Literary Research Guide/Q

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American Literature

This division includes works devoted primarily to the literatures—in whatever language—of the United States.

General[edit]

Researchers should also consult sections Q: American Literature/Regional Literature and Q: American Literature/Ethnic and Minority Literatures for other general reference works.

Guides to Reference Works[edit]

Literature[edit]

Q3175[edit]

Brogan, Martha L. A Kaleidoscope of Digital American Literature. Washington: Council on Lib. and Information Sources, Digital Lib. Federation, 2005. 176 pp. PS51.B76 025.06′81. <http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub132>.

An evaluative survey of electronic resources—databases, digital archives, gateways, Web sites, and pedagogical tools—for the study of American literature. Using extensive interviews with experts in the field, Brogan illustrates the potential, pitfalls, and lacunae in digital resources. The wealth of information and astute observations have led those working with other literatures to wish for a similar guide. Although dated, it is still useful and provides a history of early-twentieth-century digital humanities literary projects and tools.

Q3180[edit]

Gohdes, Clarence, and Sanford E. Marovitz. Bibliographical Guide to the Study of the Literature of the U. S. A. 5th ed., rev. and enl. Durham: Duke UP, 1984. 256 pp. Z1225.G6 [PS88] 016.81.

A selective, interdisciplinary guide to reference works, histories, critical studies, and discussions of research methods (published through early 1983) important to the study of American literature and its historical background. Entries are organized in 35 divisions: general reference works, philosophy and methodology of literary and historical study, technical procedures in literary and historical research, definitions of literary and related terms, preparation of manuscripts for publication, national bibliographies, periodical indexes, American studies or civilization (including popular culture), general works on American history, specialized studies of American history, biography, periodicals, newspapers, book trade and publishing, history of ideas, psychology, philosophy (including transcendentalism), religion, women’s studies, general bibliographies of American literature, histories of American literature, poetry, drama (including theater and film), fiction, criticism, humor and other special genres (including children’s literature), seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, twentieth-century literature, themes and topics, regionalism, minorities, relations with other countries, American language, folklore, and comparative and general literature. The generally brief descriptive annotations frequently cite related works. An appendix lists the principal biographies of 135 authors. Two indexes: subjects; names. Many divisions would benefit from more refined classification or organization; some annotations have not been revised to reflect changes in scope or organization of serial publications or revised editions; and a few outdated works or superseded editions should be excised. Especially valuable for its interdisciplinary scope, this onetime standard guide to reference works and scholarship essential to research in American literature is now in need of wholesale revision and updating. Review: David Van Leer, Resources for American Literary Study 16 (1986–89): 49–52.

Less useful guides are the following:

  • Fenster, Valmai Kirkham. Guide to American Literature. Littleton: Libs. Unlimited, 1983. 243 pp. Designed for undergraduates, but untrustworthy because of numerous inaccuracies and omissions.
  • Kolb, Harold H., Jr. A Field Guide to the Study of American Literature. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1976. 136 pp. A poorly organized compilation whose annotations consist largely of quotations from prefatory matter.
  • Leary, Lewis. American Literature: A Study and Research Guide. New York: St. Martin’s, 1976. 185 pp. Designed for undergraduates and plagued by numerous errors, but more evaluative than Gohdes and Marovitz or Kolb.
See also[edit]

American Literary Scholarship (Q3265): In addition to the chapter on general reference sources, most of the other chapters evaluate reference works.

Bateson and Meserole, Guide to English and American Literature (B85).

Literary History of the United States: Bibliography (Q3300).

Marcuse, Reference Guide for English Studies (B90).

Related Topics[edit]

Q3185[edit]

Perrault, Anna H., and Ron Blazek. United States History: A Multicultural, Interdisciplinary Guide to Information Sources. 2nd ed. Westport: Libs. Unlimited, 2003. 661 pp. Z1236.P45 [E178] 016.973.

A guide to reference sources (through 2002) on American history and culture to c. 2002. The 1,250 entries are listed alphabetically by title in six classified divisions: general works; politics and government; economic history; diplomatic history and foreign affairs; military history; and social, cultural, and intellectual history (with sections for genealogy, ethnic and gender issues, education, theater, and popular culture). Indexed by authors and titles. The evaluative annotations are quite full and frequently cite related works.

Because the second edition of United States History emphasizes social history, a useful complement is Francis Paul Prucha, Handbook for Research in American History: A Guide to Bibliographies and Other Reference Works, 2nd ed. (Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1994; 214 pp.), which is organized by kind of reference work (with coverage extending through c. 1993). Works are described in chapters on electronic resources; library catalogs and guides; general bibliographies of American history; catalogs of books; book review indexes; guides to periodical literature; guides to manuscripts; guides to newspapers; dissertations and theses; biographical sources; oral history materials; printed documents of the federal government; the National Archives; state and local materials; legal sources; atlases, maps, and geographic guides; encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries; statistics; and picture sources. Unfortunately, the second edition drops the coverage of specific topics such as political history, social history, ethnic groups, women, blacks, American Indians, religion, regional material, and travel accounts. Works are described in narrative fashion—but too rarely evaluated—a practice that makes scanning difficult; coverage of electronic resources is inadequate; and there are more errors and lapses in judgment than one would like in an introductory guide. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. The original edition of the Handbook was once the best guide to reference works on American history and included much of importance to literary scholarship; unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the new edition.

Q3190[edit]

Sears, Jean L., and Marilyn K. Moody. Using Government Information Sources, Electronic and Print. 3rd ed. Phoenix: Oryx, 2001. 536 pp. Z1223.Z7 S4 [J83] 015.73′053.

A guide to searching United States government publications. Along with describing how to use the basic indexes, databases, and numerous Web sites, Sears and Moody explain the Superintendent of Documents Classification system and outline research strategies. Of particular interest to literary researchers are the sections on copyright, genealogy, and the National Archives. Indexed by subjects and titles. This work is the best introduction for those needing to search government publications. Prucha, Handbook for Research in American History (Q3185a), also has a useful chapter on locating printed documents of the federal government.

For a representative list of GPO publications on the humanities, see Donna L. Burton, “Government Document Resources for the Humanities: A Representative Bibliography,” Bulletin of Bibliography 49.2 (1992): 93–100.

Histories and Surveys[edit]

Useful lists of histories and surveys appear in Gohdes and Marovitz, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of the Literature of the U. S. A., pp. 95–101 (entry Q3180); Kolb, Field Guide to the Study of American Literature, pp. 25–87 (Q3180a); and Leary, American Literature: A Study and Research Guide, pp. 11–27 (Q3180a). For a detailed account and assessment of major histories from 1829 through 1948, see Vanderbilt, American Literature and the Academy (Q3209); for a comparison of Columbia Literary History of the United States (Q3195), Literary History of the United States (Q3200), and Cambridge History of American Literature (Q3205a), see Hans-Joachim Lang, “From the Old Cambridge History of American Literature to the New Columbia Literary History of the United States,” Reconstructing American Literary and Historical Studies, ed. Günter H. Lenz, Hartmut Keil, and Sabine Bröck-Sallah (Frankfurt: Campus; New York: St. Martin’s, 1990) 110–27.

The announcements of Columbia Literary History of the United States (Q3195) and Cambridge History of American Literature (Q3205) elicited considerable discussion of canon and approach. See, for example, the following articles in American Literature: Annette Kolodny, “The Integrity of Memory: Creating a New Literary History of the United States,” 57.2 (1985): 291–307; William C. Spengemann, “American Things / Literary Things: The Problem of American Literary History,” 57.3 (1985): 456–81; Emory Elliott, “New Literary History: Past and Present,” 57.4 (1985): 611–21; Sacvan Bercovitch, “America as Canon and Context: Literary History in a Time of Dissensus,” 58.1 (1986): 99–107.

Q3195[edit]

Columbia Literary History of the United States (CLHUS). Emory Elliott, gen. ed. New York: Columbia UP, 1988. 1,263 pp. PS92.C64 810′.9.

