Nineteenth-Century Literature

Many works listed in section M: English Literature/General are important for research in nineteenth-century literature. See also sections N: Irish Literature; O: Scottish Literature; P: Welsh Literature; and U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Children’s Literature.

Research Methods


Keeran, Peggy, and Jennifer Bowers. Literary Research and the British Romantic Era: Strategies and Sources. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2005. 255 pp. Lit. Research: Strategies and Resources 1. (Updates appear at PR457.K44 820.9′145′072.

A guide to research strategies and reference sources for the scholar working with British Romantic literature (here, 1775–1830). Following an admirably clear explanation of the basics of online searching are chapters on general literary reference sources (including some devoted to individual writers); library catalogs; print and electronic bibliographies, indexes, and annual reviews (again, with some devoted to individual writers); scholarly journals; contemporary reviews; contemporary journals and newspapers; microform and digital collections; manuscripts and archives; and Web resources. A final chapter demonstrates how to use many of the works and strategies previously discussed to develop a research plan. An appendix lists sources in related disciplines. Indexed by titles, authors, and subjects. Describing fully the uses of kinds of reference tools, providing illuminating examples in discussions of key individual resources, detailing techniques for finding kinds of information (including primary works), and illustrating research processes, Literary Research and the British Romantic Era admirably fulfills its intent: “to explain the best practices for conducting research in the British Romantic era and to address the challenges scholars working in this era face.” It sets the benchmark for the volumes to follow in this important series.


Van Vuuren, Melissa S. Literary Research and the Victorian and Edwardian Ages, 1830–1910: Strategies and Sources. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2011. 321 pp. Lit. Research: Strategies and Sources 9. (Updates appear at PR461.V35 820.7′2.

A guide to research strategies and reference sources for the scholar working with Victorian or Edwardian literature. Following an admirably clear explanation of the basics of online searching are chapters on general literary reference sources; library catalogs; print and electronic bibliographies, indexes, and annual reviews; scholarly journals; contemporary reviews and literary magazines; period journals and newspapers; microform and digital collections; manuscripts and archives; and Web resources. The last chapter demonstrates how to use many of the works and strategies previously discussed to develop a research plan (with a lesser-known author writing abroad serving as an example). An appendix lists sources in related disciplines. Several chapters include reference works devoted to single authors. Indexed by authors, titles, and subjects. Describing fully the uses of kinds of reference tools, providing illuminating examples in discussions of key individual resources, detailing techniques for finding kinds of information, illustrating research processes, and perpetuating the high standards reflected by the other volumes in the series, Literary Research and the Victorian and Edwardian Ages is the essential starting point for anyone working with literature of the two periods.


Storey, Richard, and Lionel Madden. Primary Sources for Victorian Studies: A Guide to the Location and Use of Unpublished Materials. London: Phillimore, 1977. 81 pp. Storey. Primary Sources for Victorian Studies: An Updating. Leicester: Victorian Studies Centre, U of Leicester, 1987. 38 pp. Occasional Papers in Bibliog. Z2019.S86 [DA550] 016.941081.

A basic guide to the location and use of manuscripts and records. Except for a very brief discussion of guides to collections outside Britain, the work emphasizes British resources in chapters on the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (F285a) and National Register of Archives (F285a), national repositories, local repositories, general published guides, and special topics (such as art, education, literature, and religious history), terminology, and practical hints to researchers. Indexed by subjects. A clear, practical introduction whose usefulness as a guide to locating and using unpublished materials extends well beyond the Victorian period.

Guides to Reference Works


Propas, Sharon W. Victorian Studies: A Research Guide. 2nd ed. High Wycombe: Rivendale, 2006. 267 pp. Z2019.P76 [DA550] 016.941.

An annotated multidisciplinary guide to reference works published through 2004 that are important to research in the Victorian period (1832–1900) in Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Empire. The 957 entries are organized by ascending date of publication in seven classified divisions: guides and bibliographies; union lists, catalogs, and guides to collections; manuscripts and archives; guides to museums and collections; general reference works; multidisciplinary reference works; works devoted to a specific discipline (including book arts, literature and language, and theater and drama). Indexed by authors, titles, and subjects. Although commendably broad in its coverage, Victorian Studies omits a number of revised editions or supplements published before its cutoff date and is marred by numerous errors in citations and annotations (the latter typically offer unsophisticated descriptions or evaluations).

Histories and Surveys


Jack, Ian. English Literature, 1815–1832. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1963. 643 pp. Vol. 10 of The Oxford History of English Literature (M1310). Bonamy Dobrée, Norman Davis, and F. P. Wilson, gen. eds. (Reprinted in 1990 as vol. 12, with the title English Literature, 1815–1832: Scott, Byron, and Keats.) PR457.J24 820.903.

A history of the period, with chapters on the literary scene in 1815; Byron; Shelley; Keats; Clare and minor poets; the Waverley romances; Peacock; Galt and minor prose fiction; Hazlitt; Lamb; De Quincey; miscellaneous prose; history, biography, and autobiography; the interest in foreign and earlier English literature; and the literary scene in 1832. Includes a chronology and an outdated selective bibliography. Indexed by persons and a few titles. A solid but not critically adventuresome work, whose accuracy, range, lucidity, and clarity of style cause reviewers to rate this work as one of the better Oxford History volumes. Reviews: Geoffrey Carnall, Essays in Criticism 14.3 (1964): 310–18; John Jones, Review of English Studies ns 16.63 (1965): 319–20.

The earlier Romantic writers are treated in a separate, unsatisfactory volume by Renwick (M2460).


The Cambridge History of English Romantic Literature. Ed. James Chandler. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. 782 pp. New Cambridge Hist. of English Lit. PR146.C355 820.9′007. Online through Cambridge Histories Online (

A collaborative history of English literature from the end of the Enlightenment to the end of the Romantic period in the United Kingdom. The twenty-eight chapters—many written by top scholars in the field—are divided among four parts: the transition from the Enlightenment to Romanticism, the places associated with literary life, forms of writing, and the end of Romanticism. Concludes with a skimpy chronology and a series of “bibliographies” (i.e., lists of works cited in each essay). Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects (the online version omits the index). As in other volumes in the New Cambridge History, there is frequently little sense of relation among the essays, but the roster of contributors will likely make this volume essential reading for Romanticists.


Renwick, W. L. English Literature, 1789–1815. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1963. 293 pp. Vol. 9 of The Oxford History of English Literature (M1310). Bonamy Dobrée, Norman Davis, and F. P. Wilson, gen. eds. (Reprinted in 1990 as vol. 11, with the title The Rise of the Romantics, 1789–1815: Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Jane Austen.) PR447.R4 820.903.

Covers the full careers of writers whose “most characteristic work was published between 1789 and 1815” in eight chapters: background of the period; political works; science and travel writing; novels; writers of the early 1790s; Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey; Scottish literature; and drama and historical writing. Concludes with a chronology and an outdated bibliography. Indexed (inadequately) by person. A frequently impenetrable style, imbalances in discussions of important figures, and a lack of synthesis make this one of the least successful Oxford History volumes. Reviews: Times Literary Supplement 1 Mar. 1963: 154; Robert Martin Adams, Hudson Review 16.4 (1963–64): 594–600; Anne Kostelanetz, Minnesota Review 4.4 (1964): 532–43.

The later Romantic writers are more adequately treated by Jack, English Literature, 1815–1832 (M2455).


Davis, Philip. 1830–1880: The Victorians. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 631 pp. Vol. 8 of The Oxford English Literary History (M1310a). Jonathan Bate, gen. ed. PR85.O96 820.9.

A literary history devoted to the literature of the Victorian era, with chapters on the social and cultural background, nature, religion, the rise of psychology, literary production, the drama, the novel, biography, and poetry. Concludes with a selective bibliography that frequently offers evaluations of editions and studies. Indexed by persons and subjects. Reviews: Josephine Guy, Reviews in History 336 (2003): n. pag.; 11 Dec. 2012; <>; Herbert F. Tucker, Victorian Studies 47.1 (2004): 95–97.

This volume is meant to replace Turner, English Literature, 1832–1890, Excluding the Novel (M1310a), which favors critical evaluation at the expense of social-historical context, and Horsman, The Victorian Novel (M1310a), which remains useful for writers and works not discussed by Davis.

See also

Sec. M: English Literature/General/Histories and Surveys.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Mitchell, Sally, ed. Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1988. 986 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of Social Science 438. DA550.V53 941.081′03′21.

An encyclopedia covering individuals, events, groups, topics, places, and types of publications associated with the cultural, political, social, religious, literary, and intellectual milieu from 1837 to 1901. The signed entries range from about 100 to 3,600 words, include liberal cross-references, and end with a brief list of suggested readings. The volume begins with a chronology and concludes with an evaluative bibliography of important reference works. An especially useful feature is the index of persons, places, subjects, and anonymous works mentioned in entries; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The entries vary in quality and the volume emphasizes lesser-known individuals and has more than its share of errors and inconsistencies, but Victorian Britain is a valuable encyclopedia of aspects of Victorian culture. Reviews: Bruce L. Kinzer, Albion 21.4 (1989): 650–52; William Thesing, Victorian Studies 33.3 (1990): 490–91.

The last decade of the nineteenth century is treated more extensively in The 1890s: An Encyclopedia of British Literature, Art, and Culture, ed. G. A. Cevasco (New York: Garland, 1993; 714 pp.; Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 1237), whose approximately 800 signed entries cover topics of cultural interest (most entries are devoted to individuals).

The early part of the century is less satisfactorily treated in Encyclopedia of Romanticism: Culture in Britain, 1780s–1830s, ed. Laura Dabundo (New York: Garland, 1992; 662 pp.; Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 1299). Few of the signed entries are written by top scholars in the field, there is no explanation of the selection criteria or editorial principles, and there are numerous errors.

Bibliographies of Bibliographies


Secs. D: Bibliographies of Bibliographies and M: English Literature/General/Bibliographies of Bibliographies.

Guides to Primary Works


Bibliographies and Indexes

Index of English Literary Manuscripts (M1365). Ed. P. J. Croft, Theodore Hofmann, and John Horden. Vol. 4, 1800–1900. 3 pts. Comp. Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White. London: Mansell, 1982–93. Z6611.L7 I5 [PR83] 016.8208′008. (Publication ceased with pt. 3.)

A descriptive catalog of extant literary manuscripts by a limited number of major British and Irish authors drawn from among those in Concise Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, 600–1950 (M1365a). The emphasis is on literary manuscripts, including diaries, notebooks, and marginalia. Letters are excluded, although the introductions to individual authors identify important collections. In addition, the introductions alert researchers to special problems and relevant scholarship, point out additional manuscripts, discuss canon, note the disposition of an author’s library, and conclude with an outline of the arrangement of entries. A typical entry provides a physical description of the manuscript, dates its composition, includes any necessary commentary (as well as references to editions, facsimiles, sales catalogs, or scholarship), and identifies its location (with shelf mark). Additions and corrections appear in pt. 1, pp. 825–31. Since some entries are based on inquiries to libraries and collectors, bibliographies, other reference works, and booksellers’ and auction catalogs rather than personal examination by the compilers, the descriptions vary in fullness and precision.

