University of Hartford Libraries

English Subject Guide


General Resources

The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style
Authoritative survey of English usage, grammar, and style.

Brewer's Curious Titles
The fascinating story behind a number of titles in print.

The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English
Coverage of novelists, poets, playwrights, and their works embraces both the established classics of English literature and a wealth of contemporary figures from all over the English-speaking world.

The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English
The book reflects the spread of literacy, the history of colonization and the development of post-colonial cultures using and changing the English language.

Critical Terms for Literary Study
Exploring the concepts that shape the way we read, the essays combine to provide an extraordinary introduction to the work of literature and literary study, as the nation's most distinguished scholars put the tools of critical practice vividly to use.

Divided by a Common Language
Explains differences in pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary between British and American English.

Elements of Style by William Strunk
Online version of the original text of Elements of Style. Click "Check Status" for access.

Feminism in Literature: A Gale Critical Companion
Topics covered include misogyny and women's social roles in ancient civilizations, 16th-century women's devotional literature, 17th- and 18th-century women's captivity narratives, the women's suffrage movement in 19th-century America, women writers of the "Lost Generation," lesbian literature, and much more.

Good Word Guide
Modern communications are breaking down distinctions between formal and informal English, raising ever more questions as to how to speak and write correctly.

Gothic Literature
Spans all facets of gothic literature, including visual and performing arts, society and culture, themes, and settings. Includes primary source documents and critical material to provide a contextual perspective, a related chronology of key events, full-text commentaries, and lists of further readings.

History of Feminist Literary Criticism
Offers a comprehensive guide to the history and development of feminist literary criticism and a lively reassessment of the main issues and authors in the field.

History of South African Literature
A critical study of South African literature, from colonial and pre-colonial times onwards.

How We Talk: American Regional English Today
Essays on Modern American usage of the English Language.

Nonfiction Classics for Students
Provides critical overviews on the most frequently studied nonfiction essays, books, biographies, and memoirs. Includes discussions of literary format, themes, and structure.

Palgrave Guide to English Literature and its Contexts, 1500-2000
Guide to the historical and cultural context of English literature covers the core periods of literature, and history, from the English Renaissance to the present.

Shakespeare for Students
Each entry includes an introduction; a plot synopsis; a character list; a discussion of the work's principal themes; information about the style and literary devices used; a conversation about the work's historical context; and a critical overview.

Word Histories and Mysteries
Historical look at the use and origin of English words and phrases.

Word origins : the hidden histories of English words from A to Z
Uncovers the often surprising connections between elements of the English lexicon that have become obscured by centuries of language change.

Writers Directory
Features bibliographical, biographical and contact information for living authors worldwide who have at least one English publication. Entries include name, pseudonyms, addresses, citizenship, birth date, specialization, career information and a bibliography.


Biographical Dictionary of Transcendentalism
This is a comprehensive guide to the major and minor figures who shaped Transcendentalism in New England, particularly between 1830 and the Civil War.


The American Heritage Abbreviations Dictionary
Definition for abbreviations across disciplines.

American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The largest collection of idioms and popular phrases available today.

The Bloomsbury Dictionary of English Literature
The Bloomsbury Dictionary of English Literature presents a multiplicity of authors, texts and themes gathered together into one authoritative source.

Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable
Phrase and fable dictionary for the 21st century.

The Browser's Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases
Practical and browsable A-to-Z reference tells you all you need to know to understand, pronounce and appreciate the many foreign words and phrases commonly used by speakers and writers of English.

Chambers Dictionary of Eponyms
Find the origin of words that derive from a person from history.

Chambers Dictionary of Literary Characters
Provides an invaluable guide to the wealth of characters created by writers in English.

The Devil's Dictionary
Opinionated compilation of phrases and words in its original 1921 publication by Ambrose Bierce.

Dictionary of Contemporary Slang
Guide to the use of slang today.

Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Abbreviations
Lists in one alphabetical sequence foreign phrases, proverbs, maxims and abbreviations frequently used in written and spoken English.

A Dictionary of Literary Symbols
Based on literature, rather than "universal" psychological archetypes, myths, or esoterica. Also in print in Mortensen Library Shelves [PN56.S9 F47 1999].

OED Online (Oxford English Dictionary)
Search the definitive dictionary of the English language, complete and continuously updated. Provides definitions, etymology, and history of usage with examples over time. UofH users only. Full text. Click "Check Status" for access.

The Penguin Rhyming Dictionary
Offers an astonishingly wide range of suggestions for rhyming words, from the common and everyday to the more difficult and obscure.

Rawson's Dictionary of Euphemisms and Other Doubletalk
Useful dictionary of English Usage for idiomatic words and phrases.

Rawson's Wicked Words
Study of the use of words and phrases as pertaining to put-downs or insults.


All things Chaucer an encyclopedia of Chaucer's world
Written for students and general readers, this book includes numerous alphabetically arranged entries, from Abigail to Ypres, on items mentioned in all of his works and references the items to his writings

Concise Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature
Comprehensive resource on Latin American Literature.

The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia of Modern Criticism and Theory
Comprehensive guide to the history and development of criticism in the humanities.

Encyclopedia of Life Writing: Autobiographical and Biographical Forms
Encyclopedia explores not only autobiography and biography proper, but also letters, diaries, memoirs, family histories, case histories, and other ways in which individual lives have been recorded and structured.

Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics - Princeton
Comprehensive reference work dealing with all aspects of its subject: history, types, movements, prosody, and critical terminology. Prepared by recognized authorities, its articles treat their topics in sufficient depth and with enough lucidity to satisfy the scholar and the general reader alike.

Encyclopedia of Postmodernism
Comprehensive and authoritative coverage of academic disciplines, critical terms and central figures relating to the vast field of postmodern studies.

Encyclopedia of Women's Autobiography
This encyclopedia overviews women autobiographers and autobiography from the Middle Ages to the present.

Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work
This comprehensive scholarly work presents a broad spectrum of voices remembering, interpreting, and reinterpreting one of the twentieth century's most politically and emotionally charged events.


Academic Search Premier
Indexing and abstracts for over 8,000 journals in all subject areas, with full text of articles from nearly 4,600. Includes some popular magazines as well as scholarly journals.

African Women's Bibliographic Database
English-language database contained over 35,000 citations from 1986 onward. The database indexes six types of materials: books and government documents; articles appearing in edited books; periodical and journal articles; Masters theses and Ph.D. dissertations as well as a few B.A. theses and honors papers; conference papers; and videocassettes.

Africana Periodical Literature Bibliographic Database
English-language database had indexed over 60,000 articles from over 500 English-language and multilingual journals and periodicals that specialize in African Studies or consistently cover the African continent.

Black Literature Index
Years Covered: 1927-1940
Electronic index to the Black Literature microfiche collection. This index allows users to search over 70,000 bibliographic citations for fiction, poetry and literary reviews published in 110 black periodicals and newspapers between 1827 and 1940.

Dictionary of Literary Biography
Lengthy, full text biographical and critical essays on world literary figures from all eras and genres. Limited number of simultaneous users. Be sure to close when finished searching.

Essay & General Literature Index with Retrospective
Years Covered: 1900-
Essay & General Literature offers access to tens of thousands of essays that are otherwise all but inaccessible. This resource also unlocks a wealth of information in thousands of collections and anthologies, making your library more valuable to researchers in a wide array of fields.

European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750
This new bibliographic database is a valuable index for libraries, scholars and individuals interested in European works that relate to the Americas. EBSCO Publishing, in cooperation with the John Carter Brown Library, has created this resource from “European Americana: A Chronological Guide to Works Printed In Europe Relating to The Americas, 1493-1750,” the authoritative bibliography that is well-known and respected by scholars worldwide. The database contains more than 32,000 entries and is a comprehensive guide to printed records about the Americas written in Europe before 1750.

