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American Literature Resources  

Last Updated: Sep 2, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Search the SMH Library Catalog

You can search by keyword, author, title, subject, and other things, or you can do a “power search,” also known as a Boolean search (AND, OR, BUT NOT).

Author Search Tips

  • When search for an author, start with the last name.
  • For a book by an author, click the Author button.
  • For a book about the author, click the Subject button.
  • To see if the author is listed somewhere else in a book description, click the Keyword button.  In this case you may wan to try last name only, or first/middle/last in the proper order.
  • Some authors are not fully cataloged in our library, so you may also want to search for a specific book title.  Type in the title, and click the Title button. Subject search terms include: authors, books, literature, English, American, etc.

Be sure to print out a list of the call numbers of all the books that interest you.  Also, check to see if the book is "in" or "out" before you look on the shelves.

Search Titles Search Authors Search Subjects Search Keywords Search Series
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The encyclopedia should be your first step for most research projects.

Our general encyclopedias are housed in the Reference section starting with the call number R 031.

Start with the index volume (usually the last one).

Online encyclopedias (see our Online Subscription Resources sheet for logon information).  Sheets are located on the Library portal page.

Most encylopedias will give you general information.  There are also encyclopedias on specific subjects such as:

  • Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia (R 803 BEN)
  • The McGraw-Hill Encylopedia of World Biography (R 920 MCG)
  • Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (R 803 MER)
  • The Reader's Encyclopedia of World Drama (R 809.203 REA)
  • The Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature (R 810.3 HER)
  • The Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare (R 822.3 CAM)
  • St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture (R 973.9 STJ)



Biography and Literary Criticism Resources for Authors - This is from the Internet Public Library Lit Crit.

The Library also has other biography resources including:

  • About the Author (809.003 GLO)
  • America in  Literature
  • American Authors (R 920.03 KUN)
  • American Women Poets (920 GOU)
  • *Beacham’s Popular Fiction (R 813.509 BEA)
  • *Contemporary Authors (R 920 GAL)
  •  *Contemporary Literary Criticism (R 809 CLC)
  • *Critical Survey of Long Fiction (R 809.3 CRI)
  •  *Critical Survey of Poetry (R 809.1 CRI)
  • Dictionary of American Biography (R 920.03 DAB)
  • *Dictionary of Literary Biography (R 809 DLB)
  • European Authors
  • Famous English and American Essayists
  •  A General Introduction to the Great Books
  • *Great American Writers: Twentieth Century (R 810.9 GRE)
  • Interpretations of life: a survey of contemporary literature
  • Masterpieces of African-American Literature
  • Masterplots
  • Modern American Literature 
  • The Modern Short Story in the Making
  • Molders of the Modern Mind
  • More Junior Authors
  • New England Men of Letters 
  • *Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism (R 809 NCL)
  • The Oxford Companion to American Literature
  • Pioneers & caretakers: a study of 9 American women novelists
  • Rising voices : writings of young native Americans
  • The Short Oxford History of English Literature
  • *Something About the Author (R 920 GAL) 
  • Survey of Contemporary Literature          
  • Third Book of Junior Authors 
  • Timetables of World Literature 
  • Twentieth Century Authors (R 920.03 KUN) 
  • *Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism (R 809 TCLC) 
  • Survey of Contemporary Literature 
  • Webster’s Dictionary of American Authors 
  • Written by herself : Autobiographies of American Women

Our library has a collection of biographies and literary criticism on individual authors and specific works of literature.  Try title searches or subject searches on the author's last name.  Check the online catalog.



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