Canadian Literature

This section includes works devoted exclusively to Canadian literature (in whatever language). Many works in sections Q: American Literature and R: Other Literatures in English/General are also important to research in Canadian literature.

Guides to Reference Works

General Guides


Canadian Reference Sources: An Annotated Bibliography: General Reference Works, History, Humanities / Ouvrages de référence canadiens: Une bibliographie annotée: Ouvrages de référence généraux, histoire, sciences humaines. Ed. and comp. Mary E. Bond. Comp. Martine M. Caron. Vancouver: UBC P, 1996. 1,076 pp. Z1365.B57 [F1008] 016.971.

A selective, annotated guide to reference sources available through January 1995 for Canadian topics. Entries are organized alphabetically by author, editor, or title of anonymous work in three extensively classified divisions: general reference works, history and related subjects, and humanities. The literature subdivision includes sections for general works, children’s literature, diaries and autobiographies, drama, fiction, film, poetry, and quotations (theater is included under performing arts). The linguistics subdivision includes sections for general works, Canadian English, and French and native languages. The annotations, in English and French, are descriptive. Four indexes: names; titles; subjects (English); subjects (French). Although researchers would benefit from more evaluative annotations and some refinements in organization (e.g., the literary history and criticism section mixes bibliographies and literary histories, and the alphabetic lists frequently separate related works), Canadian Reference Sources is the essential general guide to reference sources on Canadian topics.

Guide to Reference (B60) and New Walford Guide to Reference Resources (B65) list numerous Canadian reference sources.

Literature Guides


Reznowski, Gabriella Natasha. Literary Research and Canadian Literature: Strategies and Sources. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2011. 211 pp. Lit. Research: Strategies and Sources 10. (Updates appear at PR9184.3.R49 810.9′971072.

A guide to research strategies and reference sources for the scholar working with Canadian literature in both French and English. 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; periodicals, newspapers, and literary magazines; 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 the critical reception of Morley Callaghan serving as an example). An appendix lists sources in related disciplines. Several chapters include reference works devoted to single authors. Three indexes: author; title; subject. Describing fully the uses of kinds of reference tools, providing illuminating examples in discussions of key individual resources (with due attention to issues of citizenship, ethnicity, and hybridity involved in defining Canadian), 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 Canadian Literature is the essential starting point for anyone working with the literature of Canada.

Joseph Jones, Reference Sources for Canadian Literary Studies (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2005; 464 pp.), covers many of the same resources but focuses on Canadian literature in English (with selective coverage of resources for other languages); interprets “reference work,” “Canadian,” and “literature” broadly; includes too many descriptions that are too brief to offer any sense of a work’s importance to research in Canadian literature (e.g., the description of ABELL); gives space to many superseded or elementary works (e.g., entries D-004 and D-005); adheres rigidly to a reverse chronological order within most subdivisions that separates supplements from their parent works; and provides an utterly inadequate subject index.

See also

Beugnot and Moureaux, Manuel bibliographique des études littéraires (S4905).

Histories and Surveys

For a history of Canadian literary histories through the mid-1990s and analysis of their political, national, ideological, and theoretical underpinnings, see E. D. Blodgett, Five-Part Invention: A History of Literary History in Canada (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2003; 371 pp.).


Grandpré, Pierre de, ed. Histoire de la littérature française du Québec. Corrected rpt. 4 vols. Montréal: Beauchemin, 1971–73. PQ3917.G7 840.

A collaborative history of French-language literature from 1534 to the 1960s, with three of the volumes devoted to the twentieth century. Organized chronologically, with chapters on intellectual and social life, genres, history, journalism, the essay, and literary criticism, the volumes emphasize historical and intellectual contexts. Two indexes in each volume: persons; titles. Vol. 4 concludes with a selective bibliography of studies on French Canadian literature. Despite poor organization and inconsistency in the quality of chapters, Grandpré offers the fullest history of French Canadian literature. Reviews: (vol. 1) David M. Hayne, Canadian Historical Review 49.4 (1968): 415–16; (vols. 2–4) Hayne, Canadian Historical Review 51.4 (1970): 459–61.


Literary History of Canada: Canadian Literature in English. Carl F. Klinck and W. H. New, gen. eds. Corrected rpt. of 2nd ed. 4 vols. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1976–90. PR9184.3.K5 810′.9′005.

A critical history, from the seventeenth century to 1984, of English Canadian literature. Chapters, usually by major scholars, treat philosophy, history, the social and natural sciences, religion, literary criticism and scholarship, travel writing, translation, publishing and the book trade, and children’s literature, as well as fiction, poetry, and drama. Some include a highly selective bibliography. Vols. 1–3 conclude with a very brief general bibliography; each volume has an index of names, anonymous works, and subjects (vol. 4 cites all titles). The volumes comprise the most comprehensive history of English Canadian literature, although belles lettres are frequently overshadowed by the extensive treatment accorded nonliterary topics (especially in vol. 3). Reviews: John Ferns, Modern Language Review 74.1 (1979): 186–88; W. J. Keith, University of Toronto Quarterly 46.4 (1977): 461–66.

Good complements are W. J. Keith, Canadian Literature in English (London: Longman, 1985; 287 pp.; Longman Lit. in English Ser.), which emphasizes major writers and concludes with a useful chronology and selective bibliography; W. H. New, A History of Canadian Literature, 2nd ed. (Montreal: McGill–Queen’s UP, 2003; 464 pp.), which also concludes with a chronology and selective bibliography; and The Cambridge History of Canadian Literature, ed. Coral Ann Howells and Eva-Marie Kröller (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009; 753 pp.; online through Cambridge Histories Online []), which includes essays on periods, genres, groups, and a few major authors.

See also

Wiget, Native American Literature (Q3865).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada. Ed. William H. New. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2002. 1,347 pp. PR9180.2.E64 810.9′971′03.

An encyclopedia of literatures, written and oral, in Canada, with entries on writers, awards and prizes, motifs, genres, events, places, regions, groups, periodicals, organizations, institutions, allusions, and a very select few individual works. While the bulk of the entries (which inconsistently conclude with suggestions for further reading) are for individuals, topics not usually encountered in literary encyclopedias are also given their due, such as archives, book history, editors and editing, libraries, and publishing industry. Concludes with a chronology and three indexes: contributors; authors; persons and subjects not accorded separate entries. Although many entries for common literary terms (e.g., allusion, burlesque, lyric, prosody) should be jettisoned, others (e.g., Bloomsbury Group, muscular Christianity, renga) strain to make a Canadian connection, and there are a substantial number of misprints and errors in dates, the breadth and depth of coverage make Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada an important desktop companion to the literary culture of the country. Reviews: Stephen Henighan, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 19 Sept. 2003: 26; John J. O’Connor, University of Toronto Quarterly 73.1 (2003–04): 161–62.

The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature, Eugene Benson and William Toye, gen. eds., 2nd ed. (Toronto: Oxford UP, 1997; 1,199 pp.; online through Oxford Reference [I530]), remains a useful complement. The approximately 1,100 signed entries primarily treat authors and genres, emphasize modern literature (mostly French and English), and are more extensive, evaluative, and exclusively literary than in the typical Oxford Companion. As in Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, author entries combine biographical and bibliographical information with critical commentary. Review: Colin Hill, Essays on Canadian Writing 65 (1998): 76–81.


Dictionnaire des œuvres littéraires du Québec. Ed. Maurice Lemire et al. 8 vols. Saint Laurent: Fides, 1980–2011. PQ3901.D5 840′.9.

  • Vol. 1: Des origines à 1900. 2nd ed., rev. and corrected. 1980. 927 pp.

  • Vol. 2: 1900–1939. 1980. 1,363 pp.

  • Vol. 3: 1940–1959. 1982. 1,252 pp.

  • Vol. 4: 1960–1969. 1984. 1,123 pp.

  • Vol. 5: 1970–1975. 1987. 1,133 pp.

  • Vol. 6: 1976–1980. 1994. 1,087 pp.

  • Vol. 7: 1981–1985. 2003. 1,229 pp.

  • Vol. 8: 1986–1990. 2011. 1,151 pp.

A dictionary of literary works by Québec authors or related to the province. Organized by title, the signed entries, which range from 250 to 3,000 words, typically provide a summary, discussion of the work’s place in its author’s canon, critical commentary, and (sometimes lengthy) lists of editions and studies. A brief biographical notice precedes the entry for an author’s first work. Each volume includes a chronology; selective bibliographies of literary works, reference works, and critical studies; and an index of persons. The entries vary in quality, of course, but the Dictionnaire offers impressively thorough coverage of the bulk of French Canadian literature through 1990. Reviews: (vol. 4) B.-Z. Shek, University of Toronto Quarterly 54.4 (1985): 471–74; (vol. 5) Shek, University of Toronto Quarterly 59.1 (1989): 172–75; (vol. 7) Marcel Olscamp, University of Toronto Quarterly 76.1 (2007): 61–64.