Although restricted in the number of authors covered, this volume is an essential source for identifying and locating manuscripts. It must, however, be supplemented by the works listed in sections F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives and M: English Literature/General/Guides to Primary Works/Manuscripts. Reviews: (pt. 1) T. A. J. Burnett, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 4 Feb. 1983: 120; Philip Collins, Library 6th ser. 5.3 (1983): 309–12; (pt. 2) Michael Millgate, Library 6th ser. 14.1 (1992): 66–68.

See also

Secs. F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives and M: English Literature/General/Guides to Primary Works/Manuscripts.

Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts and Letters: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (M2227).

Text Archives

British Literary Manuscripts Online, c. 1660–1900 (M1373).

Printed Works


C19: The Nineteenth Century Index. Chadwyck-Healey. ProQuest, 2005–13. 3 Sept. 2013. <>. Updated regularly.

An electronic index that includes Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue (M2475), Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature (Q4150), Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824–1900 on CD-ROM (M2545), and Curran Index (M2545a); bibliographic records for Chadwyck-Healey’s The Nineteenth Century microfiche collection; and selected records from American Periodicals Series Online, 1740–1900 (Q4050), Periodicals Index Online (G397), Periodicals Archive Online (G397), and Archive Finder (F280). Some records are linked to full text. The databases that make up C19 can be searched together by keyword, title, author, date, periodical subject, and periodical title; searches can be limited by date and type of document and can be saved to a personal archive. Results are grouped by kind of source (e.g., books, newspapers, archives); within most groups, records appear in ascending chronological order and cannot be otherwise sorted; records can be marked for printing, e-mailing, downloading, or saving to an archive. Some sources can be browsed, and each database can also be searched individually through its own search interface, which offers more versatility in refining a search and sorting results. In either case, users should check for spelling variants by using the pull-down lists associated with the search fields. C19 is a valuable resource that allows the cross-searching of so many important resources for the study of nineteenth-century literature.


The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (CBEL) (M1376). Vol. 4: 1800–1900. Ed. Joanne Shattock. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999. 2,995 cols. Z2001.N45 [PR83] 016.82.

A revision—more properly a reconceptualization—of part of vol. 2 of NCBEL (M2255). Primary and some secondary works are organized by author or subject in 16 divisions: book production and distribution, literary relations with the Continent, poetry, novel (including children’s literature), drama, prose, history, political economy, philosophy and science, religion, English studies, travel, household books, sport, education, and newspapers and magazines. The main entry for an author who writes in several genres or on a variety of subjects is located under the genre or subject with which he or she is most closely associated; briefer entries appear under other genres or subjects, with a cross-reference to the main one. A full author entry consists of two parts: primary works (with sections, as needed, for manuscripts; bibliographies and reference works; collected editions; selective editions; individual works [listed chronologically by date of first publication, with each followed by significant English-language editions, translations, and contemporary reviews]; contributions to periodicals and collaborative works; published letters, journals, diaries, notebooks, and marginalia; translations, editions, introductions, and prefaces; pseudonymous works; attributed or spurious works; imitations or -ana) and secondary works (a selective list of studies published before 1920—though many entries cite later scholarship and criticism), including textual studies and selected biographies. Within each section, works are listed by date of publication; mercifully, CBEL discontinues NCBEL’s vexing practice of interrupting the chronological sequence to group all studies by a scholar under the year of the first one cited. As in NCBEL, scholars are identified by surname and initial(s), titles are sometimes shortened, and page numbers are not given for essays in periodicals—practices that deter users from actually laying hands on works cited. Indexed by writers and a few subdivision headings; fuller indexing was to have been offered by vol. 6. Predictably, entries for authors and subjects vary in their thoroughness, consistency, accuracy, and currency, but the volume adds coverage of hundreds of writers and broadens the notion of literature. For many authors and subjects, it offers 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]) means that this volume of CBEL—unlike NCBEL—is no longer one of the principal starting points for research. Users must remember that there is considerable unevenness of coverage among authors and subjects and that, for secondary works, CBEL does not supersede vol. 3 of NCBEL (M2505). Review: Stefan Collini, Notes and Queries 48.4 (2001): 454–58.

For a discussion of the compilation of this volume, see Shattock, ““Revising The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature: Bibliographical Research in an Electronic Age”,” European English Messenger 10.2 (2001): 56–61.


The English Catalogue of Books, [1801–1968]. Irregular, with various cumulations and index volumes. London: Publishers’ Circular, 1858–1969. Z2001.E52 015.42.

An author, title, and subject list of books published in Great Britain, American books imported or issued in England, and English-language books published on the Continent. Since the lists are augmented compilations of various trade catalogs, there are several ghosts and coverage is not thorough, especially for provincial British, American, and Continental publications. Through 1905, series are listed in an appendix, as are publications of learned societies (through 1941). Subject indexing is largely confined to title keywords. Separate subject indexes were published through 1889; thereafter, subject heads appear in the main alphabetic sequence. Entries vary in details but usually cite publisher, edition, size, and price. Although superseded in many respects by the union and national library catalogs in section E, the English Catalogue, as the most complete record of books published in Great Britain during the nineteenth century, is occasionally useful as a limited subject guide and for identifying and dating editions. Beginning in 1874, Reference Catalogue of Current Literature (M2770) is an important supplement; after 1924, more thorough coverage of works published or issued in Great Britain is provided by Whitaker’s Cumulative Book List (M2770a) and after 1950 by British National Bibliography (M2775).


Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue (NSTC). Chadwyck-Healey. ProQuest, 2004–13. 4 Sept. 2013. <>. NSTC can also be searched through C19: The Nineteenth Century Index (M2466). (Chadwyck-Healey plans to augment the database and add full text and digital images.)

  • Series I, Phase I, 1801–1815. 6 vols. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Avero, 1984–86. CD-ROM.

  • Series II, Phase I, 1816–1870. 56 vols. 1986–95. CD-ROM.

  • Series III, 1871–1919. 1996–2002. CD-ROM.

An attempt to record all books (and other unspecified letterpress material) printed between 1801 and 1919 in Great Britain, the colonies, and the United States; in English throughout the rest of the world; and in translation from English. NSTC plans a series of increasingly complete listings: the first phase is limited to a series of author catalogs based on the holdings of a few major libraries; phase two will draw upon the catalogs of specialist libraries.

Series I, Phase I, 1810–1815 is a union list derived from the published and in-house catalogs of the Bodleian; British Library; Library of Trinity College, Dublin; National Library of Scotland; and University Libraries of Cambridge and Newcastle. An entry cites NSTC number, author, short title, as many as three Dewey Decimal Classification numbers (the bases for the subject index), date and place of publication (but not printer or publisher), format, bibliographical notes, number of volumes, locations (with a complete list only in the main entry), and cross-references. Although cataloging generally follows the practices of the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books (see E250a), the entries are subject to the limitations, errors, and vagaries of the individual catalogs. Vols. 1–4 are author catalogs, each with imprint (i.e., place of publication only) and subject indexes (which are cumulated in vol. 5). Vol. 5 includes subject listings (essentially taken over from the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books) for England, Ireland, London, Scotland, directories, ephemerides, and periodical publications, with separate imprint and subject indexes for each; a title index to the subject listings; a supplement to vols. 1–4, listing British Library accessions from 1976 to 1984; imprint and subject indexes to the supplement; and cumulative imprint and subject indexes to the first four volumes. (London is omitted from all the imprint indexes.) Vol. 6 is a cumulative title index to vols. 1–4 and the supplement in vol. 5. Although five of the six libraries included are copyright deposit libraries, coverage of works published in Great Britain is not comprehensive (especially for provincial and ephemeral publications); that for the rest of the world is much less so. For United States imprints, bibliographies listed in section Q: American Literature/Nineteenth Century/Guides to Primary Works offer superior coverage. Because of an inadequate explanation of scope, users cannot be certain what kinds of publications are excluded.

Series II, Phase I, 1816–1870 provides better coverage of American imprints by incorporating the catalogs of the Library of Congress and Harvard University Libraries and transcribes titles and imprints more fully, but otherwise retains the features of the first series. Subject and imprint (i.e., place of publication only) indexes appear in every fifth volume through vol. 35 and erratically thereafter; a cumulative title index for the regular entries occupies vols. 44–53.

Series III, which was published on CD-ROM only, offers fuller information (including printers and publishers and more numerous and precise subject headings). The main volumes are useful primarily as a union list (although it appears that locations are incomplete for many entries); the imprint indexes are important tools for identifying works printed in a locale other than London; and the title indexes are essential to locating entries for anonymous works; but the subject indexes, based on and organized by Dewey classifications, are too unrefined, especially for literary topics (e.g., the English Poetry entry in 1801–1815 consists of 10 densely packed columns of NSTC numbers).

If possible, researchers should ignore the print and CD-ROM versions in favor of the online one, which augments Series I–III with more than 25,000 records for works published between 1801 and 1919. (In the CD-ROMs the Boolean search process is hopelessly complicated and the help files are anything but helpful.) Users can search by keyword, author, dates during author’s lifetime, title, publication date, place of publication, publisher, subject, language, source library, NSTC series, and NSTC number; most of the preceding have browsable lists. Results (which can be sorted by author, title, relevance, or ascending or descending date) can be marked for e-mailing, printing, downloading, or saving to a personal archive.

News of the project and progress reports were published in Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalogue (NSTC) Newsletter (1983–91, irregular). Chadwyck-Healey is publishing microform collections based on selected subject categories from the NSTC.

The larger scope, greater number of publications, and reliance on library catalog entries rather than examination of copies mean that NSTC will never attain the comprehensiveness, sophistication, and level of accuracy of the other Short-Title Catalogues (M1377, M1990, and M1995). Fortunately, with the move to electronic form the publishers have addressed some of the weaknesses of the NSTC, making it far more accessible. Reviews: (1801–1815) Robin Alston, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 6 Apr. 1984: 381–82; Patricia Fleming, Victorian Periodicals Review 19.2 (1986): 68–69; Donald H. Reiman, Studies in Romanticism 28.4 (1989): 650–56; (1801–1815 and 1816–1870) David McKitterick, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 8 May 1987: 497; (CD-ROM) McKitterick, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 4 July 1997: 11; Joanne Shattock, Historical Journal 47.2 (2004): 511–13; (online) Angela Courtney, Victorian Studies 46.4 (2003–04): 682–84.

For a description of the use of NSTC in the quantitative study of publishing and book history, see Simon Eliot, ““Patterns and Trends and the NSTC: Some Initial Observations”,” Publishing History 42 (1997): 79–105 and 43 (1998): 71–112.

