James H. Thomason Library

English 317


Reference Sources


Chaucer as pilgrim. Canterbury Tales, Ellesmere ms.
Image source: Bridgeman Art Library,

CREDO Reference database.

  Print Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  Online Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  Print Bibliographies
  Selected Sources
  Citation Style
Locating Books
  PASCAL catalog
  WorldCat & Interlibrary Loan
Locating Articles & Criticism
  Reference Sources & Criticism
  Journal Articles, Essays, Book Chapters
  Journal Finder
Image Sources
Internet Resources
  Texts & Bibliographies

Get Help

denotes recommended resource

Reference Sources    

Print Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Concordances

  back to top

Use the index in the last volume of multi-volume sets to save time and find more information.

A Chaucer Glossary, Oxford University Press, 1979.

Main Level, Reference: R 821.1 C393C

A Concordance to the Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer and to the Romaunt of the Rose, P. Smith, 1963.

Main Level, Reference: R 821.17 T188C

Critical Survey of Poetry. 2nd rev. ed., Philip K. Jason, editor. Salem Press, 2002

Main Level, Reference: R 809.1 C869C [8 vols]

Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs. Jean-Charles Seigneuret, editor. Greenwood Press, 1988.

Main Level, Reference: R 809.933 D561D (2 volumes)

Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Scribner, c1982-c1989.
Main Level, Reference:
R 909.07 D561D

(13 volumes plus 1 supplement).



Medieval England: An Encyclopedia. Paul E. Szarmach, M. Teresa Tavormina, and Joel T. Rosenthal, editors.
Garland Pub., 1998.

Main Level, Reference: R 942 M468M

Encyclopedia of Society and Culture in the
Medieval World.
Pam J. Crabtree, editor in chief. Facts On File, 2008.

Main Level, Reference: R 909.07 En19E2  (4 volumes).

Online Encyclopedias & Dictionaries   back to top


Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature [CREDO Reference database], Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006.
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. Important authors
from these areas are covered in substantive topical articles on their respective lliteratures.


Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature [CREDO Reference database], Robert Thomas Lambdin and Laura Cooner Lambdin,

editors. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000.  A comprehensive guide
to literature written between 500 and 1500. While the volume is
primarily devoted to the early literature of England, it also includes entries for historical persons and subjects of cultural relevance which would have been discussed in literary works or which might have affected their creation.



Gale Contextual Encyclopedia of World Literature  [GVRL database], Anne Marie Hacht and Dwayne D. Hayes, project editors., Gale/Cengage Learning, 2009.
Covers world authors from many periods and genres, building an understanding of the various contexts -- from the biographical to the literary to the historical -- in which literature can be viewed. Identifies the significant literary devices and global themes that define a writer's style and place the author in a larger literary tradition as chronicled and evaluated by critics over time.

A Dictionary of Literary Symbols 2nd ed. [CREDO Reference database], Michael Ferber, Cambridge University Press, 2007.

The first dictionary of symbols to be based on literature, rather than “universal” psychological archetypes or myths. It explains and illustrates the literary symbols that we all frequently encounter (such as swan, rose, moon, gold), and gives hundreds of cross-references and quotations. The dictionary concentrates on English literature, but its entries range widely from the Bible and classical authors to the twentieth century, taking in American and European literatures. For this new edition, Michael Ferber has included over twenty completely new entries (including bear, holly, sunflower, and tower), and has added to many of the existing entries. Enlarged and enriched from the first edition, its informed style and rich references make this book an essential tool not only for literary and classical scholars, but for all students of literature.


Print Bibliographies    

A Bibliography of Chaucer, 1964-1973, G. K. Hall, 1977.
Main Level, Reference: R 016.8211 C859B3

Five Hundred Years of Chaucer Criticism and Allusion, 1357-1900. Caroline Spurgeon. Russell & Russell Pub.,1960.  Main Level, Reference R 821.1 Sp75F

 Selected Sources      back to top

Chaucer. Valerie Allen and Ares Axiotis, editors. St. Martin's Press, 1996.

Upper Level:  821.109 C393C2

Chaucer: An Oxford Guide. Steve Ellis, editor. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Upper Level821.109 C393C4

Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire: The Literature of Social Classes and the General Prologue to the Canterbury TalesJill Mann, University Press (Cambridge), 1973.

Upper Level: 821.1 M315C

Chaucer, Ethics, and Gender.
Alcuin Blamires. Oxford University Press, 2006.

Upper Level: 821.109 B589C2

Sources and Analogues of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Carleton Brown, Germaine Dempster, G.H.Gero. University of Chicago Press, 1941.  
Upper Level :
821.17 B819s

Sources and Analogues of the Canterbury Tales. Robert M. Correale and Mary Hamel, editors. D.S. Brewer Pub., 2003-2005 (2 vols.).

Upper Level:   821.1 So84S v.1 and 821.1 So84S v.2

Woman Defamed and Woman Defended: An Anthology of Medieval Texts. Alcuin Blamires, editor. Clarendon, 1992.  
Upper Level
  821.1 W84W

Citation Style   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]

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

Online MLA style manual with guidelines and examples.