Hamilton, Robert M., and Dorothy Shields. The Dictionary of Canadian Quotations and Phrases. Rev. and enl. ed. Toronto: McClelland, 1979. 1,063 pp. PN6081.H24 818′.02.

A dictionary of about 10,300 quotations and phrases from Canadian sources (and some British, French, and American ones) on distinctly Canadian topics, as well as by Canadians about other subjects. Organized by subject, then chronologically under a heading, an entry consists of quotation and citation to a printed source. Indexed by authors. To locate cross-references, users must consult the prefatory list of subject headings. This is the best source for locating and identifying Canadian quotations.

An essential complement is John Robert Colombo, The Dictionary of Canadian Quotations (Toronto: Stoddart, 1991; 671 pp.), the majority of whose 6,000 quotations date from 1970 and reportedly are not in any other dictionary. The quotations are organized by topic; notes on sources neglect to cite page number, however. Indexed by author or speaker.

Bibliographies of Bibliographies


Ingles, Ernie, ed. and comp. Bibliography of Canadian Bibliographies / Bibliographie des bibliographies canadiennes. 3rd ed., updated, rev., and enl. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1994, 1,178 pp. Z1365.A1 I54 016.016971.

A bibliography of bibliographies—including periodical articles and theses—from 1789 to mid-1993 that have “substantial Canadian content or interest.” The 7,375 entries are listed chronologically by date of publication (then alphabetically) in seven divisions: general bibliographies, geographic areas, arts and humanities (including sections for performing arts, literature, children’s literature, and linguistics and translation), social sciences (including sections for women’s, native, and ethnic studies), sciences, types of bibliographies (which includes a fair number of works that should be included in the preceding subject divisions), and catalogs (though other catalogs appear in the preceding subject divisions). A typical entry provides a bibliographical citation, notes (on content, scope, number of entries, and previous editions), and location of at least one copy. Three indexes: authors; titles; subjects (with separate ones for English and French headings). Concludes with a “short entry listing”—a list, by author or title of anonymous work, of all 7,375 entries—that merely wastes a substantial amount of paper and contributes to the unwieldy size of the volume. Although access is marred by the use of both subject and type-of-document organization, Bibliography of Canadian Bibliographies is a substantial improvement over the second edition (Douglas Lochhead, comp., Bibliography of Canadian Bibliographies / Bibliographie des bibliographies canadiennes [Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1972; 312 pp.]), which absurdly admitted a number of works that had nothing to do with Canada simply because they were by Canadians or published in the country. Impressively broad and comprehensive, Bibliography of Canadian Bibliographies is an essential starting point for research on Canadian topics. Review: Linda M. Jones, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 33.1 (1995): 189–92.

For more recent bibliographies, see Bibliographic Index (D145).

See also

Sec. D: Bibliographies of Bibliographies.

Kempton, French Literature: An Annotated Guide to Selected Bibliographies (S4905a).

Newman, Black Access: A Bibliography of Afro-American Bibliographies (Q3715).

Guides to Primary Works



Archives Canada: Canadian Archival Information Network / Réseau canadien d’information archivistique. Canadian Council of Archives/Conseil canadien des archives, n.d. 2 Feb. 2013. <>. Updated regularly.

A database of archival collections housed in Canadian institutions. The Basic Search mode allows users to search by keyword anywhere or in the title, provenance, Archives Canada record number, or collection title fields. In Advanced Search, users can limit combined keyword searches of several additional fields (e.g., scope and content note, repository name) by province or territory. Search results (a maximum of 500) are returned in descending Archives Canada record number order but can be re-sorted by collection title; records can be saved to a list for e-mailing. A typical record includes record number, collection title, physical description of the collection, dates of holdings, administrative history (for organizations) or biographical sketch (for individuals), notes on scope and content, repository (with a link to the repository’s Web site), restrictions on access, terms governing use and reproduction, finding aids (with a link to online ones), language, history of the collection, indication whether additions may be made, miscellaneous notes, provenance (i.e., name of the creator of the records), shelf mark, and subjects. Users must remember that this is a database of collections (not individual manuscripts), that the sophistication and accuracy of descriptions vary depending on the reporting institution, and that in large collections individual writers, especially of letters, go unmentioned in the description.

Essential complements to Archives Canada are

  • ArchiviaNet. Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et archives Canada. Lib. and Archive Canada–Bibliothèque et archives Canada, n.d. 8 Jan. 2013. <>. This offers access to some individual manuscripts; however, the site is being phased out.

  • Union List of Manuscripts in Canadian Repositories / Catalogue collectif des manuscrits des archives canadiennes. Ed. E. Grace Maurice. Rev. ed. 2 vols. Ottawa: Public Archives, 1975. Supplements (with French title as Catalogue collectif des manuscrits conservés dans les dépôts d’archives canadiennes): 1976. 1976. 322 pp. 1977–1978. 1979. 236 pp. 1979–1980. Ed. Grace Maurice Hyam. 1982. 243 pp. 1981–1982. Ed. Peter Yurkiw. 1985. 616 pp. A union list of significant collections of manuscripts and records held by Canadian institutions. Entries are listed alphabetically by the author or corporate body who created or accumulated the collection. A typical entry includes location, a brief description of content, size, dates covered, and, when necessary, restrictions on use and finding lists or other aids. Two indexes: repositories; names, corporate bodies, places, and selected subjects mentioned in annotations. As is usual in other national union lists of manuscripts, the sophistication and accuracy of descriptions vary depending on the reporting institution, and in large collections individual writers, especially of letters, go unmentioned in the annotations (and thus in the index). Since this work is a list of collections (with only a few entries for individual manuscripts), users searching for writings by an author should begin with the name, place, and subject index. This remains useful since Archives Canada and ArchiviaNet apparently do not index everything in the Union List.

See also

Sec. F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives.

Printed Works


Canadiana: The National Bibliography / La bibliographie nationale. Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et archives Canada. Lib. and Archive Canada–Bibliothèque et archives Canada, n.d. 8 Jan. 2013. <>; <>.

A database of Canadian imprints and foreign publications (printed and electronic, published and forthcoming) that were written by Canadian citizens and residents or that are of Canadian interest. Canadiana records are now accessible through Library and Archive Canada’s AMICUS database, but there is no way to restrict a search only to those records; instead, one can do the following: in Registered Service/My Profile/Default Database, select National Library Collections and add the limiter “AND cci 1” after the search term(s) in the Command Search box. Coverage depends heavily on copyright deposits and acquisitions by the National Library; films and some ephemeral material are excluded. Since this incorporates the print version of Canadiana: Canada’s National Bibliography / La bibliographie nationale du Canada (Ottawa: Natl. Lib. of Canada, 1951–2000) and Canadiana Pre-1901: Monographs / Canadiana d’avant 1901: Monographies (Ottawa: Natl. Lib. of Canada, 1980–94; title varies) as well as records from Early Canadiana (Ottawa: Canadian Inst. for Historical Microreproductions, 1980– ;, coverage for 1920–49 is not very thorough. (For a discussion of changes in scope in the early print volumes, see Dorothy E. Ryder, Canadian Reference Sources: A Selective Guide, 2nd ed. [Ottawa: Canadian Lib. Assn., 1981] 235–39.) Although not exhaustive (especially for foreign imprints relating to the country), Canadiana offers the fullest coverage of recent Canadian imprints and is a useful source of books about Canadian topics.

Earlier coverage is offered by Dorothea D. Tod and Audrey Cordingley, comps., A Check List of Canadian Imprints / Catalogue d’ouvrages imprimés au Canada, 1900–1925: Preliminary Checking Edition / Liste à vérifier (Ottawa: Canadian Bibliog. Centre and Public Archives of Canada, 1950; 370 pp.), and by The Canadian Catalogue of Books Published in Canada, about Canada, as Well as Those Written by Canadians, [1921–49], 28 nos. (Toronto: Toronto Public Lib., 1923–50). A cumulation of listings for English-language titles in the latter was published as The Canadian Catalogue of Books Published in Canada, about Canada, as Well as Those Written by Canadians, with Imprint, 1921–1949, 2 vols. (Toronto: Toronto Public Lib., 1959). For additional retrospective bibliographies, see Canadian Reference Sources (R4555), pp. 28–47.


