution of collective national biography, see Keith Thomas, Changing Conceptions of National Biography: The Oxford DNB in Historical Perspective, Leslie Stephen Special Lecture (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005; 56 pp.).

Any biographical dictionary—even one of the magnitude and quality of the ODNB—is destined to contain factual errors and wrongheaded conclusions and to be criticized for omitting some individuals while including others, but no other national biography measures up to this one: it is both a scholar’s first resource and a browser’s delight. Reviews: Nicolas Barker, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 10 Dec. 2004: 5–7; Stefan Collini, London Review of Books 20 Jan. 2005: 3+; John Gross, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 17 Dec. 2004: 12–13; James Raven, Historical Journal 50.4 (2007): 991–1006.

With all the original articles in the DNB and its supplements accessible in the online ODNB, the earlier print version is largely of historical interest. Anyone consulting it needs to be aware that unflattering details were frequently suppressed in the original dictionary and early supplements; however, recent supplements and the ODNB are more candid about the foibles of entrants (e.g, in the ODNB one person is described as a “duelist, gambler, and womanizer”; another as a “bibliographer and forger”). For an important discussion of biases, editorial intervention in the original contributions, and unacknowledged revisions made in successive printings, see Laurel Brake, ““The DNB and the DNB ‘Walter Pater,’”” Subjugated Knowledges: Journalism, Gender, and Literature in the Nineteenth Century (New York: New York UP, 1994) 169–87 (a revision of ““Problems in Victorian Biography: The DNB and the DNB ‘Walter Pater,’”” Modern Language Review 70.4 [1975]: 731–42). For the treatment of women in the DNB, see Gillian Fenwick, Women and the Dictionary of National Biography: A Guide to DNB Volumes 1885–1985 and Missing Persons (Aldershot: Scolar, 1994; 181 pp.).

Among major dictionaries that cover a more restricted period but incorporate additional lives, the most important are the following:

  • Baylen, Joseph O., and Norbert J. Gossman, eds. Biographical Dictionary of Modern British Radicals, [1770–1914]. 3 vols. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester, 1979–88. Vol. 1 covers 1770–1830; vol. 2, 1830–70; and vol. 3, 1870–1914.

  • Boase, Frederic. Modern English Biography: Containing Many Thousand Concise Memoirs of Persons Who Have Died between the Years 1851–1900. 6 vols. Truro: Netherton, for the author, 1892–1921. Indexed by subject in each volume; women are indexed in Peter Bell, comp., Index to Biographies of Women in Boase’s Modern English Biography (Edinburgh: Bell, 1986; n. pag.).

  • Valentine, Alan. The British Establishment, 1760–1784: An Eighteenth-Century Biographical Dictionary. 2 vols. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1970. About one-half of the approximately 3,000 entries are for people not in the DNB.

For members of the aristocracy, see

  • C[okayne], G[eorge] E[dward], ed. Complete Baronetage. 6 vols. Exeter: Pollard, 1900–09. Covers only the period 1611–1800. (The microreprint edition [Gloucester: Sutton, 1983] includes an introduction on the Order of the Baronetage by Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd.)

  • Cokayne, George Edward, ed. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, or Dormant. Ed. Vicary Gibbs et al. New ed. 14 vols. London: St. Catherine P; Stroud: Sutton, 1910–98. Records “particulars of the parentage, birth, honours, orders, offices, public services, politics, marriage, death and burial, of every holder of a Peerage.”


Allibone, S. Austin. A Critical Dictionary of English Literature, and British and American Authors, Living and Deceased, from the Earliest Accounts to the Middle of the Nineteenth Century. 3 vols. Philadelphia: Lippincott; London: Trübner, 1859–71. <>.

Kirk, John Foster. A Supplement to Allibone’s Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1892. Z2010.A44 820.3.

A dictionary of British and American writers through 1888. The approximately 83,000 entries provide biographical details, a list of books by the entrant, and references to other biographical dictionaries, all interspersed with biographical and critical comments extracted from the major nineteenth-century periodicals and other sources. The supplement provides less biographical information and fewer extracts. The original dictionary is indexed in vol. 3 by broad topic, but the supplement is not indexed; entrants in both are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although saddled with one of the most tedious introductions of any reference work, riddled with inaccuracies (partly because of its heavy reliance on untrustworthy sources), and thoroughly outdated in its treatment of authors of any note, Allibone remains occasionally useful for its inclusion of a host of minor writers nowhere else listed and extracts from nineteenth-century periodicals. Information taken from Allibone must always be verified.


Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present. Ed. Susan Brown, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge UP, n.d. 22 Mar. 2013. <>. Updated semiannually.

A database of biographical, critical, and bibliographical information on more than 1,000 dead and living British women writers, along with entries on literary and historical events and some males (c. 200) and non-British females of importance to women’s writing. People can be searched by name, occupation, genre, or place (the last three can be combined); tags (i.e., an extensive set of semantic or conceptual tags dealing with an author’s life and literary production and reception) can be searched in sections of entries (lives, writings, bibliographies, and full text); and chronologies can be created by date, keyword(s), or tags. Many search options provide pull-down lists. Searches can be limited by date and scope (with the latter depending on the type of search). To make full use of this resource, users must consult the search tutorials.

An entry for an author presents information in a series of tabbed screens: Overview (with a list of milestones and links to writings and life highlights); Writing (content varies with the writer, but an outline appears at the top left of the screen); Life; Writing and Life (the content of the Writing and Life tabs presented side-by-side); Timeline; Links (i.e., a hyperlinked list of semantic tags included in the entry); and Works By (a list of primary works and some studies).

The tagging allows for extensive hyperlinking and for sophisticated searches of the data; for example, users can identify governesses who wrote poetry, authors for whom press run data is cited, or entrants with the same political affiliation or sexual identity. In addition, users can create timelines by various elements, such as genre, place, or theme. Occasional indiscriminate tagging does bring inessential data to the screen (e.g., in the chronology for Jane Austen, the first six entries include two for books owned by Austen and a comment by a modern scholar that Austen was not influenced by a particular work).

Because of the ways in which the extensive data can be mined or formulated, Orlando offers the best access to information on British women writers and serves as a model for similar databases that will (one hopes) supplant printed literary dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks.

On the design and development of Orlando, see Brown, Clements, Renée Elio, and Grundy, “Between Markup and Delivery; or, Tomorrow’s Electronic Text Today,” Mind Technologies: Humanities Computing and the Canadian Academic Community, ed. Ray Siemens and David Moorman (Calgary: U of Calgary P, 2006) 15–31. Review: Alison Booth, Biography 31.4 (2008): 725–34.

Those without access to Orlando will have to make do with the static content of the following:

  • Schlueter, Paul, and June Schlueter, eds. An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers. Rev. and expanded ed. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1998. 741 pp. A collection of separately authored biographical and critical discussions of approximately 600 writers who were born in or were residents of Great Britain from the Middle Ages to the present. Entries provide an overview of the subject’s life and career, as well as a critical estimate of major works, and conclude with lists of books by and works about the entrant. Indexed by persons and subjects; entrants in the first edition are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although lacking an adequate explanation of the basis of selection, Schlueter offers the fullest printed guide to British women writers.

