James H. Thomason Library

COURSE GUIDE: English 420

The Phenomenon of "Passing" in American Literature & Film

Background Information Sources

  Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  Handbooks & Companions
  Literary Criticism Collections
  Biographical Sources
  Writing Guides
Locating Books
  THOMCAT (Thomason Library Catalog)
  Search Tips
  PASCAL Delivers
  WorldCat & I.L.L.
  eBook Collections
Locating Articles
  Journal Article Databases
  Journal Finder
   Get Help

denotes recommended resource

Background Information Sources  
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries back to top

The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms [Oxford Reference Online]. Chris Baldick.  Oxford University Press, 2004.  Containing over 1,000 of the most troublesome literary terms encountered by students and general readers, this gem of a book gives clear and often witty explanations to terms such as hypertext, multi-accentuality, and postmodernism.

The Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature [CREDO Reference]. Steven R. Serafin, general editor ; Alfred Bendixen, associate editor. Continuum Pub., c2005.
“this comprehensive single-volume literary survey is for the student, scholar, and general reader. The Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature represents a collaborative effort, involving 300 contributors from across the United States and Canada. Composed of signed biographical-critical entries, this Encyclopedia serves as both guide and companion to the study and appreciation of American literature.”
Also available in print—(2000 ed. )
Main Level, Reference: R 810.3 En19E

Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs
.  Jean-Charles Seigneuret, editor. Greenwood Press, 1988.
Main Level, Reference:
 R 809.933 D561D
[2 vols]

A Dictionary of Writers and Their Works.  [Oxford Reference Online]  Michael Cox, editor. Oxford University Press, 2001.  This resource has a focus on the British canon of literature with some American and Commonwealth writers.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture

[Gale Virtual Reference Library].
Tom Pendergast & Sara Pendergast, editors.   St. James Press, c2000

Also available in print:
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Sa22S
[5 vols]



International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers

[Gale Virtual Reference Library], St. James Press, 2001. 
Electronic edition of four volume set giving thorough coverage of films and filmmakers, including legendary films, actors and actresses, directors, writers and other production artists. Entries include a detailed essay written by an expert; biographies; filmographies; comprehensive credits; major awards; and updated bibliographies, as well as photographs. For general and professional audiences.
4 volumes: vol.1, Films; vol.2, Directors; vol.3, Actors and actresses; vol.4, Writers and production artists.



Handbooks & Companions back to top

The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story.
Blanche H. Gelfant, ed. Columbia University Press, 2000.  

Main Level, Reference: R 813.0109 C723C
Pt. 1, Thematic Essays includes "The African American short story."  Pt. 2. Individual writers and their work –includes: James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, and other African-American authors.

Cambridge Guide to Literature in English [CREDO Reference]. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006.
Authoritative and international survey of world literature in English with entries on eras, theses, genres and critical terms, authors, poems, novels, literary journals and plays.

Contemporary Novelists  [Gale Virtual Reference Library]. St. James Press, 2001.
Contains biographical/critical essays on the most important living novelists writing in English worldwide.

Modern Women Writers, Continuum, 1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 809.8928709 M72M [4 vols]

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2005. 

Main Level, Reference: R 801.950904 J62J
This informative, reliable introduction to criticism and literary theory is for those with interest in theoretical issues but without specialized knowledge. Entries contain cross references, see also, and a bibliography with selected primary and secondary sources. Helpful indexes of Names and Topics in back of volume.

The Oxford Companion to English Literature [Oxford Reference Online] Oxford Univ. Press, 2006. 
Provides extensive coverage of writers, works, literary theory, allusions, and characters. The Companion places English literature in its widest context, offering an extensive exploration of the classical roots of English literature, and the European and non-European works and writers that have influenced its development.
Also available in print: Main Level, Reference: R 820.9 Ox2O [2000]

Literary Criticism Collections back to top


Literature Resource Center [Thomson Gale] provides Online access to Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select, and full-text articles from more than 250 literary journals.

American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies. Leonard Unger, editor. Scribner [c1974]. 

Main Level, Reference: R 810.9 Am35A [4 vols + suppl]

Critical Survey of Long Fiction.  English Language Series.  Frank N. Magill. editor.

Main Level, Reference:  R 809.3 M272C [8 vols + suppl]

Masterpieces of American Literature.  Frank N. Magill, editor. HarperCollins Publishers, 1993. Main Level, Reference:  R 810.9 M393M  
Provides descriptions of principal characters, synopsis of the story, and a critical evaluation for each entry.

