Social Sciences and Literature

For introductions to the interdisciplinary study of literature and the social sciences, see Priscilla B. P. Clark, “Literature and Sociology,” pp. 107–22, and Richard Weisberg and Jean-Pierre Barricelli, “Literature and Law,” pp. 150–75 in Barricelli and Gibaldi, Interrelations of Literature (U5955). Several works in section U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies treat literature and the social sciences.


Guides to Reference Works


The Social Sciences: A Cross-Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources. Ed. Nancy L. Herron. 3rd ed. Greenwood Village: Libs. Unlimited–Greenwood, 2002. 494 pp. Lib. and Information Science Text Ser. Z7161.S648 [H61] 016.3.

A guide to reference sources for the social sciences generally as well as political science, economics, business, history, law, anthropology, sociology, education, psychology, geography, and communication. Each subject division begins with a brief essay on the nature of the discipline (with some including a discussion of the “reference environment”) and then proceeds to an annotated classified list of reference works variously organized as the subject requires. Although the annotations vary widely in fullness, quality, accuracy, currency, and rigor of assessment, Herron offers the most complete overall guide to reference sources in the social sciences.

Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Ed. Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes. 26 vols. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2001. H41.I58 300′.3. 4 Feb. 2013 <>. Updated irregularly.

An encyclopedia of concepts, processes, doctrines, persons, disciplines, forms, and methodologies in anthropology, archaeology, demography, economics, education, geography, history, law, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychiatry, psychology, and sociology. The signed articles by major scholars conclude with selective bibliographies. Although there are liberal cross-references, the subject index offers the best access to contents of the print version. In the online version, Basic Search is too primitive to allow effective access to the Encyclopedia; Advanced Search allows users to perform keyword searches of a combination of fields (all fields, abstracts, authors, entry titles, subheadings, references, and full text). Articles can be viewed or downloaded as PDF files, and citations with links can be marked for e-mailing. Although the online version is being updated, the site does not identify new entries. Besides the articles under the headings “Language” and “Linguistics,” the work is useful for background on the treatment of social science concepts in literary works.

The Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, ed. Edwin R. A. Seligman and Alvin Johnson, 15 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1930–35), and International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, ed. David L. Sills, 19 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1968–91), remain useful for their historical perspective.

Guides to Scholarship

Serial Bibliographies

Social Sciences Full Text. EBSCOhost. Wilson-EBSCO, 2013. 4 Feb. 2013. <>. Updated daily. (Also accessible through OmniFile Full Text Mega Edition [I512].)

Social Sciences Abstracts. EBSCOhost. Wilson-EBSCO, 2013. 4 Feb. 2013. <>. Updated daily.

Social Sciences Index. New York: Wilson, 1974– . Quarterly, with annual cumulation. Preceded by Social Sciences and Humanities Index (entry G385). AI3.S62 016.3.

Humanities and Social Sciences Index Retrospective. EBSCOhost. Wilson-EBSCO, 2013. 28 Sept. 2012. <>. See entry G385.

An author and subject index to about 625 (currently) English-language periodicals in a variety of fields, including anthropology, economics, gender studies, geography, political science, psychology and psychiatry, sociology, and minority studies; full-text access is available for about 215 journals. Like other Wilson indexes, periodicals are chosen by subscriber vote. Social Sciences Full Text also includes abstracts and index entries from Social Sciences Abstracts, which in turn incorporates the index entries since February 1983 in Social Sciences Index. See entry I512 for an evaluation of the EBSCO search interface, which all of the Social Sciences databases use. Although Social Sciences Index is limited in coverage, its subject indexing and extensive cross-references make it a good source for locating articles on literary topics and authors in journals not covered by the standard bibliographies and indexes in section G.

Education, political science, religion, and sociology are also covered in International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (I519).

See also

Bullock and Peck, Guide to Marxist Literary Criticism (U6175).

MLAIB (G335): See the headings “Social Sciences” and “Sociology” as well as those beginning “Sociological” and “Socio-” in the index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

History and Literature

The following is a highly selective listing of major general reference sources of particular use in literary research. Works limited to a country are listed in appropriate national literature divisions.