Lecker, Robert, and Jack David, eds. The Annotated Bibliography of Canada’s Major Authors (ABCMA). 8 vols. Toronto: ECW, 1979–94. Z1375.A56 [PR9184.3] 016.81.

A collection of author bibliographies of works by and about important English Canadian and French Canadian writers, with half of the volumes devoted to poets and half to prose writers. Each volume attempts comprehensive coverage (up to one to three years before publication) of primary works (all editions, reprints, translations, excerpts, audiovisual materials, manuscripts, but only selected contributions to anthologies) and secondary materials. The overall organization is chronological. Under primary works, separate publications—classified by genre, form, or medium—appear first (with later editions and translations listed under the first edition), followed by manuscripts (by collection, with a description of contents), then other publications (by type or form). Secondary works—accompanied by descriptive annotations—are classified by form: books, articles and parts of books, theses and dissertations, interviews, awards and honors, and selected reviews. Through vol. 3 an introduction to each author offers a cursory survey of criticism and a necessary discussion of limitations in coverage. Each author section is separately indexed by persons. Numerous reviewers have objected to the choice of major authors and to the poetry and prose division. The individual bibliographies vary widely in accuracy, and many are far short of the comprehensive coverage (especially for secondary works) the editors claim for the work; moreover, there is rarely any logic to groupings in volumes, and inconsistencies abound. However, ABCMA is an important contribution to Canadian literary scholarship and an essential starting point for research on many of the authors. Several bibliographies have been reprinted as volumes in the Canadian Author Bibliographies series. Reviews: (vol. 1) David Jackel, Canadian Literature 88 (1981): 147–50; Donald Stephens, English Studies in Canada 8.1 (1982): 96–100; (vol. 2) R. G. Moyles, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 6.1 (1982): 49–51; (vols. 1–2) D. G. Lochhead, Canadian Poetry 9 (1981): 100–03, with a reply by Lecker and David, 10 (1982): 132–36, and a response by Lochhead, 136–37; (vol. 3) Terry Goldie, Canadian Literature 96 (1983): 153–55; (vols. 5–6) David Staines, Literary Research 11.2-3 (1986): 188–91.


““Letters in Canada / Lettres canadiennes, [1935– ]”.” University of Toronto Quarterly 5 (1936)– . AP5.U55 378.1.

An annual selective review of English Canadian and French Canadian literary, critical, and scholarly works. Beginning with vol. 56 (1986–87), one issue is devoted entirely to the survey. Separate signed essays examine fiction, poetry, drama, and translations; the humanities section now consists of individual signed reviews of critical and scholarly books by Canadian authors on a wide range of topics and national literatures. The early surveys include selective checklists of titles. Indexed by books reviewed. For the history of “Letters in Canada,” see W. J. Keith and B.-Z. Shek, ““A Half-Century of UTQ ”,” University of Toronto Quarterly 50.1 (1980): 146–54. Although selective in coverage, “Letters in Canada” is the best annual evaluative survey of books by Canadians.


Miska, John. Ethnic and Native Canadian Literature: A Bibliography. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1990. 445 pp. Z1376.E87 M57 016.8088′9971.

A partly annotated bibliography of literary works by and studies about the literature of native peoples and Canadian immigrants (excluding those from the United States, France, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand), as well as some Canadian-born authors writing in languages other than English or French. Coverage of literary works is limited to separately published books of fiction, poetry, or drama written as late as 1989 while the author resided in Canada. The 5,497 entries are organized in three divisions: reference works (with sections for bibliographies, general book-length studies, general articles and review essays, and anthologies; within each, the briefly annotated entries are listed alphabetically by author); 65 national or language groups (listed alphabetically, each group begins, where appropriate, with lists of reference works, general studies, and anthologies; sections on individual authors follow, with each typically including a biographical note and separate lists of books by and writings about the author); minorities in Canadian literature (with sections for immigrants and native peoples, each with separate annotated lists of secondary and primary works). Indexed by authors and subjects. Although lacking any statement about the terminal date of coverage, inconsistent in defining “ethnic” and “native,” limited to separately published literary works, and overlooking some studies, Miska is the essential starting place for research on the ethnic and native literatures of Canada. Scholars must, however, consult both MLAIB (G335) and ABELL (G340) to identify additional studies. Review: Joanne Henning, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 30.1 (1992): 61–62.


Tremaine, Marie. A Bibliography of Canadian Imprints, 1751–1800. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1952. 705 pp. Z1365.T7 015.71.

Fleming, Patricia Lockhart, and Sandra Alston. Early Canadian Printing: A Supplement to Marie Tremaine’s A Bibliography of Canadian Imprints, 1751–1800 . Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1999. 629 pp. Z1365.T7 015.71.

A retrospective national bibliography of Canadian imprints (including newspapers and magazines) from 1751 through 1800. The 1,240 entries of the 1952 volume are divided in two parts. The first is devoted to books, pamphlets, broadsides, handbills, and other separately printed matter. Organized by year of printing, then alphabetically by author, corporate author, or title of anonymous work, the detailed entries consist of a quasi-facsimile transcription of the title page; collation; list of contents; extensive notes on the printer, author, subject matter, advertisements, printing or publishing records, related scholarship, and post-1800 editions; and locations in public and private collections. The second part lists newspapers by province and then magazines. Each entry provides thorough notes on printing and publishing history and a list of locations with exact holdings. Concludes with descriptions of Canadian printing offices. Thoroughly indexed by authors, titles, subjects, and types of printed matter.

The Supplement extends the scope to “all the products of the press” in updating Tremaine’s entries, verifying locations, describing publications unknown to her (altering some of Tremaine’s practices to accord with the current conventions of analytical bibliography), and transcribing records of the Brown-Neilson printing shop and printers’ vouchers in the Audited Public Accounts. The five indexes (names; titles; genres, languages, and subjects; printers; copies located) cover both the Supplement and the original volume (except for the chapters on newspapers and magazines and on printing offices and biographical notes on printers).

The detailed, careful descriptions of both volumes and the expanded scope of the Supplement make Bibliography of Canadian Imprints and Early Canadian Printing the essential record of Canadian imprints and publishing history for the latter half of the eighteenth century.

Coverage is both supplemented and continued by Fleming, Upper Canadian Imprints, 1801–1841: A Bibliography (Toronto: U of Toronto P–Natl. Lib. of Canada–Canadian Government Publishing Centre, 1988; 555 pp.) and Atlantic Canadian Imprints, 1801–1820: A Bibliography (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1991; 189 pp.), whose admirably detailed entries include a quasi-facsimile transcription of the title page; collation; list of contents and illustrations; details of paper, typography, and binding; notes on authorship or publishing history; copies examined; and references to standard bibliographies. Newspapers, journals, and unlocated publications are listed in appendixes in Upper Canadian Imprints; Atlantic Canadian Imprints includes a single appendix for unlocated imprints. Six indexes: names; titles; genres and subjects; trades; places of publication; languages. Thoroughness and attention to detail make these admirable bibliographies important contributions to the retrospective national bibliography of Canadian imprints.


Watters, Reginald Eyre. A Checklist of Canadian Literature and Background Materials, 1628–1960. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1972. 1,085 pp. Z1375.W3 013′.971.

A bibliography of separately published English Canadian literary and related works by some 7,000 Canadian authors (with “Canadian” broadly inclusive). The approximately 16,000 titles are organized alphabetically by author in two parts. Pt. 1 is meant to be a comprehensive list of literary works, with entries divided among sections for poetry, poetry and prose mixed, fiction, and drama. Pt. 2 is a selective list of books important as backgrounds to Canadian literature, with entries grouped by topics: biography, essays and speeches, local history and description, religion and morality, social history, scholarship and criticism on literature and the humanities, and travel and description. In both parts, works published before 1951 are located in up to five libraries (primarily in Canada). Two indexes: titles of anonymous works; authors, initials, and pseudonyms. Users must remember that (1) this is a list of works, not an exhaustive bibliography of editions; (2) there are numerous errors and inconsistencies, since the majority of entries were compiled from library catalogs and other sources rather than personal examination of copies; (3) pt. 2 includes several works only marginally related to Canadian literature; (4) the reliance on library call numbers to identify genre or subject matter means there will be classification errors. Although unsophisticated as a bibliography, Watters offers the fullest record of English Canadian literature. Reviews: (1st ed.) H. P. Gundy, Queen’s Quarterly 66.2 (1959): 326–28; (2nd ed.) Robert L. McDougall, Queen’s Quarterly 81.1 (1974): 120–22; Peter C. Noel-Bentley, Humanities Association Review 24.4 (1973): 340–41.

