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Medieval Drama: the York and Towneley Cycles

Searching the Library Catalogue

Search the library catalogue, QCAT, to find books of criticism, biographies, bibliographies, concordances, literary glossaries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias on literary works.  

Subject Headings vs Keyword Searching

Subject headings allow you to search the library catalogue for resources on a particular author or topic and are often more productive than keyword searches. 

Keyword searches work best if you have multiple concepts or topics. Use the results to find relevant titles and identify assigned subject headings for your topic in order to find similar books. 

To find critical writings about a specific work, you can search QCAT by either keyword or subject heading. For example:

To find criticisms on a specific work, search QCAT by keyword:

     "miracle plays" and criticism

or, search by subject heading (Tolkien) and look at hits retrieved under the subject heading and specific subdivisions.

    Mysteries and miracle plays  
    Mysteries and miracle plays, English 
    Mysteries and miracle plays, English--England--York--History and criticism 

To find books concerning a particular mode or genre in a particular language or period, search the mode or genre by subject heading. This will give you a list of more specific subject headings from which you can choose. Some examples include:

     Christian literature
     Civilization, Medieval in literature
     Drama, Medieval
     English drama--Medieval   
     English drama--To 1500  
     English language--Middle English, 1100-1500
     English literature--Middle English, 1100-1500
     English literature--Middle English,1100-1500--Criticism, Textual            
     English literature--Old English, 1100-1500--History and criticism
     Medieval literature    

Other useful subheadings:

    Apocalyptic literature
    Bible in literature
    Bible plays, English
    Christian drama, English (Middle)
    Christian literature
    Festivals-England--History--To 1500
    Liturgical drama
    Mysteries and miracle plays, English
    Religious drama, English
    Theater--England--History--Medieval, 500-1500
    Theater and society--England
    Theater audiences--England
    Towneley plays
    York plays    

Once you have found call numbers for a few promising books, go to the stacks, where you will find other related titles.

More Subject Headings

Selected subject headings for an overview of the historical period include:

Fifteenth century
Sixteenth century
Great Britain--History--Medieval
      period, 1066-1485
Great Britain--History--1066-1687
Great Britain--Social life and customs--
     16th century 
Social history--Sixteenth century             

Browsing the Library Shelves

Browsing the library shelves is another strategy for locating information on a topic.

Most books related to Medieval literature and drama are located in the call number ranges PR15803-2165 and PR641-644 on the 4th floor of Stauffer Library.