See also

Sec. E: Libraries and Library Catalogs.

Halkett and Laing, Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature (U5110).

New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, vol. 3 (M2505).

Records of the Worshipful Company of Stationers (M1380).

Whitaker’s Books in Print (M2770).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Surveys of Research


O’Neill, Michael, ed. Literature of the Romantic Period: A Bibliographical Guide. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1998. 410 pp. Z2013.L58 [PR457] 016.8209′007.

Separately authored surveys of research on major authors, groups, and genres associated with English Romanticism. Chapters typically treat editions, textual studies, bibliographies, biographies, and criticism and conclude with a list of works cited (that sometimes cites additional publications), but there is no consistency across chapters in the chronological span of studies included or in organization (some discussions are excessively subdivided). Although all the chapters are by established scholars, the depth of evaluation varies considerably: the better ones compare editions, place studies within the critical reception of (or controversies surrounding) the author, and isolate topics that need investigation; some chapters, though, are little more than lists; few subject reference works to more than a cursory comment. Indexed by names and a smattering of topics. Although needing a much firmer editorial hand and a clearer statement of the editorial policy that guided selection and organization, Literature of the Romantic Period offers generally authoritative guidance to the state of research on British Romantic writers.


““Recent Studies in the Nineteenth Century”.” Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900. 1 (1961)– . Annually in the Autumn issue. PR1.S82 820'.9.

A commissioned survey by an established scholar, with recent issues emphasizing book-length critical and historical studies and typically offering only cursory attention to editions and reference works. The essays vary considerably in breadth as well as soundness and degree of assessment. Now generally limited to books received for review, this work must be supplemented by Romantic Movement (M2485) and the chapters in Year’s Work in English Studies (G330) on the Romantic and Victorian periods.

See also

YWES (G330): Chapters for Nineteenth Century: Romantic Period and Nineteenth Century: Victorian Period.

Serial Bibliographies


The Romantic Movement: A Selective and Critical Bibliography for [1936–98]. West Cornwall: Locust Hill, 1980–99. Annual. Z6514.R6 R63 [PN603] 016.809′9145.

  • 1964–78: Supplement to English Language Notes 3–17 (1965–79).

  • 1949–63: Philological Quarterly 29–43 (1950–64).

  • 1936–48: ELH: A Journal of Literary History 4–16 (1937–49).

  • (The bibliographies for 1936–70 are reprinted, with cumulative indexes, as A. C. Elkins and L. J. Forstner, eds., The Romantic Movement Bibliography, 1936–1970: A Master Cumulation, 7 vols. [Ann Arbor: Pierian in association with Bowker, 1973].)

A bibliography of significant books, articles, and reviews on the Romantic movement in Great Britain and Western Europe. Although this work includes minor items that fall outside the scope of MLAIB (G335) and studies of American Romanticism that relate to the European movement, it makes no attempt at comprehensiveness. The scope has altered over the years and within individual sections so that recent volumes are more critical and selective. (For an overview of changes, see David V. Erdman’s foreword to the reprint of the 1936–70 bibliographies [vol. 1, pp. vii–xi].) Entries are organized in six major divisions: general, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish (at various times there were divisions for other national literatures such as Portuguese, Russian, and Scandinavian); each national literature has sections for bibliographies, general studies, and individual authors (some have a section for the “environment”—art, philosophy, politics, religion, science, and society). The chronological scope varies from country to country and alters to reflect changes in critical perspectives (e.g., while the English section has remained fairly stable at 1789–1837, the German one has undergone some major shifts in chronological coverage). In the later volumes, most entries are annotated: many descriptively, several critically, with a number of books receiving full reviews. Recent volumes quote from other reviews. Since the 1961 bibliography, reviews of previously listed books, composite reviews, and review essays are grouped at the end of a section. Although the later annual volumes unfortunately provide only an index of critics, the reprint of the 1936–70 bibliographies offers three cumulative indexes: authors, main entries, reviewers; subjects: personal names; subjects: categories. Although the lack of a complete subject index is inexcusable and coverage varies substantially among the national literatures (Italian and Spanish are so sketchily treated that their coverage should have been discontinued), timeliness and judicious evaluation made this before its unfortunate demise the best guide to significant scholarship on the Romantic movement. Since it made no attempt at comprehensiveness, scholars must also consult “Current Bibliography” in Keats-Shelley Journal (M2495) and the standard serial bibliographies in section G.


Victorian Database Online, [1945– ]. Comp. and ed. Brahma Chaudhuri. LITIR Database. U of Alberta, 2012. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

This produces and subsumes a confusing array of print and CD-ROM products (with recent ones produced on demand):

  • A Comprehensive Bibliography of Victorian Studies, 1970–1984. 3 vols. Edmonton: LITIR Database, 1984–85.

  • Cumulative Bibliography of Victorian Studies, 1945–1969. Comp. and ed. Chaudhuri and Fred Radford. 2 vols. 2000. 1970–1984. Comp. and ed. Chaudhuri. 2 vols. 1988. 1985–1989. 1990. 1,037 pp. 1990–1994. 1995. 880 pp. 1995–1999. 1999. 825 pp. 1945–1969. 2 vols. 2000. 1970–2000. 3 vols. 2001. 2000–2004. 2005. 726 pp. 2005–2009. 2010. 729 pp.

  • Annual Bibliography of Victorian Studies, [1976– ]. Edmonton: LITIR Database, 1980– . Annual. Z2019.A64 [DA533] 016.941.

  • Victorian Database on CD-ROM: 1945–2004. Comp. and ed. Chaudhuri and Radford. LITIR Database, 2005.

  • Reviews, which are not included until 1995, can be located in Chaudhuri, Cumulated Index to Reviews of Books on Victorian Studies, 1975–1989 (1990; 1,197 pp.).

A database of books, articles, and dissertations, primarily in English, on Great Britain from c. 1830 to 1914. This work emphasizes studies of language and literature, with some attention to other subjects; for transitional authors, it includes only those studies treating the Victorian period. The online version can be searched only by author, title, and keyword (each limited by date; however, the date limitation sometimes malfunctions). Records (which are returned only in descending alphabetical order) can be marked for printing or downloading. In the print versions entries are listed alphabetically by scholar in seven classified divisions: general and reference works, fine arts, philosophy and religion, history, social sciences, science and technology, and language and literature. The last has sections for general works, reference works, drama and theater, poetry, prose, fiction, children’s literature, and individual authors (with lists of general works, bibliographies, biography and correspondence, general criticism, and studies of individual works). A few entries are accompanied by brief descriptive annotations. Users searching the print versions for publications on a minor author must be sure to use the subject index, since writers who are the subject of fewer than three studies are lumped together under “Other Authors” in the classified listings. Four indexes in each Annual Bibliography and the Cumulated Index (subjects; scholars; reviewers; titles of works); each volume of the Comprehensive Bibliography has three indexes (subjects; scholars; titles of works), and those in vol. 3 are cumulative; the Cumulative Bibliography offers the same three indexes. The subject indexing and keyword access in the online version, while useful, are limited to literary authors and title keywords (with some significant omissions); records do not consistently expand journal titles or other abbreviations (a list of journal abbreviations can be accessed through the Help screen). Much less accessible than it should be (especially the online version), reliant on secondary sources for citations to some books rather than firsthand examination, and far short of the comprehensiveness it claims, Victorian Database Online is nonetheless useful for its cumulation of studies. Researchers must also consult the other bibliographies listed in this section and in section G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts, as well as “RSVP Bibliography” (M2555) and “Guide to the Year’s Work,” Victorian Poetry (M2720).


““Annual Bibliography, [1 July 1950– ]”.” Keats-Shelley Journal 1 (1952)– . Title varies. PR4836.A145 821.705.

The work is cumulated as the following:

  • Hartley, Robert A., ed. Keats, Shelley, Byron, Hunt, and Their Circles: A Bibliography: July 1, 1962–December 31, 1974. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1978. 487 pp.

  • Green, David Bonnell, and Edwin Graves Wilson, eds. Keats, Shelley, Byron, Hunt, and Their Circles: A Bibliography: July 1, 1950–June 30, 1962. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1964. 323 pp.

  • Current Bibliography: Keats-Shelley Journal [1994–99]. Romantic Circles. U of Maryland, n.d. 12 Dec. 2012. <>. (The current bibliographer plans to make additional years available.)

A bibliography that attempts comprehensive coverage of Byron, Shelley, Keats, Hunt, and their circles. Excludes textbooks but otherwise includes substantial references as well as reprints or translations of even a single poem and (between 1 July 1955 and 31 December 1972) phonograph recordings. The early numbers list publications from 1940 through 1950 that were omitted from other standard bibliographies. Entries in the print version are currently organized in five divisions: general works (with sections for bibliographies and general studies of English Romanticism), Byron and his circle, Hunt and Hazlitt and their circle, Keats and his circle, and the Shelleys and their circle (until 41 [1992], only Percy Shelley); the online version separates Hunt and Hazlitt and Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley. In the author sections, primary works appear first, followed by an alphabetical list of studies on the writer and his circle. In some years, entries are accompanied by brief descriptive annotations (with several works left unannotated in the early volumes; the annotations disappear altogether with the bibliography for 2000 in 50 [2001] then reappear sporadically in the bibliography for 2004 in 55 [2006]) and review citations (in recent years, reviews are interspersed in the lists of studies). In the online version descriptions are longer (but journal acronyms are not expanded), some entries include links to a table of contents or other material, and reviews appear in a separate file. Indexed by names. The two reprints cumulate the individual indexes. Because the makeup of the various circles is not consistent throughout the volumes, users should consult the index to locate studies of individuals other than the four principal authors. Individual annual bibliographies and sections therein can be searched using a Web browser’s find function; a separate Search screen allows for keyword searching of the complete bibliographies, reviews, or sections. This offers fuller coverage of the six writers and their circles than Romantic Movement (M2485) or the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.


Victorian Studies Bibliography, [1999– ]. Ed. Andrew H. Miller and Ivan Kreilkamp. LETRS: Library Electronic Text Resource Service. Indiana UP, 2006–11. 12 Dec. 2012. <>.

““Victorian Bibliography for [1932–2001]”.” Victorian Studies 1–45 (1958–2003). (The bibliographies for 2000–01 are available only in electronic form through Project Muse [K705].) PR1.V5 820′.9′008.

  • 1932–56: Modern Philology 30–54 (1933–57).

Reprinted, with cumulative indexes, as follows:

  • Tobias, Richard C., ed. Bibliographies of Studies in Victorian Literature for the Ten Years 1975–1984. New York: AMS, 1991. 1,130 pp.

  • Freeman, Ronald E., ed. Bibliographies of Studies in Victorian Literature for the Ten Years 1965–1974. New York: AMS, 1981. 876 pp.

  • Slack, Robert C., ed. Bibliographies of Studies in Victorian Literature for the Ten Years 1955–1964. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1967. 461 pp.

