James H. Thomason Library

English 322: Women's Literature-Middle Ages through Today

Background Info: Reference collection


Barbara Kingsolver

photo from

Madeline's Book & Photo Blog



    Encyclopedias & Guides in print
    e Reference book collections
    Style Manual
Locating Books
    PASCAL Catalog
    EBSCO eBook collection
    Interlibrary Loan
Locating Articles
    Article Databases
    Journal Finder
Locating Media materials
    DVD, VHS, CDs
Web Sites
  General Sites

denotes recommended resource
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Background Information:  Encyclopedias and more   back to top
Encyclopedias and Guides in Print   back to top

Print Encyclopedias with Literary Focus:

American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present, Ungar, c1979-c1982. 

Main Level, Reference: R 016.8109 Am35A [2 vols]


Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature,  Prentice Hall General Reference, c1992.

Main Level, Reference: R 809.8928703 B623B

Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English, Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Main Level, Reference: R 820.99287 Sa18C 

Dictionary of Classical, Biblical, and Literary Allusions, Facts on File, c1987.

Main Level, Reference: R 803 L336F

A Dictionary of Literary Symbols, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Main Level, Reference: R 809.915 F373D

Also available online [2007 ed] through CREDO Reference subscription

An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers
, Rev. and expanded ed, Rutgers University Press, 1998.

Main Level, Reference: R 820.99287 En19E


An Encyclopedia of Continental Women Writers, Garland Publsihing, 1991.

Main Level, Reference: R 809.8928703 En19E [2 vols]

A-Z  of continental European women writers from ancient times, through the Middle Ages,  into the 20th century.


Encyclopedia of Folklore and Literature, ABC-CLIO, c1998.

Main Level, Reference: R 803 En19E2

Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature, Greenwood Press, 2000. 

Main Level, Reference: R 809.02 En19E

also available online through CREDO Reference subscription

Entries are written by scholars and each entry concludes with a brief bibliography.

*The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present, Yale University Press, 1990.
Main Level, Reference: R 820.90003 B573F 

Modern Women Writers: A Library of Literary Criticism, Continuum Publishing, 1996.

Main Level, Reference: R 809.8928709 M72M [4 vols]

Includes thousands of excerpts of criticism on 20th century women writers from around the world.


Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States, Oxford, 1995.

Main Level, Reference: R 810.99287 Ox24O 

Oxford Guide to British Women Writers, Oxford University Press, 1993.

Main Level, Reference: R 016.820809287 Sh25O


Who’s Who in Contemporary Women’s Writing, Routledge, 2001.

Main Level, Reference: R 809.8928709 W62W

A biographical and bibliographical guide to contemporary women writers (careers beginning in the 1960s or later) from around the world dealing primarily with fiction writers, poets, and playwrights, but some writers of literary nonfiction, such as biographers, memoirists, and literary critics, have also been included.

Print Encyclopedias with Historical Focus:

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000.
Main Level, Reference:
R 909.07 En19E [2 vols]

Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, Scribner's published in association with the Renaissance Society of America, c1999.

Main Level, Reference: R 940.21 En19E [6 vols]

Check index in volume 6.

New title! Encyclopedia of Society and Culture in the Medieval World, Facts on File, 2008.

Main Level, Reference:  R 909.07 En19E2 [4 vols]

"Comprehensive A-Z coverage spanning time from the fall of Rome in 476 to the start of the Renaissance in 1500. Each entry includes a discussion of the topic from the perspective of the following centers of civilization: Africa, The Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and The Islamic World."

Medieval England: An Encyclopedia, Garland Pub., 1998.

Main Level, Reference: R 942 M468M  

The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History, Houghton Mifflin Co., c1998.

Main Level, Reference: R 305.40973 R227R

Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia, Garland Pub., 1988.

Main Level, Reference: R 941.0810321 V666V


eReference Book Collections   back to top

New in 2011! Cambridge Histories Online



click icons to search collections


The Cambridge History of American Literature

The Cambridge History of English Literature, 1660–1780

Cambridge History of Literary Criticism : including complete volumes covering The Middle Ages [2], The Renaissance [3], Romanticism [4], to the present

The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature

CREDO Reference

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A Dictionary of Literary Symbols [CREDO Reference], Cambridge University Press, 2000.

also a print version shelved at R 809.915 F373D

Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature [CREDO Reference], Greenwood Press, 2000.

also a print version shelved at R 809.02 En19E

The Encyclopaedia of the Renaissance [CREDO Reference], Batsford, c1988.