For literary works, Watters supersedes Vernon Blair Rhodenizer, Canadian Literature in English (Montreal: Privately printed, 1965; 1,055 pp.), a poorly organized compilation of miscellaneous information on books by Canadian citizens and residents that must be used with Lois Mary Thierman, comp., Index to Vernon Blair Rhodenizer’s Canadian Literature in English (Edmonton: La Survivance, [1968]; 469 pp.). For post-1960 works, see Canadiana (R4595). Wagner, Brock Bibliography of Published Canadian Plays (R4725), provides fuller coverage of drama but does not list locations.

See also

“Annual Bibliography of Commonwealth Literature” (R4375).

Canadian Literary Periodicals Index (R4630).

Canadian Literature Index (R4630a).

Canadian Periodical Index (R4635).

Cheung and Yogi, Asian American Literature (Q3940).

English Short Title Catalogue (M1377).

Lecker, David, and Quigley, Canadian Writers and Their Works (R4645).

Moyles, English-Canadian Literature to 1900 (R4650).

Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue (M2475).

North American Imprints Program (Q4010).

Sabin, Eames, and Vail, Bibliotheca Americana (Q4015).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Serial Bibliographies


Canadian Literary Periodicals Index: Cumulative Index to [1992, 1997] Publications. Teeswater: Reference, 1997–98. Annual. Z1375.C36 016.81′05. (The online version is no longer available.)

An author, subject, and title index to literary materials published in Canadian literary periodicals (96 in number at its demise, with the majority in English). Book reviews are indexed by reviewer, author, and title of book reviewed and listed by title under headings for kinds of books reviewed (e.g., “Anthologies—Reviews”); poems, plays, and short stories are indexed by author and listed by title under headings for each of the genres; subject headings are all in English. Modeled after the short-lived Canadian Literature Index, Canadian Literary Periodicals Index scraps the former’s two-part structure, improves its subject indexing, and intends to be more current, but like its predecessor it is vague about what constitutes “Canadian” and is limited in coverage. Nonetheless, it could have filled an important gap in the indexing of Canadian literature.

Three important serial bibliographies for earlier scholarship are

  • Canadian Literature Index: A Guide to Periodicals and Newspapers, [1985–88]. Toronto: ECW, 1987–92. Canadian Index Ser. Quarterly, with annual cumulation. An index of creative works by Canadian authors, studies of Canadian literary works, and reviews of books by Canadians and about the country’s literature—all published in some 100 periodicals and newspapers, the majority of which originate in Canada. The entries are organized in two parts: an author list of publications indexed and a subject list, with headings for writers, literary works, and some topics (with subject heads in English only). Vague titles are usually accompanied by a phrase indicating content. Despite Canadian Literature Index’s drawbacks—it lacks an explanation of the criteria used to determine “Canadian,” needlessly separates literary works from their authors in the subject division (a practice that occasions unnecessary duplicate entries), employs subject headings that are usually too broad, is limited in coverage and appeared about four years after the date of coverage—it was a welcome addition to Canadian reference sources.

  • “Canadian Literature / Littérature canadienne, [1959–74]: An Annotated Bibliography/Une bibliographie avec commentaire,” [for 1959–70] Canadian Literature / Littérature canadienne 3–48 (1960–71); [for 1971] Essays on Canadian Writing 9 (1977–78): 190–326; [for 1972–74] Journal of Canadian Fiction 2–23 (1973–79). A bibliography of primary and secondary works (including dissertations, theses, and reviews) related to English Canadian and French Canadian literature. The bibliographies for 1959–63 are cumulated and slightly expanded in Inglis F. Bell and Susan W. Port, eds., Canadian Literature, 1959–1963: A Checklist of Creative and Critical Writings / Littérature canadienne, 1959–1963: Bibliographie de la critique et des œuvres d’imagination (Vancouver: U of British Columbia, 1966; 140 pp.).

  • Bibliography of Comparative Studies in Canadian, Québec, and Foreign Literatures / Bibliography d’études comparées des littératures canadiennes, québécoise et étrangères. Département des lettres et communications, U de Sherbrooke, n.d. 8 Jan. 2013. <>. Updated regularly. A database of publications (since c. 1930) that “contain a significant comparison or discussion of Canadian and/or Québécois literatures, including their production, reception, study, histories, effects and influences, in relation to each other, or each or both in relation to other literatures of the world.” Although the Web site offers no explanation of the scope, editorial principles underlying the selection of documents, frequency of updating (the newest records as of early 2013 are dated 2008), or record structure, much of the data is drawn from Antoine Sirois et al., Bibliography of Comparative Studies in Canadian, Québec, and Foreign Literatures / Bibliographie d’études comparées des littératures canadienne, québécoise et étrangères, 1930–1995 (Sherbrooke: U de Sherbrook–Editions GGC, 2001)—which expands and updates A. Sirois, Jean Vigneault, Maria van Sundert, and David M. Hayne, Bibliography of Studies in Comparative Canadian Literature, 1930–1987 / Bibliographie d’études de littérature canadienne comparée, 1930–1987 (Sherbrooke: Département des Lettres et Communications, U de Sherbrooke, 1989; 130 pp.; Cahiers de littérature canadienne comparée 1), itself a cumulation and expansion of “Preliminary Bibliography of Comparative Canadian Literature (English-Canadian and French-Canadian),” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature / Revue canadienne de littérature comparée 3–13 (1976–86), but which omits the divisions for translation and language and style included in the annual bibliography through vol. 14 (1987)—Sirois and Sundert, “Supplementary Bibliography of Comparative Canadian Literature (English-Canadian and French-Canadian): First Supplement, 1988–1989,” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 16 (1989): 170–76; and Sirois et al., “Supplementary Bibliography of Comparative Canadian Literature (English-Canadian and French-Canadian): 2nd Supplement, 1990–95 / Bibliographie de la littérature canadienne comparée (Littératures canadienne-anglaise et canadienne-française): 2e supplément, 1990–95,” 23 (1996): 126–38. The records—which include fields for author; title; publication information; index terms; and authors, translators, and geographic areas discussed—can be searched in Advanced Search by titles, authors, keywords, or geographic areas discussed; searches can be limited by form (e.g., interviews, biographical dictionaries), subject, language, and date of publication. Basic Search offers a simple keyword search. Records are sorted in descending chronological order and can be marked for printing, downloading, or e-mailing. For studies of translations, see Kathy Mezei, Bibliography of Criticism on English and French Literary Translations in Canada, 1950–1986: Annotated / Bibliographie de la critique des traductions littéraires anglaises et françaises au Canada de 1950 à 1986: Avec commentaires (Ottawa: U of Ottawa P and Canadian Federation for the Humanities, 1988; 177 pp.; Cahiers de traductologie 7); however, the volume is awkwardly organized by type of publication (e.g., books, interviews, review essays, reviews, theses); records have been incorporated into the Bibliography of Comparative Studies database.


CPI.Q. Gale–Cengage Learning. Gale-Cengage, n.d. 31 Dec. 2014. <>.

Canadian Periodical Index: An Author and Subject Index / Index de périodiques canadiens: Un index auteurs/sujets (CPI). Detroit: Gale, 1928–32, 1938–2003. Monthly, with annual and larger cumulations. Former titles: Canadian Periodical Index (1928–47); Canadian Index to Periodicals and Documentary Films: An Author and Subject Index / Index de périodiques et de films documentaires canadiens: Auteurs et sujets (1948–63). AI3.C242 051.

An index to reviews, original literary works, and articles with significant Canadian content in some 415 (as of July 2005) scholarly and popular periodicals and newspapers published in Canada (along with a few United States publications that treat North American or international topics). Selection is largely determined by subscribers. Entries since 1988 (along with content from other Gale databases) can be searched through CPI.Q; full-text coverage begins in 1995. The database can be searched in four modes: Basic Search (keyword search); Advanced Search (searches of a variety of record fields [e.g., subject, author, title, place-name, document type] can be limited to full-text documents, peer-reviewed sources, documents with images, publications from Canada, and document types and by date, publication title, and subject); Browse Subjects; and Browse Publications. Records can be sorted only by date (descending) or relevance.

The print version is an author and subject index. Subject headings are in English (with French-language cross-references; all headings and cross-references are listed in the current edition of Canadian Thesaurus / Thésaurus canadien). Articles are usually indexed under only one subject heading; book reviews are grouped under “Book Reviews”; poems appear under “Poems”; short stories, under “Short Stories”; and art works, under the name of the artist. Like Readers’ Guide (G400), which it resembles, this series is useful for its coverage of periodicals not indexed in the bibliographies and indexes in this section and in section G.

