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English Literature: Historical Sources

Historical Books

See the Books & Texts tab for digitized historical books.

Digitized Archives

Adam Matthew Explorer: Primary source collections from Adam Matthew Digital, spanning the 15th-21st centuries and including collections like Eighteenth-Century Drama, Eighteenth-Century Journals, Literary Manuscripts (17th-19th centuries), Shakespeare Prompt Books, Shakespeare's Globe Archive, and other publishing and historical sets.

Stuart and Cumberland Papers: Papers digitized from the Royal Archives, Windsor Castle (State Papers Online).

Historical Article Databases

Periodicals Index Online: An index to literary and scholarly British and American periodicals from the 18th-21st centuries. Since you're searching the tables of contents as they originally appeared, keep your searches simple and use the language of the time period.

Eight Centuries (formerly Poole's Plus / 19th-Century Masterfile), 1786-1922: Another index to British and American periodicals with a focus on popular magazines

Times Digital Archive, 1785-2012: Full text of the Times of London

Burney Newspapers Collection: Newspaper collection from the British Library covering the 17th-18th centuries.

Nichols Newspapers Collection: Newspaper collection from the Bodleian Library covering 1672-1737.

Historical Book Reviews

Use these indexes to trace the critical reception of a work. The databases above also include book reviews.

Gale Literature Criticism: Reprints of reviews and critical essays in chronological order. Look for the set covering the time period that your book was published:

  • Literature Criticism from 1400-1800 (Main Reference PN86 .L53)
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism (Main Reference PN761 .N5)
  • Twentieth-Century Literature Criticism (Main Reference PN94 .T93)
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism (Main Reference PN771 .C59)

Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Humanities Journals, 1802-1974 (Main Reference Z1035.A1B640): Author and title access to about 500,000 book reviews that appeared in humanities journals.

Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals, 1886-1974 (Main Reference Z1035.A1C60): Author and title access to over one million book reviews which appeared in journals in the social sciences.

Index to Book Reviews in England, 1749-1800 (Main Reference Z1035 .A1 F67 1990 and Z1035 .A1 F675 1997): An index to reviews of Romantic-era books.

Literary Reviews in British Periodicals, 1789-1826 (Main Reference Z2013 ..W36, 3 volumes): An index to reviews of literary works by British authors.

Book Review Digest, 1905-2008 (Main Reference Z1219 .B724): An index to reviews of fiction and nonfiction works published in U.S. and U.K. periodicals. To be included, a book must have been published or distributed in the U.S.

Book Review Index, 1965-2008 (Main Reference Z1219 .B725): An index to reviews in the mainstream press of fiction and nonfiction books.

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Sheila Devaney
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