  • Todd, Janet, ed. British Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide. New York: Ungar-Continuum, 1989. 762 pp. A collection of separately authored biographical and critical discussions of approximately 440 writers since the Middle Ages. The entries—ranging from approximately 500 to 2,500 words—provide an overview of the subject’s life and career, as well as a critical estimate of major works, and conclude with lists of works by and about the entrant. Indexed by names (including alternative forms and pseudonyms) and subjects (including genres and forms). Although marred by an utterly inadequate explanation of editorial procedures and criteria governing selection, Todd frequently offers the most extensive entries of any biographical-critical dictionary devoted solely to British women writers. Blain, Clements, and Grundy, Feminist Companion to Literature in English (J593), includes far more writers, but the entries rarely exceed 500 words. For Restoration and eighteenth-century authors, see Todd, Dictionary of British and American Women Writers (M2265).

For those writing between 1580 and 1700, the most thorough source is Maureen Bell, George Parfitt, and Simon Shepherd, A Biographical Dictionary of English Women Writers, 1580–1720 (Boston: Hall, 1990; 298 pp.), whose approximately 550 brief entries include women “whose only known writing is a single surviving manuscript letter”; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

For a comparison of Todd, Blain, and the first edition of Schlueter, see the review of Schlueter by Joyce Zonana, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography ns 4.4 (1990): 186–89.


Who’s Who: An Annual Biographical Dictionary. London: Black, 1849– . Annual. DA28.W6 920.042. <>.

A biographical dictionary of living persons of distinction and influence primarily in the British Isles and current and former Commonwealth countries. The compact entries provide basic biographical, family, and career information; a list of publications, awards, and honors; and address. Some volumes are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). This is the best general source for biographical data and addresses of notable residents of the British Isles.

Biographies of dead entrants are reprinted with corrections in Who Was Who: A Companion to Who’s Who Containing the Biographies of Those Who Died during the Period [1897– ] (London: Black, 1920– ). Volumes are now issued for each five-year period; several early volumes have been published in revised editions. Cumulatively indexed in Who Was Who: A Cumulated Index, 1897–2000 (2002; 908 pp.).

See also

Sec. J: Biographical Sources.

Oxford Companion to English Literature (M1330).


See section K: Periodicals.

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Handbooks


The Encyclopedia of the British Press, 1422–1992. Ed. Dennis Griffiths. New York: St. Martin’s, 1992. 694 pp. PN5114.E53 072′.09.

An encyclopedia of representative national and local newspapers, journalists and other persons associated with newspapers, and “terms, ideas, places and events associated with the British press.” The approximately 3,000 entries are preceded by six historical overviews and followed by a chronology, circulation figures as of 1991, lists of women and Fleet Street editors, and miscellaneous brief essays on, for example, professional and trade organizations, the British Library Newspaper Library, newspaper collecting, and women in British journalism. Encyclopedia of the British Press is a convenient source for facts on all aspects of the British press (including addresses of current newspapers).

Guides to Primary Works


Bibliography of British Newspapers. Charles A. Toase, gen. ed. 6 vols. London: British Lib., 1975–91. Z6956.G6 B5 [PN5114] 016.079′41.

  • Vol. 1: Wiltshire. Ed. R. K. Bluhm. 1975. 28 pp.

  • Vol. 2: Kent. Ed. Winifred E. Bergess, Barbara R. M. Riddell, and John Whyman. 1982. 139 pp.

  • Vol. 3: Durham and Northumberland. Ed. F. W. D. Manders. 1982. 65 pp.

  • Vol. 4: Derbyshire. Ed. Anne Mellors and Jean Radford. 1987. 74 pp.

  • Vol. 5: Nottinghamshire. Ed. Michael Brook. 1987. 62 pp.

  • Vol. 6: Cornwall; Devon. Ed. Jean Rowles and Ian Maxted, resp. 1991. 123 pp.

A bibliography of current and defunct newspapers, with individual volumes devoted to a single county or related counties according to boundaries before the 1974 reorganization (and in the case of greater London, the pre-1965 boundaries). Titles are organized geographically by “main area of news coverage or . . . principal area of circulation,” then (depending on the volume) chronologically by date of first issue or alphabetically by title. Defunct newspapers are listed by earliest title; others by current title. A typical entry records place of publication, publisher, address (if still being published), dates of publication, mergers and name changes, locations of copies (with information on completeness of holdings), and references to historical studies. Two indexes: places; titles. For the areas covered, this bibliography offers the fullest, most current general record of British newspapers and the locations of copies.

As part of the NEWSPLAN program to microfilm all newspapers published in the United Kingdom, many participating regional library systems have established databases that supply basic bibliographical information and locations of copies. (For the databases, see The amount of information and user interfaces vary from site to site.

The single fullest list of newspapers published in England and Wales is Tercentenary Handlist of English and Welsh Newspapers, Magazines, and Reviews, [comp. J. G. Muddiman] (London: The Times, 1920; 324 pp.), which covers 1620 through 1919. Based on the British Library holdings, the Handlist is far from complete (especially for the eighteenth century) and lists titles chronologically by date of the first issue extant in the library’s collection. Numerous additions and corrections are scattered throughout Notes and Queries 12th ser. 8 (1921), 12th ser. 10 (1922), and 161 (1931). Although covering briefer periods, the following are superior in thoroughness and accuracy:

  • Crane and Kaye, Census of British Newspapers and Periodicals, 1620–1800 (M2270).

  • Nelson and Seccombe, British Newspapers and Periodicals, 1641–1700 (M2060).

  • North, Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800–1900 (M2540).

  • ———, Waterloo Directory of Irish Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800–1900 (N3000).

  • ———, Waterloo Directory of Scottish Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800–1900 (O3103).

  • Ward, Index and Finding List of Serials Published in the British Isles, 1789–1832 (M2535).


Sullivan, Alvin, ed. British Literary Magazines. 4 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 1983–86. Hist. Guides to the World’s Periodicals and Newspapers. PN5124.L6 B74 820′.8.

  • Vol. 1: The Augustan Age and the Age of Johnson, 1698–1788. 1983. 427 pp.

  • Vol. 2: The Romantic Age, 1789–1836. 1983. 491 pp. (Errata in vol. 3, p. xii.)

  • Vol. 3: The Victorian and Edwardian Age, 1837–1913. 1984. 560 pp.

  • Vol. 4: The Modern Age, 1914–1984. 1986. 628 pp.

Profiles of major and representative minor literary magazines. Each volume includes an introductory survey, essays on 80 to 90 magazines, and a chronology of social and literary events and literary magazines; vols. 1 and 3 list other magazines with literary content, and vol. 4, Scottish literary periodicals and magazines with short runs. The individual essays, which vary widely in quality, survey publishing history, characterize content, note important literary contributions, and provide publication details (title changes, volume and issue data, frequency of publication, publishers, and editors) and selective lists of studies, indexes, reprints, and locations. Indexed by persons and magazine titles. Although the lack of clear criteria governing selection leads to the inclusion of some magazines that can hardly qualify as literary, Sullivan is a serviceable compilation of basic information on a number of periodicals. Reviews: (vols. 1–2) Hugh Amory, Book Collector 34 (1985): 386–92; G. E. Bentley, Jr., Victorian Periodicals Review 17.3 (1984): 109–13; (vol. 3) Charles Brownson, English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920 29.3 (1986): 340–42; Rosemary T. VanArsdel, Victorian Periodicals Review 18.3 (1985): 99–101; (vol. 4) Joel H. Wiener, English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920 30.4 (1987): 504–06.


The Times Index, [1906– ]. Andover: Primary Source Microfilm–Cengage, 1907– . Monthly, with annual cumulations. Former titles: The Annual Index to the Times (1907–13); The Official Index to the Times (1914–57). AI21.T46 072′.1. CD-ROM.