See also

Sec. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, Abstracts.

ABELL (G340): Entries on Canadian writers and literature are dispersed throughout.

“Annual Bibliography of Commonwealth Literature” (R4375).

“Letters in Canada” (R4610).

MLAIB (G335): For English Canadian literature see the English Literature division, especially English III: General, in volumes through 1956; English XI: Australia, Canada, Etc./Canada section in the volumes for 1957–66; English II: Australia, Canada, Etc./Canada section in the volumes for 1967–80; and the [British] Commonwealth Literature/Canadian Literature section in later volumes. For French Canadian literature, see the French division (especially French II) in the pre-1981 volumes and the French Literature/French Canadian section in the later ones. Researchers must also check the headings beginning with “Canadian(s)” and “French Canadian(s)” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

YWES (G330): Canadian literature has been covered in the African, Caribbean, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and Indian Literature in English chapter since vol. 63 (for 1982).

Other Bibliographies


Dionne, René, and Pierre Cantin. Bibliographie de la critique de la littérature québécoise et canadienne-française dans les revues canadiennes, [1760–1899, 1974–1978, 1979–1982, 1983–1984]. 4 vols. Ottawa: P de l’U d’Ottawa, 1988–94. Histoire littéraire du Québec et du Canada français. Z1377.F8 D56 016.8409′971.

Cantin, Pierre, Normand Harrington, and Jean-Paul Hudon. Bibliographie de la critique de la littérature québécoise dans les revues des XIXe and XXe siècles. 5 vols. Ottawa: Centre de Recherche en Civilisation Canadienne-Française, U d’Ottawa, 1979. Documents de travail du Centre de recherche en civilisation canadienne-française 12–16. Z1377.F8 C36 [PQ3901] 016.84′09.

Bibliographies of articles on French Canadian literature published in Canadian periodicals. The unannotated entries are listed alphabetically within year of publication in three classified divisions: general studies; genres; individual authors. Three indexes: scholars; journals covered; chronology (a useless agglomeration rendered superfluous by the chronological organization). The bibliographies covering 1974–83 cumulate and expand the articles (but not books) included in “Bibliographie de la critique [1974–83],” Revue d’histoire littéraire du Québec et du Canada français 1–10 (1979–85). Unfortunately, the authors had to suspend their work before completing the volumes for 1900–73 and 1984–90. Although the bibliographies are admirably extensive in their coverage, the insufficiently refined taxonomy, chronological organization, and lack of cross-references or subject indexes render them far less accessible than they should be.

Some additional studies—almost all of which are published by Canadian publishers or in Canadian serials—are listed in Réjean Beaudoin, Annette Hayward, and André Lamontagne, Bibliographie de la critique de la littérature québécoise au Canada anglais (1939–1989) (Québec: Nota Bene, 2004; 253 pp.; Convergences 31). The 2,696 entries are needlessly swollen by separate listings for entries in literary dictionaries (such as Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre [R4717]). Unfortunately, the organization by decade then by type of publication and a single index of Québec authors render this resource maddeningly inaccessible.

Because the foregoing are restricted to Canadian publications, researchers must also consult the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.


Lecker, Robert, Jack David, and Ellen Quigley, eds. Canadian Writers and Their Works (CWTW). [24 vols.] Toronto: ECW, 1983–96. PR9192.2.C38 810′.9′971.

A collection of chapters on major writers of the last 200 years, with 11 volumes devoted to fiction and 11 to poetry (and a cumulative index to each). Each volume treats four or five authors or related groups in essays that include a biography, discussion of milieu, survey of major studies, critical commentary on important works, and selected bibliographies of primary works and scholarship. Indexed by persons and titles of primary works in each volume and in separate cumulative indexes for the fiction and poetry volumes. Although there is considerable unevenness in the quality of individual essays, CWTW is a useful introduction to the work of and scholarship on major Canadian writers. Each essay is also published separately in the series ECW Canadian Author Studies.


Moyles, R. G. English-Canadian Literature to 1900: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1976. 346 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 6. Z1375.M68 [PR9184.3] 016.81′08.

A selective bibliography of primary and secondary works (published through the early 1970s) important to the study of nineteenth-century English Canadian literature. Entries are listed in seven divisions: reference works (including sections for bibliographies; biographical sources; indexes to serials, theses, and microforms; and library catalogs), general literary history and criticism, anthologies, 12 major authors, 36 minor authors, travel writing, and nineteenth-century literary periodicals. Under each author are sections for bibliographies and manuscripts, collected works, biographical materials, primary works (by genre), and criticism. Less than half of the entries are descriptively annotated. Two indexes: persons; titles (incomplete). Although marred by an inadequate explanation of scope and criteria governing selection, Moyles is an essential supplement to Watters and Bell, On Canadian Literature (R4655), and Watters, Checklist of Canadian Literature (R4620); as a selective bibliography, it is superior to Michael Gnarowski, A Concise Bibliography of English-Canadian Literature, rev. ed. (Toronto: McClelland, 1978; 145 pp.), which is restricted to major authors and too dated to be of much use.


Watters, Reginald Eyre, and Inglis Freeman Bell, comps. On Canadian Literature, 1806–1960: A Check List of Articles, Books, and Theses on English-Canadian Literature, Its Authors, and Language. Rpt., with corrections and additions. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1973. 165 pp. Z1375.W33 016.8109.

A classified list of biographical, critical, and scholarly studies published between 1806 and 1960 on English Canadian literature and language. Entries are organized alphabetically in two divisions: general and topical studies; individual authors. The first has sections for general bibliographies; Canadian culture and background; language and linguistics; general studies on Canadian literature; drama and theater; fiction; poetry; general criticism; literary history; regionalism; songs, folksongs, and folklore; journalism, publishing, and periodicals; libraries and reading; and censorship and copyright. The work’s flaws—it lacks an index, is not comprehensive, includes several unverified entries taken from other sources, and is superseded in parts—do not outweigh its usefulness as a starting point for identifying studies published before 1961. Review: Gordon Roper, University of Toronto Quarterly 36.4 (1967): 411–13.

For scholarship on theater, see Ball and Plant, Bibliography of Canadian Theatre History (R4735).

See also

Boos, Bibliography of Women and Literature (U6600).

Cheung and Yogi, Asian American Literature (Q3940).

Etulain and Howard, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Western American Literature (Q3670).

Lecker and David, Annotated Bibliography of Canada’s Major Authors (R4605).

Marken, American Indian: Language and Literature (Q3875).

Miska, Ethnic and Native Canadian Literature (R4613).

Nadel, Jewish Writers of North America (Q3990).

New, Critical Writings on Commonwealth Literatures (R4380).

Pownall, Articles on Twentieth Century Literature (M2790).

Schwartz, Articles on Women Writers (U6605).

Watters, Checklist of Canadian Literature and Background Materials, 1628–1960 (R4620).

Dissertations and Theses


Gabel, Gernot U. Canadian Literature: An Index to Theses Accepted by Canadian Universities, 1925–1980. Köln: Gemini, 1984. 157 pp. Z1375.G32 [PR9184.3] 016.81′09′005.

A classified bibliography of baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral theses accepted by Canadian institutions and treating English or French Canadian literature. The 1,531 entries are organized by degree candidate in two divisions: general literary history (with sections for general studies, poetry, fiction, drama and theater, and periodicals), and individual literary authors. An entry cites title, degree, university, and date. Two indexes: authors of theses; subjects.

An essential complement for English Canadian literature is Apollonia Steele, comp., Theses on English-Canadian Literature: A Bibliography of Research Produced in Canada and Elsewhere from 1903 Forward (Calgary: U of Calgary P, 1988; 505 pp.), an author and subject list of baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral theses accepted by and in progress (as of early 1988) at Canadian, British, Italian, United States, and a few other European and Indian institutions. Coverage excludes pedagogy, folklore, and Canadian theater (as distinct from drama). Besides providing author, title, institution, source of the citation, and, frequently, location of a copy, entries helpfully identify theses that were listed as in progress in other sources but that were never completed or that underwent a change of title. The subject indexing is quite full for Canadian authors and topics, but there are no headings for foreign writers, literatures, or movements. Three indexes: universities; types of degree; dates.