  • Wright, Austin, ed. Bibliographies of Studies in Victorian Literature for the Ten Years 1945–1954. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1956. 310 pp.

  • Templeman, William D., ed. Bibliographies of Studies in Victorian Literature for the Thirteen Years 1932–1944. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1945. 450 pp.

A selective international bibliography of “noteworthy” publications, including reviews, on Victorian England. Over the years, coverage has become more inclusive but with a corresponding decrease in annotations, so that recent bibliographies offer only an occasional brief explanation of an uninformative title. (Early volumes offer more substantial commentary, including some full reviews and quotations from others; however, evaluations during the first two decades are far less rigorous than they should be.) The bibliographies for 1932–74 list works alphabetically in four divisions: bibliographical materials; economic, political, religious, and social environment; movements of ideas, literary forms, and anthologies; individual authors. With the 1975 bibliography, entries appear in one of six divisions: bibliographical materials; history, historiography, and historical documents; economics, education, politics, religion, science, and social environment; architecture, fine arts, household arts, performing arts, music, painting, photography, and sculpture; literature, literary history, and literary forms; individual authors. Since the bibliography for 1966, listings under transitional figures such as Conrad and Shaw are restricted to studies dealing with the Victorian period. Articles in author journals and newsletters are awkwardly grouped under a single entry for the periodical, in some volumes books are not listed unless they have been reviewed, and users would benefit from a more refined classification system and better cross-referencing. Until recently, the annual issues (and subsequent cumulations) are seriously marred by a multitude of typographical errors, inaccurate citations, and faulty cross-references. The five volumes of reprints provide useful—but incomplete—cumulative indexes: of Victorian authors in the 1932–44 volume; of scholars, Victorian figures, and some topics in those for 1945–74; and of scholars, authors (Victorian and otherwise), and subjects in that for 1975–84. The cumulation for 1965–74 corrects some errors (pp. 739–42) and provides an introductory statistical and narrative survey of trends in scholarship for the period. For the history of the print bibliography, see Edward H. Cohen, “‘Victorian Bibliography’: Seventy Years after,” Victorian Studies 44 (2001–02): 625–35.

In the online version, Simple Search allows for keyword searches of the entire record or of the title or author (including reviewer) field; Advanced Search allows users to combine keyword searches of the entire record and the author and title fields and to limit a search by date. Users can also browse the six divisions listed above. Because only the subheadings economics, education, politics, religion, science, and social environment are in separate lists, browsing the other divisions (except architecture, fine arts, household arts, performing arts, music, painting, photography, and sculpture) exceeds the search engine’s sort limit. If a search returns fewer than 1,000 records, they can be sorted by author (ascending) or date (both ascending and descending); if a search returns more than 1,000 records, they appear in no discernible order and cannot be sorted. Records must be saved to a bookbag for downloading or e-mailing. Reviews of books are not always conflated into a single record; many journal acronyms are not expanded (and there is no key on the Web site); and related records (e.g., essays in edited collections) are not linked.

Despite its faults (and the limited functionality of the online version), the work offers the fullest, most current list of scholarship on the period, but scholars must also consult Victorian Database Online (M2490); “RSVP Bibliography” (M2555); “Guide to the Year’s Work,” Victorian Poetry (M2720); and the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G. The Victorian Studies Bibliography has been inactive since 2011.

See also

Sec. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts.

ABELL (G340): English Literature/Nineteenth Century section.

MLAIB (G335): English Language and Literature division in the volumes for 1921–25; English X in the volumes for 1926–56; English IX in the volumes for 1957–80; and English Literature/1800–99 (as well as any larger chronological sections encompassing the century) in later volumes. Researchers must also check the headings beginning “English Literature,” “Romantic,” and “Victorian” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies


The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (NCBEL). Vol. 3: 1800–1900. Ed. George Watson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1969. 1,948 cols. Z2011.N45 [PR83] 016.82.

(For a full discussion of NCBEL, see entry M1385.) Primary works and scholarship are organized in six divisions (each subdivided and classified as its subject requires): introduction (general studies, book production and distribution, literary relations with the Continent), poetry (1800–35, 1835–70, 1870–1900), novel (1800–35, 1835–70, 1870–1900, children’s books), drama (1800–35, 1835–70, 1870–1900), prose (1800–35, 1835–70, 1870–1900, history, philosophy, religion, English studies, travel, sport, education, periodicals), Anglo-Irish literature (through 1916). Vol. 3 of the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (M1385a) is still occasionally useful for its coverage of the intellectual, social, and political background; education; and Commonwealth literature (which NCBEL drops).

Users must familiarize themselves with the organization, remember that there is considerable unevenness of coverage among subdivisions, realize that the third edition of CBEL (M1376) does not supersede NCBEL’s coverage of secondary works, and consult the index volume (vol. 5) rather than the provisional index in vol. 3. Review: Richard D. Altick, JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology 70.1 (1971): 139–45.


Oxford Bibliographies Online: Victorian Literature. Ed. Juliet John. Oxford UP, 2011– . 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.

Victorian Literature includes articles covering aestheticism, children’s literature, visual culture, decadence, scores of authors, and many other subjects.

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.

See also

McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800–1875 (N2985).

Dissertations and Theses


Altick, Richard D., and William R. Matthews, comps. Guide to Doctoral Dissertations in Victorian Literature, 1886–1958. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1960. 119 pp. Z2013.A4 016.82′09′008.

A classified bibliography of 2,105 dissertations entirely or partly on British literature from c. 1837 to 1900. Coverage extends through 1957 for France, 1956 for the United Kingdom and Germany, and 1958 for Austria, Switzerland, and the United States. Dissertations are listed alphabetically by writer in nine sections: general topics, themes and intellectual influences, fiction, drama, poetry, literary criticism, periodicals, foreign relations, and individual authors. Indexed by dissertation writers. Although compiled largely from printed institutional and national lists (which are themselves not always accurate or complete), the Guide also includes several dissertations that have otherwise escaped notice. Thorough but not exhaustive, this work significantly reduces the time researchers would otherwise spend poring over the bibliographies in section H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses. A supplement would be welcomed by scholars.

See also

Sec. H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

Related Topics


Brown, Lucy M., and Ian R. Christie, eds. Bibliography of British History, 1789–1851. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1977. 759 pp. Z2019.B76 [DA520] 016.94107′3.

An extensive, albeit rigorously selective, bibliography of primary and secondary materials published through the early 1970s. Because of the multitude of publications on the era, Brown emphasizes reference sources. The 4,782 entries are listed chronologically (for the most part) in 15 extensively classified divisions: general reference works; political, constitutional, legal, ecclesiastical, military, naval, economic, social, cultural, and local history; Wales; Scotland; Ireland; and British Empire. A majority of the entries are descriptively annotated and frequently cite several related studies. Indexed by persons and a few subjects. An essential guide for cross-disciplinary research. Entries for pre-1901 publications are included in Bibliography of British and Irish History (M1400). Review: John Saville, Victorian Studies 22 (1979): 203–04.

Continued by Hanham, Bibliography of British History, 1851–1914 (M2520). A convenient, more selective bibliography is Smith, Late Georgian and Regency England, 1760–1837 (M2260a).


Hanham, H. J., comp. and ed. Bibliography of British History, 1851–1914. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1976. 1,606 pp. Z2019.H35 [DA530] 016.942.

A massive, yet selective, bibliography of primary and secondary works (through 1973) organized in 13 extensively classified divisions: general reference works and studies, political and constitutional history, colonies and foreign relations, armed forces, legal system, religion, economic history, social history, intellectual and cultural history, local history, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. A majority of the entries are annotated, many with judicious evaluative comments and citations to related studies (which nearly double the 10,829 numbered entries). Indexed by persons and subjects. An indispensable guide to historical scholarship on the period (and one of the better volumes of this important series). Entries for pre-1901 publications are included in Bibliography of British and Irish History (M1400). The earlier half of the century is covered in Brown and Christie, Bibliography of British History, 1789–1851 (M2515). Review: Josef L. Altholz, Victorian Studies 21 (1977): 108–09.

Convenient, more selective bibliographies are Josef L. Altholz, Victorian England, 1837–1901 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP for the Conf. on British Studies, 1970; 100 pp.; Conf. on British Studies Bibliog. Handbooks), and David Nicholls, Nineteenth-Century Britain, 1815–1914, (Folkestone: Dawson; Hamden: Archon, 1978; 170 pp.; Critical Bibliogs. in Mod. Hist.). Altholz is decidedly more thorough and authoritative, cites articles as well as books (through 1967), but offers only an occasional brief descriptive comment. Nicholls is current through 1977 and provides evaluative annotations, but it cites only books and is designed for the undergraduate.

See also

Bibliography of British and Irish History (M1400).

Smith, Late Georgian and Regency England, 1760–1837 (M2260a).

Biographical Dictionaries

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (M1425) remains the standard general source of biographical information for the nineteenth century; however, Boase, Modern English Biography (M1425a), is an important supplement.

See also

Sec. J: Biographical Sources.

Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).


Contemporary Periodicals

Research Methods

Vann, J. Don, and Rosemary T. VanArsdel, eds. Victorian Periodicals: A Guide to Research. 2 vols. New York: MLA, 1978–89. PN5124.P4 V5 052.

Vol. 1 is a guide to research methods and reference works (to 1977) essential to the study of periodicals (primarily elite British ones) from 1824 to 1900. Individual essays treat bibliographies and inventories, finding lists, biographical resources, general histories of the press, histories and studies of individual periodicals, identification of authors, and circulation and the Stamp Tax. Vol. 2 is both a companion and a supplement to the earlier one. Along with appendixes evaluating the Wellesley Index (M2545) and updating the essays on finding lists, biographical resources, general histories, and histories and studies of individual periodicals, it has chapters on Scottish, Welsh, feminist, religious, and children’s periodicals; the radical and labor press; publishers’ archives; periodicals of the 1890s; serialized novels; periodicals and art history; and desiderata to the twenty-first century. In both volumes, contributors typically outline their subject, describe (with occasional evaluative comments) essential reference sources (but without complete citations), discuss research strategies, and sometimes suggest topics for further work. Indexed by persons and titles. Individual essays vary in accuracy (in both citations and evaluations of reference works), but, overall, Victorian Periodicals is an essential guide for those working in this expanding field. Review: John Bush Jones, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 4.2 (1980): 107–23.

Some of the preceding essays are complemented by Vann and VanArsdel, eds., Victorian Periodicals and Victorian Society (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1994; 370 pp.), a collection of 18 essays on law, medicine, architecture, the military, science, music, illustration, authorship and the book trade, theater, transport, the financial and trade press, advertising, agriculture, temperance, comic periodicals, sports, workers’ journals, and student publications. Each contributor typically offers a general introduction to the subject, a discussion of available bibliographic tools (or the lack thereof), an annotated list of periodicals (with locations), and suggestions for further research. Indexed by persons and titles of periodicals.