A subject and author index to the final editions of the Times and, since 1973, Sunday Times, TLS: Times Literary Supplement, Times Educational Supplement, Times Scottish Educational Supplement, and Times Higher Education Supplement (coverage of Times Educational Supplement Cymru began in 2004). Users should watch for changes in coverage and indexing practices over the years, and note that annual cumulations do not begin until 1977. In most volumes, books reviewed are listed by title under the heading “Books” as well as under the authors. The Index offers the best access to one of the world’s great newspapers, which for literature scholars is a valuable source of biographical information (especially in obituaries). And, like other indexes of major newspapers, the source can be used to narrow dates for searching unindexed papers. The CD-ROM covers 1906–80.

For issues before 1906, see Palmer’s Index to the Times Newspaper [10 October 1790–30 June 1941] (Corsham: Palmer, 1868–1943; the indexes for 1790–1905 are also searchable on CD-ROM [Chadwyck-Healey, 1994]; the indexes for 1880–90 can be searched in 19th Century Masterfile [Q4147]), which is much less thorough and more idiosyncratic in indexing practices, and The Times Index, [1785–90], 6 vols. (Reading: Newspaper Archive Developments, 1978–84). Times Literary Supplement Index (K765a) offers superior access to TLS: Times Literary Supplement (K765).

Doreen Morrison, ““Indexes to the Times of London: An Evaluation and Comparative Analysis”,” Serials Librarian 13.1 (1987): 89–106, offers a useful comparison of the two indexes and discussion of the difficulties in using Palmer’s Index.

Issues since 1 January 1995 can be searched at the newspaper’s Web site (; issues since 1 July 1985 can be searched through Academic OneFile (G387) and other databases; earlier issues can be searched through The Times Archive (1785–1985;, The Times Digital Archive, 1785–2007 (, and Academic OneFile (G387).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism


Linton, David, and Ray Boston, eds. The Newspaper Press in Britain: An Annotated Bibliography. London: Mansell, 1987. 361 pp. Z6956.G6 L56 [PN5114] 016.072.

A bibliography of published studies (through c. 1985), dissertations, theses, and a few manuscripts (although the latter are inadequately identified and unlocated). The approximately 2,900 entries are listed alphabetically by author. Unfortunately the citations do not record pagination for articles or essays in collections, there are inconsistencies in citation form, and many of the brief descriptive annotations fail to provide an adequate sense of contents. Two appendixes: a chronology of British newspaper history from 1476 through 1986; locations of papers and archives of newspapers and persons connected with the trade. Indexed by subjects (including newspapers). Although Newspaper Press in Britain is the fullest general list of scholarship on British newspapers, it omits numerous important studies, and the lack of a classified organization, frequently inadequate annotations, and insufficiently thorough subject indexing make the work far less accessible than it should be. Review: Donald Munro, Journal of Newspaper and Periodical History 3.3 (1987): 33–39.

Partially expanded by Linton, The Twentieth-Century Newspaper Press in Britain: An Annotated Bibliography (London: Mansell, 1994; 386 pp.). The 3,799 entries exclude studies in the 1987 volume published before 1900 and those concerned with only pre-twentieth-century topics. Coverage extends through 1994 (many of the most recent studies are relegated to the section “Late Entries”). Except for an initial section listing reference works, the organization is the same as the earlier volume’s; the chronology begins at 1900; and the appendix listing archives and collections of papers has disappeared. And Twentieth-Century Newspaper Press in Britain suffers the same shortcomings as its parent volume.


White, Robert B. The English Literary Journal to 1900: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1977. 311 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 8. Z6956.G6 W47 [PN5114] 016.81′05.

An annotated bibliography of English-language studies (published between c. 1890 and c. 1973) and modern critical editions of literary periodicals. Entries are organized in five chapters: bibliographies, general studies, periodicals, persons (including authors), and places. Few annotations are adequately informative, and many entries are unannotated. Of the four indexes (authors, periodicals, persons, places), only the first is necessary; the others merely repeat classified listings without incorporating cross-references. Because the lack of clarity in the selection policy and definition of the term literary periodical results in considerable unevenness of coverage (which is more thorough for eighteenth- than nineteenth-century periodicals), White is little more than a place to begin research. For nineteenth-century periodicals, see Madden and Dixon, Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press (M2560). Reviews: Richard Haven, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 1.3 (1977): 250–55; Lionel Madden, Victorian Periodicals Newsletter 11.3 (1978): 108–10; Joanne Shattock, Yearbook of English Studies 10 (1980): 230–32.


Most of the works in section L: Genres are useful for research in English literature.


Most of the works in section L: Genres/Fiction are important to research in English fiction.

Histories and Surveys

Baker, Ernest A. The History of the English Novel. 10 vols. London: Witherby, 1924–39. PR821.B3 823.09.

  • Vol. 1: The Age of Romance; from the Beginnings to the Renaissance. 1924. 336 pp.

  • Vol. 2: The Elizabethan Age and After. 1929. 303 pp.

  • Vol. 3: The Later Romances and the Age of Realism. 1929. 278 pp.

  • Vol. 4: Intellectual Realism: From Richardson to Sterne. 1930. 297 pp.

  • Vol. 5: The Novel of Sentiment and the Gothic Romance. 1934. 300 pp.

  • Vol. 6: Edgeworth, Austen, Scott. 1929. 277 pp.

  • Vol. 7: The Age of Dickens and Thackeray. 1936. 404 pp.

  • Vol. 8: From the Brontës to Meredith: Romanticism in the English Novel. 1937. 411 pp.

  • Vol. 9: The Day before Yesterday. 1938. 364 pp.

  • Vol. 10: Yesterday. 1939. 420 pp.

  • Vol. 11: Stevenson, Lionel. Yesterday and After. New York: Barnes, 1967. 431 pp.

A descriptive history, ranging from Anglo-Saxon fiction through the mid-twentieth century, with an emphasis on major authors. Each volume includes a highly selective bibliography (now outdated) and is indexed by author, anonymous work, and subject. Although pedestrian and predictable, Baker remains the most comprehensive general history of the English novel. More compact surveys include Lionel Stevenson, The English Novel: A Panorama (Boston: Houghton, 1960; 539 pp.); Edward Wagenknecht, Cavalcade of the English Novel (New York: Holt, 1954; 686 pp., with a supplementary bibliography); and Walter Allen, The English Novel: A Short Critical History (New York: Dutton, 1955; 454 pp.). Major desiderata are a multivolume history that would replace Baker and a good general compact history of the novel.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias

Dictionary of British Literary Characters: 18th- and 19th-Century Novels. Ed. John R. Greenfield. New York: Facts on File, 1993. 655 pp. PR830.C47 D5 823′.80927′03.

Dictionary of British Literary Characters: 20th-Century Novels. Ed. Greenfield. New York: Facts on File, 1994. 583 pp. PR888.C47 D53 823′.910927′03.

A dictionary of major characters and those who contribute significantly to plot or theme in 1,172 British novels, from 1678 to around 1980. Coverage includes established novelists and a representative sampling of lesser-known writers; the selection of individual titles is based on the work’s significance, its popularity, and its critical reception. Organized alphabetically by surname (if there is one), first name, or salient characteristic of an unnamed character (such as the Gentleman of Bath in Moll Flanders), the succinct entries provide information about “characters’ occupations, family relations, relations with other characters, class, and gender roles as well as the characters’ contributions to the novels’ plot and themes.” Indexed in each volume by author (including novels and a list of characters therein that are indexed); in addition, the twentieth-century volume includes a title index for both volumes. Although the lack of a subject index will inhibit its use for “various historical, sociological, or thematic studies,” the Dictionary allows researchers to identify characters and the novels in which they appear.