Together, Gabel and Steele supersede Michael Gnarowski, Theses and Dissertations in Canadian Literature (English): A Preliminary Check List (Ottawa: Golden Dog, 1975; 41 pp.), and save users from having to search Naaman and Brodeur, Répertoire des thèses littéraires canadiennes (H470a), Canadian Graduate Theses (H470a), and Canadian Theses (H470). For post-1986 theses accepted by Canadian universities, see Canadian Theses and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (H465); for dissertations on Canadian literature from non-Canadian institutions, see section H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

Related Topics


Fowke, Edith, and Carole Henderson Carpenter, comps. A Bibliography of Canadian Folklore in English. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1981. 272 pp. Z5984.C33 F68 [GR113] 016.39′000971.

A selective bibliography of English-language studies (along with a very few in French) published through 1979. The 3,877 entries are listed by author in variously classified divisions for reference works, periodicals, general studies, genres (folktale, music and dance, folk speech and names, minor genres, superstition and popular belief, folk life and customs, and art and material culture), biographies and appreciations of folklorists, records, films, and theses and dissertations. The genre divisions include sections for general studies and ethnic groups. An elaborate, rather confusing code (see p. xx) identifies audience, quality, content, or type of work in most entries. Users must study the discussion of classification and limitations in the introduction, which also surveys broadly the scholarship and identifies topics needing attention. Indexed by scholars. It is selective (with several unverified entries from other sources) and lacks a subject index; nevertheless, the Bibliography of Canadian Folklore is the most complete list of English-language studies of Canadian folklore. Review: Gerald Thomas, Canadian Literature 95 (1982): 161–65.

See also

Sec. U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Folklore and Literature.

America: History and Life (Q3310).

Clements and Malpezzi, Native American Folklore, 1879–1979 (Q3885).


Guides to Scholarship


Strathy Bibliography of Canadian English. Queen’s University. Strathy Language Unit, Queen’s U, n.d. 8 Jan. 2013. <>. Updated regularly.

A selective bibliography of popular and scholarly studies (including dissertations, theses, and reviews) that incorporates and continues the following:

  • Avis, Walter S., and A. M. Kinloch. Writings on Canadian English, 1792–1975: An Annotated Bibliography. Toronto: Fitzhenry, [1978]. 153 pp.

  • Lougheed, W. C. Writings on Canadian English, 1976–1987: A Selective, Annotated Bibliography. Kingston: Strathy Language Unit, Queen’s U, 1988. 66 pp. Strathy Lang. Unit Occasional Papers 2.

  • Clarke, Sandra. A Newfoundland and Labrador English Bibliography. Memorial University of Newfoundland. Memorial U of Newfoundland, Sept. 2010. 27 Aug. 2012. <>.

Avis and Kinloch and Lougheed exclude works concerned solely with onomastics, the influence of Canadian English on other languages, or pedagogy. Entries can be searched by author, title, and keyword. Results can be limited by type of publication, author, and date. Some records include an annotation that clearly describes the scope and contents of the work. Although selective, the Strathy Bibliography represents the most complete single list of studies of Canadian English. Users should also consult  MLAIB (G335) and ABELL (G340).

See also

ABELL (G340): Dialect section of the English Language division in the volumes for 1920–26; the American English section in the volumes for 1927–33; the English Dialects section in the volume for 1934; the American English section in the volumes for 1935–72; and the Dialects/Dialects of [North] America section in later volumes.

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

Watters and Bell, On Canadian Literature, 1806–1960 (R4655).



A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles. Ed. Walter S. Avis et al. Toronto: Gage, 1967. 927 pp. PE3243.D5 427′.9′71. <>. (A second edition is in progress with planned release for 2015; see and Stefan Dollinger, Laurel J. Brinton, and Margery Fee, ““Revising The Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles: A Progress Report, 2006–(April) 2012”,” Dictionaries 33 [2012]: 164–78.)

A dictionary of 9,900 words, expressions, and meanings “native to Canada or . . . distinctively characteristic of Canadian usage.” A typical entry includes headword, pronunciation, part of speech, etymology, usage labels (for vocation, locale, or currency), definition, dated illustrative quotations from printed works, and, occasionally, a line drawing. Concludes with a bibliography of sources. The online version allows simple word searching and alphabetical browsing. For a comparison of Dictionary of American Regional English (Q3350) and Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles, see Dollinger and von Schneidemesser, “Canadianism, Americanism, North Americanism: DARE and DCHP as Dailectological Research Tools” (Q3350a). The essential dictionary for the historical study of Canadian English and for the explication of Canadianisms in literary works. Canadian English is also included in Dictionary of American English (Q3355), Dictionary of Americanisms (Q3360), and Oxford English Dictionary (M1410). For contemporary Canadian English, see The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, ed. Katherine Barber, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Oxford UP, 2004; 1,830 pp.; online through Oxford Reference [I530]); however, it includes a number of personal names and geographic terms that have no discernible relation to Canada.

Biographical Dictionaries


Dictionary of Canadian Biography (DCB). John English, Ramsay Cook, George W. Brown, David M. Hayne, and Francess G. Halpenny, gen. eds. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1966– . French ed.: Dictionnaire biographique du Canada (DBC). Réal Bélanger, Marcel Trudel, André Vachon, and Jean Hamelin, gen. eds. Québec: P de l’U Laval, 1966– . F1005.D49 [FC25] 920′.071.

  • Vol. 1: 1000 to 1700. 1966. 755 pp. Corrected rpt., 1979.

  • Vol. 2: 1701 to 1740. 1969. 759 pp. Corrected rpt., 1982.

  • Vol. 3: 1741 to 1770. 1974. 782 pp.

  • Vol. 4: 1771 to 1800. 1979. 913 pp.

  • Index: Volumes I to IV, 1000 to 1800. 1981. 254 pp.

  • Vol. 5: 1801 to 1820. 1983. 1,044 pp.

  • Vol. 6: 1821 to 1835. 1987. 960 pp.

  • Vol. 7: 1836 to 1850. 1988. 1,088 pp.

  • Vol. 8: 1851 to 1860. 1985. 1,129 pp.

  • Vol. 9: 1861 to 1870. 1976. 967 pp.

  • Vol. 10: 1871 to 1880. 1972. 823 pp.

  • Vol. 11: 1881 to 1890. 1982. 1,092 pp.

  • Vol. 12: 1891 to 1900. 1990. 1,305 pp.

  • Index: Volumes I to XII, 1000–1900. 1991. 557 pp.

  • Vol. 13: 1901 to 1910. 1994. 1,295 pp.

  • Vol. 14: 1911 to 1920. 1998. 1,247 pp.

  • Vol. 15: 1921 to 1930. 2005. 1,266 pp.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada en ligne. U of Toronto–U Laval, 2003–13. 8 Jan. 2013. <>. Updated regularly. CD-ROM.

A biographical dictionary encompassing a broad range of Canadians and others who at least set foot in the country. Entries are listed alphabetically, with placement in a volume determined by the date of an entrant’s death. The biographies, ranging from 200 to 10,000 words, combine facts with interpretation and conclude with a bibliography of works by and about the individual (frequently citing unpublished material). Each volume includes a general bibliography and index of names; volumes published or reprinted since 1979 include occupation or vocation and geographic indexes. The cumulative index to vols. 1–4 has four indexes (subjects of biographies; occupations or vocations; geographic area; names); that for vols. 1–12 has only two (biographees; names). In addition, entrants are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online includes all entrants in the published volumes as well as selected biographies from forthcoming ones. The Keyword Search screen allows keyword searching of the full text and browsing by surname, geographic area, profession, or race; the Advanced Search screen allows searching by name, gender, date range of death, keywords, and—for some biographees—by geographic area, profession, or race (consult the respective help screens for details). The results of a search can be organized in ascending or descending order by date range of death or alphabetically by surname. The editors plan to make all entrants searchable by geography and profession or race, to add portraits to selected entries, and to provide links to sections of Library and Archives Canada ( Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online offers free access to a major resource.

DCB is a well-edited, authoritative, scholarly source that fully deserves the praise accorded it by reviewers and its rank among the great biographical dictionaries such as Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (M1425) and American National Biography (Q3378); it is especially useful to the literary researcher for its biographies of Canadian writers and historical figures depicted in Canadian literature as well as for the numerous citations to unpublished materials. Reviews: (vol. 1) H. P. Gundy, Dalhousie Review 46.3 (1966): 405–11; (vol. 4) Carl F. Klinck, English Studies in Canada 7.4 (1981): 496–500; (vol. 9) Clara Thomas, English Studies in Canada 5.2 (1979): 227–31; (vol. 11) Shirley Neuman, Canadian Literature 101 (1984): 82–83.

A useful basic biographical dictionary is W. Stewart Wallace, ed., The Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography, rev. W. A. McKay, 4th ed. (Orillia: Third Sector, 1978; 914 pp.). For living persons, see the current edition of Canadian Who’s Who ( Entrants in both works are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Marquis Who’s Who on the Web (Q3395) also includes Canadians.