For the state of research on nineteenth-century periodicals in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, southern Africa, and other former British colonies, see Vann and VanArsdel, eds., Periodicals of Queen Victoria’s Empire: An Exploration (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1996; 371 pp.).

See also

Latham and Scholes, “The Rise of Periodical Studies” (A45).

Guides to Primary Works

For other guides, indexes, lists, and bibliographies, see Scott Bennett, “The Bibliographic Control of Victorian Periodicals” (vol. 1, pp. 35–51), in Vann and VanArsdel, Victorian Periodicals (M2525). Many nineteenth-century periodicals have been reproduced in microfilm in two series by University Microfilms International: Early British Periodicals, 1681–1921 and English Literary Periodicals, 1681–1914; these have been digitized as British Periodicals (

Union Lists

Fulton, Richard D., and C. M. Colee, gen. eds. Union List of Victorian Serials: A Union List of Selected Nineteenth-Century British Serials Available in United States and Canadian Libraries. New York: Garland, 1985. 732 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 530. Z6956.G6 F85 [PN5124.P4] 011′.34.

A union list of periodicals published between 1824 and 1900 and listed in New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (M2505) (augmented by about 100 science and technology titles). Compiled from regional union lists, library lists, and reports by volunteers who examined actual holdings, the Union List records the holdings of 376 libraries (predominantly in the United States), especially major regional libraries and those with important Victorian serials collections. (There are some notable omissions, however.) A typical entry provides Waterloo Directory of Victorian Periodicals number (entry M2540a), NCBEL reference, bibliographical information, notes (which may include title, series, and volume changes; details of conflicting information in standard references; and numbering irregularities), and locations (with exact holdings—accurate and complete for 1824–1900 only for those periodicals published outside these dates—including microform copies or reprints and notes on special copies or cataloging problems). While many questions of dates and titles remain unsolved, entries alert researchers to conflicting information in standard reference sources. Although neither comprehensive nor definitive, this work is more thorough and reliable in its bibliographical descriptions and locations than Union List of Serials (K640a), British Union-Catalogue of Periodicals (K645a), or New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. See WorldCat (E225) for other locations; for serials after 1800 Fulton’s descriptions are frequently superseded by Waterloo Directory of English Newspaper and Periodicals (M2540), Waterloo Directory of Irish Newspapers and Periodicals (N3000), and Waterloo Directory of Scottish Newspapers and Periodicals (O3103). Review: Kathryn Chittick, Victorian Periodicals Review 18.4 (1985): 149–51.


Ward, William S., comp. Index and Finding List of Serials Published in the British Isles, 1789–1832. Lexington: U of Kentucky P, 1953. 180 pp. Z6956.E5 W27 016.052.

———. ““ Index and Finding List of Serials Published in the British Isles, 1789–1832: A Supplementary List”.” Bulletin of the New York Public Library 77 (1974): 291–97. Z881.N6B 027.47471.

A list of periodicals and newspapers held by some 475 libraries and newspaper offices in the United States and Great Britain. Serials are listed by title (or by institution or learned society for publications lacking a distinctive title) and accompanied by minimal bibliographical information. Ward is designed to be used with Union List of Serials (K640a); Union Catalogue of the Periodical Publications in the University Libraries of the British Isles, comp. Marion G. Roupell (London: Joint Standing Committee on Lib. Co-operation, Natl. Central Lib., 1937; 712 pp.); and British Union-Catalogue of Periodicals (K645a); therefore, only additional or corrected holdings are recorded (but imprecisely in many instances). Although it offers numerous additions to the standard union lists, Ward must be supplemented by WorldCat (E225) and Serials in the British Library (K645). For serials after 1800, Ward is superseded by Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals (M2540), Waterloo Directory of Irish Newspapers and Periodicals (N3000), and Waterloo Directory of Scottish Newspapers and Periodicals (O3103). A new edition covering 1789–1800, with full bibliographical information and details of holdings, would be welcome.

See also

Sec. K: Periodicals/Union Lists.


North, John S., ed. The Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800–1900. 5 sers. Waterloo: North Waterloo Academic P, 1994– . Z6956.E5 W38 [PN5117] 015.42′035. Ser. 2. <>. Updated daily.

A bibliography and finding list of approximately 125,000 serials (when complete) published in England during the nineteenth century. Publications are listed alphabetically by earliest title or issuing body for nonspecific titles (entries are repeated under absorbed or merged titles). Entries record, when possible, titles, alternative or later titles, subtitles, and title changes, along with reproductions of title pages for about 3,000 publications; series, volume, and issue numbering; publication dates; places of publication; editors; proprietors; publishers; printers; editorial or production staff; size; price; circulation; frequency of publication; illustrations; issuing bodies; indexing; departments; religious or political perspectives; miscellaneous notes; mergers; references to studies or bibliographies; and locations. Six indexes: titles; cities of publication; counties of publication; issuing bodies; persons; subjects. Much of the information is based on firsthand examination of representative issues. The online version and publication in a rolling series of printed sets (wherein each new set cumulates, integrates, expands, and corrects the preceding one) allow for continual revision and expansion as additional collections are visited.

The online version offers four search options: Basic Search (keyword searching of title, issuing body, persons, town, county or country, or subject); Advanced Search (combined keyword searching of title, issuing body, persons, subject, place of publication, and date); Global Search (keyword searching of all records except the locations, price, size, indexing, volume, date, and circulation fields); Browse (the six indexes included in the printed version [see above]). Results of a search can be printed or saved only through a Web browser.

Even though incomplete, Waterloo Directory already offers the most thorough and accessible accumulation of information on English serial publications. The flexibility of searching the online version provides ready access for the first time to essential sources for the study of nearly all facets of nineteenth-century English life. An indispensable work that—like its companions, Waterloo Directory of Irish Newspapers and Periodicals (N3000) and Waterloo Directory of Scottish Newspapers and Periodicals (O3103)—stands as an example of the kind of guide needed for serials of other countries and periods. For a history of the Waterloo Directory project and explanation of its importance, see Rosemary T. Van Arsdel, ““John North, the Waterloo Directory, and an RSVP History Lesson!”” Victorian Periodicals Review 36.2 (2003): 100–08.

For a list of periodicals addressed to women and of articles about women in other serials, see E. M. Palmegiano, Women and British Periodicals, 1832–1867: A Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1976; 118 pp.; Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 55)—also published as Victorian Periodicals Newsletter 9.1 (1976): 1–36—with additions in Anne Lohrli, “Women in British Periodicals,” Victorian Periodicals Newsletter 9.4 (1976): 128–30.

See also

Bibliography of British Newspapers (M1440).

Sullivan, British Literary Magazines (M1445).


Houghton, Walter E., Esther Rhoads Houghton, and Jean Harris Slingerland, eds. Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824–1900. ProQuest. ProQuest, 2006–13. 4 Sept. 2013. <>. Wellesley Index can also be searched through C19: The Nineteenth Century Index (M2466).

———.Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824–1900, on CD-ROM. Vers. 1.0. London: Routledge, 1999.

———. Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824–1900. 5 vols. Toronto: U of Toronto P; London: Routledge, 1966–89. AI3.W45 052′.016.

The print version is an index to the prose contents of 43 major periodicals. Poetry is excluded—unfortunately, but understandably so, because of the quantity and insurmountable problems in attributing authorship. Vols. 1 through 4 each consists of three parts. Organized by periodical, pt. A is an issue-by-issue list of contents that explains uninformative titles, identifies reprints, and attributes authorship (citing evidence) for individual articles and reviews. The list for each periodical is prefaced by a summary of publishing history and editorial policy, discussion of sources for attribution of authorship, and a bibliography. Pt. B is an author bibliography of works listed in pt. A. Pt. C indexes initials and pseudonyms. Unfortunately, authors and titles of books reviewed are not indexed, nor are subjects. Additions and corrections to vol. 1 appear in vol. 2, pp. 1181–221; to vols. 1 and 2, in vol. 3, pp. 977–1012; and to vols. 1–3, in vol. 4, pp. 765–826. Vol. 5 cumulates pts. B and C, prints additions and corrections to the preceding volumes, and identifies entries in pt. A that were subsequently altered in appendixes to vols. 1–4; users must be certain to check Victorian Periodicals Review beginning with 23.2 (1990) for important additions and corrections. In addition, Eileen M. Curran tracks addenda and corrigenda in The Curran Index: Additions to and Corrections of The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals (

The CD-ROM adds coverage of two periodicals, incorporates some corrections and additions from the print volumes as well as Victorian Periodicals Review to the end of 1997, and provides hyperlinks among entries. The ability to search by periodical, contributor, pseudonym, and title keyword remedies some of the problems of access faced by users of the print volumes. The text of the CD-ROM and Curran Index are also searchable through the ProQuest Wellesley Index and C19: The Nineteenth Century Index (M2466), which offer a superior search interface that allows users to search by the preceding fields as well as periodical subject and editor, to limit searches by date, and to sort results by author, periodical title, relevance, or date (ascending or descending). Users can also browse some fields. Records (some of which are linked to full text) can be marked for e-mailing, printing, downloading, or saving to a personal archive. Because of spelling variants, users should check the pull-down lists associated with the search fields.

The high degree of accuracy and reliability makes the Wellesley Index an indispensable source for efficiently scanning the contents of journals (especially inaccessible ones), for gauging the spirit of the age as reflected in a range of leading periodicals, for comparing the contents of influential serials, for determining the authorship of a majority of the numerous unsigned or pseudonymous contributions (although attributions cannot be automatically accepted, since some are based on unauthenticated sources or internal evidence), and for identifying pseudonyms used in periodicals, which Halkett and Laing, Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature (U5110), does not cover. A monumental scholarly work that has revolutionized the study of Victorian periodicals. For a history of the work, see Rosemary T. VanArsdel, ““The Wellesley Index Forty Years Later (1966–2006)”,” Victorian Periodicals Review 39.3 (2006): 257–65. Reviews: (vol. 1) Robert A. Colby, Modern Philology 65.4 (1968): 411–14; Ian Jack, Review of English Studies ns 19.74 (1968): 228–31; (vol. 2) Colby, Modern Philology 71.4 (1974): 455–59; Jack, Review of English Studies ns 25.100 (1974): 491–93; (vol. 3) William S. Ward, JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology 79.3 (1980): 454–57; (vol. 4) Richard D. Altick, Modern Philology 87.1 (1989): 101–04; Barbara Quinn Schmidt, Victorian Periodicals Review 22.2 (1989): 71–74; P. L. Shillingsburg, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography ns 2.3 (1988): 126–28.

The Wellesley Index archive, on deposit in the Wellesley College Archives, contains incomplete records of an additional 15 periodicals. For a brief description of the archive and evaluation of Wellesley Index, see VanArsdel, ““The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824–1900 ”” (vol. 2, pp. 165–67), in Vann and VanArsdel, Victorian Periodicals (M2525).