Entries from both volumes are incorporated into Michael D. Sollars, Dictionary of Literary Characters, 5 vols. (New York: Facts on Files, 2011), which includes more recent novels (and adds short stories and plays) and broadens coverage to literature worldwide; however, H. C. Williams (Choice 48 [May 2011]: entry 48-4825 []) found “several worrisome inaccuracies.”

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism
Surveys of Research

Dyson, A. E., ed. The English Novel: Select Bibliographical Guides. London: Oxford UP, 1974. 372 pp. Z2014.F5 D94 016.823′03.

A collection of evaluative surveys of the best editions, critical studies, biographies and collections of letters, bibliographies, and background studies (published through the early 1970s) for 22 novelists: Bunyan, Defoe, Swift, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne, Smollett, Scott, Austen, Thackeray, Dickens, Trollope, the Brontë sisters, Eliot, Hardy, James, Conrad, Forster, Lawrence, and Joyce. The quality of individual essays varies widely, but Dyson is a serviceable guide to important scholarship published through the early 1970s. See Year’s Work in English Studies (G330) for evaluations of later works. Review: David Leon Higdon, Modern Fiction Studies 20.4 (1974–75): 607–08.

Other Bibliographies

Bell, Inglis F., and Donald Baird. The English Novel, 1578–1956: A Checklist of Twentieth-Century Criticisms. Denver: Swallow, 1958. 168 pp. Z2014.F4 B4 016.82309.

Continued by

  • Palmer, Helen H., and Anne Jane Dyson, comps. English Novel Explication: Criticisms to 1972. Hamden: Shoe String, 1973. 329 pp.

  • Supplement I. Comp. Peter L. Abernethy, Christian J. W. Kloesel, and Jeffrey R. Smitten. 1976. 305 pp.

  • Supplement II. Comp. Kloesel and Smitten. 1981. 326 pp.

  • Supplement III. Comp. Kloesel. 1986. 533 pp.

  • Supplement IV. Comp. Kloesel. 1990. 351 pp.

  • Supplement V. Comp. Kloesel. 1994. 431 pp.

  • Supplement VI. Comp. Kloesel. 1997. 478 pp.

  • Supplement VII. Comp. Kloesel. North Haven: Archon–Shoe String, 2002. 597 pp. Z2014.F5 P26 [PR821] 016.823′009.

Bell and Baird provide a highly selective list of English-language books, parts of books, and articles published from c. 1900 to c. 1957, with entries organized alphabetically by novelist and then by novel. The emphasis is rather loosely on explication, but the criteria for selection are unclear. The degree of selectivity, typographical errors, lack of indexing, and inadequate explanation of editorial policy render Bell and Baird the least useful of these checklists.

Palmer and Dyson interpret “novel” more broadly, range beyond explication, extend coverage back to Malory’s Morte Darthur, and include dissertation abstracts, some book reviews, and foreign language criticism. Their work covers studies published between 1958 and 1972, with selection apparently based on what the compilers could discover. Indexed by literary authors and novel titles.

The first supplement lists books, parts of books, and articles published between 1972 and 1974 (with some earlier works and some from 1975); is more precisely limited to explication; and coordinates coverage with Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication (L1090). The supplements extend coverage through early 2000.

Although English Novel and English Novel Explication (and supplements) make a handy set of volumes for preliminary work (especially because of the inclusion of parts of books), many novelists are more adequately treated in author bibliographies.


The English Novel: Twentieth Century Criticism. Vol. 1: Defoe through Hardy. Ed. Richard J. Dunn. Chicago: Swallow, 1976. 202 pp. Vol. 2: Twentieth Century Novelists. Ed. Paul Schlueter and June Schlueter. Athens: Swallow–Ohio UP, 1982. 380 pp. Z2014.F4 E53 [PR821] 016.823′91′09.

Highly selective lists of English-language books, parts of books, and articles (published through 1974 in vol. 1; 1975 in vol. 2). Vol. 1 covers general studies of the novel and 45 novelists, each with sections for general studies (an alphabetical hodgepodge), bibliographies, and works on individual novels. Vol. 2 covers 80 established writers, each with sections for bibliographies, interviews, general studies, and works on individual novels. Both volumes fail to clarify selection criteria, and the second hardly bears out its editors’ claim as “the most nearly complete bibliography of criticism of the twentieth century British novel yet published.” Although these volumes are occasionally useful as a starting point, most of the novelists included are more adequately treated in period and author bibliographies.

See also

ABELL (G340): English Literature/General/Fiction section.

MLAIB (G335): English III/Prose Fiction section in pre-1981 volumes; Literatures of the British Isles/Fiction, Novel, English Literature/Fiction, and Novel sections in pt. 1 of the volumes for 1981–90; and the British and Irish Literatures/Fiction, Novel, English Literature/Fiction, and Novel sections in pt. 1 of the later volumes. Researchers must also check the “British Fiction,” “British Novel,” “English Fiction,” “English Novel,” and “English Novelists” headings in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Drama and Theater

Most works in section L: Genres/Drama and Theater are important to research in English drama.

Histories and Surveys

Nicoll, Allardyce. A History of English Drama, 1660–1900. 6 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1952–59. PR625.N52 822.09.

  • Vol. 1: Restoration Drama. 4th ed. 1952. (M2360).

  • Vol. 2: Early Eighteenth Century Drama. 3rd ed. 1952. (M2360).

  • Vol. 3: Late Eighteenth Century Drama, 1750–1800. 2nd ed. 1952. (M2360).

  • Vol. 4: Early Nineteenth Century Drama, 1800–1850. 2nd ed. 1955. (M2670).

  • Vol. 5: Late Nineteenth Century Drama, 1850–1900. 2nd ed. 1959. (M2670).

  • Vol. 6: A Short-Title Alphabetical Catalogue of Plays Produced or Printed in England from 1660 to 1900. 1959. (M1545).

Emphasizes the history of the stage and dramatic forms of the legitimate and popular theater. Each volume includes a chapter on the theater, discussions of genres or kinds of dramatic entertainments, an appendix on playhouses, and an author list of plays first printed or produced during the respective period. Readers should watch for the supplementary sections containing revisions that could not be incorporated into the text. Each volume is indexed by persons and subjects; vol. 6 indexes by title plays in the author list to each volume and includes numerous additions and corrections. Although the history of the stage is now dated and the production details for 1660–1800 are now largely superseded by London Stage (M2370), the volumes include a wealth of information, especially on minor writers, not readily available elsewhere. Continued by Nicoll, English Drama, 1900–1930 (M2855). See the individual entries for a fuller description of each volume. Reviews: Rudolf Stamm, English Studies 37.5 (1956): 220–22; 42.1 (1961): 46–48.

Although more current, The Cambridge History of British Theatre, Peter Thomson, gen. ed., 3 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004; online through Cambridge Histories Online []) eschews a “seamless narrative” in favor of allowing contributors “to use a searchlight rather than a floodlight to illuminate the past.” The result is a series of disconnected essays and case studies, albeit ones written by major scholars. Each volume concludes with a list of works cited (not a bibliography as the list is denominated in vols. 2–3). Indexed by persons and subjects in each volume (the online version omits the indexes).


The Revels History of Drama in English. Clifford Leech, T. W. Craik, and Lois Potter, gen. eds. 8 vols. London: Methuen, 1975–83. PR625.R44 822′.009.