A collaborative history of literature in English and other languages from twelfth-century painted cave narratives to the 1980s. Organized by traditional periods (the beginnings to 1810, 1810 to 1885, 1885 to 1910, 1910 to 1945, 1945 to the present), each section begins with a discussion of cultural and intellectual contexts and includes essays on genres, movements, major writers, regions, groups, or historical developments. Rather than attempt a consensus or an integrated narrative, the chapters (each by a distinguished scholar) employ a variety of critical approaches and reflect the diversity of the country’s literary heritage by treating ethnic, minority, regional, and Native American literatures and works by women as well as established writers, and popular as well as elite literature. Since many writers are discussed in several chapters, users must be certain to consult the index of subjects, persons, and titles. Admirably fulfilling the editor’s criteria for a good literary history (“that it have a good index, readable type, sensible chapter divisions, and interesting and informative essays, and that it be inexpensive, durable, and not too heavy”), this is a worthy, much-needed successor to Literary History of the United States (Q3200). Unfortunately, it includes no bibliography volume, and the essays lack documentation or a list of suggested readings. For an outline of the project, see Emory Elliott, “New Literary History: Past and Present,” American Literature 57.4 (1985): 611–21.

While the Columbia Literary History’s critical reception has been deservedly favorable, it has been criticized for its handling of regional, especially western, literature by James H. Maguire, “The Canon and the ‘Diminished Thing,’” American Literature 60.4 (1988): 643–52. Review: Larzer Ziff, American Quarterly 42.1 (1990): 102–07.

A New Literary History of America, ed. Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors (Cambridge: Belknap–Harvard UP, 2009; 1,095 pp.; Harvard UP Reference Lib.) is more a cultural history (“a reexamination of the American experience as seen through a literary glass”) than a literary one. The separately authored essays, which are arranged chronologically from 1507 to 4 November 2008, cover literary authors and works (e.g., Bradstreet, Last of the Mohicans, Emerson, Moby-Dick, Dickinson, and Frost) as well as a host of other topics (e.g., John Foster’s woodcut of Richard Mather, Charles Peale’s exhibition of mastodon bones, the siege of the Alamo, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” Charlie Chaplin, Louis Brandeis’s opinion in Whitney v. California, country music, Pete Rozelle as NFL Commissioner, Linda Lovelace, and the election of Barack Obama as the forty-fourth president). With one exception, essays conclude with a list of suggested readings. Indexed by persons, titles of movies, and some subjects. Although New Literary History numbers a host of major scholars among its contributors, it is ultimately a pastiche of mostly unconnected essays, several of which are tangential to literary history. Reviews: Mark Bauerlein and Priscilla Wald, Chronicle of Higher Education 6 Nov. 2009: B13–B18; Gregory Jay, Modern Language Quarterly 72.4 (2011): 537–42 .

Q3200[edit]

Literary History of the United States: History (LHUS). Ed. Robert E. Spiller et al. 4th ed. New York: Macmillan; London: Collier, 1974. 1,556 pp. PS88.L522 810′.9.

A collaborative history by leading scholars and critics of the literature of the United States through the early 1970s (but emphasizing the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries) and accompanied by a separate Bibliography volume (Q3300). Organized more or less chronologically, the 11 sections include chapters on cultural and historical background, genres, major authors, regions, and movements. Except for new chapters on Emily Dickinson and literature since World War II, the fourth edition essentially preserves the text of the first (1948). The History and Bibliography are complementary volumes and must be used together (the highly selective bibliography at the end of the History is meant for the “general” reader). Indexed by persons and some subjects.

Criticized for its unevenness in scale and quality, the formulaic nature of many chapters, and emphasis on history at the expense of criticism, but recognized for many years as the indispensable literary history of the United States, LHUS exerted a major influence on scholarship for many years after its publication and served as a godsend for two generations of doctoral candidates studying for preliminary examinations. Although superseded by Columbia Literary History of the United States (Q3195), it remains a major document in the historiography of American literary history. For the inception, organization, composition, and editing of LHUS, see Robert E. Spiller, “History of a History: A Study in Cooperative Scholarship,” PMLA 89.3 (1974): 602–16, and especially Vanderbilt, American Literature and the Academy (Q3209), which also examines the academic politics behind the work, traces its critical reception, and offers a detailed assessment (pp. 413–60, 499–531, passim). Reviews: (1st ed.) Daniel Aaron, Leslie A. Fiedler, and R. A. Miller, American Quarterly 1.2 (1949): 169–83; Ralph L. Rusk, American Literature 21.4 (1950): 489–92; René Wellek, Kenyon Review 11.3 (1949): 500–06; (4th ed.) Larzer Ziff, Review of English Studies ns 27.107 (1976): 363–66.

Q3205[edit]

The Cambridge History of American Literature. Sacvan Bercovitch, gen. ed. 8 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994–2005. PS92.C34 810.9. Online through Cambridge Histories Online (http://histories.cambridge.org).

  • Vol. 1: 1590–1820. 1994. 829 pp.
  • Vol. 2: Prose Writing, 1820–1865. 1995. 887 pp.
  • Vol. 3: Prose Writing, 1860–1920. 2005. 813 pp.
  • Vol. 4: Nineteenth-Century Poetry, 1800–1910. 2004. 562 pp.
  • Vol. 5: Poetry and Criticism, 1910–1950. 2003. 624 pp.
  • Vol. 6: Prose Writing, 1910–1950. 2002. 620 pp.
  • Vol. 7: Prose Writing, 1940–1990. 1999. 795 pp.
  • Vol. 8: Poetry and Criticism, 1940–1995. 1996. 545 pp.

A collaborative history of American literature from the colonial period to the 1990s. The overall organization is chronological, the approach historical and contextual rather than biographical and canonical or “totalizing or encyclopedic” with lengthy sections by major scholars (e.g., Emory Elliott on Puritan literature, Wendy Steiner on postmodern fiction, Frank Lentricchia on modern poetry, and Gerald Graff on modern criticism) who incorporate minority, popular, Native American, and ethnic literature in treating genres, themes, representative authors, and the literary marketplace. For a discussion of the broad principles underlying the History, see Sacvan Bercovitch, “America as Canon and Context: Literary History in a Time of Dissensus,” American Literature 58.1 (1986): 99–107 and “The Problem of Ideology in American Literary History,” Critical Inquiry 12.4 (1986): 631–53 (subsequently revised in The Rites of Assent: Transformations in the Symbolic Construction of America [New York: Routledge, 1993] 353–76).

Each volume concludes with a chronology and a virtually useless list of “especially influential” books; unfortunately, the essays lack notes, and there is no bibliography volume planned. Indexed by persons, subjects, and titles of anonymous works (the online version omits the indexes). Like so many recent literary histories, the Cambridge History of American Literature eschews continuity in favor of polyphony, pluralism, and—inevitably—imbalance. Yet the quality of the contributors ensures that it will assume an influential—perhaps canonical—place among histories of American literatures. Reviews: (vol. 1) Mitchell Breitweiser, Modern Language Quarterly 56.2 (1995): 197–206; Philip F. Gura, New England Quarterly 68.1 (1995): 118–38; William S. Spengemann, Early American Literature 29.3 (1993): 276–94; Leonard Tennenhouse, Modern Language Quarterly 56.2 (1995): 207–20; Larzer Ziff, Modern Language Quarterly 56.2 (1995): 189–96; (vol. 2) Freddie Baveystock, English 45.182 (1996): 157–63.

The New Cambridge History replaces the outdated Cambridge History of American Literature (CHAL), ed. William Peterfield Trent et al., 4 vols. (New York: Putnam’s; Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1917–21; online as The Cambridge History of English and American Literature [1]). For a detailed account of the genesis, editing, publication, and reception—as well as an assessment—of CHAL, see Vanderbilt, American Literature and the Academy (Q3209), pp. 3–28, 153–83, 221–36, passim.

Q3209[edit]

Vanderbilt, Kermit. American Literature and the Academy: The Roots, Growth, and Maturity of a Profession. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1986. 609 pp. PS62.V28 8109.791273.

A history of the origins and development of the study of American literature in the United States from 1829 through 1948. Organized in three periods (1829–1921, 1921–39, 1939–48), chapters examine in detail the professional lives, publications, and other contributions of major scholars; the genesis, production, critical reception, and importance of major literary histories (especially Cambridge History of American Literature [Q3205a] and Literary History of the United States [Q3200]), scholarly works, and journals (particularly American Literature and PMLA); the introduction of American literature into secondary and higher education; the development of professional organizations (especially the American Literature Group of the MLA); and the academic politics that shaped the profession. An appendix lists the leaders of the American Literature Group from 1921 through 1948. Drawing extensively on unpublished materials, Vanderbilt offers a fascinating, critical (but not always impartial) account of the evolution of the academic study of American literature in the United States. Organizers of a major cooperative scholarly venture will find the accounts of CHAL and LHUS both instructive and sobering. Readers who are English literature specialists will wish for a similar history of their profession.