Guides to Reference Works

There is no adequate general guide to reference works in history. The most current guide is Ronald H. Fritze, Brian E. Coutts, and Louis A. Vyhnanek, Reference Sources in History: An Introductory Guide, 2nd ed. (Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2004; 334 pp.), but coverage is inconsistent, evaluations are hardly rigorous, and there are numerous errors and significant omissions. Despite its promising title, R. C. Richardson, comp., The Study of History: A Bibliographical Guide, 2nd ed. (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2000; 140 pp.; Hist. and Related Disciplines Select Bibliogs.), lists almost no bibliographies, historical encyclopedias, guides, databases, or other reference sources. Helen J. Poulton, The Historian’s Handbook: A Descriptive Guide to Reference Works (Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1972; 304 pp.) is outdated; and American Historical Association’s Guide to Historical Literature (U6497) does not cover reference works thoroughly enough. Both Guide to Reference (B60) and New Walford Guide to Reference Resources (B65) have extensive sections on history; however, neither is sufficiently rigorous in selection or evaluation of works. For American history, see Perrault and Blazek, United States History: A Selective Guide to Information Sources (Q3185).

Handbooks, Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Atlases


An Encyclopedia of World History: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Chronologically Arranged. Ed. Peter N. Stearns. 6th ed. rev. and updated. Boston: Houghton, 2001. 1,243 pp. CD-ROM. D21.E578 902′.02.

An encyclopedia of world history through 2000. Organized by era, then by country or region, and then by periods, subjects, or peoples, the brief paragraphs on individuals, events, and groups appear in chronological sequence. While earlier editions emphasized political, military, and diplomatic matters in Western Europe and North America, the current one is much more global in its outlook, gives more attention to ordinary people, and increases coverage of economic, cultural, and intellectual history. Throughout are numerous maps and genealogical charts of ruling dynasties. Indexed by places, persons, and subjects. The accompanying CD-ROM allows users to search by keyword or browse a detailed outline of contents. Not the typical encyclopedia, it is primarily useful for placing an individual or event in its chronological context.


The Times Complete History of the World. Ed. Richard Overy. 8th ed. London: Times, 2010. 432 pp. G1030.T54 911.

A historical atlas with maps depicting political geography, social history, migrations, invasions, empires, towns, trade routes, battles, and the spread of civilizations and religions. The numerous plates and accompanying commentary are organized in chronological divisions that emphasize broad movements rather than specific events from prehistory to the early 2000s. Concludes with a glossary. Indexed by place-names. This is now the most thorough and current historical atlas in English; however, William R. Shepherd, Shepherd’s Historical Atlas, 9th ed., rev., updated, and rpt. with revisions (Totowa: Barnes, 1980; n. pag.), remains useful for its more precise maps of some topics.

Bibliographies of Bibliographies


Henige, David, comp. Serial Bibliographies and Abstracts in History: An Annotated Guide. Westport: Greenwood, 1986. 220 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in World Hist. 2. Z6201.A1 H45 [D20] 016.9.

A guide to currently published serial bibliographies and abstracts, appearing separately or in periodicals, on historical topics. Encompassing “bibliographies which address in whole or part any aspect of the past,” Henige covers several areas tangential to history. It excludes most bibliographies that list only books. The 874 entries are ostensibly organized by library catalog main entry but are actually entered inconsistently under title, journal, or organization. A typical entry includes title; journal; notes on scope, organization, size, and currency as of the early 1980s, along with occasional evaluative or comparative commentary; ISSN and WorldCat numbers; and cross-references to related works. Indexed by subjects. The inclusion of numerous works only loosely related to the study of history, failure to provide adequate publication information (especially the titles of bibliographies in periodicals) or to indicate when coverage began or important changes in scope or taxonomy, frequently inaccurate evaluations, poor organization, and barely adequate subject indexing mean that this work must be used with care to identify serial bibliographies in history.

Guides to Scholarship

Serial Bibliographies

MLAIB (G335): See the headings beginning “Historical” or “History” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies

The American Historical Association’s Guide to Historical Literature. Mary Beth Norton, gen. ed. 3rd ed. 2 vols. New York: Oxford UP, 1995. Z6201.A55 [D20] 016.9.

