James H. Thomason Library

English 318 Course Guide : Medieval Drama

Reference Sources

Jean Fouquete. Hours of Etienne Chevalier: The Martyrdom of Saint Apollonia. ms. illumination, ca 1445. Repository: Musée Condé. Image source: ARTstor

  Print Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  Online Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  Companions, Handbooks
  Citation Style
Locating Books
  eBook Collections
  PASCAL catalog
  WorldCat & Interlibrary Loan
Locating Articles & Criticism
  Reference Sources & Criticism
  Journal Articles, Essays, Book Chapters
  Journal Finder
Course Reserves
  Print Reserves
  Electronic Documents
Internet Resources

Get Help

denotes recommended resource

Reference Sources    

Print Encyclopedias, Dictionaries

  back to top

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

British Writers Series. Scribner, c1979-1984.
Main Level, Reference: R 820.9 B777B [8 vols, 14 suppl.]

Also available online through Scribner Writer's Series

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

A Dictionary of Old English Plays, Existing Either in Print or in Manuscript, from the Earliest Times to the Close of the Seventeenth Century;  Including also Notices of Latin Plays Written by English Authors During the Same Period. James O. Halliwell. Anton W. van Bekhoven Pub., 1968.

Main Level, Reference:  R 016.822109 H157D

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

(13 volumes plus 1 supplement).

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. Andre Vauchez, editor. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000. Main Level, Reference: R 909.07 En19E  (2 vols.).

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

Main Level, Reference: R 942 M468M

Medieval France: An Encyclopedia. William W. Kibler ... [et al.], editors. Garland Pub., 1995.   

Main Level, Reference: R 944.003 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 literatures.
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.

Companions, Handbooks    

The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre.
edited by Richard Beadle.

Cambridge University Press, 1994   Circulating Collection, Lower Level:  792.09420902 C144C

(may be moved upstairs)

A Companion to the Medieval Theatre. Ronald W. Vince, editor.  Greenwood Press, 1989. Main Level, Reference: R 792.0902 C738C

The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Virginia Blain, Patricia Clements, Isobel Grundy. Yale University Press, 1990.  Main Level, Reference:  R 820.90003 B573F

The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Dinah Birch, editor. 7th ed., 2009. Oxford U. Press. Oxford Reference Online.

Biography   back to top

Authors of the Middle Ages. Volume III, nos. 7-11, English Writers of the Middle Ages. M. C. Seymour, general editor. Variorum, 1996.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection:  809.02 Au81A v.3

The Female Dramatist: Profiles of Women Playwrights from the Middle Ages to Contemporary Times. Elaine T. Partnow and Lesley Anne Hyatt. Facts On File, c1998. 

Main Level, Reference:  R 809.2082 P258F

Gale Biography in Context
Biography in Context includes biographies from Gale reference books and full-text articles from hundreds of periodicals. Sources include Encyclopedia of World Biography, and International Dictionary of Theatre. Search for people by name or personal facts [birth and death year, nationality, ethnicity, occupation or gender] or combine criteria to create a highly-targeted custom search.

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.

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 Reference:
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   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:              
     Skelton, John [as AUTHOR]
     Skelton, John [as SUBJECT]
      Skelton, John, 1460?-1529. Magnyfycence   [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:

English drama -- To 1500 -- History and criticism

  Mysteries and miracle-plays, English -- History and criticism
Drama, Medieval -- History and criticism
  English drama -- Middle English, 1100-1500 -- History and criticism
Theater -- Europe -- History -- Medieval, 500-1500
  Literature, Medieval
  Literature, Medieval -- Themes, motives
  Christian drama, English (Middle) -- History and criticism
  Symbolism in Literature
  England -- Social conditions -- 1066-1485
  Christian drama, Latin (Medieval and modern) -- History and criticism
Liturgical drama -- History and criticism

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:
drama* = drama, dramas, dramatic, dramatist, etc.

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
AND drama

Justice* AND  morality play*

· Use OR between words to expand your search and
group words with parentheses:
AND (drama* OR  play*)

Try KEYWORD searching with ThomCat, other library catalogs

and the library's journal databases.

eBook Collections    

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

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 (ILL) 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. Check link for instructions.