Biographical Sources back to top

Gale Biography in Context
[Thomson Gale]
Contains biographical information on over one million individuals from all time periods, geographical locations, and fields of endeavor. The "Biographical Facts Search" allows searching for people based on one or more personal facts, such as occupation.

Literature Resource Center [Thomson Gale]

Online access to Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select, and full-text articles from more than 250 literary journals.

Oxford African American Studies Center

Core content from reference works. Includes indexing and content from the following print resources:
• Africana
• African American National Biography (much content available, but still under development)
• Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895
• Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present
• Black Women in America, Second Edition
• Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature

Writing Guides back to top

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. Modern Language Association, 2009.    Main Level, Ready Reference Shelf (located behind Reference Desk) and
R 808.02 M72M [2 copies]

Writing Center, Presbyterian College
Citation styles, writing guides, and scheduling an appointment with a tutor.

Humanities: Documenting Sources [Research and Documentation Online], Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.

Locating Books                             back to top
THOMCAT --Thomason Library's Online Catalog back to top

THOMCAT - Use the online catalog to locate books and other materials in the Thomason Library.    Searchable by author, title, keyword, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              

   Larsen, Nella


  Larsen, Nella [as SUBJECT]
  Chesnutt, Charles W [as AUTHOR]
  Chesnutt Charles W Charles Waddell 1858 1932 Criticism And Interpretation   [as SUBJECT]
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings.
    The terms below are examples of subject headings related to this course.



       Passing (Identity) -- Fiction

       African Americans -- Color -- Social aspects -- Fiction

       Race relations -- Fiction
      Antisemitism in literature
       Jews in literature
       Passing (Identity) -- Fiction.            (in PASCAL catalog)
       Race relations -- Fiction.                  (in PASCAL catalog)
       Human skin color in literature.          (in PASCAL catalog)
       Group identity in literature.               (in PASCAL catalog)
       Assimilation (Sociology) in literature. (in PASCAL catalog)

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog,
however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • Try a KEYWORD search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

Add * to the root of a word to truncate or

expand a term:
= racism, racist, racists

antisemiti* = antisemitism, antisemitic

Use OR between words (synonyms, related terms, etc.) to expand your search

prejudic*OR racis* OR intolerance*

Use AND between words to NARROW your search:

antisemiti* AND Gentleman's Agreement

           group "OR" terms with parentheses when
                 combined with an "AND" statement

passing AND (mixed race* OR mulatto* OR skin color )


Try KEYWORD searching with THOMCAT, other library catalogs, & journal databases

PASCAL Delivers back to top

PASCAL Catalog - If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.

WorldCat & Interlibrary Loan back to top

– A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in the PASCAL Catalog.

Interlibrary Loan - ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Click link for instructions.

 eBook Collections   back to top

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)  

Reference e-books (specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries, companions) covering a variety of disciplines

CREDO Reference
A variety of ready reference & subject specific reference titles from highly respected publishers

EBSCO eBook Collection

Large collection of electronic books covering a vast array of topics and themes.

Oxford Reference Online Premium

Search a variety of Oxford reference books online


Locating Articles:  
Journal Article Databases back to top

The following journal databases are available to PC students, faculty, and staff from on- and off-campus locations.  Search using keywords or phrases dealing with your topic.
Click here 
for search tips.

Academic Search Premier [EBSCOhost]
Journal and magazine articles from all academic disciplines

JSTOR  JSTOR offers a high-quality, interdisciplinary archive to support scholarship and teaching. It includes archives of over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. The entire corpus is full-text searchable, offers search term highlighting, includes high-quality images, and is interlinked by millions of citations and references (from database description).

MLA International Bibliography  [EBSCOhost]   Indexes critical literary and language scholarship and provides access to journals and serials published worldwide, as well as books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies. Nearly 45,000 records are added annually.

Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection  
Current and recent volumes of 112 core journals in the humanities and social sciences.

Academic One File [Thomson Gale]
General purpose scholarly article database, covering journals from a wide variety of disciplines.

Journal Finder back to top

Journal Finder provides access to PC's electronic and print journals, magazines, and newspapers in one convenient location.

Browse Journal Finder by title or subject. When browsing or searching, you can read articles from any journal that is available in the Full-text resources online group of results. Choose a database in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.

Library article databases are inter-connected by Journal Finder, which will lead you to the full-text of an article when available.


Get Help back to top
Stop by the
Reference Desk

Teresa Inman 833-8313
Dan Lee 833-8437


Hours: 8.30 am - 10 pm for research questions & assistance. Personal appointments/research consultations also available.
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