See also[edit]

History of Southern Literature (Q3615).

Literary History of the American West (Q3660).

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

Q3210[edit]

Hart, James D. The Oxford Companion to American Literature. 6th ed. with revisions and additions by Phillip W. Leininger. New York: Oxford UP, 1995. 779 pp. PS21.H3 810.9′003. Online through Oxford Reference (I530).

A wide-ranging encyclopedia, with more than 5,000 entries on authors and other persons, works, literary terms, characters, movements and groups, awards, organizations, periodicals, historical and cultural events, foreign writers, and a host of other topics related to American literature. The bulk of the entries are for authors (recording basic career information) and plot summaries of elite as well as popular works. Concludes with a chronology of literary and social history, 1578–1994. Entries for individuals in the fourth through sixth editions are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Breadth, accuracy, judicious selection, and wealth of detail have made the Oxford Companion the essential source of quick reference for beginning student through accomplished scholar.

A good supplement because of its inclusion of numerous minor writers is W. J. Burke and Will D. Howe, American Authors and Books: 1640 to the Present Day, 3rd rev. ed., rev. Irving Weiss and Anne Weiss (New York: Crown, 1972; 719 pp.). Besides writers of all kinds, it has entries for works, literary characters, periodicals, newspapers, publishers, literary terms, associations, book collectors, libraries, places, and literature-related subjects. (Entrants are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index [J565].) The first edition—American Authors and Books, 1640–1940 (New York: Gramercy, 1943; 858 pp.)—remains useful for the numerous entries omitted in later editions.

HarperCollins Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature, ed. George Perkins, Barbara Perkins, and Phillip Leininger, 2nd ed. (New York: Harper, 2002; 1,126 pp.) and Encyclopedia of American Literature, ed. Steven R. Serafin (New York: Continuum, 1999; 1,305 pp.; online through Credo Reference [2]) offer somewhat more lengthy entries on writers, works, genres, groups, movements, and other topics than is typical in literary encyclopedias. The latter, with some 1,300 entries, is neither “a comprehensive survey” nor “the most extensive single-volume treatment of its subject available,” as its editor claims. The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature, ed. Jay Parini, 4 vols. (New York: Oxford UP, 2004; online through Oxford Reference [I530]), offers even lengthier entries, but its more than 350 authors, works, movements, institutions, ethnic literatures, and literary forms are obviously chosen and written about with the targeted student or general reader in mind.

Q3211[edit]

Encyclopedia of American Studies. Ed. Miles Orvell. Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins UP, 2013. 11 Sept. 2013. <http://eas-ref.press.jhu.edu>. Updated quarterly.

Encyclopedia of American Studies. Ed. George T. Kurian, Miles Orvell, Johnnella E. Butler, and Jay Mechling. 5 vols. New York: Grolier, 2001. E169.1.E625 973′.03.

An encyclopedia for the student of the cultures of the United States. Ranging across folk, vernacular, elite, regional, sectarian, and mass cultures, the entries (which range from 500 to 5,000 words and which are, for the most part, written by established scholars) use an interdisciplinary approach to a topic and its relation to American culture in encompassing such areas as communication, economics, ethnicity, the arts, gender, national identity, the environment, religion, and technology—in short, virtually any area of interest to the discipline of American studies. The online version, which expands and updates the print version but does not reproduce its illustrations, can be browsed by individual entries or by broad subject areas and their subheadings. Keyword searches can be limited to full text, title, contributors, or bibliographies. Entries can be formatted for printing, or citations to entries can be saved (in MLA or Chicago style) for e-mailing. Although the database is updated quarterly, there is currently no provision for identifying new or updated entries.

Because of the broad scope of the majority of entries, readers of the print version should begin with the subject index in vol. 4 (e.g., while Amish, Civilian Conservation Corps, and Works Progress Administration lack individual entries, they are discussed under broader ones). Sporting readable discussions and aptly chosen illustrations in the print version, Encyclopedia of American Studies is a browser’s delight and a source of authoritative overviews of aspects of American culture.

Q3213[edit]

The Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the United States. Ed. Cathy N. Davidson and Linda Wagner-Martin. New York: Oxford UP, 1995. 1,021 pp. PS147.094 810.9′9287′03. Online through Oxford Reference (I530).

A dictionary of United States women writers, literary forms (including fiction, poetry, and drama as well as such forms as travel writing, recipe books, and spiritual narratives), literary periods, regions, themes, ethnic literatures, concepts and issues associated with feminism and women writers, cultural and historical issues, and publishing. The 771 signed entries (by an impressive array of contributors) range from brief pieces to extensive essays; they usually conclude with a selective bibliography (though these are not always as current as one should expect) and, frequently, with a note on the location of the subject’s papers. A chronology of social history, everyday life, and women’s writing and a selective bibliography end the volume. Indexed by persons and subjects; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The judicious selectivity, extensive coverage and quality of entries, and efficient cross-referencing and indexing give Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing pride of place among the dictionaries of women writers in the United States.

Q3215[edit]

Ehrlich, Eugene, and Gorton Carruth. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford UP, 1982. 464 pp. PS141.E74 917.3′04.

An illustrated dictionary and gazetteer to 1,586 cities, towns, and villages associated with more than 1,500 writers from colonial times to the present. The towns are organized alphabetically within region, then state; the entry for each locality describes its associations with writers or its use as setting and locates buildings, graves, and other sites of literary interest. Indexed by states and towns at the front, by authors at the back. Although the descriptions are not always based on firsthand investigation, some important sites are omitted, and the volume is too unwieldy to carry on a literary tour, this book is the most current and comprehensive guide to places in the United States that are associated with an author or literary work. Review: John Russell, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 10 June 1983: 608.

See also[edit]

Sec. C: Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias.

Franklin, Dictionary of American Literary Characters (Q3472).

Annals[edit]

Q3220[edit]

Ludwig, Richard M., and Clifford A. Nault, Jr., eds. Annals of American Literature, 1602–1983. New York: Oxford UP, 1986. 342 pp. PS94.L83 810.2′02.

A chronology of important and representative literary works. The main column cites author, date of birth, title, and genre for each work. The secondary column lists historical and cultural events, the founding of serial publications, births and deaths of authors, and major foreign publications. (Beginning in 1783, this column is in two parts: American and foreign.) Although the arts are slighted in the secondary column, breadth and judicious selection make Annals of American Literature the best source for placing a work in its literary and historical context. It supersedes the treatment of American literature in Annals of English Literature (M1345).

The Chronology of American Literature: America’s Literary Achievements from the Colonial Era to Modern Times, ed. Daniel S. Burt (Boston: Houghton, 2004; 805 pp.; online through Credo Reference [3]), is more current (with coverage extending through 1999) and offers three- to four-sentence summaries of or commentaries on the importance of works, but the two-column layout (with works grouped by genre, type, or subject—e.g., drama and theater, poetry, nonfiction, literary criticism and scholarship, essays and philosophy, sermons and religious writing, and publications and events—and lists of births and deaths, popular books or bestsellers, and awards and prizes [including the “Noble Prize”] scattered at intervals throughout the text) and the lack of information on historical and social events make it impossible to contextualize a work (the principal purpose for which one consults a work such as this). Dates of birth and death appear only the first time an author is listed. The indexes of authors and titles exclude entries in the lists noted above unless a work also appears in the chronology proper.

Women writers and their social and historical contexts are more fully documented in Cynthia J. Davis and Kathryn West, Women Writers in the United States: A Timeline of Literary, Cultural, and Social History (New York: Oxford UP, 1996; 488 pp.).

Bibliographies of Bibliographies[edit]

Although purporting to be an evaluative history of the bibliographical control of American belles lettres, Vito Joseph Brenni, The Bibliographic Control of American Literature, 1920–1975 (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1979; 210 pp.), is too incomplete, poorly organized, inaccurately descriptive, uncritically evaluative, badly written, and inadequately indexed to be of much use.

Q3225[edit]

Nilon, Charles H. Bibliography of Bibliographies in American Literature. New York: Bowker, 1970. 483 pp. Z1225.A1 N5 016.01681.