Locating Articles & Criticism   back to top
Reference Sources & Criticism  

Literature Resource Center [Thomson Gale]
Search the online version of several library reference series as well as titles in Scribner Writers 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

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.

Your search results in the Library's article databases contain many direct links

(in pdf or html format) to article full-text as well as links to "Check Journal Finder" for available issues.


Example of an article citation:

Coletti, Theresa. "The Chester Cycle in Sixteenth-Century Religious Culture." Journal of Medieval & Early Modern Studies 37.3 (2007): 531-547.

If you have a citation and are trying to find the article, click the Journal Finder link below and follow these steps to determine whether full-text is available for the article you need:
  • Note the date of the journal issue you need before following Journal Finder link.
  • Default search is Journals by Title in Full Text. Type the title of the journal or magazine in the empty box below (example:Philological Quarterly).
  • You may need to select your title from the results. Click on the title you seek.
  • Results for your title include up to three categories: Full Text Resources in your library (in print), Full Text Resources Online, and Indexing Only (not full text).
  • Note the "dates available" in a Full Text category. Click on a database that covers the date you need.
  • 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.
Course Reserves/Secondary Readings   back to top

Course Reserves in print format are located behind the Circulation Desk. 
These items are usually
for library use only, and
must be checked out for use within the building.


Reserve items listed under "Electronic Documents" are accessible from

both on-and off-campus locations.

 Print Reserves    

Beadle, Richard. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre. Cambridge [England]; New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk

Bevington, David M. From Mankind to Marlowe; Growth of Structure in the Popular Drama of Tudor England. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1962.  Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk

Bevington, David M. "The Corpus Christi Cycle." Medieval Drama. Houghton Mifflin, 1975.

Hardison, O.B. Christian Rite and Christian Drama in the Middle Ages: Essays in the origin and Early History of  Modern Drama. Johns Hopkins Press, 1965.
Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk.

The Drama of the Middle Ages : Comparative and Critical Essays
. Clifford Davidson, C.J. Gianakaris, and John H. Stroupe, editors. AMS Press, 1982.
Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk

Kolve, V.A.
The Play Called Corpus Christi. Stanford U. Press, 1966. Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk.

The Medieval Drama. Sandro Sticca, editor. SUNY Press, 1972. Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk.

Medieval English Drama: Essays Critical and Contextual. Jerome Taylor and Alan H. Nelson, editors. U.of Chicago Press, 1972. Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk.

Nelson, Allen H. The Medieval English Stage: Corpus Christi Pageants and Plays. U. of Chicago Press, 1974. Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk.

Potter, Robert A. The English Morality Play : Origins, History, and Influence of a Dramatic Tradition. Routledge & K. Paul, 1975. Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk.

Spinrad, Phoebe S. The Summons of Death on the Medieval and Renaissance English Stage. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1987.
Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk..

Wickham, Glynne. A History of the Theatre. Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Reserve Shelf, Circulation Desk.

Woolf, Rosemary. The English Mystery Plays. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972.
Reserve Shelf, Circulation DeskPalmer, Barbara D. "Recycling 'The Wakefield Cycle': The Records." Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama 41 (2002), 88-130. Palmer, Barbara D. "' 'Towneley Plays' or 'Wakefield Cycle' Revisited." Comparative Drama. 21 (4) Winter 1987-1988: 318-48.

Electronic Documents    

Johnston, Alexandra F. "The Feast of Corpus Christi in the West Country." Early Theatre (2003): 15+.   Academic OneFile database.

Kroll, Norma, "Power and Conflict in Medieval Ritual and Plays: The Re-Invention of Drama." Studies in Philology 102.4 (2005): 452-83. 

Epp, Garrett P. J. "Towneley: Recycled Plays.", posted January 8, 2002.

Internet Resources   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.

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

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

Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature   [Anniina Jokinen]

Luminarium’s Medieval Drama section

Alan Baragona’s site (VMI)

Miscellaneous Sites

  • Gloria Betcher’s Then and Now--What we thought we knew about medieval drama in 1951 versus what we think we know now
  • Voice of the Shuttle’s Medieval Drama--Links for General Resources, Primary Texts, Pedagogy, and Relevant Online Journals


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

Teresa Inman 833-8313
Dan Lee 833-8437


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