Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies

This section is limited to reference works that treat the relation of literature to several other arts, disciplines, or fields of knowledge. Works devoted to a single art, discipline, or field appear in one of the following divisions of section U: Art and Literature, Film and Literature, Medicine and Literature, Music and Literature, Philosophy and Literature, Religion and Literature, Science and Literature, and Social Sciences and Literature.

General Introductions


Barricelli, Jean-Pierre, and Joseph Gibaldi, eds. Interrelations of Literature. New York: MLA, 1982. 329 pp. PN45.8.I56 809.

A collection of introductions to the interdisciplinary study of literature and linguistics, philosophy, religion, myth, folklore, sociology, politics, law, science, psychology, music, visual arts, and film. Although the emphasis varies from essay to essay, each essay typically outlines the nature of the relation, provides a historical overview, comments on important studies, describes major theories and approaches, suggests areas for research, and concludes with a selective, briefly annotated bibliography. A glossary covers all essays. Indexed by persons and anonymous titles. Written by distinguished scholars, the essays provide the nonspecialist with informed introductions to the study of literature in relation to other fields, but the volume needs updating.

James Thorpe, ed., Relations of Literary Study: Essays on Interdisciplinary Contributions (New York: MLA, 1967; 151 pp.), with essays on history, myth, biography, psychology, sociology, religion, and music, remains useful for its historical perspective.

Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz. 6 vols. Detroit: Scribner’s-Gale, 2005. Online through Gale Virtual Reference Library (I535). CB9.N49 903.

Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and transnational examinations of seminal concepts and topics in intellectual history. Written by major scholars, the more than 500 signed articles include several on literary forms, techniques, movements, themes, and aesthetics. Each article concludes with a selected bibliography and cross-references to related articles. Prefacing each volume is a Reader’s Guide that outlines entries under four subjects: communication, geography, chronology, and liberal arts disciplines and professions (with a subsection on literature). Indexed by persons and subjects. A monumental work, New Dictionary of the History of Ideas is especially valuable to literary researchers for its interdisciplinary coverage.

Since New Dictionary of the History of Ideas is a completely new work, Dictionary of the History of Ideas, ed. Philip P. Weiner, 5 vols. (New York: Scribner’s, 1973; an electronic copy is available through the University of Virginia Library’s Virgo catalog []), remains useful for its historical perspective.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism


““Bibliography on the Relations of Literature and Other Arts, [1952–97]”.” YCGL: Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature 34–45/46 (1985–1997/98). PN851.Y4.

  • 1959–84: A Bibliography on the Relations of Literature and the Other Arts. Hanover: Dept. of German, Dartmouth Coll., 1959–[85?]. Annual.

  • 1973–75: “Bibliography on the Relations of Literature and the Other Arts.” Hartford Studies in Literature 6–8 (1974–76).

  • 1952–67: A Bibliography on the Relations of Literature and the Other Arts, 1952–1967. New York: AMS, 1968. (A reprint of the issues covering 1952–67.)

  • 1952–58: Neumann, Alfred E., comp. Literature and the Other Arts: A Select Bibliography, 1952–1958. Ed. David V. Erdman. New York: New York Public Lib., 1959. 37 pp.

An annual bibliography of studies involving literature and music, the visual arts, or dance; those for 1974 through 1984 include film and literature. Entries are organized by author in four divisions: general and theoretical studies, music and literature, visual arts and literature, and dance or performance art and literature. Except for the first, each division has sections for general studies and historical periods appropriate to the subject. A few entries are accompanied by brief descriptive annotations. Two indexes: scholars; subjects (beginning in vol. 35 [1986]). The supplement to volume 38 was never published; instead, coverage was gradually caught up in vols. 39 and 43–44. Although not comprehensive, this work was the single best source for identifying those interdisciplinary studies that are frequently impossible to locate in the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G. Because few libraries hold complete runs of the annual volumes through 1984, an augmented cumulation—or at least a collected reprint—would be welcomed by researchers.

For a few years, coverage of literature and dance was more thorough in “Bibliography: Dance and Literature, [1989–95],” Dance Research Journal 26.2–28.1 (1994–96), an author list of articles, books, and dissertations, with some entries accompanied by a brief annotation.

For studies on the philosophical, scientific, or theoretical study of the arts see “Selective Current Bibliography for Aesthetics and Related Fields,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 1–31 (1941–73).

See also

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

Baldensperger and Friederich, Bibliography of Comparative Literature (T5000).