A bibliography of books, parts of books, and articles (published before 1970) that list works by and about authors, about genres, and about subjects related to literature. Entries are classified in four divisions: bibliography, authors (organized by century, then alphabetically), genres (including literary history and criticism), and ancillary subjects (including various forms, types, and topics such as children’s literature, dissertations, humor, regionalism, and travels). Occasional brief annotations comment on scope or publishing information. Indexed by titles and persons. Poor design makes scanning entries difficult. Nilon must be used with caution, since there are numerous omissions and inconsistencies in organization and since many works were not examined by the compiler. A major desideratum is an up-to-date, thorough bibliography of bibliographies of American literature. Review: TLS: Times Literary Supplement 2 July 1971: 788.

A few additional bibliographies published in periodicals are listed in Patricia Pate Havlice, Index to American Author Bibliographies (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1971; 204 pp.).

See also[edit]

Sec. D: Bibliographies of Bibliographies.

Tanselle, Guide to the Study of United States Imprints (U5290).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

Manuscripts[edit]

Q3230[edit]

American Literary Manuscripts: A Checklist of Holdings in Academic, Historical, and Public Libraries, Museums, and Authors’ Homes in the United States (ALM). Comp. and ed. J. Albert Robbins et al. 2nd ed. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1977. 387 pp. Z6620.U5 M6 [PS88] 016.81.

A finding list of manuscripts—including journals, diaries, correspondence, galley and page proofs, documents, audio and video recordings, books with marginalia, and memorabilia—held in about 600 institutions in the United States. Among the approximately 2,800 Americans are all the major authors, selected minor ones, and several quasi-literary writers such as editors, publishers, theatrical performers and producers, literary critics and scholars, and a few public figures also known (sometimes remotely) as writers. Following each author, holdings are listed alphabetically by institutional symbol, with manuscripts identified only by type and item count. (Symbols for libraries and types of manuscripts are identified on pp. xxvii–liii.) A few institutional holdings are keyed to a list (on pp. 367–77) of calendars, inventories, checklists, and other finding aids. Concludes with two appendixes (pseudonyms and alternative names; authors for whom no holdings were reported [both should have been integrated into the main list of authors]) and a bibliography of catalogs and guides, including ones listing American manuscripts held abroad. The introduction is refreshingly frank about the limitations of the checklist, with the Notes on Coverage (pp. xxii–xxvi) listing institutions whose holdings are not covered or are incompletely reported. Although the dense pages of symbols and numbers are initially forbidding, researchers soon appreciate how much drudgery this checklist can save them. Even so, much work is left for users: they must write or visit institutions that have no published or online finding aids to determine their exact holdings, and they must consult the works listed in section F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives to locate additional American manuscripts. Review: John C. Broderick, Review 1 (1979): 295–300.

Q3235[edit]

Cripe, Helen, and Diane Campbell, comps. and eds. American Manuscripts, 1763–1815: An Index to Documents Described in Auction Records and Dealers’ Catalogues. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1977. 704 pp. Z1237.C89 [E195] 016.973.

An index to manuscript material written between 1763 and 1815 and described in catalogs of booksellers, autograph dealers, and auction houses in the United States. American Manuscripts covers selected dealers’ catalogs through 1970 but auction catalogs only before 1895, when publication of American Book Prices Current (U5415) began. Organized by date of manuscript, entries identify the catalog and note what kind of description it supplies (e.g., a summary, transcription, or reproduction). Dealers’ catalogs are keyed to a list in the back; auction catalogs are cited by the number used in McKay, American Book Auction Catalogues (U5400). Indexed by names. Although the bulk of the manuscripts are historical, Cripe and Campbell does index a considerable number of items of literary interest. Coverage of dealers’ catalogs is not comprehensive and the decision to omit auction catalogs after 1895 is unfortunate, since American Book Prices Current is far from thorough; nevertheless, American Manuscripts is an important work that will save researchers a few of the hours that must be spent in tracking down and poring through these scarce catalogs. Scholars need many more such indexes to manuscripts listed in catalogs.

Q3240[edit]

Raimo, John W., ed. A Guide to Manuscripts Relating to America in Great Britain and Ireland. [Rev. ed.] Westport: Meckler for British Assn. for Amer. Studies, 1979. 467 pp. Z1236.C74 [E178] 016.973.

A guide to manuscripts and some rare printed works relating to the American colonies and the United States and held by libraries, county and local record offices, organizations, and some private collectors in Great Britain. Raimo excludes the Public Record Office, British Library, Oxford and Cambridge libraries, and London Archives, since all have separate guides (identified in the introduction). Organized alphabetically by country, then county, city, and owner, the descriptions of collections identify groups of papers or individual manuscripts and cite transcriptions, catalogs, and other finding aids. The descriptions vary in detail, but most are helpfully precise. Locations are not cited for collections identified through the National Register of Archives (F285a) to encourage scholars to consult the finding aids held there. Indexed by subjects, persons, and places. Users must remember that this work is not comprehensive and that inclusion of a collection does not mean it is accessible to researchers. Although the bulk of the papers are historical or political, Raimo locates a significant number of literary manuscripts and thus is an important preliminary source for tracking down items in British collections.

Q3245[edit]

Women’s History Sources: A Guide to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the United States. Ed. Andrea Hinding and Ames Sheldon Bower. 2 vols. New York: Bowker, 1979. Z7964.U49 W64 [HQ1410] 016.30141′2′0973.

A guide to 18,026 collections in 1,586 repositories holding manuscripts by or related to women in the United States since colonial times. Organized alphabetically by state, city, repository, and then collection title, entries record types of documents, inclusive dates, size, information on access, repository, existence of finding aids, contents, and published guides. Based on printed descriptions, responses to questionnaires, or on-site inspections, the descriptions vary considerably in sophistication, specificity, and accuracy. Indexed in vol. 2 by persons (including all forms of a woman’s name), subjects, occupations, and places. Although many libraries were unable to provide a thorough description of their holdings, Women’s History Sources is the essential guide to a wealth of little-known material, a decent portion of which is of literary interest. A revised edition—or supplement—is needed. Review: Gerda Lerner, Library Quarterly 51.1 (1981): 102–04.

See also[edit]

Sec. F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives.

American Book Prices Current (U5415).

Book Auction Records (U5420).

Printed Works[edit]

For a survey deploring the state of the bibliography of American imprints, recommending standards and procedures, and suggesting needed research, see G. Thomas Tanselle, “The Bibliography and Textual Study of American Books,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 95.1 (1985): 113–51, with a commentary (pp. 152–60) by Norman Fiering.

Tanselle, Guide to the Study of United States Imprints (U5290) is the best source for locating works that identify or locate a particular book printed or published in the United States.

Q3250[edit]

Blanck, Jacob, comp. Bibliography of American Literature (BAL). Completed by Michael Winship and Virginia L. Smyers. 9 vols. New Haven: Yale UP, 1955–91. Z1225.B55 [PS88] 016.81. <http://collections.chadwyck.com/marketing/home_bal.jsp>. CD-ROM.

Bibliography of American Literature: A Selective Index. Comp. Winship. Golden: North American–Fulcrum, 1995. 345 pp. Z1255.B55 016.81.

Epitome of Bibliography of American Literature . Comp. Winship. Golden: North American–Fulcrum, 1995. 325 pp. Z1255.B55 016.81.

A bibliography of works by 281 authors (from the Federal period to those who died before 1931) “who, in their own time at least, were known and read” and who primarily published belles lettres. Limited to separate publications (including books, broadsides, anthologies, and ephemera) and emphasizing initial appearances, BAL excludes altogether “periodical and newspaper publications, . . . unrevised reprints . . ., translations into other languages, [and] volumes containing isolated correspondence.” First American editions (along with variant issues and states) and English-language foreign editions preceding the first American one receive a full description; briefer descriptions are accorded volumes containing the first printing of a prose work (excluding letters) or poem, textually significant reprints or revised editions, nonbelletristic works, and edited texts. Authors are listed alphabetically, with works normally organized by date of publication in three parts: first or revised editions of books wholly or substantially by an author and books by others containing the first book publication of a work; reprints of an author’s own books; and books by others containing material by an author reprinted from earlier books, followed by a selection of bibliographies, biographies, and -ana. Some authors, because of the variety or complexity of their output, require a different organization (outlined in a headnote). A full entry includes title page, imprint, pagination, type of paper, size of leaf, collation, description of binding (including variants and notes on inserted ads, endpapers, binder’s and fly leaves), publication notes (citing copyright deposit date when possible and early advertisements), locations of copies examined, and miscellaneous notes, especially dealing with publishing history. These parts are repeated as necessary within an entry for each state or issue. The entry numbers have become the standard references for identifying an edition, state, or issue. Indexed by initials, pseudonyms, and anonyms in each volume. The Selective Index covers separately published works in three indexes: titles (with separate list of main titles and series titles); dates; publishers (organized by city). Entrants in vols. 1–8 are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Users must study carefully the prefatory explanation of scope, limitations, organization, terminology, and parts of an entry (especially descriptive conventions); consult the headnote to an author for information on special limitations or organization; and remember that BAL does not list everything written by an author and is not a census of copies.

