Encyclopedias: English Language and Literature

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See also: Biography and Dictionaries

Consult the Research Guides for pointers and detailed information on researching your topic.

American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present [Rutgers Restricted]
An electronic version of the 4 volume resource containing "biographical and critical essays on 1,328 American women writers covering all genres and all periods of American history."

Cambridge History of English and American Literature: an Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes
Literary history and criticism with essay topics ranging from poetry, fiction, drama, and essays to history, theology, and political writing. Encompasses a wide selection of writing on orators, humorists, poets, newspaper columnists, religious leaders, economists, Native Americans, song writers, and even non-English writing, such as Yiddish and Creole.

Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature [Rutgers Restricted]
Includes more than 1,100 biographical-critical essays. Part of the Literary Reference Center via JerseyClicks.

Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature [Rutgers Restricted]
"A comprehensive guide to all British literature, including literature in English from the colonial and postcolonial periods in Africa, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, India, and New Zealand. Part of the Literary Reference Center via JerseyClicks."

Encyclopedia of American Poetry: the Nineteenth Century [Rutgers Restricted]
Part of the Literature Online database, the Encyclopedia provides biographical and critical information on almost 150 American poets, as well as topical essays on "Nineteenth-Century Versions of American Indian Poetry," "Popular Poetry," "Songs and Ballads," and "Spirituals."

Encyclopedia of British Women Writers [Rutgers Restricted]
"Makes readily available, in alphabetical sequence, some 600 biographical-critical entries on a range of women writers, from the early centuries of writing identified with England up to the present day."

Encyclopedia of Literature & Criticism [Rutgers Restricted]
Covers English language literature and literary criticism in general as well as periods such as medieval, renaissance, and romantic, but also deals with how literature has been discussed in the past and how it is being discussed now.

Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English [Rutgers Restricted]
Part of the Literature Online database, the Encyclopedia covers genres, major subjects, and critical biographies of writers, as well as entries on each country or region whose literatures are discussed.

Encyclopedia of the Novel [Rutgers Restricted]
Part of the Literature Online database, the Encyclopedia covers classic novels and great novel writers, types of novels, technical and formal aspects of novels, as well as criticism, theory, and influences.

Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature [Rutgers Restricted]
"Features in-depth omnibus entries exploring major topics, including the novel, plays, poetry, and global Victorian studies, alongside succinct entries on themes such as cosmopolitanism, journalism, race, sexuality, and reading." Online version of the four volume print encyclopedia.

Ethnic American Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students [Rutgers Restricted]
Seeks to offer a comprehensive yet concise introduction to ethnic authors, topics, texts and traditions with an emphasis on four major ethnic groups: Native American, Asian American, African American, and Latina/o.

Feminism in Literature: A Gale Critical Companion [Rutgers Restricted]
"This six-volume set explores the history of women and feminism throughout literature, from classical antiquity to modern times. Topics covered include misogyny and women's social roles in ancient civilizations, 16th-century women's devotional literature, 17th- and 18th-century women's captivity narratives, the women's suffrage movement in 19th-century America, women writers of the Lost Generation," lesbian literature, and much more."

HarperCollins Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature [Rutgers Restricted]
"Includes biographies of novelists, playwrights, poets & critics, summaries of books & plays, descriptions of characters, definitions of literary terms & movements, & more."

Literary Movements for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Literary Movements [Rutgers Restricted]
"Entries provide in-depth historical background information on each movement as well as modern critical interpretation of each movement's characteristic styles and themes." Electronic version of the 2nd edition.

New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics [Rutgers Restricted]
"Provides surveys of 106 national poetries; descriptions of poetic forms and genres major and minor, traditional and emergent; detailed explanations of the devices of prosody and rhetoric; and overviews of all major schools of poetry ancient and modern, Western and Eastern. It provides balanced and comprehensive accounts of the major movements and issues in criticism and literary theory, and discussion of the manifold relations of poetry to the other fields of human thought and activity-history, science, politics, religion, philosophy, music, the visual arts."

New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics [Rutgers Restricted]
Part of the Literature Online database, the Encyclopedia is a comprehensive reference work dealing with all aspects of its subject: history, types, movements, prosody, and critical terminology.

Reference Guide to Short Fiction [Rutgers Restricted]
"Contains biographical and critical essays on 376 of the most important writers of short fiction writing in English worldwide, and 403 separate essays on selected works. Also includes some authors of note who did not write in English, but whose works have been widely translated and are often studied, such as Anton Chekhov and Jean-Paul Sartre. Most authors covered were born after 1750, but a few important figures from earlier periods are included as well." Electronic version of the 2nd edition of the print resource.

Reference Guide to World Literature [Rutgers Restricted]
"Contains biographical and critical essays on authors from throughout the world, as well as essays covering specific work or works of an author, with criticism and analysis of those works." Electronic version of the 2 volume 3rd edition of the print resource.

SFE: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
This third edition of the Encyclopedia is freely accessible and aims "to provide a comprehensive, scholarly, and critical guide to science fiction in all its forms."

UXL Graphic Novelists [Rutgers Restricted]
"Introduces researchers to the authors and illustrators behind these works, taking care to define and explore the distinction between comic books and graphic novels." Electronic version of the 3 volume print resource.