Periodical Poetry Index: A Research Database of Poetry in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals, ed. Natalie Houston, Lindsy Lawrence, and April Patrick, Vers. 1.0 ( plans to index poems in journals covered by Wellesley Index and in other periodicals. The project, however, is in a very early developmental stage and has not been updated since 2012.


Ward, William S., comp. Literary Reviews in British Periodicals, 1798–1820: A Bibliography: With a Supplementary List of General (Non-review) Articles on Literary Subjects. 2 vols. New York: Garland, 1972.

———. Literary Reviews in British Periodicals, 1821–1826: A Bibliography: With a Supplementary List of General (Non-review) Articles on Literary Subjects. New York: Garland, 1977. 301 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 60. Z2013.W36 [PR453] 016.809′034.

A bibliography of reviews of belles lettres, criticism, and other writings by literary authors published between 1798 and 1826. Books are organized alphabetically by author, then by publication date, with reviews following alphabetically by periodical title. Nonreview articles are relegated to various appendixes. Appendix A includes general articles about authors appearing in the reviews section. Appendix B is in five parts: (1) volumes of general criticism reviewed, (2) general criticism articles, and articles on (3) poetry, (4) fiction, and (5) drama and theater. Appendix C (in 1798–1820 only) lists reviews of operas. The prefaces offer general suggestions for further research. These two works are essential sources for investigating the contemporary critical reception of an author or work and for locating early criticism. For earlier coverage, see Ward, Literary Reviews in British Periodicals, 1789–1797 (M2280).

Most reviews published between 1793 and 1824 of books by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats (along with a few reviews of other writers) are conveniently reproduced in Donald H. Reiman, ed., The Romantics Reviewed: Contemporary Reviews of British Romantic Writers, 9 vols. (New York: Garland, 1972).

See also

Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature (Q4150).

Times Index (M1450).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism
Serial Bibliographies

““RSVP Bibliography, [1971– ]”.” Victorian Periodicals Review 6 (1973)– . Irregular. Title varies. PN5124.P4 V52 052. (The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals plans to make the bibliographies available at; as of 29 Dec. 2014, only the bibliography for 1999–2001 is accessible there.)

An annotated author list of books, dissertations, articles, and reviews about periodicals published between 1800 and 1914 (1837–1901 beginning with the 2007–09 bibliography) in the United Kingdom and its colonies (with some coverage of English-language periodicals from the rest of the world). Unfortunately, annotations in some installments rarely extend beyond a terse sentence. Indexed by persons, subjects, and periodicals. Entries for 1972 through 1987 are cumulated and supplemented in Uffelman, Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press in Britain (M2560). For earlier scholarship, see Madden and Dixon, Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press in Britain (M2560). Although this work is the standard serial bibliography, its coverage is far from exhaustive.

Other Bibliographies

Madden, Lionel, and Diana Dixon, comps. The Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press in Britain: A Bibliography of Modern Studies, 1901–1971. Supplement to Victorian Periodicals Newsletter 8.3 (M1975). Toronto: Victorian Periodicals Newsletter, 1975. 76 pp. Also published as Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 53. New York: Garland, 1976. 280 pp. Z6956.G6 M3 [PN5117] 016.072.

Uffelman, Larry K., comp. The Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press in Britain: A Bibliography of Modern Studies, 1972–1987. Supplement to Victorian Periodicals Review 25 (1992): 124 pp.

An annotated bibliography of books, articles, dissertations, and theses devoted to the history, editing, and publication of general interest periodicals; Uffelman cumulates and expands “RSVP Bibliography” (M2555). Madden and Dixon excludes examinations of a periodical’s treatment of specific topics, literary history studies, and attributions of individual works (however, such exclusions are not rigorously observed); Uffelman is much less restrictive. The 4,717 entries are organized in four liberally cross-referenced divisions: reference works (listed chronologically), general histories of periodicals and newspapers (listed chronologically), studies of individual periodicals (listed alphabetically by the earliest nineteenth-century title, then chronologically), and studies and memoirs of proprietors, editors, journalists, and contributors (listed alphabetically by person, then chronologically). Indexed by names. Madden and Dixon is carelessly compiled (there are numerous omissions, uneven annotations, inconsistencies in coverage, and far too many errors in the citations and index), Uffelman is more accurate but also offers uneven annotations (a substantial number of entries are unannotated) and overlooks numerous studies, and both are inefficiently organized and inadequately indexed; nevertheless, the two offer the most complete guide to scholarship on the topic. They must be supplemented, however, by the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G and by Ward, British Periodicals and Newspapers, 1789–1832 (M2565). For studies published after 1987, see the annual “RSVP Bibliography” (M2555). Reviews: (Madden and Dixon) Walter E. Houghton, Library 5th ser. 32.4 (1977): 386–87; John Bush Jones, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 4.2 (1980): 107–23 (with several additions and corrections).


Ward, William S. British Periodicals and Newspapers, 1789–1832: A Bibliography of Secondary Sources. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, [1972]. 386 pp. Z6956.G6 W37 016.052.

A bibliography of books, articles, theses, and dissertations (through the late 1960s) about periodicals and newspapers listed in Ward, Index and Finding List of Serials (M2535). Entries are listed in six divisions: general bibliographies and bibliographical studies, general studies, periodicals, people, places, and special subjects. Brief descriptive annotations accompany some entries. Three indexes: scholars; subjects; library catalogs and union lists. Ward offers generally better coverage than Madden and Dixon, Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press (M2560), of the early decades of the nineteenth century, especially for studies of topics and literary authors; however, the organization, paucity of cross-references, and utterly inadequate subject indexing make it a frustrating work to search. For recent scholarship, see “RSVP Bibliography” (M2555).

See also

Linton and Boston, Newspaper Press in Britain (M1455).

Vann and VanArsdel, Victorian Periodicals (M2525).

White, English Literary Journal to 1900 (M1460).


Many works in section L: Genres and most in section M: English Literature/General/Genres are useful for research in nineteenth-century literature.


Sections L: Genres/Fiction and M: English Literature/General/Genres/Fiction include several works useful for research in nineteenth-century fiction.

Histories and Surveys

Oxford History of the Novel in English, vols. 3–4 (L1057).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias

Sutherland, John. The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1989. 696 pp. British ed.: The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction. Harlow: Longman, 1988. 696 pp. PR871.S87 823′.809′03.

An encyclopedia, whose 1,606 entries include novelists, publishers, illustrators, periodicals, genres, forms, schools, and more than 500 novels. Two appendixes: pseudonyms; maiden and married names of women. Indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). With its informative entries—leavened with wit, pithy judgments, and the significant detail or anecdote—Sutherland is an entertaining and generally trustworthy companion, especially to the lesser-known Victorian novelists and their works. Reviews: Miriam Allott, Review of English Studies ns 42.165 (1991): 130–32; Richard Jenkyns, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 28 July–3 Aug. 1989: 817.

See also

Dictionary of British Literary Characters: 18th- and 19th-Century Novels (M1507).

Guides to Primary Works
Bibliographies and Indexes

Unfortunately, Monica Correa Fryckstedt has abandoned her A Guide to English Fiction of the 1860s, which was to have been a checklist, organized by title, of some 2,500 novels published in Great Britain during the 1860s, along with reviews of them in more than 50 periodicals. For a description of the project and sample entries, see Fryckstedt, “Compiling A Guide to English Fiction of the 1860s,” Publishing History 39 (1996): 55–86.


Sadleir, Michael. XIX Century Fiction: A Bibliographical Record Based on His Own Collection. 2 vols. London: Constable; Berkeley: U of California P, 1951. Z2014.F4 S16 016.8237.

A descriptive catalog of Sadleir’s collection—now at the University of California, Los Angeles—with some additions (identified by an asterisk) from other sources to complete the list of first editions for authors not previously subjects of bibliographies. Reflecting Sadleir’s tastes and interests, the collection emphasizes rare and unusual editions of British authors between 1800 and 1899, especially “Silver Fork” novels and those published in two or three volumes; generally excludes major novelists and those who published fiction before 1800; and includes a few foreign writers notable for the rarity of their English editions and some British novels published after 1900. The novels are organized in three divisions: an author catalog of first editions as well as variant issues, later editions of textual significance, and multiple copies; the Yellow-Back collection (books issued in colored noncloth bindings); and principal series of fiction and novels. Only the author catalog fully describes editions by recording title, subtitle, number of volumes and pagination, imprint, binding, provenance, notes on bibliographical points, and references to other bibliographies. A headnote indicates the completeness of each author list. (Users should note that entry numbers skip from 2099 to 3000.) Indexed by titles in vol. 1, by titles and by authors in vol. 2. Although the catalog includes only a small fraction of the novels published during the century, the careful descriptions and numerous unique items make Sadleir a valuable source of bibliographical and textual information, a significant contribution to the much needed record of fiction published during the nineteenth century, and one of the monumental catalogs of a private collection. Supplemented by Wolff, Nineteenth-Century Fiction (M2660), which Sadleir’s catalog inspired, and by English Catalogue of Books (M2470), which remains the most complete list of novels published during the century. The subject index described by Bradford A. Booth (“An Analytical Subject-Index to the Sadleir Collection,” Nineteenth-Century Fiction 23.2 [1968]: 217–20) has apparently not survived. Reviews: Hugh G. Dick, Nineteenth-Century Fiction 6.3 (1951): 209–17; Times Literary Supplement 13 Apr. 1951: 234.


Grimes, Janet, and Diva Daims. Novels in English by Women, 1891–1920: A Preliminary Checklist. New York: Garland, 1981. 805 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 202. Z2013.5.W6.G75 [PR1286] 016.823′912.

An author list of 15,174 titles (including translations) by 5,267 authors, primarily published in England and the United States. Excludes most juvenile fiction and novels by joint authors when one is male. Entries are arranged by author in three divisions: verified entries, novels by anonymous or pseudonymous authors whose gender could not be determined, and unverified novels. Approximately 75% of the entries are annotated with what are aptly described as “working notes not originally intended for publication,” which consist principally of quotations from or rough paraphrases of reviews. Indexed by titles. Although it is a reproduction of a printout of a minimally edited working copy based on secondary sources, Novels in English by Women does record the bulk of novels written by women during the period (as well as reviews of them in several major periodicals). Unfortunately, work on the checklist for 1781–1890 has been suspended.

The potential value of these working notes is illustrated by Daims and Grimes, Toward a Feminist Tradition: An Annotated Bibliography of Novels in English by Women, 1891–1920 (New York: Garland, 1982; 885 pp.; Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 201), which extracts entries for novels offering “unconventional treatment of women characters which focuses attention either on the efforts of women to control their lives or on social attitudes and conditions functioning as counterforces to that achievement.” The annotations have been edited, but readers must consult Novels in English for sources of the reviews. Indexed by titles. Although neither comprehensive nor based on firsthand knowledge of the works, Toward a Feminist Tradition is nonetheless an important source for studying attitudes toward women, especially in British novels.