A bibliography “of the finest and most useful books and articles available in every field of historical scholarship.” Designed to foster broad comparative perspectives rather than serve the needs of specialized inquiry, the Guide’s selection policy emphasizes “reliable syntheses and reference works that provide entry into a historical field,” the essential studies that establish the standards of excellence in fields, and representatives of major alternative approaches to fields. The 26,926 entries—most for English-language books published between 1961 and 1992—are divided among 48 sections, most of which are prefaced by an overview of key historical issues and which begin with sections for reference works and general studies and then are organized in a way appropriate to each field. Entries—listed alphabetically within subsections—consist of a bibliographic citation and a brief annotation, most of which are helpfully evaluative. Two indexes: authors; subjects (unfortunately, titles of anonymous publications are not indexed, making it virtually impossible to locate a work such as Historical Abstracts). Although massive, the Guide is selective and thus will encourage sniping about inclusion and omissions (e.g., many of the subsections on reference works seemed rather thin or exclude essential works). Despite an organization that requires constant reference to the table of contents and to the outline (sans entry numbers, unfortunately) that prefaces each section, the Guide, with its thorough subject indexing and crisp, evaluative annotations, succeeds admirably in its purpose: to direct scholars to studies that will provide a reliable entrée into a subject and lead to more specialized publications. Because of the sheer number of entries and the difficulties posed by the organization, users would be better served by an electronic version that offered keyword searching and hyperlinks between related entries.

Because of the emphasis on works published after 1961, users will still need to consult the first edition, ed. George Frederick Howe et al. (New York: Macmillan, 1961; 962 pp.).


Historical Abstracts. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 1955–2000. Issued in two parts. A: Modern History Abstracts, 1450–1914; B: Twentieth Century Abstracts, 1914–[current year]. Quarterly, including cumulative index. D299.H5 909.8082. <>. Updated regularly.

Nonevaluative abstracts of scholarship on history and related topics. Originally restricted to articles on the period 1775–1945, Historical Abstracts now covers books and dissertations, and has undergone several changes in scope: with vol. 16 (1970), coverage of the United States and Canada was transferred to America: History and Life (Q3310); in vol. 17 (1971), chronological coverage was extended from 1775 to the present; in vol. 19 (1973), chronological coverage was extended back to 1450. Quinquennial indexes cover 1955–89. The electronic version offers the most efficient access to literature- and language-related entries, many of which are from journals not covered in the serial bibliographies in section G. For discusion of the EBSCO interface see I512.

Political Science and Literature

For an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of literature and political science, see Matei Calinescu, “Literature and Politics,” pp. 123–49 in Barricelli and Gibaldi, Interrelations of Literature (U5955).

Guides to Reference Works


Green, Stephen W., and Douglas J. Ernest, eds. Information Sources of Political Science. 5th ed. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2005. 593 pp. Z7161.I543 [JA71] 016.32.

A guide to English-language reference sources from the 1980s to early 2004 useful for the study of political topics. The 2,423 entries are organized by type of work within classified divisions for general reference sources; social sciences (with sections for anthropology, economics, education, geography, history, American history, world history, biography, psychology, and sociology); general political science; political theory; United States politics and government; international relations; comparative politics and government; public administration and policy studies; and biography. Many entries are accompanied by full annotations that provide helpful descriptive comments. Four indexes: authors; titles; subjects; Web sites. Although users would benefit from more incisive evaluative comments, the full descriptions and advice on research procedures make Green and Ernest the essential guide to reference sources for the study of political science.

The fourth edition by Frederick L. Holler (1986; 417 pp.) remains useful for its coverage of works published before the 1980s.

See also

Social Sciences: A Cross-Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources (U6460).

Guides to Scholarship


International Political Science Abstracts / Documentation politique internationale, [1950– ]. Thousand Oaks: Sage for Intl. Political Science Assn., 1951– . 6/yr. JA36.I5 320.82. <>. Updated regularly. (Also available through EBSCO [I512] and Ovid [], with coverage in the latter beginning with 1989.)