The online version allows users to browse the contents or search by a combination of keyword, title, imprint, author, location of copy, date of publication, and BAL number. Searches can be restricted to principal works, reprints and contributions, or references and -ana. Citations can be marked for e-mailing, printing, or downloading; full records can be printed or saved by screen capture one at a time. The CD-ROM version is obsolete since the search interface must be installed from 3.5-inch disks.

Additions and corrections once regularly appeared in the notes section of Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America; published additions and corrections through 1969 are listed in vol. 1, pp. 163–64, in Tanselle, Guide to the Study of United States Imprints (U5290). On the form for reporting additions and corrections, see G. Thomas Tanselle, “A Proposal for Recording Additions to Bibliographies,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 62.2 (1968): 227–36; “Additions to Bibliographies: With Notes on Procedure for BAL,” 73.1 (1979): 123–25. The BAL working papers and files, which contain much fuller descriptions and notes, additions, and corrections, can be consulted in the Manuscript Department, Houghton Library. Separately published main works are listed in the Epitome, but it does not incorporate additions or corrections to the original nine volumes.

Although not comprehensive (especially in listing reprints), inconsistent in treating some kinds of works (such as foreign editions and reprints), and emphasizing nineteenth-century authors, BAL remains—for writers not the subject of a more recent, separately published descriptive bibliography—an indispensable source for identifying and locating first editions and appearances as well as important revised editions, for obtaining details of publishing and textual history, and for dating publication. For a history of the work, see W. H. Bond, “Jacob Blanck and BAL,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 86.2 (1992): 129–45. For the uses of BAL by those who are not primarily bibliographers, see Joseph R. McElrath, Jr., “From the Bibliography of American Literature to ‘The Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography’: Our Progressive Tradition,” Literary Research 14.1-4 (1989): 5–12; and Lawrence Buell, “The Bibliographical Conscience,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 86.2 (1992): 191–98. For the importance of BAL to British and American book-trade history, book collecting, and critical editing, see Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 86.2 (1992), a special issue that prints papers from a 1992 conference on BAL.

The meticulous examination of copies in public as well as private collections, extensive research in copyright records and publishers’ archives, and a remarkable degree of accuracy make BAL one of the monumental bibliographies of the twentieth century. Reviews: (vol. 1) John D. Gordan, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 50.2 (1956): 201–04; James D. Hart, American Literature 28.3 (1956): 378–81; (vol. 7) Joel Myerson, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 78.1 (1984): 45–56 (an important evaluation of the general strengths and shortcomings of BAL); (vols. 8–9) Richard Layman, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 87.2 (1993): 259–63.

Much less satisfactory is Matthew J. Bruccoli et al., eds., First Printings of American Authors: Contributions toward Descriptive Checklists, 5 vols. (Detroit: Gale, 1977–87), an ambitious but flawed, inadequately descriptive record of the first American and English printings of separate publications by some 336 collectible authors from the seventeenth century through the 1970s. Given the paucity of information and inconsistencies in its presentation, First Printings is only occasionally useful for those few authors not in BAL or the subject of an author bibliography. For a detailed critique of the work, see William Matheson, “American Literary Bibliography—FPAA Style,” Review 1 (1979): 173–81.

Q3255[edit]

Literary Writings in America: A Bibliography. 8 vols. Millwood: KTO, 1977. Z1225.L8 [PS88] 016.81.

A reproduction of the card file prepared as a Works Progress Administration project whose goal was to compile a list of creative works and reviews published by Americans between 1850 and 1940. No record exists, however, of what or how many sources were actually examined. The approximately 250,000 cards are organized by author, then alphabetically by title within sections for bibliographies, collected works, separately published works, periodical publications, biographical sources, and critical studies (including reviews) about the author. Reviews are listed under both the reviewer and the author of the book reviewed. Each card usually records author, title, publication information (omitting publishers of books), and genre or type of work. Far from complete, haphazard in its coverage (especially of books), inconsistent in format, including numerous errors, and largely unedited, Literary Writings is only occasionally useful for identifying periodical contributions (especially of minor authors) that are not indexed elsewhere. Review: George Monteiro, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 73.4 (1979): 498–502.

Q3260[edit]

Tanselle, G. Thomas. “Copyright Records and the Bibliographer.” Studies in Bibliography 22 (1969): 77–124. Z1008.V55.

A discussion of the value of copyright records in literary and bibliographical research. The focus is the United States, with a summary of major provisions of copyright law and description of surviving records, published and unpublished, from 1793 through the 1960s. Concludes with a brief commentary on English copyright law. A clear introduction to these underutilized records that are valuable for establishing publication dates, authorship of anonymous and pseudonymous publications, and details of nonextant works.

See also[edit]

Sec. U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Anonymous and Pseudonymous Works/Dictionaries.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Surveys of Research[edit]

Q3265[edit]

American Literary Scholarship: An Annual, [1963– ] (ALS, AmLS). Durham: Duke UP, 1965– . Annual. <http://als.dukejournals.org>. PS3.A47 810.

A selective, evaluative survey of important studies, editions, biographies, and reference works. Currently, the volumes are divided into 21 chapters, each by an established scholar: Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and transcendentalism (Fuller was added in 1994); Hawthorne; Melville; Whitman and Dickinson (the latter was added in 1967); Mark Twain; James; Wharton and Cather (since 1997); Pound and Eliot (since 1974); Faulkner; Fitzgerald and Hemingway; literature to 1800; early-nineteenth-century literature; late-nineteenth-century literature (before 1994 a single chapter covered 1800–99); fiction, 1900 to 1930s; fiction, 1930s to 1960s; fiction, 1960s to the present; poetry, 1900 to 1940s; poetry, 1940s to the present; drama; foreign scholarship (since 1973, with separate essays on various countries); and general reference works (since 1977). Some earlier volumes include chapters on folklore (1965–74), Poe (1973–96), black literature (1977–88), and themes, topics, and criticism (1966–2009). The scope of some chapters has changed over the years, and the organization varies with the subject. Two indexes: scholars; subjects.

Judicious selectivity, currency, and frank, authoritative evaluations (usually much fuller and more critical than in typical surveys of research) make ALS an indispensable guide to the year’s important scholarship and an essential source for keeping abreast of the increasing number of publications, especially in areas outside one’s immediate fields of interest. Together, the volumes offer an incomparable source for studying trends in American literary scholarship and an important complement to MLAIB (G335) and ABELL (G340), especially for the superior coverage of books.

Since vol. 35 (for 1954), Year’s Work in English Studies (G330) includes American literature; however, ALS offers much fuller, more authoritative coverage.

Q3275[edit]

Duke, Maurice, Jackson R. Bryer, and M. Thomas Inge, eds. American Women Writers: Bibliographical Essays. Westport: Greenwood, 1983. 434 pp. Z1229.W8 A44 [PS147] 016.81′09′9287.

Evaluative surveys of scholarship published through c. 1981 on 24 writers: Bradstreet, Rowlandson, Knight, Jewett, Freeman, Murfree, Chopin, Wharton, Stein, Barnes, Nin, Glasgow, Porter, Welty, O’Connor, McCullers, Hurston, Rourke, Buck, Rawlings, Mitchell, Moore, Sexton, and Plath. Each of the 14 chapters, which treat individuals or groups of authors, devotes sections to bibliographies, editions, manuscripts and letters (noting locations as well as scholarship), biographies, and criticism (with the last variously subdivided). Indexed by persons. The individual essays vary in selectivity and suggest topics for further research. The volume as a whole, however, would benefit from a statement of scope and policies governing the selection of scholarship and writers.

Q3280[edit]

Harbert, Earl N., and Robert A. Rees, eds. Fifteen American Authors before 1900: Bibliographical Essays on Research and Criticism. Rev. ed. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1984. 531 pp. PS55.F53 016.81′09.

