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Overview of English language and literature

Use this guide to perform background research to refine a research topic, confirm terminology, and get a general understanding before finding books and articles to support a research project.

Getting started with academic research | Overview of English language and literature | Recommended databases | American literature | British literature | Children's literature

  • English Language encyclopedias from Oxford Reference Online

        Oxford Reference
    This resource is restricted to Virginia Tech users only Sponsored by VIVA, the Virtual Library of Virginia Contents of this resource available through Summon database provides Get VText links

    English Language Encyclopedias from Oxford Reference Online

    Search or browse across nine subject encyclopedias and dictionaries with over 120,000 entries. References are linked via Get VText.  

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  • Literature encyclopedias from Oxford Reference Online

        Oxford Reference
    This resource is restricted to Virginia Tech users only Sponsored by VIVA, the Virtual Library of Virginia Contents of this resource available through Summon database provides Get VText links

    Literature encyclopedias from Oxford Reference Online

    Search or browse across 18 subject encyclopedias and dictionaries with over 42,000 entries. References are linked via Get VText.

    Full record

  • Oxford English Dictionary

        Oxford English Dictionary new edition
    This resource is restricted to Virginia Tech users only Sponsored by VIVA, the Virtual Library of Virginia database provides Get VText links

    Oxford English Dictionary

    Browse or search over 600,000 words showing meanings, history, and pronunciations from across the English-speaking world. As a historical dictionary, the OED is very different from those of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings. You'll still find these in the OED, but you'll also find the history of individual words, and of the language—traced through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to films scripts and cookery books. You can also explore a timeline of when words entered the English language and the many works that have act as sources for the OED.   

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  • Gale's Literary Index

        Gale Literary Index
    This resource is freely accessible Screencast tutorials available for this resource

    Gale's Literary Index

    Gale's Literary Index is a master index to entries on authors and works from over 130 reference works published by Gale. You can search an author's name or a work's title to see which reference works contain entries on this item. Basic biographical information is provided for authors, and basic bibliographical information for titles. Search Addison on the title of the reference work to determine local access: in print or online.

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  • Shakespeare Survey Online from Cambridge

        Cambridge Collections Online
    This resource is restricted to Virginia Tech users only Contents of this resource available through Summon

    Shakespeare Survey Online from Cambridge

    Shakespeare Survey is a yearbook of Shakespeare studies and production. Each volume is devoted to a theme, or play, or group of plays; each also contains a section of reviews of that year's textual and critical studies, and of the year's major British performances. Each chapter can be downloaded as a PDF. The books are illustrated with a variety of Shakespearean images and production photographs. 1948-present.

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  • Jennifer Nardine
  • College Librarian for Performing Arts, Foreign Languages, English, and Religion & Culture
  • (540) 231-4073
  • jnardine@vt.edu
  • 3007 Newman Library
    560 Drillfield Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061

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freely accessible database Freely accessible database, available to anyone without restriction
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get VText Resource provides Get VText links to access full text.
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get VText Resource provides self archiving opportunities and open access documents.