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Finding background/biographical information

The Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) provides reliable information on authors from many countries and centuries. Includes the Dictionary of Literary Biography Documentary Series and the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook.

Oxford Reference contains language and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press. Searches can be conducted within the whole database, within a specific subject, or within a specific reference book. The Literature section features several Oxford Companions, such as the Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature, as well as the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature and the Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature.

Gale Literature Resource Center contains two biographical sources:

  • Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) text-only version
  • Contemporary Authors (CA)

Literature Online includes major literary reference works.

  • Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (Oxford University Press, 2008)
  • Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English, Second Edition (Routledge, 2005)
  • Columbia Dictionary of Modern Literary and Cultural Criticism (Columbia University Press, 1995)
  • Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998)
  • Encyclopedia of the Novel (Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998)
  • New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (Princeton University Press, 1993)
  • The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story (Columbia University Press, 2001)
  • The Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature (Columbia University Press, 1980)
  • The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature (Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, Third Edition (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • Handbook of African American Literature (University Press of Florida, 2004)
  • Encyclopedia of African Literature (Routledge, 2009)
  • Twentieth-Century Latin American and Caribbean Literature, 1900-2003 (Routledge, 2004)
  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory (Routledge, 2007)
  • Encyclopedia of Linguistics (Routledge, 2004)

Canadian Literary Centre includes biographies of Canadian authors from Essays on Canadian Writing Press (ECW Press).

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography features authoritative biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of the British past from the earliest times to 2014. It covers people who died up to 2014; one year is added each January. Most biographies include lists of sources, archives and likenesses.

Dictionary of Irish Biography is a definitive collection of over 9,000 biographies of Irish men and women issued by the Royal Irish Academy in collaboration with Cambridge University Press. Most biographies include lists of archives.

Literary Theory traces the history of literary theory and criticism from the fifth century BC to 1994. It contains fulltext or selections of fulltext written by literary theorists and critics.

Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism is a comprehensive historical survey of the most important figures, schools, and movements in literary theory and criticism. Includes more than 300 alphabetically arranged entries and subentries on critics and theorists, critical schools and movements, and the critical and theoretical innovations of specific countries and historical periods.

A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory is a dictionary of technical terminology, forms, genres, kinds, groups, schools, movements, phrases, isms, motifs, themes, character types, modes, styles, objects, and concepts associated with classical and modern literature.

The Oxford English Dictionary provides current definitions of words and traces their development through time. Use advanced search for more options in searching entries and quotations.

The The Canadian Oxford Dictionary combines coverage of international English with information on English as it is particularly used in Canada.

Produced with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the National Endowment for the Humanites, and published by the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, the Dictionary of Old English Web Corpus is a complete record of surviving Old English, with a dictionary and more than 3000 texts.

Gale Literature Criticism

Gale Literature Criticism provides biographies of authors. After conducting a search by author name, click on the biographies tab.

Coverage is from the 15th century to 2019. This database is NOT updated.

The Middle English Compendium includes three major Middle English electronic resources: an electronic version of the Middle English Dictionary (MED), a HyperBibliography of Middle English prose and verse, based on the MED bibliographies, and a Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse.

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