Each volume includes a chronology; essays that examine the social or literary context, actors and the stage, and the plays and playwrights; an evaluative survey of important scholarship; and an index of authors, titles, and subjects. The Revels History offers a useful synthesis of scholarship rather than a connected history of the drama, with many volumes justly faulted for unevenness and inconsistencies.


Harbage, Alfred. Annals of English Drama, 975–1700: An Analytical Record of All Plays, Extant or Lost, Chronologically Arranged and Indexed by Authors, Titles, Dramatic Companies, &c. Rev. S. Schoenbaum. Rev. Sylvia Stoler Wagonheim. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 1989. 375 pp. Z2014.D7 H25 016.822008.

A chronology of dramatic and quasidramatic works (including translations) written in England or by English writers in other countries. Entries are organized according to the known or probable date of first performance: under each century (to 1495) or year (1495–1700), plays of known authorship are listed alphabetically by author, followed by anonymous plays listed by title. Information is presented in tabular format, with columns for author, title, date of first performance (when known), type of play, auspices of first production (including acting company and place), date of first edition or manuscript, and date of most recent modern edition (which is not always the best edition). To decipher information in the columns, users must refer continually to the explanation of symbols in the introduction (some symbols can be deciphered only by consulting the second edition). Following the chronology are supplementary lists of plays omitted because of uncertain date or identity, of selected collections of medieval drama texts, and of theaters. An appendix lists extant play manuscripts, with location and shelf number. Five indexes: English playwrights (including collected editions); English plays (including modern editions, both printed and in dissertations); foreign playwrights; foreign plays translated or adapted; dramatic companies. The third edition incorporates scholarship through the late 1980s but remains as conservative as its predecessor in dating and attributing works. The second edition (1964) with its supplements (1966, 1970) of the Annals was an authoritative accumulation of factual information and an essential source for investigating the environment of a play or the evolution of the early drama; the same cannot be said for the third edition, which is so rife with errors, misprints, omissions, and inconsistencies that it cannot be trusted. Researchers must consult the second edition and its supplements, along with London Stage, 1660–1800 (M2370) for 1660–1700, DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks (M2137), and Kawachi, Calendar of English Renaissance Drama (M2130), for 1558–1642. Anyone who uses the third edition should first study Anne Lancashire’s account of its deficiencies in her review in Shakespeare Quarterly 42.2 (1991): 225–30.

For an instructive discussion of how the Annals led to the discovery of a “lost” play, see Arthur H. Scouten and Robert D. Hume, eds., introd., The Country Gentleman: A “Lost” Play and Its Background (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1976) 10–17.

Guides to Primary Works

Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts: Additional Manuscripts 42865–43038: Plays Submitted to the Lord Chamberlain, 1824–1851. London: British Museum, 1964. 357 pp. Z6621.B8422 016.091.

One result of the Licensing Act of 1737, which required that every play intended for performance be approved by the lord chamberlain, is an unrivaled collection of manuscripts and printed acting copies and editions documenting English theater and drama since the early eighteenth century. Unfortunately, the collection is split between the Huntington Library and the British Library, and only plays submitted between 1737 and 1851 have published catalogs.

1737–January 1824. Held in the Huntington Library and cataloged in Catalogue of the Larpent Plays in the Huntington Library, comp. Dougald MacMillan (San Marino: Huntington Lib., 1939; 442 pp.; Huntington Lib. Lists 4).

February 1824–December 1851. Held in the Department of Manuscripts, British Library. The catalog lists plays in order of submission, with a typical entry recording manuscript title, any alternative title, author (frequently taken from Nicoll, History of English Drama, vol. 4 [M2670]), and the presence of an autograph copy. Two indexes: authors; titles. British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue (F300) offers the best access to the contents of this catalog.

1852–1967. Held in the Department of Manuscripts, British Library, and indexed by title in a card index there. Plays submitted from 1852 to 1863 are cataloged in Laurie Garrison, Caroline Radcliffe, Kate Mattacks, and Kathryn Johnson, Catalogue of the Lord Chamberlain’s Plays, 1852–1863 (,1852-1863.aspx). For a description of the project, see Radcliffe and Mattacks, “From Analogues to Digital: New Resources in Nineteenth-Century Theatre,” 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 8 (2009): n. pag.; 19 Nov. 2012; <>.

1968– . Since 1968, plays no longer must be licensed, but a copy of the script of every play produced in Great Britain must be deposited in the Department of Manuscripts. Indexed by authors and titles in a card index there. Unfortunately, the Modern Playscripts Collection (as the post-1967 deposits are called) is missing more than 1,000 works produced between 1968 and April 2005 because of a lack of compliance with the deposit provision of the Theatres Act of 1968. Fortunately, though, Theatre Archive Project ( is sponsoring a Scripts Collection project that is devoted to identifying and recovering copies of the missing playscripts.

An invaluable collection that preserves hundreds of unique copies of dramatic presentations, legitimate and popular, London and provincial, and whose existence is too little known among researchers.

Printed Works
Bibliographies and Indexes

Nicoll, Allardyce. A Short-Title Alphabetical Catalogue of Plays Produced or Printed in England from 1660 to 1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1959. 565 pp. Vol. 6 of A History of English Drama, 1660–1900 (M1525). PR625.N52 822.09.

More than a title index to the author lists of plays in vols. 1–5, this is an independent record of plays and dramatic entertainments (excluding most Italian operas and “the repertoire of the French and Italian comedians”) first produced or printed in England from 1660 to 1900. The entries, which identify authors and dates of first productions, include corrections and additions to the individual lists. Of particular value is the inclusion of alternative titles and subtitles along with main titles. Although not exhaustive and partly superseded by London Stage (M2370) for the period 1660–1800, the Catalogue remains the most complete list of dramatic works for the period 1660–1900. It must be supplemented with Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, “One Hundred and Thirty-Seven Neglected English Play Manuscripts in the British Library (c. 1779–1809),” Library 7th ser. 9.1–9.2 (2008): 37–61, 158–96; the end of the second part discusses limitations in Nicoll’s coverage.


Stratman, Carl J., C. S. V., comp. and ed. Bibliography of English Printed Tragedy, 1565–1900. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP; London: Feffer, 1966. 843 pp. Z2014.D7 S83 016.822051.

A bibliography of editions published between 1565 and the early 1960s of 1,483 tragedies written in English and first printed between 1565 and 1900. Stratman excludes Shakespeare’s tragedies (but includes adaptations of them), translations, one-act plays unless the author also wrote full-length plays, and works existing only in manuscript. Plays are organized alphabetically by author, then title, with editions listed chronologically. Additions and corrections appear on pp. 837–43. An entry typically includes title, imprint, pagination, notes (principally bibliographical or textual, with references to standard bibliographies), and locations. Useful features include a list of anthologies and collections, a chronological list of plays by date of first edition, and a list of locations of manuscripts of works included in the bibliography. Indexed by titles. Although not comprehensive (especially for nineteenth-century works), Stratman is valuable for identifying and locating editions and for studying the genre. Review: Inga-Stina Ewbank, Shakespeare Studies 5 (1969): 366–69.

See also

Davis, Drama by Women to 1900 (Q3513).

Text Archives

English Drama. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 30 Aug. 2013. <>.

An archive of rekeyed texts of about 3,900 English-language plays, in verse and prose and intended for the stage, by British writers and ranging from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. Being listed in NCBEL (M1385) is the criterion on which dramatists or anonymous works were admitted. Editions—preferably not modernized—were selected according to the following criteria: “the first authorised edition”; a later edition if an early one is unreliable or if a work was significantly revised; a collected edition.