See also

Sec. J: Biographical Sources.

Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).


Guides to Primary Works


Sec. K: Periodicals/Directories and Periodicals/Union Lists.

Warwick, Commonwealth Literature Periodicals (R4385).



Goode, Index to Commonwealth Little Magazines (K795).


Some works in section L: Genres are useful for research in Canadian literature.


Some works in section L: Genres/Fiction are useful for research in Canadian fiction.

Guides to Primary Works

There is no adequate bibliography devoted solely to English Canadian fiction. Margery Fee and Ruth Cawker, Canadian Fiction: An Annotated Bibliography (Toronto: Martin, 1976; 170 pp.), a selection aid for teachers, is too incomplete to be of much use. Until an adequate bibliography appears, researchers will have to make do with Watters, Checklist of Canadian Literature (R4620).


Weiss, Allan, comp. A Comprehensive Bibliography of English-Canadian Short Stories, 1950–1983. Toronto: ECW, 1988. 973 pp. Z1375.W46 [PR9192.52] 016.813′01.

An author list of 14,314 short stories written in English for adults and published 1950–83 in nearly 1,700 periodicals, anthologies, and author collections or broadcast on radio programs. Although foreign language translations are cited, English-language translations of stories originally written in other languages are excluded. The 4,966 authors include Canadian citizens living in the country and abroad, landed immigrants, and permanent residents as of 1983. Under each author, collections appear first, followed by an alphabetical title list of short stories; along with publication information, entries sometimes cite the source for unverified details, note an alternative title, or indicate that the work might be something other than a short story. Indexed by titles. Although many entries are derived from other indexes or author questionnaires and although it is hardly “a comprehensive bibliography”—it omits most regional and student publications outside Ontario and is weak in the coverage of crime and science fiction—English-Canadian Short Stories does identify scores of works in frequently elusive publications and offers the best guide to English Canadian short stories (and their publishing history) during the period. Review: Helen Hoy, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 28.1 (1991): 100–02.


Hayne, David M., and Marcel Tirol. Bibliographie critique du roman canadien-français, 1837–1900. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1968. 144 pp. Z1377.F8 H3 016.843.

A bibliography of French-language novels published separately before 1901 by Canadian citizens or permanent residents and of selected scholarship and criticism through 1966. Entries are organized in three divisions: bibliographies, general biographical and critical works, and individual novelists. Under each author, novels are listed alphabetically, with editions, translations, and extracts in periodicals following in chronological order (with locations in Canadian libraries and the Library of Congress). Concluding each author section is a selective list of studies. Although its record of secondary works is far from complete, this remains an essential source for the study of the early French Canadian novel. Unfortunately, there is no comparable bibliography of twentieth-century French Canadian novels.

See also

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

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Hoy, Helen. Modern English-Canadian Prose: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1983. 605 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 38. Z1377.F4 H69 [PR9192.5] 016.818′508.

A selective bibliography of primary and secondary works through 1980 that emphasizes fiction writers but also includes essayists, nature writers, critics, and biographers. Of the 78 authors, 10 are nonfiction writers and all were born before 1942; those in Moyles, English-Canadian Literature to 1900 (R4650), are excluded. The approximately 5,250 entries are organized in three divisions: reference works (with sections for bibliographies and general reference works, biographical dictionaries, periodical and dissertation indexes, and guides to manuscripts and special collections), general studies (divided into books and articles), and individual authors (with separate sections for fiction and nonfiction). Under each author, primary works are divided into books and shorter pieces (each classified by genre) and include a list of manuscript collections; secondary works are listed in three sections: bibliographies, criticism, and book reviews (from major periodicals). Only reference works and a few general studies are annotated (the majority inadequately so). Three indexes: persons; book titles; subjects. Although the criteria governing inclusion of authors are vague, the bases for selection of secondary works are unstated, and many entries appear to be copied without verification from other sources, Hoy is at least a starting point for research on established fiction writers. Review: W. J. Keith, Essays on Canadian Writing 30 (1984–85): 136–39.

Biographical Dictionaries

Contemporary Novelists (M2845).

Drama and Theater

Some works in section L: Genres/Drama and Theater are useful for research in Canadian drama and theater.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias

The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. Ed. Eugene Benson and L. W. Conolly. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989. 662 pp. PN2300.O94 792′.0971.

An encyclopedia of Canadian theatrical activity from its first appearance in native cultures through 1988. The 703 signed entries—most of which are far lengthier than one expects in an Oxford Companion and which usually combine factual information and interpretation or evaluation—encompass individuals, 50 major plays, genres and forms, theaters, theatrical companies, and festivals; many conclude with suggestions for further reading. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The full, authoritative entries and thorough indexing rank Canadian Theatre among the best of the Oxford Companions. For suggestions for a revision of Canadian Theatre, see the omnibus review by Bruce Barton, Catherine Graham, Jennifer Harvie, Shawn Huffman, Shemina Keshvani, and Marlene Moser, Theatre Research in Canada 18.2 (1997): 208–19.

See also

Sec. L: Genres/Drama and Theater/Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias.

Guides to Primary Works

Rinfret, Edouard G. Le Théâtre canadien d’expression française: Répertoire analytique des origines à nos jours. 4 vols. Ottawa: Leméac, 1975–78. Collection Documents. PQ3911.R5 792′.09714.

An annotated author bibliography of published and unpublished French Canadian plays (including radio and television drama) written through the early 1970s. A typical entry gives title, type of play, number of acts or scenes or playing time, cast, setting, synopsis (usually lengthy), first production, and (for published works) publication information and locations of copies in Canadian libraries. Television dramas are listed separately in vol. 4. Indexed by titles in vol. 4. A valuable compendium of information on French Canadian drama, much of which is unpublished.


McCallum, Heather, and Ruth Pincoe, comps. Directory of Canadian Theatre Archives. Halifax: School of Lib. and Information Studies, Dalhousie U, 1992. 217 pp. Occasional Papers Ser. 53. Z5785.M29 [PN2308.5] 792′.02571.

A guide to collections of Canadian theater materials (including “playbills, programs, posters, scrapbooks, stage designs, playscripts, prompt and stage managers’ scripts, audio and video recordings,” and manuscripts) held by Canadian institutions, libraries, theater companies, museums, and collectors. Entries, based on responses to a questionnaire, are organized by province, then by city, then by institution or theater (with named collections then listed in no apparent order). Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. Although admittedly incomplete, McCallum and Pincoe offers the fullest guide to Canadian theatrical archives.

Additional materials can be found through Archives Canada: Canadian Archival Information Network / Réseau canadien d’information archivistique (R4590).


Wagner, Anton, ed. The Brock Bibliography of Published Canadian Plays in English, 1766–1978. Toronto: Playwrights, 1980. 375 pp. Z1377.D7 B75 [PR9191.2] 016.812.

A bibliography of plays (including some radio and television dramas) written by Canadians—native, naturalized, or landed immigrants—primarily while resident in the country. Wagner includes only extant dramatic works published separately or in periodicals or newspapers. Entries are organized by century of composition, then alphabetically by author, and then by title. Each entry provides publication information (but not a list of all editions), number of acts, number of male and female characters, genre, plot summary, and date and place of first production. Indexed by short titles. The organization by century (which is too gross to indicate trends) results in the placement of several authors in two places, and the lack of author, subject, and genre indexes makes the bibliography much less accessible than it should be. There are several omissions and errors (especially in bibliographical details), but the Brock Bibliography is the fullest single source of information on published English Canadian plays. Review: Ron Davies, Canadian Theatre Review 31 (1981): 144–45.

An essential complement because of its broader definition of what constitutes Canadian drama and its inclusion of unpublished works is Patrick B. O’Neill, “A Checklist of Canadian Dramatic Materials to 1967,” Canadian Drama 8.2 (1982): 173–303; 9.2 (1983): 369–506. Although offering a less complete list of dramatic works, Watters, Checklist of Canadian Literature (R4620), is still useful, since it provides locations of copies. For plays published after 1978, see Canadiana (R4595); for recent televised plays, see Richard Bruce Kirkley, “A Catalogue of Canadian Stage Plays on English Canadian Television, 1952 to 1987,” Theatre Research in Canada 15.1 (1994): 96–108. Recent English-language Canadian plays can be searched through the Playwrights Guild of Canada catalog (; click Playwrights, Plays, and Development Centres), which attempts to include every published or professionally produced Canadian play (many of which are unpublished).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism
Surveys of Research

Wagner, Anton. ““From Art to Theory: Canada’s Critical Tools”.” Canadian Theatre Review 34 (1982): 59–83. PN2009.C35 792′.05.