Intended as a companion to Novels in English and Toward a Feminist Tradition, Doris Robinson, Women Novelists, 1891–1920: An Index to Biographical and Autobiographical Sources (New York: Garland, 1984; 458 pp.; Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 491), lists separately published autobiographies and biographies as well as entries in collective biographies for 1,565 of the women. Indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Additional works of fiction—along with poetry and drama—can be identified in R. C. Alston, A Checklist of Women Writers, 1801–1900: Fiction, Verse, Drama (Boston: Hall, 1990; 517 pp.); however, the title fails to make clear that coverage is limited to English-language works published in the British Isles or British territories and held in the British Library.


Harris, Wendell V. British Short Fiction in the Nineteenth Century: A Literary and Bibliographic Guide. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1979. 209 pp. PR861.H35 823′.01.

The “Bibliographic Appendix” (pp. 164–203) is an author list of collections of short fiction made by the author, standard collections published after the author’s death, and selected other collections. British Short Fiction lists contents of collections not analyzed in New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (M1385) or Short Story Index (L1085) and, for all authors, cites standard general and author bibliographies that list short fiction. Harris, NCBEL, and Short Story Index combined provide the best guide to the collected short fiction during the century. Review: Robert A. Colby, Victorian Studies 24.2 (1981): 254–55.


Snell, K. D. M. The Bibliography of Regional Fiction in Britain and Ireland, 1800–2000. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002. 213 pp. Z2014.F4 S64 [PR868.R45] 016.823′808032.

A bibliography of English-language fiction (loosely conceived) published between 1800 and 2000 that is set at least partly in a particular region of Great Britain or Ireland and that uses “recognizable and distinctive features of the life, customs, language, dialect or other aspects of that area’s culture and people.” Among the kinds of publications excluded are folktales, chapbooks, most temperance novels, and short fiction not collected in book form. Entries—which consist of author, title, and date of first publication—are generally listed under the county as it existed at the work’s composition (though there are headings for some broader topographical regions [e.g., the Scottish Highlands and the Welsh borders], for cities that have inspired a large body of fiction, and for political categories [e.g., the northern Irish border]); there are separate lists for England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Although a bare-bones listing that is difficult to consult because of the lack of author and title indexes, Snell offers the fullest and most current guide to the regional fiction of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland; it supersedes Lucien Leclaire, A General Analytical Bibliography of the Regional Novelists of the British Isles, 1800–1950, rev. ed., Collection d’histoire et de littérature étrangères (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1969, 399 pp.), and is an essential complement to Brown, Ireland in Fiction (N3025).


Vann, J. Don. Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: MLA, 1985. 181 pp. Index Soc. Fund Pubs. Z2014.F4 V36 [PR871] 016.823′8.

Identifies the date of publication and content of each installment of 192 serialized novels by Ainsworth, Collins, Dickens, Eliot, Gaskell, Hardy, Kingsley, Kipling, Bulwer-Lytton, Marryat, Meredith, Reade, Stevenson, Thackeray, Trollope, and Ward. Under each author, Vann lists novels by date of publication of the first part and for each installment cites date of publication and identifies, as precisely as possible, its content in relation to the separately published volume. The introduction discusses the history of serialization, its effect on authorship, the impact of the form on plot (especially the ending of an installment), and publishing practices. Concludes with a selected bibliography of scholarship on serial novels. Since the periodicals are frequently difficult to obtain and few modern editions identify installments, Vann offers essential information to those studying the initial reception and structure of the more important Victorian serial novels. Reviews: Michael Lund, Studies in the Novel 19.4 (1987): 503–05; Rosemary T. VanArsdel, Victorian Periodicals Review 19.2 (1986): 78–79.


Wolff, Robert Lee, comp. Nineteenth-Century Fiction: A Bibliographical Catalogue Based on the Collection Formed by Robert Lee Wolff. 5 vols. New York: Garland, 1981–86. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 261, 331–34. Z2014.F4 W64 [PR861] 016.823′8.

A descriptive author catalog of Wolff’s extensive collection of novels published between 1837 and 1901 (as well as other works written by novelists during the period, novels before 1837 and after 1901 by novelists published between those years, and related manuscripts and letters). The collection—now owned by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin—complements Michael Sadleir’s, since Wolff sought the minor authors (especially women) not favored by collectors. Effective use of the catalog requires a copy of XIX Century Fiction (M2635) at hand, because Wolff assumes familiarity with Sadleir’s procedures and records only significant variants and details of provenance for editions fully described by Sadleir. The 7,938 titles (plus numerous editions thereof and duplicates) are listed alphabetically by author, then title; there are separate alphabetic sequences for unattributed anonymous works, pseudonymous works, and multiple-author collections, annuals, and periodical fiction in vol. 5. Letters relating to novels are fully transcribed; manuscripts receive extensive descriptions. Entries vary in content but typically include title; imprint; description of binding; number of volumes and pagination; bibliographical notes, with information on condition, provenance, and references to standard bibliographies; and a variety of miscellaneous notes, including publishing history, content, and frequently eccentric critical observations. Indexed by title in vol. 5. Wolff corrected only the entries from A to mid-D before his death; hence, many errors and incomplete references remain, and most entries would benefit from considerable pruning. (Wolff’s notecards, which are held by the Ransom Center, include annotations that are not incorporated into the printed catalog.) Although the work is not one of the monumental catalogs of a private collection, its emphasis on minor novels, the several corrections to standard author bibliographies, and descriptions of numerous unique items, variant editions, manuscripts, and association copies make Wolff an essential complement to Sadleir and an important contribution toward a much needed comprehensive list of Victorian novels. Review: (vol. 1) Walter E. Smith, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 76.4 (1982): 481–88.

See also

Bleiler, Guide to Supernatural Fiction (L860).

English Novels, 1770–1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles (M2336).

Hubin, Crime Fiction, 1749–1980 (L915).

Mayo, English Novel in the Magazines, 1740–1815 (M2330).

Sargent, British and American Utopian Literature (L1055).

Tymn, Horror Literature (L860a).

Wright, [Author/Chronological/Title] Bibliography of English Language Fiction (L1060).

Text Archives

Nineteenth-Century Fiction. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 4 Sept. 2013. <>.

An archive of rekeyed texts of 250 English-language works of fiction published in the British Isles between 1782 and 1903. First editions were selected for inclusion, although some serialized versions and revised later editions are used. The About Nineteenth-Century Fiction page offers no explanation of the criteria used to select authors or works.

Simple keyword, title, and author searches can be limited to parts (e.g., front matter, epigraphs) and by publication date, date during an author’s lifetime, gender, nationality, and ethnicity. Searchers can also browse author and title lists of the contents of the database. Results appear in ascending alphabetical order and cannot be re-sorted. Citations (but not the full text) 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 allusion, Nineteenth-Century Fiction’s text archive makes feasible a variety of kinds of studies (stylistic, thematic, imagistic, and topical).

The contents of Nineteenth-Century Fiction can also be searched through LiOn (I527).

Continues Eighteenth-Century Fiction (M2339).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism
Surveys of Research

Stevenson, Lionel, ed. Victorian Fiction: A Guide to Research. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1964. 440 pp. PR873.S8 823.809.

Ford, George H., ed. Victorian Fiction: A Second Guide to Research. New York: MLA, 1978. 401 pp. PR871.V5 823′.8′09.

Evaluative surveys of research on established novelists. The original volume covers scholarship from the 1930s through 1962 (with some important earlier and later studies) in chapters on general works, Disraeli and Bulwer-Lytton, Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope, the Brontës, Gaskell and Kingsley, Collins and Reade, Eliot, Meredith, Hardy, and Moore and Gissing. The Second Guide continues coverage through 1974 (and carries over some significant omissions from the earlier volume and includes a few 1975 publications) and adds chapters on Butler and Stevenson. The individual essays are variously subdivided but typically examine bibliographies, biographical studies, editions, collections of letters, and critical studies (with the sequel utilizing more subdivisions, giving more attention to manuscripts, and adding a discussion of film adaptations). Most include suggestions for further research (more consistently and fully in the 1978 volume). Indexed by persons. Marred only by incomplete citations, these volumes offer magisterial surveys that remain valuable guides to earlier scholarship. Reviews: (Stevenson) Geoffrey Tillotson and Kathleen Tillotson, Nineteenth-Century Fiction 19.4 (1965): 405–10; (Ford) David J. DeLaura, English Language Notes 16.2 (1978): 178–91; Sylvère Monod, Yearbook of English Studies 11 (1981): 310–12.

See also

Spector, English Gothic (M2345).

Other Bibliographies

There is no adequate bibliography of criticism of nineteenth-century British fiction. Although it does index parts of some monographs, Lynndianne Beene, Guide to British Prose Fiction Explication: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (New York: Hall-Simon; London: Prentice, 1997; 697 pp.; Reference Pub. in Lit.), is plagued by too many serious deficiencies: an inadequate set of principles governing selection (“Pragmaticism, the availability of resources, and the author’s sense of identification shaped the decisions to include or exclude a writer”); the inclusion of authors (such as Atwood, Mansfield, and Durrell) who hardly qualify as British; the citation of numerous reviews that cannot remotely be labeled “explication”; and the lack of an index.


Albert, Detective and Mystery Fiction (L920).

Frank, Guide to the Gothic (L875).

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

Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication (L1090).

Drama and Theater

Sections L: Genres/Drama and Theater and M: English Literature/General/Genres/Drama and Theater include many works useful for research in nineteenth-century drama and theater.

Histories and Surveys

Nicoll, Allardyce. Early Nineteenth Century Drama, 1800–1850. 2nd ed. Late Nineteenth Century Drama, 1850–1900. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1955–59. Vols. 4–5 of A History of English Drama, 1660–1900 (M1525). PR625.N52 822.09.

Emphasizing the history of the stage and dramatic forms, vol. 4 includes chapters on the theater, dramatic conditions, the illegitimate drama (e.g., melodrama, farce, burlesque), the legitimate drama, and the poetic drama not intended for production; vol. 5 has chapters on the theater, dramatic conditions, and each decade of the last half of the century. Both volumes provide an appendix listing playhouses and an author list of plays and other dramatic forms written and produced during the respective period (with details of first performance, printed editions, and manuscripts, although the last are sketchily treated). Readers should note the supplementary sections that print revisions that could not be incorporated readily into the text. Although the history of the stage requires supplementing, the volumes assemble a wealth of information, and the lists of plays produced (although not exhaustive) are the most complete available. Indexed by persons and subjects in each volume; the lists of plays are indexed, with additions and corrections, in vol. 6 (entry M1545). For further additions and corrections, see

  • Hauger, George. “English Musical Theatre, 1830–1900.” Theatre Notebook 36.2 (1982): 55–64 and 36.3 (1982): 122–25.

