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Reference Sources

When researching a new topic it is often necessary to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of English Literature. To find additional reference materials, check in UNB WorldCat (the library catalogue), explore Encyclopedias, etc on the library website, or try our Guide to Finding Reference Materials

Key Resources

  • Dictionary of the Middle Ages [HIL-REF D114 .D5 1982 vols. 1-13]

    Interim Index available.

  • Encyclopedia of the medieval world [HIL-REF D114 .E55 2005 vols. 1-2]

    High school and undergraduate students as well as general readers will find this two-volume reference a useful starting point to their study of the medieval era in Europe and the Mediterranean. The entries are detailed, providing lengthy treatment of the life of the figure, or the era, noting the significant political events and people. The entries are cross referenced and conclude with a bibliography of scholarly sources. Care has been taken to include essential figures and concepts of Islam. A selection of entry topics--including Edessa, Eleanor of Aquitaine, eschatology, al- Farabi, furs and fur trade, al-Fustat, heaven, pallium, parasites, and Theophano--demonstrates the range of subjects. English teaches history at the U. of California, Santa Barbara. Annotation #169;2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages
    Consists of articles on all aspects of the period from the fifth to the fifteenth century, exploring art, architecture, religion, law, science, language, philosophy, and theology, as well as cultural, religious, intellectual, social and political history. With a focus on focus on Europe and Christendom, the Encyclopedia also covers the rise of Islam and people of other cultures with whom Europeans came into contact.
  • Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, The
    "The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages is an essential new reference work covering all key aspects of European history, society, and culture from 500 to 1500 A.D., as well as the Byzantine Empire, Islamic dynasties, and Asiatic peoples of the era. It is designed both for medievalists, who need a detailed and reliable reference tool, and for students and general readers seeking an accessible guide to the period. Over 800 scholars have assembled thousands of comprehensive entries, lavishly supplemented by hundreds of illustrations and dozens of maps."
    Collection limited to subscribed 5-user access
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB)
    Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is an illustrated/fulltext reference tool providing 55,000 specially-written signed biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of the British past from the earliest times to the end of the year 2000. It is the product of research instituted at the University of Oxford and funded by the British Academy and by Oxford University Press. It is the achievement of 10,000 contributors and advisers staff in Oxford. The Oxford DNB aims to provide full, accurate, concise, and readable articles on noteworthy people in all walks of life. No living person is included: the Dictionary's articles are confined to people who died before 31 December 2000.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online (DLB Online)
    Provides more than 16,000 biographical and critical essays on the lives, works, andcareers of the world's most influential literary figures from all eras and genres.Comprised of the award-winning Dictionary of Literary Biography series, which over its30-year history has been dedicated to making literature and its creators betterunderstood and more accessible to students and interested readers, DLB Complete Onlineprovides reliable information in an easily comprehensible format while placing writersin the larger perspective of literary history. Specifically, DLB Complete Onlineincludes the DLB main series, the DLB Documentary Series, and the DLB Yearbook Series -the latter two of which have never been electronically available. Additionally, DLBComplete Online will include the extremely valuable images from the above DLB series -again, content that has never been available online.
  • Oxford English dictionary (OED)
    "This unique and powerful resource offers unprecedented access to the definitive record of the meaning, history and evolution of more than 600,000 words over the last 1,500 years."A complete text of the 2nd. ed. of the Oxford English dictionary with quarterly updates, including revisions not available in any other form.
    5 simultaneous users
  • Middle English Dictionary
    see also [HIL-REF PE679 .M54]

    "The greatest achievement in Medieval scholarship in America." The MED offers a comprehensive reference tool for English language and usage in the period 1100-1500.