A survey of the state of research that evaluates bibliographies and reference works, discusses problems facing researchers in Canadian drama, identifies needed reference works, and concludes with a selective list of bibliographies and guides.

Other Bibliographies

Ball, John, and Richard Plant, eds. Bibliography of Theatre History in Canada: The Beginnings through 1984 / Bibliographie d’histoire du théâtre au Canada: Des débuts–fin 1984. Toronto: ECW, 1993. 445 pp. PN2301.B28 016.792′0971. <>. (The online version is currently unavailable.)

A bibliography of studies through 1984 on Canadian theater history, both English and francophone, with selective coverage of radio and television and the theatrical activities of native peoples. Excludes almost all newspaper articles as well as discussions of ballet, opera, and music. Entries are organized alphabetically (in two sequences: titles of anonymous works; authors) in the following classified divisions—general surveys; theater history to 1900; twentieth-century theater; little theater; festivals; radio and television drama; architecture and facilities; stage design and lighting; stagecraft; biographies and criticism of actors, actresses, and playwrights; theater education; theater for young people; puppetry; periodicals; and theses and dissertations. A few entries are accompanied by one-sentence annotations. Indexed by persons, theaters, subjects, and associations, but regrettably not by titles. There are unaccountable omissions (the editors did not search a source as basic as the MLAIB [G335]), but Bibliography of Theatre History in Canada—which represents a major improvement over its predecessor, A Bibliography of Canadian Theatre History, 1583–1975 (Toronto: Playwrights Co-op, 1976; 160 pp.), and the Supplement, 1975–76 (1979; 75 pp.)—is nonetheless the essential starting place for research on Canadian theater. Coverage is updated in “CATA/ACRT Bibliography” in Association for Canadian Theatre Research / Association de la recherché théâtrale au Canada: Newsletter / Bulletin de liaison (through 31.2 [2007]), which is incorporated into the bibliography’s Web site. Unfortunately, the site offers a primitive search interface that allows only single-keyword searches, includes numerous records with citations so incomplete that users will be unable to locate publications, provides no key to periodical title abbreviations or acronyms, and was last updated in 2007. In short, this is one of the most ineptly designed and poorly edited databases listed in this Guide. A Preliminary Bibliography and Database of Canadian Theatre Reviews, 1900–1992 (which is housed at the same site) offers a similar lack of sophistication in its design.

See also

Carpenter, Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism, 1966–1980 (M2875).

Eddleman, American Drama Criticism (Q3520).

International Bibliography of Theatre (L1160).

“Modern Drama Studies” (M2870).

Wildbihler and Völklein, Musical: An International Annotated Bibliography (Q4295).

Biographical Dictionaries

Contemporary Dramatists (M2880).


Some works in section L: Genres/Poetry are useful for research in Canadian poetry.

Guides to Primary Works
Bibliographies and Indexes

McQuarrie, Jane, Anne Mercer, and Gordon Ripley, comps. and eds. Index to Canadian Poetry in English. Toronto: Reference, 1984. 367 pp. Z1377.P7 M35 [PR9190.2] 016.811′008′0971.

Title and first-line, author, and subject indexes to about 7,000 poems (including some translations of French Canadian works) from 51 collections. The title and first-line index is keyed to a list of anthologies; the author and subject indexes are keyed to the title and first-line index. Although highly selective, this is a convenient source for locating the text of a poem or for identifying works about a topic or theme. Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry (L1235), Index of American Periodical Verse (Q4325), and Poetry Index Annual (L1235a) also index some English Canadian poems.

Some additional poems are included in the 44 anthologies indexed by author, title, first line, and translator in Canadian Poetry in Selected English-Language Anthologies: An Index and Guide, ed. Margery Fee (Halifax: School of Lib. Service, Dalhousie U, 1985; 257 pp.; Dalhousie U Libs. and Dalhousie School of Lib. Service Occasional Papers Ser. 36).

Text Archives

Canadian Poetry. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 9 Jan. 2013. <>.

An archive of rekeyed texts of more than 19,000 English-language poems by Canadian writers from the seventeenth century to 1900. Poems published in book form, as broadsheets, or in periodicals have been included up to 1850; post-1850 broadsheets and periodical publications have been included if recommended by the editorial board (a practice at odds with the site’s claim to include the complete canon up to 1900). Editions were selected according to the following criteria: “Reliable modern critical editions have been used as copy text where these are available. Where no suitable modern edition exists, the policy has been to use reliable collected works editions or editions published during the author’s lifetime reflecting his or her final intentions.”

Simple keyword, first-line or title, and author searches can be limited by date during an author’s lifetime, gender, literary period, and to parts (e.g., dedications, epigraphs). Searchers can also browse author and first-line or 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 of poems) can be marked for e-mailing, downloading, or printing; each citation includes a durable URL to the full text.

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

The contents of Canadian Poetry can also be searched through LiOn (I527).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Stevens, Peter. Modern English-Canadian Poetry: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1978. 216 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 15. Z1377.P7 S79 [PR9184.3] 016.811′5.

A highly selective bibliography of primary and secondary works (published almost exclusively in English through the early 1970s) for the study of English Canadian poetry. Entries are organized in classified divisions for reference sources (with sections for bibliographies; biographical sources; indexes to serials, theses, and microforms; and manuscript and special collections), literary histories and general studies, anthologies, periodicals, and 60 poets. The poets are grouped by period (1900–40, 1940–60, and 1960–70s), and each has separate lists of primary works and criticism. Several annotations are inadequately or imprecisely descriptive; few entries in the author division are annotated. Three indexes: persons; book titles; subjects. Because of its inadequate explanation of scope and criteria governing selection of both poets and secondary works, significant omissions, and numerous unverified entries, Stevens is only marginally useful as a guide to modern English Canadian poetry. Review: R. G. Moyles, Essays on Canadian Writing 16 (1979–80): 229–33.

Some additional studies can be identified through “The Year’s Work in Canadian Poetry Studies, [1976–86],” Canadian Poetry 2–20 (1978–87;, a selective, partly annotated bibliography of studies on English Canadian poetry.

Biographical Dictionaries

Contemporary Poets (M2895).


Some works in section L: Genres/Prose are useful for research in Canadian prose.

Guides to Primary Works

Matthews, William, comp. Canadian Diaries and Autobiographies. Berkeley: U of California P, 1950. 130 pp. Z5305.C3 M3 016.920071.

An author list of 1,276 published and manuscript diaries, journals, travel accounts, reminiscences, autobiographies, and the like by Canadians or relating to Canada. Users should note the list in the preface of kinds of material excluded (e.g., French works before the French and Indian Wars, journals by world explorers, and writings by American travelers—for the last, see Arksey, Pries, and Reed, American Diaries [Q3540]). A typical entry includes birth and death dates, occupation, title of published work and publication information or type of manuscript, and time span; a brief description of content; and location and number of pages for a manuscript. Additions appear on pp. 129–30. Indexed by subjects (but inadequately so, since only major or broad topics are included). While far from comprehensive, emphasizing the better-known published works and manuscripts in major libraries, and including several errors, Matthews is still a useful place to begin a search for autobiographical material of Canadian interest. It must be supplemented, however, by Union List of Manuscripts in Canadian Repositories (R4590) and the works in section F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives. Review: Marie Tremaine, Canadian Historical Review 33.1 (1952): 78–79.

Many of the entries in Canadian Diaries are repeated or revised in Handley, An Annotated Bibliography of Diaries Printed in English (M1615a). Some additional published Canadian diaries are listed in Patricia Pate Havlice, And So to Bed: A Bibliography of Diaries Published in English (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1987; 698 pp.); however, its chief feature is a combined index of diarists in Matthews, Canadian Diaries; British Diaries (M1615); and American Diaries (Q3540a).

Unpublished English-language diaries written by women are more fully covered in Kathryn Carter, Diaries in English by Women in Canada, 1753–1995: An Annotated Bibliography (Ottawa: Canadian Research Inst. for the Advancement of Women/Institut Canadien de Recherches sur les Femmes, 1997; 106 pp.; F. V. 4). Annotations identify the location of the manuscript, describe in a sentence or two the subject matter, and cite published versions and studies of the diary. The lack of a subject index hampers access to the more than 500 entries.

See also

Brumble, Annotated Bibliography of American Indian and Eskimo Autobiographies (Q3925).

Hoy, Modern English-Canadian Prose (R4710).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Hoy, Modern English-Canadian Prose (R4710).