James H. Thomason Library


English 420: The American Journey

Background Information Sources

Dorothea Lange (photographer). Homeless family, tenant farmers. From: An American Exodus, by Lange and Paul Schuster.
Images source: ARTstor Image Database.

  Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  Handbooks & Companions
  Literary Criticism Collections
  Biographical Sources
  Writing Guides
Locating Books
  Reserve Items for ENGL420
  THOMCAT (Thomason Library Catalog)
  eBook Collections
  Search Tips
  PASCAL Delivers
  WorldCat & I.L.L.
Locating Articles
  Journal Article Databases
  Journal Finder
Locating Images
Internet Sources
   Get Help

denotes recommended resource

Background Information Sources  
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries back to top

The Jobn Steinbeck Encyclopedia

Brian E. Railsback and Michael J. Meyer, editors.

Greenwood Press. 2006. [EBSCO eBook Academic Collection]          





Encyclopedia of the Great Depression. Robert S. McElvaine, editor. Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.

Main Level, Reference: R 973.916 En19E [2 vols]

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 vol.]

RIGHT:  Henry Fonda att the bedside of Shirley Mill and Jane Darwell in  a scene from the film The Grapes of Wrath.  Image source: St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture.



Historical Dictionary of the Great Depression, 1929-1940

Olson, James Stuart. Greenwood Press. 2001.

EBSCO eBook Academic Collection.

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.


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.

A Companion to The Grapes of Wrath.
Warren G. French
. Viking Press [1963],  

Upper Level: 813.52 F889C

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. 4 volumes,  plus supplements. Scribner [c1974]. 

Main Level, Reference: R 810.9 Am35A

Critical Survey of Long Fiction.  English Language Series.  Frank N. Magill. editor. 8 volumes plus 1 supplement.   

Main Level, Reference:  R 809.3 M272C

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

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.

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
Reserve Items for ENGL 420 (Thompson)  

Click here for a list of books and videos on Reserve for this class.

Reserve items are available at the Circulation Desk, and are usually for in-library use only.

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:              
  Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968

  [as AUTHOR]

  Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968   [as SUBJECT]
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings.
    The terms below are examples of subject headings related to Grapes of Wrath.


       Travel in literature

       Depressions -- 1929 -- United States

     American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism
       Quests (Expeditions) in literature.  (in PASCAL catalog)

  • KEYWORD searching --- use 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. To search for an exact phrase, use "quotation marks" around the phrase.

  • 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 and

expand a term:
= travel, travels, traveler, travelers, etc.

altruis* = altruism, altruistic, etc.

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

travel* OR journey*kinship OR family

worker* OR laborer*

Use AND between words to NARROW your search:
workers AND

dust bowl AND farm*

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

great depression AND (homeless* OR indigent)


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



ebrary [ProQuest]

Collection of over 70,000 ebooks, covering a variety of disciplines.

COVER: On the Dirty Plate Trail : Remembering the Dust Bowl Refugee Camps Sanora Babb, with photos by Dorothy Babb.



EBSCO eBook Academic Collection

Collection of over 80,000 ebooks, covering a variety of disciplines.

Cover: John SteinbeckL The Years of Greatness, 1936-1939.

Cover: Labor and Workplace Issues in Literature. Claudia D. Johnson. 2006. SEE CHAPTER7:  John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.


EBSCO eBook Collection

Collection of over 11,000 ebooks, covering a variety of disciplines.  Over 8,000 of the titles have been published since 2005.

COVER: A Journey Into Steinbeck's California. Susan Shillinglaw. Roaring Forties Press. 2006 (EBSCO eBook Academic  Collection).


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. Check link for instructions.

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


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.

NOTE: Online access to the journal Steinbeck Quarterly is available from Ball State University's Digital Media Repository.

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.

Locating Images  


Initiated at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the ARTstor Digital Library is 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.  These source collections include The Carnegie Arts of the U. S., The Huntington Archive of Asian Art, The Illustrated Bartsch, The Mellon International Dunhuang Archive, and The Museum of Modern Art (New York) Architecture and Design Collection. ARTstor provides a wide range of visual materials for educational and scholarly use, and broader access to images of important art, architecture, design and archeological objects.

A Journey Into Steinbeck's California. Susan Shillinglaw. Roaring Forties Press. 2006 (EBSCO eBook Academic  Collection).

Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives


ABOVE LEFT: Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California. (Alternate title:"Migrant Mother") Dorothea Lange, photographer. 1936.

ABOVE RIGHT: Water supply, American River camp, California, San Joaquin Valley. Dorothea Lange, photographer, 1936.


Internet Sources:     back to top

Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies
Links include "Photoessay on the Great Depression," audio files from NPR, and other resources.

Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath: Bitter Fruit of the Depression
An exhibition of the Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library.

Understanding The Grapes of Wrath: A Research Guide for Students


º John Steinbeck, 1902-1968 - Author of The Grapes of Wrath
º Analysis, Critique, Reviews, and General Resources on The Grapes of Wrath
º Study Guides on The Grapes of Wrath
º Lesson Plans and Webquests on The Grapes of Wrath
º Movies, Videos, Images, Music Sites on The Grapes of Wrath
º Dust Bowl of the 1930s
º Miscellaneous Topics on The Grapes of Wrath
º Links to other The Grapes of Wrath Web Sites

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 appointments/research consultations also available.
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