The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History [CREDO Reference]

also a print version shelved at R 305.40973 R227R



Gale Virtual Reference Library   



Gale Virtual Reference Library


Gale Contextual Encyclopedia of World Literature [GVRL], Gale, 2009.

Gothic Literature: A Gale Critical Companion [GVRL], Gale, 2006.



Oxford Reference Online  



Search Companions, Dictionaries, and Guides in Oxford's Literature Collection




American Women Writers, 1900-1945: a bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook, Laurie Champion, ed., Greenwood Press, 2000.

Main Level, Reference: R 810.99287 Am35A

Provides biographical information on nearly 60 American women authors who wrote or published their most significant work between 1900-45. Included for each author in addition to bios: discussion of major works and themes, critical reception, and bibliographies of the author's works and of studies on the author's works.

American Women Writers: a biographical dictionary, Carol Kort, Checkmark, 2001.

Main Level, Reference: R 810.99287 K845A

Gale Biography in Context [Thomson/Gale]
Biography Resource Center includes full-text articles from hundreds of periodicals. Search for people based on one or more personal facts such as birth and death year, nationality, ethnicity, occupation or gender, or combine criteria to create a highly-targeted custom search.

Literature Resource Center [Gale]
Biographical, bibliographical and contextual information from the Contemporary Authors and Dictionary of Literary Biography databases, as well as full-text criticism from the Contemporary Literary Criticism Select database. Contains more than 415,000 full-text journal articles from more than 250 literary journals, nearly 44,000 critical essays, more than 122,000 author biographies, and 10,000 definitions of literary terms from Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature.


Citation Style Manuals

  back to top


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

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed., Modern Language Association, 2009.
Main Level, Reference: Ready Reference Shelf or

R 808.027 M72M

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


Locating Books   back to top

Use the online catalog to locate print books in Thomason Library and eBooks from NetLibrary and other digital collections accessed through the web. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.

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

Rowling, J. K. [as SUBJECT, books about her]

Rowling, J. K. [as AUTHOR, books written by her]

Regarding your class presentation on an author, the library may not have

monographs [single books] specifically about newer authors, but the author

may be covered in our reference resources at top of this page.

Also, be sure to check PASCAL for additional books, especially for newer authors, like Jhumpa Lahiri.  For authors not in THOMCAT or PASCAL as a subject, try a keyword search for the author as a phrase using quotes: "Rebecca Wells". 
Finding articles may be the best alternative on newer authors.

An alternative for finding additional books is WorldCat.

Order books found here [those not available at PC or through PASCAL Delivers]

through Interlibrary Loan.


  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to Women's literature:
THOMCAT Broad Subjects
  Autobiography-Women authors   
  American literature-Women authors  
  English literature-Women authors  
  Feminism and Literature  

Women Authors-American

  Women Authors-English  
  Women-Literary collections  
  • Materials relevant to studies of Women's literature may also be found by specifying the era or dates, geographic area, or the material type in which you are interested:
THOMCAT Narrow Subjects
  Alcott, Louisa May 1832-1888 - Criticism And Interpretation
  Austen, Jane see Course guide for Eng 111-Jane Austen  
  Morrison, Toni - Interviews  
  O'connor, Flannery - Criticism And Interpretation
  Plath, Sylvia - Political and social views 7
  Literature, Medieval-Women authors-History and criticism
  Women and literature-Great Britain-History
THOMCAT/ PASCAL Subject comparison
THOMCAT Bildungsroman
Monasticism and religious life of women-England
Monasticism and religious life of women-England-History-Middle Ages 600-1500
Women Authors American-Fiction
Women Authors American-Fiction

PASCAL always has additional items on your topic.

We can show you how easy it is to order books through PASCAL.


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

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
bildungsroman AND Margaret Atwood

· Use OR between synonyms to expand your search and
group those terms with parentheses:
protagonist OR heroine) AND Austen

· Add * to the root of a word to truncate or
expand a term:
feminis* = feminist
, feminists, feminism

· Use "quotation marks" around an exact phrase:
"coming of age"

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



PASCAL Catalog   back to top

When you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC.


PASCAL Catalog searching is similar to searching in THOMCAT. An added BONUS in THOMCAT is a pass-through from search results in THOMCAT to the same search results in PASCAL with one click on the PASCAL icon.