Simple keyword, title, and author searches can be limited by speaker, date of first performance, date of publication, genre, gender, literary period, verse or prose drama, notes, and part of a work (e.g., prologues, stage directions). Searchers must be certain to checkmark the Include Typographical Variants box but must be aware that this feature works on simple variants (e.g. “glove/gloue”) but not more complicated ones (“dogs/dogges/doges”). Searchers can also browse an author list of the contents of the database. Results appear in ascending alphabetical order (by author, including “Anon.” and “Anonymous”) and cannot be re-sorted. Citations (but not the full text of plays) can be marked for e-mailing, downloading, or printing; each citation includes a durable URL to the full text.

Some works are rekeyed from textually unsound editions; however, the bibliographic record for each work identifies the source of the text and any omissions (e.g., preliminary matter). Besides being a useful source for identifying an elusive quotation or half-remembered line, the scope of English Drama’s text archive makes feasible a variety of kinds of studies (stylistic, generic, thematic, imagistic, and topical).

The contents of English Drama can also be searched through LiOn (I527).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism
Surveys of Research

Wells, Stanley, ed. English Drama (Excluding Shakespeare): Select Bibliographical Guides. London: Oxford UP, 1975. 303 pp. Z2014.D7 E44 [PR625] 822′.009.

A collection of essays that delineate trends in criticism, evaluate the best editions and studies published through the early 1970s, and frequently suggest work that needs to be undertaken on medieval through contemporary drama. Chapters are devoted to reference works and general studies; medieval drama; Tudor and early Elizabethan drama; Marlowe; Jonson and Chapman; Marston, Middleton, and Massinger; Beaumont and Fletcher, Heywood, and Dekker; Webster, Tourneur, and Ford; the court masque; Davenant, Dryden, Lee, and Otway; Etherege, Shadwell, Wycherley, Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Farquhar; Gay, Goldsmith, Sheridan, and other eighteenth-century dramatists; nineteenth-century drama; Shaw; the Irish School; English drama, 1900–45; and English drama since 1945. Shakespeare occupies a separate volume: Shakespeare: A Bibliographical Guide, ed. Wells, new ed. (Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1990; 431 pp.). Indexed by dramatists and anonymous plays. The judicious (sometimes pointed) evaluations serve as useful guides through the mass of scholarship. See Year’s Work in English Studies (G330) for evaluations of works published after c. 1970, and Logan and Smith (M2145) for more thorough treatment of Renaissance dramatists.

Other Bibliographies

Arnott, James Fullarton, and John William Robinson. English Theatrical Literature, 1559–1900: A Bibliography Incorporating Robert W. Lowe’s A Bibliographical Account of English Theatrical Literature Published in 1888. London: Soc. for Theatre Research, 1970. 486 pp. Z2014.D7 A74 016.792′0942.

A bibliography of works published between 1559 and 1900 on British theater (including opera, pantomime, and music hall, but not ballet or circus). Studies are organized chronologically within classified divisions for bibliography, government regulation of the theater, theater arts (e.g., acting, costume, playwriting), general history, London theater, theater out of London, a national theater, opera, irregular forms (pantomime, music hall, etc.), societies, amateur theater, biography, theory and criticism, and periodicals (see Stratman, Britain’s Theatrical Periodicals [M1565] for a fuller list of periodicals). Only British editions are fully described; only one location is cited for each work; and the notes generally deal with bibliographical matters. (Descriptions of fifty-three items are augmented by David Wallace Spielman, “Bibliographic Information for Fifty-Three Unlocated Eighteenth-Century Items in Arnott and Robinson’s English Theatrical Literature, 1559–1900” [].) Three indexes: author; title; place of publication. The classified organization and cross-references do not compensate for the absence of a subject index. Although limited by its exclusion of articles (unless also separately printed) and terminal date, Arnott is still the best single guide to early publications, many of which are indexed nowhere else. Coverage is continued by Cavanagh, British Theatre (M1563).


Douglas, Krystan V. Guide to British Drama Explication: Beginnings to 1640. New York: Hall–Simon and Schuster Macmillan; London: Prentice, 1996. 552 pp. Reference Pub. in Lit. Z2014.D7 D68 [PR625] 016.822009.

A highly selective guide to English-language articles (of more than one page) and parts of books (published between the early 1940s and 1991) that offer a close reading of a dramatic text. Entries are classified by poet, then by title, and parts of frequently cited books are keyed to a list at the back (which also identifies volumes of journals searched). Nearly half of vol. 1 is devoted to Shakespeare. The focus is explication; therefore, studies of theater history, productions, and authorship are excluded. Although the guide lacks an adequate explanation of the selection criteria for books and journals, is based on only a partial examination of a majority of the journals listed at the back, is poorly proofread in many parts, and is current through 1991 for only a few of the journals covered, British Drama Explication is useful for its indexing of parts of books. The planned vol. 2 (covering the Restoration to the present) was never published.


Cavanagh, John. British Theatre: A Bibliography, 1901 to 1985. Mottisfont: Motley, 1989. 510 pp. Motley Bibliogs. 1. Z2014.D7 C38 [PN2581] 016.792′0941.

A continuation through December 1985 of Arnott, English Theatrical Literature (M1560), that, like its predecessor, is limited to separately published works (including some periodicals) on the theater, medieval to modern, in the British Isles, but expands the scope to include master’s theses, dissertations, and books published outside Great Britain and in languages other than English and to place more emphasis on drama (as it relates to the stage). Users must be certain to study the admirably clear explanation (pp. 9–11) of scope and coverage for the bibliography generally as well as for individual sections, several of which supplement (but do not duplicate coverage in) existing bibliographies. The 9,310 entries—which usually cite the “best” edition—are divided among three classified divisions: theater (with sections for reference works; government intervention; religion; theater arts; history; theater in London; theater outside London; theater companies, clubs, and societies; biography; criticism; pantomime; music hall, revues, and concert parties; amateur theater; and pedagogy); drama (with sections for history, foreign influences, and dramatic biography and criticism [including studies not cited in NCBEL (M1385) of individual dramatists]); and music (with sections on music in the dramatic theater and opera, operetta, and musical comedy). Within each section, books are listed chronologically (by date of edition cited, which may not be the first edition), then alphabetically by author within a year. Some entries are accompanied by brief annotations that provide bibliographical information, list contents, or elucidate an unclear title; for all but the most obscure or ephemeral works, locating the copy described at one of 18 institutions is superfluous. The indexing needlessly confuses users: only the first author or editor is listed in the author index; all others—including writers of prefatory matter or of essays mentioned in annotations—appear in the subject index. Neither index is thorough. Although it excludes articles, is very selective in some sections, and omits several foreign language publications, British Theatre is especially valuable for its coverage of pamphlets and publications of limited distribution, is accurately and attractively printed, and offers the best general list of separately published books on all aspects of British theater. Review: Thomas Postlewait, Theatre History Studies 11 (1991): 207–10.

See also

ABELL (G340): English Literature/General/Drama and the Theatre section.

MLAIB (G335): English III/Drama section in the pre-1981 volumes; Literatures of the British Isles/Drama, Theater, English Literature/Drama, and Theater sections in pt. 1 of the volumes for 1981–90; and the British and Irish Literatures/Drama, Theater, English Literature/Drama, Theater sections in pt. 1 of the later volumes. Researchers must also check the “English Drama” and “English Theater” headings in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Biographical Dictionaries

Wearing, American and British Theatrical Biographies (L1175).

