James H. Thomason Library

English 350: Shakespeare

Background Information Sources

Romeo & Juliet - Byron Company, 1899

ARTstor Image Collection

  Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
  Companions & Concordances
  Bibliographies and Indexes

Reserve Shelf

  Style Guides
Locating Books
  PASCAL Catalog
  WorldCat & I.L.L.
Locating Articles & Criticism
  Reference Sources & Criticism
  Journal Article Databases
  Key Journals
  Journal Finder
Internet Resources
  General Sources
  Special Collections & Manuscripts

Get Help

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Background Information Sources:    

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

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For background information and definitions refer to the following library reference works and online reference collections:


A Dictionary of Literary Symbols [CREDO Reference], Cambridge University Press, 2003.
The first dictionary of symbols to be based on literature, rather than "universal" psychological archetypes, myths, or esoterica. 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.  
Also available Main Level, Reference: R 809.915 F373D [2000].

A Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs, Greenwood Press, 1988.
Main Level, Reference: R 809.933 D561D [2 vols]

A Dictionary of Shakespeare [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2003. 

Dictionary of Shakespeare [Credo Reference], Peter Collin Publishing, 2000.
A comprehensive dictionary that covers the plays, poems, characters and background to Shakespeare's works as well as terms used in the theatre and stagecraft, and historical references and details on the Elizabethan historical and social period.

Pronouncing Shakespeare's Words: A Guide from A to Zounds, Greenwood Press, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 822.33 C839P


Shakespeare, an Illustrated Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1978.
Main Level, Reference: R 822.33 W462S

Includes a "selective finding list of characters in Shakespeare plays" on p. 192.


All Things Shakespeare:  An Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's World, Greenwood Press,c2002.

Main Level, Reference: R 822.33 Ol8A [2 vols]

A Concise Encyclopedic Guide to Shakespeare, Horizon Press [1971].
Main Level, Reference: R 822.33 M364C

Encyclopaedia of the Renaissance [CREDO Reference], Market House Books Ltd., 1988.
Entries cover a broad range of events, people, ideas and movements that together have come to represent this era. The encyclopaedia also covers a complete range of general topics.

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]



A History of Modern Criticism 1750-1950, Yale University Press, [1955-] 1976.
Upper Level:  801 W458H [6 vols]
A six-volume history of modern literary criticism including information on Shakespeare criticism.

Companions & Concordances back to top


The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, 2002. 
Main Level, Reference: 822.33 C144C2

The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Main Level, Reference: 822.33 C144C

A Feminist Companion to Shakespeare, Blackwell Publishers, 2000.

Main Level, Reference: 822.33 F349F

The Oxford Companion to English Literature [Oxford Reference Online] Oxford Univ. Press, 2008.
Also available Main, Level Reference: R 820.9 Ox2O [2000]

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare [Oxford Reference Online] Oxford Univ. Press, 2003.
Also available Main, Level Reference: R 822.33 Ox2O [2001]

Shakespeare After All, Pantheon Books, c2004. 
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 822.33 G163S

The Shakespeare Companion, Scribner, c1978.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 822.33 Ev154S

The Shakespeare Handbook, G.K. Hall, 1987. 
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 822.33 Sh15S14



An alphabetical index of all the significant words used in a text or related group of texts, indicating all the places in which each word is used.

The Harvard Concordance to Shakespeare, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1973.
Main Level, Reference:
R 822.33016 Sp37H

The Home Book of Shakespeare Quotations, Being Also a Concordance & a Glossary of the Unique Words & Phrases in the Plays & Poems, C. Scribner's Sons, Ltd., 1937.
Main Level, Reference:
R 822.33 Sh15h

A New and Complete Concordance or Verbal Index to Words, Phrases, and Passages in the Dramatic Works of Shakespeare, with a Supplementary Concordance to the Poems,  Macmillan and Co., 1937.
Main Level, Reference:
R 822.33 B284n

Open Source Shakespeare Concordance [Eric M. Johnson]

The Complete Concordance to Shakespeare: Being a Verbal Index to all the Passages in the Dramatic Works of the Poet, Little, Brown, 1874.
Upper Level: 822.33 C55

Bibliography and Indexes   back to top


A list of the books [articles] on a particular theme or topic published during a particular time frame.

English Renaissance Theatre History: A Reference Guide, G.K. Hall Pub., c1982.
Main Level, Reference:
R 016.7920942 St47E
Provides an annotated, chronological list of the scholarship from 1664 through 1979 on Elizabethan theatrical history.

The Essential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies, Maxwell Macmillan International, c1993.

Main Level, Reference: R 016.82233 C358E

The Shakespeare Documents; Facsimiles, Transliterations, Translations, & Commentary, Greenwood Press, 1969.
Upper Level: 822.33 L585S [2 vols]  

Shakespeare Folios and Quartos; A Study in the Bibliography of Shakespeare's Plays, 1594-1685, Cooper Square Publishers, 1970.
Upper Level: 822.33 P761S


Before there were article databases, there were print indexes!