The pass through is available on any search at any level.

  • A PC book you need is checked out? Click the PASCAL icon for other copies available in SC.

  • Need more info on a subject? PASCAL items on that subject are just a click away.

PASCAL Delivers SC's virtual academic library

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.


EBSCO eBook Collections   back to top

PC now subscribes to a collection of eBooks through EBSCO

Use this link EBSCO eBook Collections

to search both EBSCO eBook Academic Collection AND EBSCO eBook Collection

How do I find EBSCO eBooks?

  • These eBooks are included in your THOMCAT search results. Look for icon in results, OR
  • Perform an Advanced search in THOMCAT and choose                                       Material Type: eBooks to find items strictly in eBook format,
  • Search the link directly.

In THOMCAT click on the Connect directly to this resource link, then View this eBook.

Explore the eBook Table of Contents or search the entire book. NetLibrary books are available in several languages which you may select at the bottom of the details page.

Take a look at these examples:

The Female Mystic: Great women thinkers of the Middle Ages, Andrea Janelle Dickens, I.B. Tauris, 2009.

Women in the Age of Shakespeare, Theresa D. Kemp, Greenwood Press/ABC-CLIO, c2010.

Women in classical antiquity and the Middle Ages -- Women in Shakespeare's world -- Women in Shakespeare's works -- Shakespearean women in performance -- Scholarship and criticism -- Primary documents


Women, Writing, and Language in Early Modern Ireland, Marie-Louise Coolahan, Oxford University Press, 2010.


WorldCat   back to top

A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan or PASCAL Delivers.


Interlibrary Loan   back to top

You need to use Interlibrary Loan when...

  • a book you really need is not available at PC or through PASCAL Delivers
  • an article you need is not available at PC [you've checked Journal Finder to see if the library has access to the journal for the date that you need]

Interlibrary Loan is another option available to PC students, faculty and staff. Click link for instructions.

Locating Articles   back to top
Article Databases   back to top

The following journal databases are available to PC students, faculty, and staff from on- and off-campus locations.  When passworded from off-campus locations, supply your PC e-mail account username [i.e. tinman] and password. Search databases using terms dealing with your topic.

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.

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Indexes secondary sources dealing with years 400-1700. Citations for books and journal material (articles, reviews, review articles, bibliographies, catalogues, abstracts and discographies) are included, as are citations for dissertation abstracts and essays in books (including entries in conference proceedings, festschriften, encyclopedias and exhibition catalogues).
Very little full text access here, but a worthwhile index to materials for this time period. Check THOMCAT, PASCAL, and Journal Finder for books and journal articles found here.

Literature Resource Center [Gale]

Try a "person search" for Myla Goldberg and explore the tabs to find critical articles and biographical information on Goldberg, Elizabeth Gilbert, Meg Cabot, and newer authors. Full-text articles available in LRC. "Name of work" search also available in LRC.

Arts & Sciences Collections I, II, & III contain an archive of over 350 full-text journals which are searchable through JSTOR or accessible through Journal Finder. The collections include journals in art, architecture, economics, film, folklore, history, performing arts, political science, religion, sociology, humanities, mathematics, and statistics. JSTOR is a journal archive with complete runs of journals up to three years ago. Current issues are not available in JSTOR, but may be in other databases.

MLA International Bibliography

Indexes literature, language, linguistics, and folklore journals.

Project Muse

Contains current and recent volumes of 111 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.

Search Journal Finder to determine if PC has full text for the journal, magazine or newspaper article you need. If the journal is available in any of our databases,Journal Finder will list dates of coverage and a link to the journal within that database. If the journal is available in print (hardcopy) via the Library' print subscriptions, Journal Finder will provide a link to the catalog record in Thomcat, which will also provide the date range for print availability.

Search or Browse

by Title,or Subject/Discipline

Citation example:

McCombs, Judith. "Contrary Rememberings: The Creating Self and Feminism in 'Cat's Eye'." Canadian Literature 129. (1991): 9-23.


  1. Note the date of the journal issue you need before following the Journal Finder link.
  2. Default search is b "Title Begins With."                              Type or paste the title of the journal or magazine into the empty box (example:Canadian Literature).
  3. You may need to select your title from the results by clicking on the title you seek.
  4. Note the "dates available" in a Full Text category. Click on a database that covers the date you need.
  5. Choose, year and issue OR volume and issue, then look through the contents of that issue for the article you need. Articles are usually listed in page number order and are available in HTML or PDF format.