Guides to Primary Works

Stratman, Carl J., C. S. V. Britain’s Theatrical Periodicals, 1720–1967: A Bibliography. 2nd ed. New York: New York Public Lib., 1972. 160 pp. Z6935.S76 016.792′0942.

A chronological bibliography of periodicals devoted to the theater and published in Great Britain between 1720 and 1967. Entries are listed by date of original issue and include title, publication information, and locations. Indexed by titles, editors, and places of publication. Britain’s Theatrical Periodicals remains useful for identifying periodicals and locating complete (or the most complete) runs. For additional locations, consult WorldCat (E225), New Serial Titles (K640), Union List of Serials (K640a), and Serials in the British Library (K645). Review: J. W. Robinson, Victorian Periodicals Newsletter 8.3 (1975): 109–10.


Most of the works listed in section L: Genres/Poetry are important to research in English poetry.

Histories and Surveys

Courthope, W. J. A History of English Poetry. 6 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1895–1910. PR502.C8 821.09.

A historical survey of the development of poetry (including dramatic poetry) through the Romantic movement. In treating poetry as an aspect of intellectual history, Courthope emphasizes the impact of political and social history but gives little attention to minor figures. Cumulative index of authors and titles in vol. 6. Although uneven in places and generally superseded by surveys limited to individual periods, the work remains the most extensive connected history of English poetry.


The Columbia History of British Poetry. Ed. Carl Woodring. New York: Columbia UP, 1994. 732 pp. PR502.C62 821.009.

A collection of separately written essays on periods, groups of poets, kinds of poetry, and individuals. Employing a variety of critical approaches, the contributors consider “voices long suppressed” as well as resituate “some of the more celebrated poets within more sharply defined social and literary contexts.” Each essay concludes with a brief list of related studies, and the volume concludes with brief biographies of some of the poets discussed. Indexed by authors and titles. Sporting an impressive array of contributors, the Columbia History covers a substantial range of English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish poets; but, since it is a collaborative volume, it does not offer a seamless history of the subject.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias

Malof, Joseph. A Manual of English Meters. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1970. 236 pp. PE1505.M3 426.

A technical manual of metrical forms and techniques of scansion. After a preliminary discussion of basic terms and symbols, chapters define and illustrate the patterns and forms of foot verse, stress verse, syllabic verse, and free verse; a section on the application of scansion in critical reading concludes the body of the manual. Appendixes include common stanza forms, checklist of rhymes, glossary of additional terms, selected bibliography, and summary of metrical forms. Indexed by subjects. Clear explanations combined with aptly chosen examples make Malof the best manual for learning scansion.

A useful complementary handbook for the analysis of English prosody is Karl Shapiro and Robert Beum, A Prosody Handbook (New York: Harper, 1965; 214 pp.), which moves from syllable to stanza.

Guides to Primary Works
Bibliographies and Indexes

Crum, Margaret, ed. First-Line Index of English Poetry, 1500–1800, in Manuscripts of the Bodleian Library, Oxford. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1969. Z2014.P7 F5 821′.0016.

An index to poems in manuscripts acquired before April 1961. Entries, arranged alphabetically according to the initial word of the first line, include first and last line, author, title of poem, references to printed versions, and a list of Bodleian manuscripts containing the poem. Five indexes: Bodleian manuscripts by shelf marks; poets; names mentioned; authors of works translated, paraphrased, or imitated; composers of settings and of tunes named or quoted. Crum is the essential index to the most important collection of English poetry manuscripts of the three centuries. Manuscripts acquired after April 1961 are described in Clapinson and Rogers, Summary Catalogue of Post-medieval Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library (F300a); significant manuscripts are also described in the “Notable Acquisitions” section of Bodleian Library Record (1938– , 2/yr.). Crum is incorporated into Union First Line Index of English Verse (M2190a).

Michael Londry (see below) reports that a supplemental card index and an interleaved copy of Crum “noting later identifications and other information concerning individual manuscript versions of poems” are available in Duke Humfrey’s Library at the Bodleian.

For important guides to other works—print, manuscript, and electronic—that index first lines of poems, see Londry, “On the Use of First-Line Indices for Researching English Poetry of the Long Eighteenth Century, c. 1660–1830, with Special Reference to Women Poets,” Library 7th ser. 5.1 (2004): 12–38; and James Woolley, “Finding English Verse, 1650–1800: First-Line Indexes and Searchable Electronic Texts” (

See also

Davis and Joyce, Poetry by Women to 1900 (Q3534).

Union First Line Index of English Verse (M2190a).

Text Archives

English Poetry. 2nd ed. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 30 Aug. 2013. <>.

An archive of rekeyed texts of more than 183,000 English-language poems by writers of the British Isles, Commonwealth, and former colonial countries from the Anglo-Saxon era to the early twentieth century. English-language translations and hymns published after 1800 are excluded, as are verse dramas intended for performance and unpublished poems or ones that appeared only in periodicals or miscellanies. Editions were selected according to the following criteria: “editions published during the author’s lifetime or shortly afterwards”; “later editions” if “the early editions of a poet’s work are unreliable or incomplete”; copyrighted editions if rights were available. Being listed as a poet in NCBEL (M1385) or being recommended by the editorial board are the criteria on which British poets were admitted. Simple keyword, first line or title, and author searches can be limited by date during an author’s lifetime, gender, nationality, literary period, to rhymed or unrhymed poems, and to parts (e.g., dedications). Searchers must be certain to checkmark the Include Typographical Variants box but must be aware that this feature works on simple variants (e.g., “glove/gloue”) but not on more complicated ones (“dogs/dogges/doges”). Searchers can also browse an author list of the contents of the database. Results appear in ascending alphabetical order (by author, including “Anon.” and “Anonymous”) and cannot be re-sorted. Citations (but not the full text of poems) can be marked for e-mailing, downloading, or printing; each citation includes a durable URL to the full text.

Some works are rekeyed from textually unsound editions; however, the bibliographic record for each work identifies the source of the text and any omissions (e.g., preliminary matter), and the site is refreshingly forthcoming in its explanations of editorial procedures and revision history. Besides being a useful source for identifying an elusive quotation or half-remembered line, the scope of English Poetry’s text archive makes feasible a variety of kinds of studies (stylistic, thematic, imagistic, and topical). The contents of English Poetry can also be searched through LiOn (I527). Continued by Twentieth-Century English Poetry (M2894).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism
Surveys of Research

Dyson, A. E., ed. English Poetry: Select Bibliographical Guides. London: Oxford UP, 1971. 378 pp. Z2014.P7 E53 016.821.

A collection of essays that evaluate the best editions, critical studies, biographies and collections of letters, bibliographies, and background studies published before 1970 on 20 major poets (Chaucer, Spenser, Donne, Herbert, Milton, Marvell, Dryden, Pope, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Hopkins, Yeats, and Eliot). English Poetry remains useful for its generally judicious evaluations of scholarship before 1970. See Year’s Work in English Studies (G330) for later editions and studies.