Additional Resources

  • Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online
    Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online "is a vast new online library giving instant access to the most authoritative and up-to-date scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. With more than 350 reference volumes to be published in Blackwell Reference Online by the end of 2008, it is the largest academic reference collection available online and includes the critically-acclaimed Blackwell Companions and Handbooks, major reference works such as the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management and the Companion to Syntax, and a whole host of other valuable reference materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and concise companions."
  • Cambridge histories online
    This resource, part of Cambridge Core, contains the online versions of over 270 Cambridge Histories publications in the following 15 areas: American History, British History, Economic History, General History, History of Science, History of the Book, Language and Linguistics, Literary Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political and Social Theory, Regional History, Religious Studies, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, and Warfare. For a complete listing of titles in each area, please refer to the publisher's site, at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we-publish/collections/cambridge-histories
  • Oxford Reference
    Multi-part database of the online versions of Oxford University Press texts. Each topical division contains the searchable version of the latest edition of published dictionaries and encyclopedias. Additionally, information about Oxford University Press is provided. Online texts will be updated after new editions of the print monographs are published.Covers the humanities and social sciences.
    Collection limited to subscribed 5-user access
  • Encyclopedia of medieval literature [HIL-REF PN669 .R88 2005]

    "Medieval" is used loosely in the title of this volume, as literatures of the world from 500-1500 are included, with literatures of India, China, Japan, and all the Islamic world featured beside those of western Europe (though European entries predominate). The result is a rich resource of the most well known examples world literature. The author entries discuss the author's most famous work, often by detailing its narrative content. Some entries are included on characters, motifs or term, with discussion of its occurrence and use in several examples. The approximately 700 entries, which were written by Ruud (English, U. of Arkansas) and 12 other scholars at American universities, are alphabetical by name of author or work; each concludes with a brief bibliography. Annotation #169;2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Medieval England : an encyclopedia [HIL-REF DA129 .M43 1998]

    Covers social, cultural, and political life from the Anglo-Saxon invasions of the fifth century to the turn of the sixteenth century. Includes such aspects as art, architecture, law, literature, kings, commoners, women, music, commerce, technology, warfare, and religion. Also provides insights into England's ties with the Celtic world of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland; the French and Anglo-Norman world on the continent; the Viking and Scandinavian world of the North Sea; and to Christendom. The articles are signed, and sometimes present contradictory opinions, demonstrating the uncertainty of much modern scholarship about the period. Each article concludes with a bibliography, divided when appropriate into primary and secondary, and indicates related topics. The index distinguishes between main entries and passing mentions. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Women and gender in medieval Europe : an encyclopedia [HIL-REF HQ1147 .E85 W66 2006]

    Female patronage of the arts and the church, female mysticism and devotional practices, women's medicine and understandings of the female body, and women's roles in politics and diplomacy are among the activities discussed in the 563 signed articles, each with cross-references to other articles and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. The very few illustrations are monochrome. Annotation #169;2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com) Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Women in the Middle Ages: an encyclopedia [HIL-REF HQ1143 .W643 2004 (2 vols)]

    More than 300 entries (many biographical) detailing women's experience in the medieval world. 

  • Women in world history : a biographical encyclopedia [HIL-REF HQ1115 .W6 1999 vols. 1-17]

    Projected to be 15 volumes upon completion in late 2000 (with an index to follow in mid-2001), this ambitious set will be international in scope and span from antiquity to the 20th century. (The first three volumes are reviewed here.) The scope is generally limited to women born before 1926, except for those active in the women's movement or whose place in history is assured. Initially hatched while the editors were working on Historic World Leaders (1994)--which profiled mainly men--this resource will include more than 10,000 entries varying in length from several pages to brief paragraphs. Frequent sidebars give information on women closely associated with the main entry, and numerous See references address name variations. Although indexes by time period, nationality, and subject would greatly enhance its usefulness as a reference, this set far exceeds recent single-volume international dictionaries (the Larousse Dictionary of Women, LJ 1/97, has about 3000 entries) and is unlikely to have any competitors on this scale soon. Recommended for large public and academic libraries and women's studies collections.Patricia A. Beaber, Coll. of New Jersey, Ewing Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information

  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, The
    The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, edited by Bonnie G. Smith, captures the experiences of women throughout history in a far-reaching, four-volume work. Although there has been extensive research on women in history by region, no other text or reference work has comprehensively covered the role women have played throughout world history. With over 650 biographies of influential women and over 600 topical articles covering topics such as geography and history, culture and society, organizations, movements, and gender studies, Women in World History is the definitive reference work in the field.


Last modified on March 5, 2024 09:15