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English Literature


 Search Omni, the library catalogue, to find literary works, books about literary works and authors (e.g. books of criticism, biographies, bibliographies, concordances, literary glossaries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias). 

Subject Headings vs Keyword Searching

Subject headings allow you to search Omni 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.   

Consider these search methods to find literary criticism in Omni.

To find critical writings about an author's works, search Omni by subject heading

dickens charles

A variety of subject subdivisions can be used with an author.  For example try these subject heading searches:

Dickens Charles  1812 1870
Dickens Charles  1812 1870--Bibliography
Dickens Charles, 1812-1870--Characters
Dickens Charles, 1812-1870--Criticism and interpretation

Note that when referring to specific people, subject headings often include birth and death dates. So you will need to identify the dates first before doing a subheading search.

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

To find criticisms on a specific work (e.g. Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner), seach Omni by keyword:

coleridge AND "rime of the ancient mariner" AND criticism

or, search by subject heading (Coleridge) and also with sub-headings:

Coleridge Samuel
Coleridge Samuel 1772-1834 Criticism and interpretation
Coleridge Samuel 1772-1834 Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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:

         english literature 18th century
         american literature 19th century
         women in literature
         pastoral poetry
         literature and society

Another approach is to use keyword searching in order to search a specifc topic. For example:

women AND "english literature" AND history
prostitutes AND victorian AND literature
british AND novel
dickens AND gender

Note the limiters on the left side - articles, books & ebooks

When searching for information, use multiple search strategies to account for variations in language, terminology, spelling, etc. 

To find works on specific movements or groups of writers, try a keyword search:

"Bloomsbury group"
"lake poets"

To find biographies of an author, do a subject heading search for the author as well as books with the subdivision "biography":

Chaucer, Geoffrey d. 1400  Biography

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

Subject Headings

Individual Literary Authors
Last name, First name
Hardy Thomas
Poe Edgar Allan

Literary Works by Author
Last name, First name + work
Austen Jane 1775-1817. Pride and Prejudice
Shakespeare William 1564-1616. King Lear

and can be subdivided by format or topic:

Shakespeare William 1564-1616 King Lear Criticism and interpretation
Shakespeare William 1564-1616 King Lear Sources

Literary Works by Title
For anonymous works, search by title
Gawain and the Green Knight

These headings can be further sub-divided by format or topic: criticism and interpretation; criticism, textual; history and criticism; influence; sources; study and teaching; translations....

Name/Topic/Theme in Literature
Name... + in literature
Literature + theme
Theme + and literature

Colonies in literature
India in literature
Melancholy in literature
Philosophy in literature
Slavery in literature
War in literature
Women in literature
Literature Psychology
Literature and folklore
Literature and history
Literature and morals
Christianity and literature
Politics and literature

Literatures by Region or Genre
American fiction
Canadian literature
English drama
English poetry
English prose literature

These headings can be further sub-divided by format, time period, or topic. For example:

American fiction 19th century Film adaptions 
Canadian drama (English) 21st century History and criticism
English literature Middle English 1100-1500 Manuscripts
English poetry 19th century Periodicals

Authors by Nationality
Authors + nationality
Types of Authors + nationality
Authors, American
Authors, English
Dramatists, English
Novelists, American
Poets, Canadian
Women authors, English

Interpreting Novels, etc.

Books and reading English speaking countries
Canadian poetry History and criticism
Discourse analysis Literary
English fiction History and criticism Theory
Fiction Technique
Poetry Explication