Other Bibliographies

Brogan, T. V. F. English Versification, 1570–1980: A Reference Guide with a Global Appendix. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1981. 794 pp. Z2015.V37 B76 [PE1505] 016.821′009. Online through Versification (

A classified annotated bibliography of studies published from 1570 through 1979 on all aspects of versification in British and American poetry in English. An appendix selectively annotates major studies on versification in other languages. Pt. 1 treats modern poetry (since Wyatt), with sections, classified as the topic requires, on histories and bibliographies, general studies, sound, rhythm, meter, syntax and grammar, stanza structures, visual structures, and the poem in performance. Pt. 2 divides studies between sections for Old and Middle English verse. The appendix has sections for other languages as well as comparative studies, poetry and music, and classical versification. The lengthy annotations usually offer a trenchant evaluation, place a work in its theoretical or historical context, and cite selected reviews. Two indexes: British and American poets and anonymous works; scholars. Since classifications are sometimes ambiguous, access would be improved by a subject index (even though liberal cross-references conclude each section); the hypertext version resolves this limitation. An authoritative guide with admirably full coverage, English Versification deserves the acclaim of all those working in a field heretofore plagued by a lack of bibliographical control and standardized terminology.

Some additions and corrections appear in Brogan, ““Addenda and Corrigenda to English Versification, 1570–1980 ”,” Modern Philology 81.1 (1983): 50–52. Coverage is continued by Brogan as “Studies of Verseform [1979–89],” Eidos: The International Prosody Bulletin 1–3 (1984–90). Originally called “Current Bibliography,” “Studies of Verseform” is not annotated but provides fuller coverage of other languages.

In Verseform: A Comparative Bibliography (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1989; 122 pp.), Brogan selects the most important studies through 1987 of poetic form in the major languages. Unlike English Versification, however, very few of the 1,494 entries are annotated and most of those with only a brief descriptive sentence or two.

See also

ABELL (G340): English Literature/General/Poetry section.

MLAIB (G335): English III/Poetry section in the pre-1981 volumes; Literatures of the British Isles/Poetry and English Literature/Poetry sections in pt. 1 of the volumes for 1981–90; and British and Irish Literatures/English Literature/Poetry section in pt. 1 of the later volumes. Researchers must also check the “English Poetry” heading in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.


Many works listed in section L: Genres/Prose are important to research in English prose.

Biography and Autobiography
Histories and Surveys

Stauffer, Donald A. English Biography before 1700. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1930. 392 pp. CT34.G7 S7 920.002.

A critical history of published biographical works in prose and verse by English writers in any language to 1700. Emphasizing the place of biography in English literature and focusing on works important in themselves or to the development of biography, chapters treat the Middle Ages, Renaissance, ecclesiastical biography, Izaak Walton, intimate biography, autobiography, and biography as a form. The extensive bibliography is divided into two parts. The first is an author list, with cross-references to subjects, of biographical works before 1700. Each entry cites the most important modern edition; several entries provide notes on the importance, quality, or content of a work. The second part is a selected, evaluatively annotated list of scholarship. Concludes with a chronology of the most important biographies. Indexed by names and some titles. Although its bibliographies are incomplete and outdated, Stauffer is still the most comprehensive treatment of early English biography.

Continued by Stauffer, Art of Biography in Eighteenth Century England (M2430).

Guides to Primary Works

Matthews, William, comp. British Autobiographies: An Annotated Bibliography of British Autobiographies Published or Written before 1951. Berkeley: U of California P, 1955. 376 pp. Z2027.A9 M3 016.920042.

A bibliography of English-language autobiographies, published and in manuscript, written by a British subject and treating a significant portion of the writer’s life. Matthews excludes works restricted to a single event (such as religious conversion); fiction; and discussions of life in Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. The majority of the works date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Listed alphabetically by autobiographer or title of anonymous work, entries provide title, publication information or location of manuscript, dates of coverage, and a very brief note on content. Most descriptions are based on personal examination, but some are taken from reviews. Indexed by subjects (but utilizing headings that are sometimes too general). Although incomplete and offering briefer notes on content than Matthews’s other compilations (M1615, Q3540a, and R4765), this work remains an important initial source for identifying British autobiographies. Many of its entries are repeated or revised in Handley, An Annotated Bibliography of Diaries Printed in English (M1615a). Autobiographies by British subjects are also included in Matthews, Canadian Diaries and Autobiographies (R4765); Davis and Joyce, Personal Writings by Women to 1900 (Q3545a); and Arksey, Pries, and Reed, American Diaries (Q3540).

Much fuller descriptions of 1,040 published autobiographies by British women since the eighteenth century are offered by Barbara Penny Kanner, Women in Context: Two Hundred Years of British Women Autobiographers: A Reference Guide and Reader (New York: Hall-Simon; London: Prentice, 1997; 1,049 pp.). Entries, which are listed alphabetically by autobiographer, include a citation, biographical note, lengthy synopsis, and concluding sociohistorical commentary. Three indexes: authors (organized chronologically by 20-year segments); vocations and avocations; subjects. The detailed synopses offer a wealth of information that is, unfortunately, not easily accessible because of inadequate subject indexing.


Matthews, William, comp. British Diaries: An Annotated Bibliography of British Diaries Written between 1442 and 1942. Berkeley: U of California P, 1950. 339 pp. Z5305.G7 M3 016.920042.

An annotated bibliography of published and manuscript English-language diaries written by British citizens in the British Isles, in Europe, and on the high seas and by foreigners traveling in the British Isles. Besides diaries by British travelers in the United States (listed in Arksey, Pries, and Reed, American Diaries [Q3540]), it excludes works that are not primarily daily accounts, explorers’ journals, ships’ logs, and parliamentary diaries. Although the majority of the works have been published separately or in periodicals, Matthews includes several manuscripts in public collections and private hands. Entries are organized chronologically by the New Style calendar according to the year of initial entry and then alphabetically by diarist. Annotations cite type of diary and inclusive dates, briefly describe content (major places, persons, and events), sometimes evaluate style or coverage, and give publication information or location of manuscript (including shelf number). Two indexes: diaries extending more than 10 years (at the beginning); diarists (at the end). Although incomplete (especially in its coverage of unpublished diaries) and lacking a subject index, it remains the fullest record of British diaries and an essential source for identifying where they were published or are held in manuscript. Reviews: T. A. Birrell, English Studies 33.6 (1952): 264–66; Hilary Jenkinson, American Historical Review 56.3 (1951): 552–54.

For manuscript diaries between 1800 and 1899, Matthews is superseded by John Stuart Batts, British Manuscript Diaries of the Nineteenth Century: An Annotated Listing (Totowa: Rowman, 1976; 345 pp.), a chronological list of unpublished diaries held primarily in public collections in Great Britain. There are numerous errors and inconsistencies in the entries, however.

Some additional published British diaries are listed in Patricia Pate Havlice, And So to Bed: A Bibliography of Diaries Published in English (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1987; 698 pp.); however, its chief feature is the combined index of diarists in Matthews, British Diaries, American Diaries (Q3540a), and Canadian Diaries (R4765).

Many of the entries in Arksey, Pries, and Reed, American Diaries (Q3540), and in Matthews’s British Diaries, British Autobiographies (M1610), American Diaries (Q3540a), and Canadian Diaries (R4765) are repeated or revised in C. S. Handley, An Annotated Bibliography of Diaries Printed in English, 3rd ed., 8 vols. (Tyne and Wear: Hanover, 2002; CD-ROM); however, this work is not widely held (the text can be downloaded from The Diary Research Website []; the fourth edition is in progress).

A rekeyed full text of some of the diaries listed in the preceding and begun before 1950 can be searched in British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries, 1500–1950 ( A companion to North American Women’s Letters and Diaries (Q3540a), it shares many of its features and shortcomings but includes only about 332 documents.

See also

Davis and Joyce, Personal Writings by Women to 1900 (Q3545a).