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ENG 273: American Novel

Fall 2008

This guide will help you find biographical and contextual information about your author. This guide contains many excellent resources, but it is not comprehensive. If you're not finding what you're looking for, don't hesitate to contact Jeff or stop by the reference desk.

Never underestimate the power of browsing - if you find a book on the shelf that is useful for your topic, look around at its neighbors. Books are arranged by subject, so chances are you'll find other books nearby that will also be useful!

Professor: Donald Scheese

Table of Contents:

Finding Books
  • MnPALS Plus

    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. Choose "All Libraries" in the search options to search other MnPALS libraries (such as Minnesota State schools) and request books through Interlibrary Loan. View our MnPALS Plus tutorial.
  • MnLink

    A shared catalog of Minnesota libraries, including the University of Minnesota. To search a large number of libraries at once, choose "Libraries - Academic" from the "Current Profile" list. Use the "Get it!" button to place Interlibrary Loan requests.
Reference Books
Reference books are helpful at a number of steps during your research. They define unfamiliar terms, give an overview of a topic, and often provide recommendations for further reading. The reference books listed below are all found on the main floor of the library.
  • Biographical Sources
    Use these reference books to find biographical information on your author.
  • American Literary Scholarship
    This annual publication surveys research in American literature and gives the reader a critical look at the trends in literary studies as well as citations to current research on writers and periods. There are sections specifically on some of the writers covered in this course. You can get a sense of changing critical reputations by sampling earlier volumes back to 1963.
    • Location(s): Ref PS 3 .A47
  • American National Biography
    Offers over 17,000 scholarly biographical sketches of significant Americans who died before 1996. The definitive source for American biography.
    • Location(s): Ref CT 213 .A68 1999 (24 vols + suppl)
  • American Women Writers
    Invaluable for identifying women writers. It provides biographical and literary background on each writer as well as good bibliographies of works by and about them. See also the excellent Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States (Ref PS 147 .O94 1995) which includes biographical entries, entries on works, and many thematic entries that make interesting connections and offer many leads for further research.
    • Location(s): Ref PS 147 .A4 (5 vols.)
  • American Writers
    This series gives lengthy analyses of the life and work of major American writers, arranged chronologically and with an alphabetical index. There are similar series for British writers (Ref PR 85 .B688), Latin American writers (Ref PQ 7081 .A1 L37 1989), Ancient writers: Greece and Rome (Ref PA 3002 .A5 1982) and European writers (Ref PN 43 .B65 1981) put out by the same publisher.
    • Location(s): Ref PS 129 .A55 (4 vols. + supp.)
  • Columbia Literary History of the United States
    The most recent in a series of standard literary histories, this work emphasizes contemporary approaches to literature and the rediscovery of literatures previously marginalized. Arrangement is thematic and chronological.
    • Location(s): Ref PS 92.C64 1987
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography
    This set provides lengthy articles of biographical information and some critical appraisal of literary works. The volumes are arranged thematically, with a cumulative index in the last volume. Though emphasis is on American and British literary authors, there is some coverage of journalists, historians, and critics, as well as writers from other countries.
    • Location(s): Ref PS 221 .A5
  • Contextual Sources
    These reference books will give you a glimpse of your author's historical context.
  • American Decades
    Presents social and cultural history in ten-year periods, covering the arts, business, fashion, law, medicine, religion, and more.
    • Location(s): Ref E 169.12 .A419 1994 (10 vols.)
  • Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History
    Provides in-depth articles on American thought and culture. Topics covered include historical approaches, cultural groups, major cultural regions, and political thought.
    • Location(s): Ref E 169 .E624 2001 (3 vols.)
  • Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century
    Covers major ideas and issues in American social, political, and military history with articles as specific as "The Chinese Exclusion Act" and as broad as "Domestic Life."
    • Location(s): Ref E 169.1 .E626 2001 (3 vols.)
  • Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century
    An ambitious survey of American cultural, social and intellectual history in broad articles arranged topically. Each essay/article is followed by a thorough and very useful bibliography for further research.
    • Location(s): Ref E740.7 .E53 1996 (4 vols.)
Finding Articles
If you have an article citation and can't find the full text in a database, use the Journal Locator to see if Gustavus owns a print copy of the article OR if it is available through another database. Be sure to search the Journal Locator with the title of the journal, not the article title.
  • Academic Search Premier,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=aph

    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.

    Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
  • MLA International Bibliography,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=mzh

    The major research resource for information on English literature, foreign languages and linguistics. Includes references to scholarly articles, books, book chapters, book reviews, and dissertations; coverage dates back to the 1920's.
  • Social Science Encyclopedia
    Covers controversies and common assumptions in the fields of social science, including anthropology, psychology, economics, sociology, political theory, and gender studies. Contributors are drawn from many disciplines and represent perspectives from the US, the UK and beyond.
    • Location(s): Ref H 41 .S63 2004
  • Making of America

    A digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. Includes the text of over 8.000 books and 50,000 journals.
Finding Images
In addition to the resources listed below, try browsing the books that cover American Literature (PS) American history (E - F) and art (N); check the Oversized section (third floor, southwest corner) for coffee-table books that include lots of images. Also try browsing the atlas cases (behind the Hasselquist Room) for historical atlases.
  • American Memory

    A database containing full text documents, spoken word and sound recordings, still and moving images, maps, and sheet music as a digital record of American history and creativity. From the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions.
  • Historical Maps

    From the University of Texas Perry-Castaneda library Map Collection, maps organized by region.
  • Map Collections

    This is the historical maps portion of the American Memory project from the Library of Congress
  • NYPL Digital Library

    NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 550,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.
Other Library Resources
  • Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library Subject Guide for English

    Resources in the library and online for research related to English literature. Includes a listing of subscribed print journals, book browsing tips, key print reference works, and recommended online databases and websites.
  • Documenting Your Sources

    Start here for help on citing sources.
  • Interlibrary Loan

    Use Interlibrary Loan to request books and articles that Gustavus doesn't own.

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