Nonevaluative abstracts, in English or French, of articles in journals and yearbooks. Coverage is selective, emphasizing scholarly and “scientific” studies in major political science journals and omitting popular or “redundant” articles. Indexed by authors and subjects in each issue; cumulative author and subject indexes in each volume. The electronic versions offer the best way to locate discussions of literary topics and authors. Although coverage is far from complete, the abstracts and subject indexing make International Political Science Abstracts the best source for identifying articles on literary topics published in political science journals and rarely included in the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

See also

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

MLAIB (G335): See the headings beginning “Political” or “Politics” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Psychology and Literature

For an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of literature and psychology, see Murray M. Schwartz and David Willbern, “Literature and Psychology,” pp. 205–24 in Barricelli and Gibaldi, Interrelations of Literature (U5955).

Guides to Reference Works


Social Sciences: A Cross-Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources (U6460).

Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Encyclopedia of Psychology. Ed. Alan E. Kazdin. 8 vols. Washington: Amer. Psychological Assn.; Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000. BF31.E52 150.3.

An encyclopedia of concepts, terms, theories, and other topics related to psychology. The c. 1,500 entries offer fuller treatment and selective bibliographies than the typical encyclopedia does (though the bibliography accompanying the literary and psychology entry is an outdated mishmash). Indexed by names and subjects.

An essential complement is Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science, ed. Irving B. Weiner and W. Edward Craighead, 4th ed., 4 vols. (New York: Wiley, 2010), which offers briefer entries and selective bibliographies but broader coverage of concepts, terms, theories, persons, and other topics. Two indexes: names of authors cited; subjects. Together, these encyclopedias will provide literature researchers some of the best introductions to psychological concepts and theories.

Guides to Scholarship


PsycINFO. American Psychological Association. Amer. Psychological Assn., 2013. 13 Feb. 2013. <>. Updated weekly.

Psychological Abstracts: Nonevaluative Summaries of the Serial and Book Literature in Psychology and Related Disciplines (Psych Abstracts; PA). Washington: Amer. Psychological Assn., 1927–2006. Monthly, with annual, triennial, and expanded cumulated author and subject indexes. Title varies. BF1.P65 150′.5.

A database of nonevaluative abstracts of research in psychology. In the print version coverage of books begins with vol. 79 (1992); in the online version coverage extends to 1597 (for a list of online providers, see the PsycINFO Web site). For the most efficient and precise subject searching, consult the online thesaurus. A valuable source for identifying studies of psychological topics in and approaches to literary works and language.

Literature and Psychology

Kiell, Norman, ed. Psychoanalysis, Psychology, and Literature: A Bibliography. 2nd ed. 2 vols. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1982. Supplement to the Second Edition. 1990. 587 pp. Z6514.P78 K53 [PN56.P93] 016.801′92.

An international bibliography of scholarship (including some dissertations) treating any aspect of psychology or psychoanalysis and literature. Although Kiell covers studies from 1790 through 1987, the bulk of the works date from the twentieth century. The approximately 27,400 entries are organized alphabetically by author in 14 unclassified divisions: autobiographies, biographies, diaries, and letters; literary, psychoanalytical, and psychological criticism; drama; fairy tales and fables; fiction; film; folklore and folktales; myths and legends; poetry; Scriptures; technical studies (dropped in the supplement); therapy; wit, humor, and jokes; ancillary topics. Three indexes in vol. 2: literary authors as subjects; titles of literary works; general subjects; the indexes of authors and titles are combined in the supplement. Because of the imprecise and unrefined classification system, the subject indexes offer the best access to contents. Although several entries appear to be taken without verification from other sources and the supplement is peppered with typographical and other errors, Psychoanalysis, Psychology, and Literature is the most thorough guide to studies of psychology and literature and is particularly valuable for its coverage of journals in psychology and psychoanalysis. It does, however, admit numerous studies only remotely connected with psychology.

Some more recent studies can be located in IPSA Abstracts and Bibliography in Literature and Psychology, 11 vols. (Gainesville: Inst. for Psychological Study of the Arts, 1986–96), with coverage from 1985 through March 1996; the bibliographies for 1993–96 are also available at The unfortunate discontinuation of this work left the field without a serial bibliography.