Evaluative surveys of research by established scholars on H. Adams, Bryant, Cooper, Crane, Dickinson, Edwards, Franklin, Holmes, Howells, Irving, Longfellow, Lowell, Norris, Taylor, and Whittier. The original edition (1971; 442 pp.) included two additional essays, on southern literature. The surveys vary in selectivity, coverage of foreign scholarship and dissertations, currency (generally citing publications through 1980, with some as late as 1983), and organization. All have sections for bibliography, editions, manuscripts and letters, biographical studies, and criticism and offer suggestions for further research. The Dickinson essay treats recent studies separately; others incorporate new scholarship in the commentary. Unfortunately, citations do not provide full bibliographical information. Indexed by persons. An authoritative guide to winnowing the important studies from the mass published on the 15 authors. Review: David Timms, Notes and Oueries ns 33.2 (1986): 276–77.

For evaluative surveys of recent scholarship on these authors, see American Literary Scholarship (Q3265).

Q3283[edit]

Kopley, Richard, ed. Prospects for the Study of American Literature: A Guide for Scholars and Students. New York: New York UP, 1997. 347 pp. PS25.P76 810.9.

Kopley and Barbara Cantalupo, eds. Prospects for the Study of American Literature (II). New York: AMS, 2009. 355 pp. AMS Studies in Mod. Lit. 28. PS25.P77 810.9.

Surveys of research that assess the current state of scholarship but emphasize studies—biographical, bibliographical, critical, historical, and archival—needed on Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, Melville, Douglass, Stowe, Whitman, Twain, James, Wharton, Cather, T. S. Eliot, Hemingway, Hurston, Faulkner, and Wright (vol. 1); Cooper, Hawthorne, Fuller, Dickinson, Alcott, Howells, Norris, London, Dreiser, Fitzgerald, O’Neill, Moore, Baldwin, Ellison, and Welty (vol. 2). Additional surveys appear in the ongoing Resources for American Literary Study “Prospects” essays (some of which are revised in these volumes). Two indexes in vol. 1: persons; subjects. A single index of persons and titles in vol. 2. Written for the most part by seasoned scholars, these essays offer invaluable guides for graduate students searching for dissertation topics and for junior faculty members ready to move beyond a dissertation; as a whole Prospects for the Study of American Literature serves as an admirable model for more such collections on American and British writers.

See also[edit]

Dorson, Handbook of American Folklore (U5860).

Gaillet, Present State of Scholarship in the History of Rhetoric (U5565).

Greenblatt and Gunn, Redrawing the Boundaries (M1383).

Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture (U6295).

Serial Bibliographies[edit]

Q3285[edit]

“Publications in American Studies from German-Speaking Countries, [1945– ].” Amerikastudien / American Studies 1 (1956)– . Title varies. Annual. E169.1 973.92′05.

An irregularly published list of German, Swiss, and Austrian scholarship on American culture. Since the bibliography for 2003 (49.2 [2004]), entries are organized alphabetically in 5 divisions: general works and bibliographies; literature and culture; history; politics, economics, and society; and education. Earlier installments included linguistics; the arts and the media; philosophy, psychology, and religion; culture; and geography. Indexed by scholars. A useful complement to American Literary Scholarship (Q3265) and the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G, which typically overlook much scholarship published in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

Among the defunct serial bibliographies of American literature are

  • “Articles in American Studies, [1954–72].” American Quarterly 7–25 (1955–73). A selective annotated interdisciplinary list, which was succeeded in vols. 26–38 (1974–86) by a yearly bibliography issue composed of surveys of research and discussions of methodology on a theme or topic. The annual bibliographies for 1954–68 are reprinted with cumulative scholar and personal name indexes as Hennig Cohen, ed., Articles in American Studies, 1954–1968: A Cumulation of the Annual Bibliographies from American Quarterly , 2 vols. (Ann Arbor: Pierian, 1972; Cumulated Bibliog. Ser. 2).
  • “A Selected, Annotated List of Current Articles on American Literature.” American Literature 54–62 (1982–90). A timely and rigorously selective guide to the most important recent scholarship. Its predecessor, “Articles on American Literature Appearing in Current Periodicals” (vols. 1–53 [1929–82]), offered a much fuller classified list, whose entries through 1975 are incorporated in Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).
See also[edit]

Sec. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts.

ABELL (G340): Entries on American writers and literature are dispersed throughout.

MLAIB (G335): American Literature division in the volumes for 1922 to the present. Researchers must also check the headings beginning “American” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies[edit]

Q3290[edit]

Jones, Steven Swann. Folklore and Literature in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography of Studies of Folklore in American Literature. New York: Garland, 1984. 262 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 392: Garland Folklore Bibliogs. 5. Z1225.J66 [PS169.F64] 016.81′09′3.

A bibliography of books, articles, master’s theses, and doctoral dissertations through 1980 that explicitly examine the influence of folklore on American literature and demonstrate “clear folkloristic competence.” Jones includes a few works whose titles erroneously suggest that they treat folklore but excludes discussions of organized religions and general works on literary humor. Listed alphabetically by scholar, entries are accompanied by full descriptive annotations, a few of which point out shortcomings in folklore methodology. (Most theses are not annotated.) Six indexes: literary authors; folklore genres; general theoretical studies (a single list with no headings); regional and ethnic studies (with headings only for African American and general regional and ethnic studies); humor (a single list with no headings); dialect, themes, and characters (again, with no headings). Although selective, Folklore and Literature gathers and clearly annotates studies that are not readily identifiable in the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G and that are frequently omitted from folklore bibliographies. Unfortunately, the utterly inadequate subject indexing means that users in search of studies of other than specific literary authors must skim all entries.

Q3295[edit]

Leary, Lewis. Articles on American Literature, 1900–1950. Durham: Duke UP, 1954. 437 pp. Comp. Leary, with Carolyn Bartholet and Catherine Roth. 1950–1967. 1970. 751 pp. Comp. Leary and John Auchard. 1968–1975. 1979. 745 pp. Z1225.L49 016.81.

A bibliography of periodical articles, significant reviews, and review articles compiled from “Articles on American Literature Appearing in Current Periodicals” (Q3285a), MLAIB (G335), other bibliographies, and some journals not covered by the preceding. The 1900–50 compilation is limited primarily to English-language studies; the later volumes admit more foreign language articles but are also more selective. Entries are listed alphabetically in divisions for individual authors; almanacs, annuals, and gift books (1900–50 only); American literature, aims and methods; serial bibliographies; other bibliographies; biography (in the 1968–75 edition, the four preceding divisions became subdivisions—along with ethnic groups—under American literature); fiction; foreign influences and estimates; frontier; humor; Indian literature (in 1968–75, a classified section under American literature); language and style (added in 1950–67); libraries and reading; criticism; literary history; literary trends and attitudes (added in 1950–67); Negro literature (in 1968–75, a classified section under American literature); newspapers and periodicals; philosophy and philosophical trends; poetry; printing, publishing, and bookselling; prose (1900–50 only); regionalism; religion; science; social and political topics; societies; theater; and women (added in 1968–75). Since each volume includes additions and corrections to the preceding one(s), all three must be used together. There are numerous errors and inconsistencies (especially in recording dates and essential issue numbers), and articles treating more than one author or topic do not always receive multiple entries. (Thaddeo K. Babiiha discusses these problems in “The Faulkner Section in Leary’s Articles on American Literature, 1968–1975,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 75.1 [1981]: 93–98, but his generalizations are not completely accurate.) Although access would be enhanced by a more refined and detailed classification system, the volumes are a time-saving compilation. Because of their limitations, however, they must be supplemented by American Literary Scholarship (Q3265) and the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G. Review: (1950–67) J. Albert Robbins, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 65.4 (1971): 417–19.

Q3300[edit]

Literary History of the United States: Bibliography (LHUS). Ed. Thomas H. Johnson and Richard M. Ludwig. 4th ed. New York: Macmillan; London: Collier, 1974. 1,466 pp. (The fourth edition consists of corrected reprints of the 1948 bibliography and the supplements of 1959 and 1972, with a cumulative index.) PS88.L522 810′.9.