Shakespeare Index: An Annotated Bibliography of Critical Articles on the Plays, 1959-1983, Kraus International Publications, 1992.
Main Level, Reference: R 822.33 Sa28S [2 vols]


Biography   back to top

Literature Resource Center [Thomson Gale]
Contains biographical information from Contemporary Authors and Dictionary of Literary Biography databases, as well as British Writers [Main Level Reference: R 820.9 B777B] and thirteen Scribner print sources. In addition to biographical information, full-text critical articles are included on author works.

British Writers, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1979-2007.
Main Level, Reference:
R 820.9 B777B [8 vols, 12 supplements]
Also searchable in Scribner Writer's Series

Encyclopedia of World Biography, Gale, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.02 En19E [17 vols]
Alphabetically arranged long essays on reputable personalities who have made great contributions to human culture and society.

A Reader's Guide to Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, Barnes & Noble, 1979.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 822.33 Al27R

Shakespeare and Biography, David M. Bevington, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection:  822.33 B468S

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, Stephen Greenblatt, W.W. Norton, 2004.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection:  822.33 G829W

Search Shakespeare as a SUBJECT for biographies held by Thomason Library:
Shakespeare, William 1564-1616 Biography


Reserve Shelf, Fall 2011   back to top

On Reserve at the Circulation Desk (these items can be checked out for in-library short-term use):

Shakespeare A to Z: The Essential Reference to his Plays, his Poems, his Life and Times, and More, Boyce, Charles, Delta, 1991.
Main Level, Reserve, Circulation Desk: R 822.33 B692S 

Hamlet [DVD], Warner Home Video, 2007.

Main Level, Reserve, Circulation Desk: DVD 822.33 Sh15H2 [2 disks]

Midsummer Night's Dream [DVD], 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c1999.

Main Level, Reserve, Circulation Desk: DVD 822.33 Sh15M2

Othello [DVD], Warner Home Video, 2000.

Main Level, Reserve, Circulation Desk: DVD 822.33 Sh15O

Twelfth Night [VHS], New Line Home Video, [1997], c1996.

Main Level, Reserve, Circulation Desk: Video 822.33 Sh15T3

Proof: A play, Faber and Faber, 2001

Main Level, Reserve, Circulation Desk: Level, Reserve, Circulation Desk: DVD 792.1 P945P

Style Guides   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
THOMCAT back to top


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

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              
  Shakespeare, William [as AUTHOR]  
  Shakespeare, William [as SUBJECT]  
  • SUBJECT searching requires the use of Library of Congress subject headings. LC subject headings can be simple or quite detailed including dates, literary genre, material type, or a named work on the end.

    The terms below are examples of subject headings related to Shakespeare:


THOMCAT Subjects
# Items
  English Drama--Early Modern And Elizabethan, 1500 1600
  English Drama--Early Modern And Elizabethan, 1500 1600-- History And Criticism
  English Drama (Comedy)--History And Criticism (see PASCAL below)
  English Drama (Tragedy)--History And Criticism
  Shakespeare, William, 1564 1616--Characters (see PASCAL below)
  Shakespeare, William, 1564 1616--Criticism And Interpretation


  Shakespeare, William, 1564 1616--Merchant Of Venice
  Shakespeare, William, 1564 1616--Sonnets
  Shakespeare, William, 1564 1616--Tragedies (see PASCAL below)
PASCAL Subjects
  English Drama (Comedy)--History And Criticism
  Shakespeare, William, 1564 1616--Characters
  Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616--Tragedies

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

  • If you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use, try a
    KEYWORD 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:
Richard III AND dream*

· Use OR between words to expand your search and
group words with parentheses:
(death OR dying) AND dream

· Use NOT to eliminate a term from your search:

Othello AND villian NOT Iago

· Add * to the root of a word to truncate or
expand a term:
dream* = dream, dreams, dreaming

Try KEYWORD searching with THOMCAT, PASCAL Catalog
& library databases


eBooks back to top

EBSCO eBook Academic Collection 
Over 80,000 electronic books covering a wide range of academic disciplines.

EBSCO eBook Collection 

Approximatley 8,000 electronic books covering a vast array of topics and themes.


ebrary eBook Collection
Approximatley 70,000 electronic books covering a vast array of topics and themes.


PASCAL Catalog back to top


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 3-5 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 & I.L.L. 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 PASCALCAT.

Interlibrary Loan

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

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]

Locating Articles & Criticism:
Reference Sources & Criticism back to top

Literature Resource Center [Thomson 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 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.


Critical Survey of Drama, 2nd rev. ed., Salem Press, c2003.
Main Level, Reference: R 822.009 C869C [8 vols]

In-depth treatment of the world's major dramatists in essays with full biographical, bibliographical and analytical coverage of each. Includes 64 broad overview essays covering British drama [vol 7]from medieval through contemporary. Entry on Shakespeare [vol 6] covers each of his plays separately.