Film & Television Literature Index
Bibliographic database covering all aspects of film and television theory, preservation, writing, production, technical aspects, and reviews. Abstracts with selected full text.

FindArticles (Look Smart)
Searches for articles in approximately 900 magazines and journals. Emphasis on trade publications. Text only - no graphic content available. Some articles available to subscribers or for a fee only.

Google Book Search (beta)
Search full text of books. Display page images of those in the public domain or provided by publishers; summaries of those covered by copyright. Books of interest may also be borrowed by UH students, faculty or staff through InterLibrary Loan.

Google Scholar
Search for scholarly literature across disciplines and sources. Includes peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, etc. Particularly strong in sciences and social sciences. Selected full text. Many links are to publisher's sites which sell access. ON Campus - links to U of H holdings are available. OFF Campus - U of H users should check our holdings and use Interlibrary Services as needed.

Humanities Abstracts
Strong resource index for all aspects of the Humanities including: Archaeology, Area Studies, Art, Classical Studies, Communications, Dance, Film, Folklore, Gender Studies, History, Journalism, Linguistics, Literary & Social Criticism Literature, Music, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Religion and Theology

JSTOR Arts and Sciences
Searchable full text of articles from selected scholarly journals in fields including area studies, anthropology, ecology, economics, education, history, language and literature, mathematics, philosophy, political sciences, sociology and statistics. No current issues available. Historical coverage varies, but database includes some titles from before 1950.

Literature Criticism Online
Extensive compilation of literary commentary available.

Literature Resource Center
Biographies, bibliographies and critical analysis of more than 90,000 authors, poets, journalists and other writers. Search by name, title, genre, literary movement or literary theme. Provides access to essays in the literary themes. Made available by, the Connecticut Digital Library. Selected full text available.

MLA Bibliography
International index of books and journals. Covers modern languages, literature, linguistics, and folklore. For information about the periodicals included, consult the MLA Directory of Periodicals.

OED Online (Oxford English Dictionary)
Search the definitive dictionary of the English language, complete and continuously updated. Provides definitions, etymology, and history of usage with examples over time. UofH users only. Full text.

Paris Review: Interview Archive
A complete index of every interview ever published, searchable by author and by date - as well as a substantial sampling of the archive's finest interviews, posted in their entirety.

World Shakespeare Bibliography
Annotated bibliography of scholarly and popular materials on Shakespeare.


American Memory Project (Library of Congress)
Superb collection of American historical links, plus prints, photographic images, and other excellent graphics.

Search for websites, images and other information for Art, Science and Humanities

Directory of Digitized Collections (UNESCO)
Catalog of digitized heritage collections -- literature, art, history, etc - around the world. Keyword search or browse.

The Elements of Style (Bartleby)
Full text of William Strunk's classic guide to proper usage.

Internet Classics Library
Classical literature, primarily Greco-Roman, in 19th Century English translations.

National Endowment for the Humanities
NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans
History, use, and meanings of thousands of Western signs and symbols. Graphic and word indexes. Based on Carl G. Luingman's Thought Signs.

UCLA E-Resources
Selected internet Sources on various academic topics. A most comprehensive and thoughtfully organized collection of links.

Voice of the Shuttle
Extensive links to every variety of Web site in the humanities, law, political science, anthropology, business and media studies.

Voice of the Shuttle: Literature (in English)
Links to everything literary: author biographies, interviews, full-text works, reviews, critical essays, teaching resources.

Voices from the Gaps (University of Minnesota)
Biographical and bibliographical articles on women writers of color from throughout the US. Searchable in several ways including by ethnic/racial identity.

WWW Virtual Library
Distributed subject catalog. Megasite, constantly updated.

The web version of this document can be found online at