A series of selective, usually evaluative bibliographical essays organized in four extensively classified divisions: general resources and reference works, general literature (with subdivisions for periods, background studies, American language, folk literature, Indian lore and antiquities, and popular literature), movements and influences, and 239 individual authors (covering primary works, editions, biographies, criticism, bibliographies, and public collections of manuscripts). Throughout, the emphasis is on guiding readers to the best editions and studies; in addition, many essays point out topics needing study. The supplements are keyed to the original volume, and the Bibliography must be used in conjunction with the History (Q3200), even though the organization frequently differs. Indexed by authors, titles, and some subjects. Confusingly organized, with numerous errors, badly dated, and largely superseded by author, subject, and period bibliographies, LHUS is now principally useful as a guide to older scholarship. Review: R. A. Miller, American Quarterly 1.2 (1949): 180–83.

Q3305[edit]

Oxford Bibliographies Online: American Literature. Ed. Jackson R. Bryer, Richard Kopley, and Paul Lauter. Oxford UP, 2014– . 15 Jan. 2015. <http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/obo/page/american-literature>.

Oxford Bibliographies Online are peer-reviewed, concisely annotated, expertly selected bibliographic citations. Each of the articles within a bibliography, written by scholars in the field, consists of an introduction that covers the history behind the field or subfield, followed by a categorized list of useful academic publications (e.g., introductions, textbooks, journals, handbooks and guides, reference works, primary texts or documents) and secions on debates and controversies, criticism, genres, and more. The lists of citations are highly selective, chosen to represent the best scholarship in a given field. Some articles include links to full text or Web content.

American Literature includes articles covering the American Renaissance, Anne Sexton, Benjamin Franklin, copyright laws, Cotton Mather, the Dawes Severalty Act, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Jonathan Edwards, Native American oral literatures, realism and naturalism, westerns, and scores of other subjects.

Content is browsable, and users can search the database with the option of limiting by resource type. Searches can be saved, and users can receive e-mails alerting them to new additions.

See also[edit]

Sec. U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Folklore and Literature/Guides to Scholarship and Criticism.

Bailey and Burton, English Stylistics (U6080).

Flanagan and Flanagan, American Folklore: A Bibliography, 1950–1974 (U5870).

Gohdes, Literature and Theater of the States and Regions of the U. S. A. (Q3570).

Haywood, Bibliography of North American Folklore and Folksong (U5875).

Horner, Historical Rhetoric (U5600).

Huddleston and Noverr, Relationship of Painting and Literature (U5160).

Literary Writings in America (Q3255).

Ross, Film as Literature, Literature as Film (U5800).

Schwartz, Articles on Women Writers (U6605).

Tanselle, Guide to the Study of United States Imprints (U5290).

Abstracts[edit]

Q3310[edit]

America: History and Life. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 1964– . 5/yr., including a cumulative index. Z1236.A48 016.917. <http://www.ebscohost.com>. Updated monthly.

Abstracts of articles and citations to book reviews and dissertations in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (H465) on the history and culture of the United States and Canada, including some studies of American, Native American, and Canadian literature and language. A retrospective volume (designated vol. 0) covers 1954–63 (1972), and a Supplement (2 vols., 1980) adds entries to vols. 1–10. Because of changes in organization over the years (especially beginning with vol. 26 [1989]), the online version offers the best approach to listings. For the EBSCO interface, see I512. An important source for identifying literary and language scholarship in historical journals, few of which are covered by the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

Dissertations and Theses[edit]

Q3315[edit]

Howard, Patsy C., comp. Theses in American Literature, 1896–1971. Ann Arbor: Pierian, 1973. 307 pp. Z1225.H67 016.8109.

A list of baccalaureate and master’s theses accepted by American and some foreign institutions. Howard covers a limited number of institutions (whether completely is unclear) and apparently only theses devoted to an identifiable author. Entries are organized alphabetically under literary authors, with cross-references for studies of multiple authors. Two indexes: subjects (inadequate); thesis authors. Although marred by a completely inadequate explanation of scope and coverage, Theses in American Literature will save some hunting through elusive institutional lists. Theses on southern writers are more fully covered in Emerson and Michael, Southern Literary Culture (Q3630). A companion volume is devoted to Theses in English Literature (M1395).

Q3320[edit]

Woodress, James. Dissertations in American Literature, 1891–1966. Rev. and enl. Durham: Duke UP, 1968. 185 pp. Z1225.W8 016.8109.

A bibliography of American, British, French, New Zealand, Indian, German, Austrian, and Canadian dissertations, completed or once in progress. The approximately 4,700 entries, most of which are taken from standard national dissertation bibliographies or other published lists, are organized alphabetically by author in 34 divisions: individual authors; almanacs, gift books, and annuals; American Revolution; Civil War; criticism; drama; economic studies; education and scholarship; fiction; fine arts; folklore; foreign relationships; humor and satire; Indians; language; libraries and reading; literary history; literary nationalism; lyceum; Negro literature; nonfictional prose; periodicals and journalism; philosophy and intellectual history; poetry; politics and government; printing, publishing, and censorship; psychology and literature; Puritanism; regionalism; religion; science and technology; transcendentalism; travel; and writers and writing. Those for genres, foreign relationships, language, literary history, periodicals and journalism, and regionalism are further classified. Each division or section concludes with cross-references to related dissertations. An entry cites author, title, institution, department (if other than English), and year and indicates when a dissertation has been published. Indexed by dissertation writers. Although not comprehensive and citing dissertations never completed, this is a time-saving compilation from standard bibliographies (especially because of the inclusion of studies accepted by departments other than English). It must be supplemented, however, by works listed in section H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

See also[edit]

Sec. H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

Related Topics[edit]

For other bibliographies of American history, see the chapter on general bibliographies in Prucha, Handbook for Research in American History (Q3185a).

Q3325[edit]

Basler, Roy P., Donald H. Mugridge, and Blanche P. McCrum. A Guide to the Study of the United States of America: Representative Books Reflecting the Development of American Life and Thought. Washington: Lib. of Congress, 1960. 1,193 pp. Basler and Oliver H. Orr, Jr. Supplement, 1956–1965. 1976. 526 pp. Z1215.U53 016.9173.

A selective, albeit extensive, annotated bibliography of books published through 1965 that are important to the understanding of the United States. The approximately 9,400 entries—most accompanied by extensive descriptive annotations that typically cite related works—are classified in 32 chapters covering all aspects of history; culture; the humanities; the arts; and social, natural, and physical sciences. The best approach to the contents is through the extensive index of persons, titles, and subjects. Although dated, this study remains the fullest general guide to works essential for investigating life and thought before 1965 in the United States. Review: Times Literary Supplement 8 Sept. 1961: 594.

Q3330[edit]

Harvard Guide to American History. Ed. Frank Freidel. Rev. ed. 2 vols. Cambridge: Belknap–Harvard UP, 1974. Z1236.F77 016.9173′03.

A guide to important primary and secondary works published to 30 June 1970 on the political, social, constitutional, economic, cultural, and diplomatic history of the United States. The books and articles, selected on the basis of “potential usefulness,” are variously organized in divisions for research methods and materials (with sections on reference works, printed public documents, and unpublished primary sources), biographies and personal records (with sections on travels and descriptions and on biographies), comprehensive and area histories (with a section on regional, state, and local histories), and numerous subjects. The first division consists of a narrative interspersed with lists of works; the other divisions are made up of classified lists. Two indexes: authors (with titles following each author); subjects. Once a standard resource, Harvard Guide to American History is now useful primarily as a guide to studies published before mid-1970. Review: Justus D. Doenecke, History Teacher 8.2 (1975): 317–21.

Q3335[edit]

Salzman, Jack, ed. American Studies: An Annotated Bibliography. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986. 1984–1988. 1990. 1,085 pp. Z1361.C6 A436 [E169.1] 016.973.

An annotated bibliography of English-language books and collections of essays through 1988 on the culture of the United States. Salzman excludes journal articles, theoretical and methodological studies, and reference works, as well as most studies of single authors and, in 1984–1988, books published outside the United States. In the three-volume compilation, the 7,634 entries are listed alphabetically by author in 11 variously classified divisions: anthropology and folklore (including sections on minorities, ethnic groups, and linguistics); art and architecture; history (with sections on women, ethnicity, black history, and Native Americans); literature (with sections on general surveys, historical periods, and themes); music; political science; popular culture (with sections on general studies, literature, various genres and types of popular fiction, comics, entertainment, film, media, and material culture); psychology; religion; science, technology, and medicine; and sociology. Introducing each division are a brief overview of important reference works (including some published as late as 1986) and, in too few instances, a discussion of criteria determining scope and selection. All but a few annotations are full and accurate descriptions of content. Three indexes in vol. 3: authors; titles; subjects.

