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English Literature


A concordance is a comprehensive index of the words used in a text or a body of texts. Ordinarily it will not only index but also cite all passages in which a given word occurs. It is therefore useful for locating a passage that you cannot otherwise find, for discovering similar passages, or for establishing the frequency with which particular words are used.

Concordances exist for the Bible, for major poets, and even for some prose works. Compendia of famous quotations, such as Bartlett's, also function as concordances. Concordances can be important research tools for assessing themes, recurrent literary ideas, devices and tropes, and so forth.

To find concordances, search Omni using a keyword search, e.g.

   concordances AND shakespeare

The following list is very selective one: 
Spevack, Marvin. A complete and systematic concordance to the works of Shakespeare. (1968-1980)
REF PR2892.S6
Oizumi, Akio. A Lexical Concordance to the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer
REF PR1941.L49 2003
Bedford, Emmett G. A Concordance to the Poems of Alexander Pope
REF PR3632.B4
Foltz, William Douglas. A Concordance to the Sermons of Gerard Manley Hopkins
PR4803.H44 Z627 1989
James Strong et al. New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
REF BS425.S8 1984
Kassis, Hanna E. A Concordance of the Qur'an
REF BP133.K37 1983

For a more complete list of religious concordances, go to the Religious Studies - Concordances subject guide.

The web abounds with texts that may be used in a fashion similar to concordances; simply use keywords and phrases to search the electronic text. You must consider the scholarly integrity of online texts as carefully as you would consider the merits of using different editions of the same text. Consult your professor, and ask: is the source of the web text documented properly?

The following websites furnish examples of reliable editions of online texts with concordance-like features:

Locke's "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding," (Indexed by Tze-wan Kwan and Chong-fuk Lau, Chinese University of Hong Kong)

The William Blake Archive (Edited by Morris Eaves, University of Rochester; Robert Essick, University of California, Riverside; and Joseph Viscomi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) allows searches of Blake's writings and images.


Use an index of quotations to check the accuracy or the origin of a familiar quotation. Use a subject search to find inspiring or provocative quotations on a particular topic, as a warm-up to writing an essay or giving a seminar.
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
REF PN6081.B2 (Stauffer and Education Library)
Provides keyword concordance and author indexes to quotations from literary works, sacred writing and other sources worldwide.
Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
Search for familiar quotations in English using keywords, exact phrases, author, and Boolean and pattern searches.
The Quote Sleuth: A Manual for the Tracer of Lost Quotations
REF PN6081.S44 1990
A guide to tracing unidentified, misidentified, modified, or mistranscribed quotations.

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