Locating Media Materials   back to top
DVD, VHS, CDs: Music & Movies Room, Lower Level   back to top

Search THOMCAT using the DVD/Video TAB or the CD Music TAB to find different media formats:

  • When searching for visual or film materials, choose the DVD/Video TAB in THOMCAT, enter search keyword(s), then choose DVD OR VHS (you cannot search both at the same time under this TAB).



  • When searching for audio materials, choose the CD/Music TAB in THOMCAT and enter search keywords or "phrase."

 Search example: madrigal


Historical anthology of music by women, compiled by James R. Briscoe, Indiana University Press, [1997].

Lower Level:  CD 780.82 H629H

Contains vocal and instrumental music composed by women from the Middle Ages to the present


Web Sites   back to top
General Sites   back to top


Barbara Kingsolver: The Authorized Site

Myla Goldberg.com

Her official site.

Jhumpa Lahiri [Random House]

The "official site" of the Pulitzer Prize winning author.

Beyond Nancy Drew: A Guide to Girls' Literature [Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, Duke University Libraries]

British Women Romantic Poets 1789-1832 [University of California, Davis]

An electronic collection of texts at UC-Davis Library.

Brown University Women Writers Project




Myla Goldberg


A Celebration of Women Writers  [University of Pennsylvania Libraries]

Electronic versions of books, browsable by author, century, and country. Included are links to available on-line works by or about the authors.


Emory Women Writers Resource Project [Emory University]

Includes hypertext versions of works by numerous women writers from the 17th through the 20th century. The project includes genre fiction; early modern works, through the 18th century; World War I poetry; Native American works; works on abolition, freedom and rights; and women's advocacy.

Monastic Matrix [Yale University]

A scholarly resource for the study of women's religious communities from 400 to 1600 CE. Works best in the Mozilla Firefox browser.


Online Archive of Nineteenth-Century U.S. Women's Writings [Bucknell University]

A collection of new scholarly editions of nineteenth-century U.S. women's writings and resources for continued research about them. Some of the primary texts reproduced here are well-known classics, while others have been out of print since their original publication in the 19th century. The major purpose of The Archive was to provide students an opportunity to work on projects in literary publishing and web design while, hopefully, providing a service to the general reader and to teachers of literature and history who wish to use these pages for study and classroom use.


The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies [College of Staten Island, City University of New York]

An academic site, written and maintained by medieval scholars for the benefit of their fellow instructors and serious students. All articles have been judged by at least two peer reviewers. Authors are held to high standards of accuracy, currency, and relevance to the field of medieval studies. Includes primary sources, images, timelines, etc.

Resources for Research on Women Writers [University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries]

Find electronic versions of books and a list of resources on women writers.

Society for the Study of American Women Writers  

Established to promote the study of American women writers through research, teaching, and publication and to broaden knowledge among the general public about American women writers. Site is committed to diversity in the study of American women writers -- racial, ethnic, gender, class, sexual orientation, region, and era.

Victorian Women Writers Project [Indiana University]

Goal is is to produce highly accurate transcriptions of works by British women writers of the 19th century. The works, selected with the assistance of the Advisory Board, will include anthologies, novels, political pamphlets, religious tracts, children's books, and volumes of poetry and verse drama. Considerable attention will be given to the accuracy and completeness of the texts, and to accurate bibliographical descriptions of them.

Voices From the Gaps: Women Writers of Color [developed at the University of Minnesota by professors Toni McNaron (English), Carol Miller (American Studies), and Laurie Dickinson (graduate student in English]

Includes bios and criticism for better known authors.

Voice of the Shuttle [Voice of the Shuttle, Alan Liu]

Minority Literatures
Anglo Saxon and Medieval History
The Middle East, Byzantium, & Crusades History

Women & 18th C English Literature  PT 1 [Martin Maner, Wright State University]

A checklist of general resources, with some entries relating to earlier centuries, to the Colonies, and to other nationalities.


Women's Studies Internet Resources [Buley Library, Southern Connecticut State University]

See Literature, Feminism.


Get Help   back to top
Stop by the
Reference Desk

Sara Rowe 833-8313
Dan Lee 833-8437


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