  • Stratman, Carl J., C. S. V. “Additions to Allardyce Nicoll’s Hand-List of Plays: 1800–1818.” Notes and Queries ns 8.6 (1961): 214–17.

  • ———. “English Tragedy: 1819–1823.” Philological Quarterly 41.2 (1962): 465–74.

See also

Revels History of Drama in English (M1530).

Guides to Primary Works

Gänzl, Kurt. The British Musical Theatre. 2 vols. New York: Oxford UP, 1986. ML1731.8.L7.G36 782.81′0941.

  • Vol. 1: 1865–1914. 1,196 pp.

  • Vol. 2: 1915–1984. 1,258 pp.

A year-by-year account of original light musical theater produced in London’s West End. Gänzl excludes operas, ballad operas, and burlesques, but otherwise encompasses a wide range of musical entertainments. Each year consists of two parts: (1) an extensive overview that combines plot summary with evaluation and comments on critical reception; (2) a list of productions, recording for each the author, librettist, producer, director, composer, theater, opening and closing dates, number of performances, original cast (along with understudies and replacements), revivals, adaptations in a different medium, some productions outside London (with cast lists for revivals and foreign productions), and touring dates. Each volume concludes with two appendixes: list of printed music; discography. Indexed separately in each volume by persons and titles of musicals. The massive and generally trustworthy accumulation of factual information makes Gänzl an indispensable source for the theater historian and should encourage a general critical history of the London musical theater as well as a host of specialized studies.

See also

Dramatic Compositions Copyrighted in the United States, 1870 to 1916 (Q4195).

Wearing, London Stage, 1890–1899 (M2865).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Conolly, L. W., and J. P. Wearing. English Drama and Theatre, 1800–1900: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1978. 508 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 12. Z2014.D7 C72 [PR721] 016.822′7′08.

A selective bibliography of English-language scholarship (including dissertations) and editions through 1973. The 3,324 entries are arranged chronologically in 10 classified divisions: contemporary history and criticism; modern history and criticism; individual authors; reference works; anthologies; theaters; acting and management; critics; stage design, scenic art, and costume; and periodicals. The 110 authors have sections, when required, for collected works, major acted plays, unacted plays, bibliographies, biographies, critical studies, and author journals and newsletters. Annotations generally consist of brief descriptive comments. Since there are few cross-references, users must be certain to check the person, anonymous title, and selected subject index. Although lacking a clear statement of criteria governing selection, English Drama and Theatre is a convenient starting place, but coverage must be supplemented by Arnott, English Theatrical Literature (M1560), general bibliographies on the period (entries M2480–510), “Nineteenth-Century Theatre Research: A Bibliography for [1972–81]” (in Nineteenth Century Theatre 1–10 [1973–83]), and the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G. Reviews: James Ellis, Victorian Periodicals Review 12.4 (1979): 146–49; Jan McDonald, Theatre Notebook 34.1 (1980): 42–44.

See also

International Bibliography of Theatre (L1160).


Many works in sections L: Genres/Poetry and M: English Literature/General/Genres/Poetry are important to research in nineteenth-century poetry.

Histories and Surveys

For evaluative surveys of histories and general studies, see Frank Jordan, “The Romantic Movement in England,” pp. 1–112 in Jordan, English Romantic Poets (M2710), and Jerome H. Buckley, “General Materials,” pp. 1–31 in Faverty, Victorian Poets (M2715).

Guides to Primary Works

Reilly, Catherine W. Late Victorian Poetry, 1880–1899: An Annotated Biobibliography. London: Mansell, 1994. 577 pp. Z2014.P7 R453 [PR581] 016.821′808.

A bibliography of separately published volumes of poetry in English by 2,964 authors who lived in the United Kingdom between 1880 and 1899. Excluded are literal translations, verse drama, dialect poetry, songs, verse for children, books of fewer than eight leaves, publications that include the work of more than two poets, and volumes by poets dead before 1880. Entries, listed alphabetically by author, begin with a biographical note, followed by a list of works that supplies standard bibliographical information and identifies the libraries holding the copies examined. (The few entries for works that the author could not examine are clearly identified.) The subtitle is misleading since very few entries are annotated and even there, the commentary is typically restricted to details of printing or publication. Indexed by titles. Although inevitably incomplete (only one library outside the United Kingdom was searched), Late Victorian Poetry brings under bibliographic control a substantial body of minor verse. Review: Edwin Gilcher, English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920 39.2 (1996): 270–72.

See also

Jackson, Jackson Bibliography of Romantic Poetry (M2420).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism
Surveys of Research

Jordan, Frank, ed. The English Romantic Poets: A Review of Research and Criticism. 4th ed. New York: MLA, 1985. 765 pp. PR590.E5 016.821′7′09.

An evaluative guide to important scholarship and criticism through the early 1980s, with chapters by major scholars on the Romantic movement in England, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats. The organization of each chapter varies, but all chapters except the first include sections for reference works, editions, biographical studies, general criticism, and studies of individual works; all examine trends and prospects in criticism as well as identify topics needing attention. As in other MLA reviews of research, the failure to cite full publication information makes tracking down articles (and some books) needlessly time-consuming. Indexed by persons (with titles of works listed under the six poets). Clear organization, judicious selection and evaluation, and authoritative commentary make this the indispensable guide to important earlier studies of English Romanticism and the six poets.

Although largely superseded, the third edition, ed. Jordan (1972; 468 pp.), is still occasionally useful for its evaluation of outdated works. A complementary volume that has not been superseded but is now badly dated is Carolyn Washburn Houtchens and Lawrence Huston Houtchens, eds., The English Romantic Poets and Essayists: A Review of Research and Criticism, rev. ed. (New York: New York UP for MLA; London: U of London P, 1966; 395 pp.; Revolving Fund Ser. 21). Essays survey bibliographies, editions, biographical studies, and criticism on Blake, Lamb, Hazlitt, Scott, Southey, Campbell, Moore, Landor, Hunt, De Quincey, and Carlyle.


Faverty, Frederic E., ed. The Victorian Poets: A Guide to Research. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1968. 433 pp. PR593.F3 821′.8′09.

An evaluative guide to scholarship through 1966, with chapters on general works, Tennyson, R. Browning, E. B. Browning, FitzGerald, Clough, Arnold, Swinburne, Pre-Raphaelites (D. G. Rossetti, C. Rossetti, Morris, and minor poets), Hopkins, and later Victorian poets (Patmore, Meredith, Thomson, Hardy, Bridges, Henley, Stevenson, Wilde, Davidson, Thompson, Housman, Kipling, Johnson, and Dowson). The chapters vary in organization but typically include sections for bibliographies, editions, biographies, and general criticism. Unfortunately, citations do not record full publication information, and there are more than a few errors. The directness of evaluation varies with the contributor, but all suggest topics for further research. Indexed by persons. A trustworthy guide to significant research through 1966, but a new edition is needed. Review: Kenneth Allott, Victorian Poetry 8.1 (1970): 82–91.

Supplemented by “Guide to the Year’s Work,” Victorian Poetry (M2720).

Serial Bibliographies

““Guide to the Year’s Work: [1962– ]”.” Victorian Poetry 1 (1963)– . Title varies. PR500.V5 811.

An evaluative survey of important scholarship on poetry (with some attention to nonfiction prose). The surveys for 1962–71 are by R. C. Tobias; those since 1972 consist of brief essays on general studies, groups, and major authors by a variety of scholars. The surveys for 1972 through 1974 are titled “Guide to the Year’s Work in Victorian Poetry and Prose” and intended to supplement DeLaura, Victorian Prose (M2740), but those since 1975 give less attention to nonfiction prose. (The guide for 1972, which was published as a supplement to vol. 10 [1974], covers studies published between 1966 and 1972.) The most authoritative annual survey and a valuable supplement to Faverty, Victorian Poets (M2715). Less satisfying surveys appear in Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 (M2480) and Year’s Work in English Studies (G330).

Other Bibliographies

Reiman, Donald H. English Romantic Poetry, 1800–1835: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1979. 294 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 27. Z2014.P7 R46 [PR590] 016.821′7′09.

A selective annotated bibliography, principally of English-language scholarship through the mid-1970s. Entries are organized in eight classified divisions: general and background studies, the Romantic movement, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and secondary poets (Beddoes, Campbell, Clare, Hogg, Hood, Hunt, Landor, Moore, Peacock, Rogers, Scott, and Southey). The author divisions have sections for reference works, editions, biographical studies, and criticism. Most of the brief annotations offer pointed evaluations, and various symbols (see p. xiii) identify levels of use and audience. Three indexes: authors; titles; subjects. Judicious selection, evaluation, and subject indexing make Reiman a trustworthy starting point for research on the minor writers and one of the better volumes in this highly uneven series. Jordan, English Romantic Poets (M2710), is a more authoritative guide to scholarship on the major writers. Reviews: James H. Averill, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 5.3 (1981): 180–83; E. D. Mackerness, Notes and Queries ns 28.5 (1981): 438–40.

See also

Brogan, English Versification, 1570–1980 (M1600).

Donow, Sonnet in England and America (L1250).

Kuntz and Martinez, Poetry Explication (L1255).

Martinez and Martinez, Guide to British Poetry Explication (L1255a).


Some works in sections L: Genres/Prose and M: English Literature/General/Genres/Prose are useful for research in nineteenth-century prose.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

DeLaura, David J., ed. Victorian Prose: A Guide to Research. New York: MLA, 1973. 560 pp. PR785.D4 820′.9′008.

An evaluative survey of research through 1971 (with some publications from 1972) that includes chapters on general works, Macaulay, Thomas and Jane Carlyle, Newman, Mill, Ruskin, Arnold, Pater, the Oxford Movement, the Victorian churches, critics (Lewes, Bagehot, Hutton, Dallas, Lee, Swinburne, Symonds, Moore, Saintsbury, Gosse, Wilde, and Symons), and the unbelievers (Harrison, T. Huxley, Morley, and Stephen). Individual chapters are variously subdivided (with headings listed in the table of contents), but typically cover bibliographies, editions, manuscripts, biographies, and general studies. Unfortunately, full publication details are not cited. Evaluations are fair-minded (sometimes trenchant), and all contributors point out topics needing further research. Indexed by persons. A trustworthy, essential guide to scholarship through 1971, but a new edition is needed. Supplemented in part by “Guide to the Year’s Work,” Victorian Poetry (M2720). Reviews: Miriam Allott, Victorian Studies 19.1 (1975): 107–11; Alan Shelston, Critical Quarterly 16.1 (1974): 91–94; Vincent L. Tollers, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 69.2 (1975): 284–85.

This collection and its supplement are preferable to Harris W. Wilson and Diane Long Hoeveler, English Prose and Criticism in the Nineteenth Century: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1979; 437 pp.; Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 18), which is inadequately annotated and plagued by errors, omissions, and inconsistencies (for details, see the review by David J. DeLaura, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 5.1 [1981]: 61–63).