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


Locating Books    
THOMCAT back to top

Use THOMCAT, the online catalog, to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, then first name:              
  Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400     [as AUTHOR]
  Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400 [as SUBJECT]
  Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400. Canterbury tales [as author/ specific work

  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to Chaucer studies:

Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400 -- Criticism and interpretation

  Wife of Bath
  Literature, Medieval
  Literature, Medieval -- Themes, motives
  English poetry -- Middle English, 1100-1500 -- History and criticism
  Symbolism in Literature
  Courtly love
  England -- Social conditions -- 1066-1485

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

  • Try a KEYWORD search if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. 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:
pilgrim* = pilgrim, pilgrims, pilgrimage, pilgrimages

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
knight's tale
AND chivalry

pilgrimage* AND  medieval

· Use OR between words to expand your search and
group words with parentheses:
canterbury tales AND marriage
AND (debat* OR argument*)

Try KEYWORD searching with ThomCat, other library catalogs

and the library's journal databases.

PASCAL Catalog back to top

PASCALCAT - Now available! 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 (ILL) back to top

WorldCat – 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 PASCALCAT.

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

Locating Articles & Criticism  
Reference Sources & Criticism   back to top

Literature Resource Center
[Thomson Gale]
Search the online version of several library reference series with one query. Contains full-text journal articles from more than 250 literary journals, critical essays, author biographies, and definitions of literary terms from Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature.

Journal Articles, Essays, Book Chapters back to top

Academic Search Complete  [EBSCOhost]

Scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals.

MLA International Bibliography  [EBSCOhost]
Use for literature and language topics. 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.

An archive of over 350 full-text journals which can be searched at this site. Other PC databases link to JSTOR articles through Journal Finder, which guides the user to full-text articles. As an archive, JSTOR does not provide the most current three to five year issues of the journals as specified by the publishers in their agreements with JSTOR. Many journals in JSTOR are covered back to the first volume/year of publication (with some dating back to the 19th Century).

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


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 group of database results. Choose a database in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.


Image Sources  
Image Sources---  Internet  back to top


ARTstor [Library subscription database]

Comprised of approximately 300,000 digital images of visual material from different time-periods, cultures, and disciplines derived from several source collections that are the product of collaborations with libraries, museums, photographic archives, publishers, slide libraries, and individual scholars.                                                                                           Right:: Canterbury Tales ms., folio 148v, Prioress (detail), Ellesmere Chaucer. ca 1400-1405.



The Bridgeman Art Library Archive [CREDO Reference database], Bridgeman, 2005.
An outstanding archive of images drawn from collections throughout the world. Every subject, concept, style and medium is represented, from the masterpieces of national museums to the hidden treasures of private collections. Fine art is just one of the sources of images; design, antiques, maps, architecture, furniture, glass, ceramics, anthropological artefacts and many others also feature in the collection.                                                                                                 

Right: "Here Begynneth the Knightes Tale," illustration (woodcut) for The Canterbury Tales, 1434.


Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from Western Europe
[New York Public Library Digital Collections]

More than 2,000 manuscript pages and associated illuminations dating from the 9th through the 16th centuries give vivid testimony to the creative impulses of the often nameless craftsmen who continually discovered new ways of animating the contents of hand-produced books.

Images Sources --Books back to top

Chaucer Illustrated: Five Hundred Years of the Canterbury Tales in Pictures. William K. Finley & Joseph Rosenblum, editors. Oak Knoll Press , 2003.

Upper Level: 821.109 C393C3

Internet Resources  
Dictionaries/Glossaries   back to top

Middle English Dictionary
Our book's glossary isn't always thorough, but this is! It also gives you a sense of how other Middle English writers used a specific word.

A Glossarial Database of The Canterbury Tales
This is a tool to study how a specific word is used throughout the Canterbury Tales. If you come across any really important words in your tale, you may want to look it up in here.

Bibliographies and Texts    

The Geoffrey Chaucer Website  (Harvard University) Brief description of each tale, important critical issues, bibliographies, and a few important critical articles.


Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse [University of Michigan]

Browse the 146 works in this collection by author OR search the collection here.

Studies in the Age of Chaucer (SAC) Bibliography
A searchable, annotated bibliography of every book and article written about Chaucer since 1975 (a few items go back to 1973). Includes annotations

The Essential Chaucer

A selective, annotated bibliography of Chaucer studies from 1900-1984. EC covers much of what the SAC omits (i.e., material prior to 1975) and is divided into over ninety tidy topics. 

A Few Excellent Secondary Sources Available Online

These seminal works can be read from the comfort of your dorm room! Be wary of other online sources.

Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature   [Anniina Jokinen]

Choose from Medieval through 18th century periods. Included for each author, quotes, timelines, resources, works, and more.

NetSERF: The Internet Connection for Medieval Resources [Dr. Andrea R. Harbin, editor]
One of the largest webliographies devoted solely to medieval resources on the Internet.

Derek Pearsall's Middle English Bibliography

Not annotated, but organized by key topics such as specific Canterbury Tales. Includes other important Middle English poets as well.

Teams Middle English Texts [Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages, University of Rochester; Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan]

Makes available to teachers and students, texts which occupy an important place in the literary and cultural canon but which have not been readily available in student editions.

Voice of the Shuttle - Literature in English [Alan Liu, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara]

Browse by time period on right or search for specific author in search box at top.


Get Help   back to top
Stop by the
Reference Desk

Sara Rowe 833-8313
Dan Lee 833-8437



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