Some additional studies, especially in German, are included in Joachim Pfeiffer, ed., Literaturpsychologie, 1945–1987: Eine systematische und annotierte Bibliographie (Würzburg: Königshausen, 1989; 516 pp.), which is continued by “Literaturpsychologie 1987–1990: Eine systematische und annotierte Bibliographie: Erste Forsetzung und Nachträge,” Literatur und Sexualität, ed. Johannes Cremerius et al. (Würzburg: Königshausen, 1991; Freiberger literaturpsychologische Gespräche 10) 221–309; “Literaturpsychologie 1990–1992: Eine systematische und annotierte Bibliographie: Zweite Forsetzung und Nachträge,” Trennung, ed. Cremerius et al. (Würzburg: Königshausen, 1994; Freiberger literaturpsychologische Gespräche 13) 215–323; “Literaturpsychologie 1992–1996: Eine systematische und annotierte Bibliographie: Dritte Forsetzung und Nachträge,” Widersprüche Geschlechtlicher Identität, ed. Cremerius et al. (Würzburg: Königshausen, 1998; Freiberger literaturpsychologische Gespräche: Jahrbuch für Literatur und Psychoanalyse 17) 227–355; and “Literaturpsychologie 1997–1999: Eine systematische und annotierte Bibliographie: Vierte Forsetzung und Nachträge,” Frank Wedekind, ed. Ortrud Gutjahr (Würzburg: Königshausen, 2001; Freiberger literaturpsychologische Gespräche: Jahrbuch für Literatur und Psychoanalyse 20) 301–56. The annotations, however, consist of indexing tags, and there are numerous omissions.

An essential complement for English-language Jungian criticism of English-language literary texts is Jos van Meurs and John Kidd, Jungian Literary Criticism, 1920–1980: An Annotated, Critical Bibliography of Works in English (with a Selection of Titles after 1980) (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1988; 353 pp.). The 902 entries are accompanied by quite full annotations (including evaluations of “particularly perceptive or particularly inept” studies).

Joseph Natoli and Frederik L. Rusch, comps., Psychocriticism: An Annotated Bibliography (Westport: Greenwood, 1984; 267 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in World Lit. 1), focuses more clearly on the relation between formal psychology and literature; covers a wide range of literatures, ancient to modern; offers annotated entries; and provides a good subject index. However, coverage is incomplete and limited to English-language books and articles published between 1969 and 1982.

See also

MLAIB (G335): See the headings beginning “Psychoanalysis,” “Psychoanalytic,” “Psychological,” and “Psychology” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Woodress, Dissertations in American Literature, 1891–1966 (Q3320).

Sociology and Literature

Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Encyclopedia of Sociology. Ed. Edgar F. Borgatta and Rhonda J. V. Montgomery. 2nd ed. 5 vols. New York: Macmillan-Gale, 2000. HM425.E5 301′.03.

An encyclopedia of concepts, subfields, movements, research methods, theories, and other topics associated with sociology. Each of the 397 signed entries—including one called “Literature and Society”—concludes with a selective bibliography. The Encyclopedia of Sociology offers literary scholars a solid introduction to the theories and practices of sociology.

Complemented by The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, ed. George Ritzer, 11 vols. (Malden: Blackwell, 2007). Among the 1,786 entries are a few for literary topics (see the literature heading in the author and subject index).

Guides to Scholarship


Sociological Abstracts. Ann Arbor: ProQuest–CSA Journals, 1953– . 6/yr., plus cumulative index and supplement. HM1.S67 301. <>. Updated monthly.

Nonevaluative abstracts of books, essays in edited collections, and articles from selected sociological and related journals; beginning in vol. 36 (1988), dissertations abstracted in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (H465) are also cited; and, since vol. 37 (1989), a supplement prints abstracts of conference papers. Although recent issues include the classified section Sociology of Language and the Arts, the best approach to contents is through the online version or the annual subject index. Records since 1952 can be searched online through ProQuest (see I519 for a discussion of the search interface). A useful source for identifying studies on sociological topics in and approaches to literature.