Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Comparative Literature: Getting Started


This guide will introduce you to major resources in comparative literature. My contact information is at the right; please get in touch with questions or for research help.

Main Library stacks

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism: Extensive essays on major critics, movements, and schools of thought.

A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory and Key Terms in Literary Theory: Two dictionaries with concise explanations of theory and terminology.

Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: The 4th edition of the standard reference source on poetic terms, forms, genres, movements, and national literatures. Does not include entries on poets or their works, although they may be covered in related entries.

Literary Reference Center: Includes the Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature, Continuum History of British Literature, and more.

The Literary Encyclopedia: A new dictionary with essays on authors worldwide; new authors are being added regularly.

Literature Resource Center: Contains several major biographical dictionaries, including The Dictionary of Literary Biography, Contemporary Authors, and the Twayne's Author Series.

Studying for comprehensive examinations or need an overview of literature from a certain country, time period, or movement? Try the Cambridge companions or Oxford handbooks or companions to literature.

Annual Surveys of Scholarship

These three sources summarize and evaluate what they consider the major articles and books published during a given year. Coverage generally lags about about two years, meaning the 2013 volume will cover 2011 publications.

Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory: Annual set of essays reviewing the year's scholarly publishing in major critical schools and theories.

Year's Work in English Studies: Annual set of essays surveying the state of scholarship on literatures in English and English language studies. Publication always lags about three years.

American Literary Scholarship: Annual set of essays reviewing the published scholarship during that year; covers works on American authors, genres, periods, and themes.

Your Librarian

Kristin Nielsen's picture
Kristin Nielsen
Main Library Research & Instruction Department

Chat with a Librarian