Journal Article Databases back to top

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.
MLA Tutorial - basic search. Choose Shockwave Flash file.

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.

Borrowers and Lenders:  The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation

Borrowers and Lenders: a Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation is a peer-reviewed multimedia ejournal. The journal freely offers full-text contents, and is published from the English Department of the University of Georgia.

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Indexes articles, books and essays dealing with years 400-1700 (Middle Ages and Renaissance), Iter Italicum, International Directory of Scholars, Scholars of Early Modern Studies, International Directory of Renaissance and Reformation Associations and Institutes, Baptisteria Sacra: An Iconographic Index of Baptismal Fonts.

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, which guides the user to full-text articles available at Thomason Library. The collections include journals in economics, history, political science, sociology, and humanities. This archive covers the full run of journals from the first issue of volume one; however, the most current three to five year issues of the journals are not available as specified by the publishers in their agreements with JSTOR. Now includes a link to images in ARTstor with search results.

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


Key Shakespeare Journals back to top


Early Modern Literary Studies: A Journal of Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Literature

A quarterly peer reviewed literary journal from Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
Essays & studies dealing with medieval & early English drama. Also contains book reviews from the field.

Renaissance Quarterly

A journal covering art, literature, and history of the Renaissance for the academic audience. Contains research studies, review essays, and book reviews. Features literary works and themes, as well as specialized studies in the arts, religion, and social aspects of the Renaissance.

Shakespeare Bulletin

A peer-reviewed journal of performance criticism and scholarship, provides commentary on Shakespeare and Renaissance drama through feature articles, theatre and film reviews, and book reviews.

Shakespeare Quarterly

A refereed journal featuring notes that bring to light new information on Shakespeare and his age, issue and exchange sections for the latest ideas and controversies, theater reviews of significant Shakespeare productions, and book reviews to keep its readers current with Shakespeare criticism and scholarship.

Shakespeare Studies

An international volume of essays, studies and reviews dealing with the cultural history of early modern England and the place of Shakespeare's production in it.

Shakespeare Survey, Cambridge University Press, 1948- 2009. [print]

Upper Level: 822.33 N545S [61 vols]

A periodical in book format with criticism and interpretation. Shelved here also a print index to the set: Shakespeare Survey: A Sixty-Year Cumulative Index, Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Studies in English Literature
Focuses on four fields of British Literature which rotate quarterly as follows: Winter-English Renaissance, Spring - Tudor and Stuart Drama, Summer-Restoration and Eighteenth Century, and Autumn - Nineteenth Century with historical and critical essays which contribute to the understanding of English Literature

Journal Finder   back to top

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


Internet Resources:
General Sources back to top


Internet Shakespeare Editions [Department of English, University of Victoria]

Scholarly, fully annotated texts of Shakespeare's plays, multimedia explorations of the context of Shakespeare's life and works, and records of his plays in performance for the student, scholar, actor, and general reader.


Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet [Terry A. Gray]  
An annotated guide to the scholarly Shakespeare resources available on the Internet. This site also includes sections Life & Times, Educational “(lesson plans, lectures, etc.), Study Guides, Theatre (The Globe, the Players, Aspects of Elizabethan Theatre, Festivals, and Theatre Companies.)

Shakespeare Association of America

A non-profit, academic organization devoted to the study of William Shakespeare and his plays and poems, the cultural and theatrical milieu in which he lived and worked, and the various roles he has played in both Anglo-American and world culture ever since.

Voice of the Shuttle [Alan Liu]
English Literature by Period:
Renaissance & 17th Century
16th Century Renaissance English Literature (1485-1603)


Special Collections and Manuscripts   back to top

An archive of electronic texts searchable by author or title of work.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Jeremy Folger, MIT]

Shakespeare's plays and poetry on the Internet since 1993.

Folger Shakespeare Library [Washington, D.C.]

"Home to the world’s largest and finest collection of Shakespeare materials and to major collections of other rare Renaissance books, manuscripts, and works of art, the Folger serves a wide audience of researchers, visitors, teachers, students, families, and theater- and concert-goers." description from site The publisher of the Shakespeare Quarterly journal.

Project Gutenberg
Free access to over 36,000 eBooks:"heavily weighted toward literature in English published before 1923, and thus in the public domain, though it has expanded into dozens of languages and several formats including audio books, recorded music, sheet music, still pictures, and video. Project Gutenberg originally provided works in plain text only, but now has expanded into ePub, Kindle, and HTML formats that are compatible with smartphones and other portable reading devices."  Shakespeare titles available.

Representative Poetry Online [University of Toronto]
Poetry archive, including a number of electronic texts. Shakespeare poetry available in this collection.





Get Help   back to top
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