The supplement for 1984–88 separates anthropology and folklore, adds a division for autobiographies and memoirs, omits science, lacks the introductory overviews of reference sources, offers a brief statement of general editorial policy but an inadequate explanation of the scope of individual divisions, and inexplicably omits several entries that appeared in the continuation of the original bibliography in Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies 10–11 (1987). Two indexes: scholars; titles (with numbers referring to pages rather than entries). The lack of a subject index is inexcusable, especially since so many of the books (each of which is listed in only one section) cover several topics. The volumes for journal articles and books published outside the United States never appeared. Although divisions vary considerably in quality and authoritativeness (with many lacking a clear focus and effective organization), the work offers the most extensive general guide to books through 1988 on several aspects of American culture. Review: (1986 ed.) Lawrence H. Fuchs, American Quarterly 39.2 (1987): 292–95.

Salzman’s compilation does not completely supersede its parent, Murray G. Murphey, gen. ed., American Studies: An Annotated Bibliography of Works on the Civilization of the United States, 4 vols. (Washington: US Information Agency, 1982), which lists articles in several divisions but which is not widely available in the United States. Basler, Mugridge, and McCrum, Guide to the Study of the United States of America (Q3325), remains useful for its breadth and inclusion of many earlier books. The same cannot be said for David W. Marcell, American Studies: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1982; 207 pp.; Amer. Studies Information Guide Ser. 10), which is incomplete, poorly organized, and uninformatively annotated.

Q3340[edit]

Writings on American History, [1973–90]: A Subject Bibliography of Articles. Washington: Amer. Historical Assn.; Millwood: Kraus, 1974–91. Annual. Z1236.L331 016.97.

Writings on American History, 1962–73: A Subject Bibliography of Articles. 4 vols. Washington: Amer. Historical Assn.; Millwood: KTO, 1976. Z1236.W773 [E178] 016.973.

Writings on American History, 1962–73: A Subject Bibliography of Books and Monographs. 10 vols. Washington: Amer. Historical Assn.; White Plains: Kraus, 1985. Z1236.W773 [E178] 016.973.

Writings on American History, [1902–61]. Millwood: KTO, 1904–78.

A bibliography of scholarship on all aspects of American history. Until the volumes for 1962–73, the work annotated books, articles, and dissertations, but subsequent volumes are unannotated and limited to journal articles and dissertations (with the majority of the former taken from Recently Published Articles [Washington: Amer. Historical Assn., 1976–90], which originally appeared in various forms in each issue of American Historical Review 1–80.3 [1895–1975]). The volumes for 1904–05 and 1941–47 were never published. In the volumes for 1962–1985/86, entries are listed by scholar in three classified divisions: periods (including a section for bibliographies), regions, and subjects (including sections for literature, theater, and popular culture). Later volumes have an additional division for general works (with the bibliography section relocated to here) and a section for language in the subjects division. Several works receive multiple listings. Indexed by authors. Earlier volumes are variously organized, with the later ones having a tripartite division: the historical professions; national history (with literature, theater, and folklore sections in the cultural history subdivision); and regional, state, and local history. Indexed by names, places, and subjects (although not all volumes have subject indexing); cumulative index, 1902–40: Index to the Writings on American History, 1902–1940 (Washington: Amer. Historical Assn., 1956; 1,115 pp.). Although the post-1961 volumes would benefit from a more refined classification system in the first two divisions as well as subject indexing, this work includes literary studies from periodicals not covered by the standard bibliographies and indexes in section G. For historical studies, it must be supplemented by the other bibliographies and abstracts in section U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Social Sciences and Literature/History and Literature/Guides to Scholarship.

Language[edit]

Guides to Scholarship[edit]

Surveys of Research[edit]
Q3345[edit]

Needed Research in American English (1983). Publication of the American Dialect Society 71 (1984): 76 pp. PE2841.A75 427.

Needed Research in American Dialects. Ed. Dennis R. Preston. Publication of the American Dialect Society 88 (2003): 261 pp. PE2841.N44 427′.973.

Collections of reports on the state of research and projects needed in linguistic geography, regional speech, usage, new words, proverbs, non-English American languages, the history of American English, discourse studies, social variation, slang, folk speech, and language change. Particularly valuable are Raven I. McDavid, Jr., “Linguistic Geography” (pp. 4–31 in American English), and William A. Kretzschmar, Jr., “Linguistic Atlases of the United States and Canada” (pp. 25–48 in American Dialects), which offer overviews of publications, work in progress, location of archives, and status for each of the regional linguistic atlases.

Serial Bibliographies[edit]
See[edit]

ABELL (G340): See the Dialect section of the English Language division in the volumes for 1920–26, the American English section in the volumes for 1927–33, the English Dialects section in the volume for 1934, the American English section in the volumes for 1935–72, and the Dialects/Dialects of [North] America section in later volumes.

MLAIB (G335): English Language and Literature division in the volumes for 1922–25; American Literature I: Linguistics in the volumes for 1926–40; English Language and Literature I: Linguistics in the volumes for 1941–55; English Language and Literature I: Linguistics/American English in the volumes for 1956–66; Indo-European C: Germanic Linguistics IV: English/Modern English/Dialectology in the volumes for 1967–80; and Indo-European Languages/Germanic Languages/West Germanic Languages/English Language (Modern)/Dialectology in later volumes. Researchers must also check the headings beginning “American English” in the subject index to volumes since 1981 and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies[edit]
See[edit]

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Literary History of the United States: Bibliography (Q3300).

McMillan and Montgomery, Annotated Bibliography of Southern American English (Q3635).

Salzman, American Studies: An Annotated Bibliography (Q3335).

Dictionaries[edit]

For a history of major American dictionaries, see Sidney I. Landau, “Major American Dictionaries,” The Oxford History of English Lexicography, ed. A. P. Cowie, vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 2009) 182–229; for regional dictionaries, see Richard W. Bailey, “National and Regional Dictionaries of English” (279–301), in the same volume.

Q3350[edit]

Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE). Ed. Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall. 6 vols. Cambridge: Belknap–Harvard UP, 1985–2013 . PE2843.D52 427′.973. <http://dare.wisc.edu/>. An online version is now available at http://www.daredictionary.com/.

A dictionary of more than 60,000 words and phrases of folk usage or whose form or meaning is confined to a region or regions of the United States or to a social group. Includes Black English, Gullah, Hawaiʻian pidgin, and the language of children’s games, but excludes artificial forms, criminal argot, trade jargon, and restricted occupational vocabularies. Information is drawn from 1,002 lengthy DARE questionnaires, other oral sources, and written works, with the heaviest reliance on the last. A typical entry consists of headword, part of speech, pronunciation, variant spellings, etymology for words not treated in standard dictionaries, geographic distribution, usage labels (including frequency, currency, type of user, and manner of use), cross-references, definition, and illustrative quotations from printed and oral sources. Some entries are accompanied by maps that illustrate regional distribution. The admirably clear introduction in vol. 1 outlines the history of the dictionary; explains the editorial policy, maps, and regional labels; discusses language changes especially common in American folk speech; provides a guide to pronunciation; and prints the questionnaire and data about the informants. Vol. 6 includes a series of maps illustrating social and geographic distribution, a summary of data from the questionnaires, the DARE questionnaire, and an index by region, usage, and etymology. For explanations of the regional and social labels, see Luanne von Schneidemesser, “Regional Labels in DARE,” Dictionaries 18 (1997): 166–77, and George H. Goebel, “Social Labels in DARE,” Dictionaries 18 (1997): 178–89; for a comparison of DARE and Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (R4675), see Stefan Dollinger and von Schneidemesser, “Canadianism, Americanism, North Americanism: DARE and DCHP as Dialectological Research Tools,” American Speech 86.2 (2011): 115–51. Invaluable access to DARE entries is offered by An Index by Region, Usage, and Etymology to the Dictionary of American Regional English, Volumes I and II (Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P for Amer. Dialect Soc., 1993; 178 pp.; Pub. of the Amer. Dialect Soc. 77) and von Schneidemesser, An Index by Region, Usage, and Etymology to the Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume III (Durham: Duke UP for Amer. Dialect Soc., 1999; 82 pp.; Pub. of the Amer. Dialect Soc. 82); a combined index for vols. 1–5 is available on the DARE Web site (as are copies of DARE Newsletter). Justifiably praised by reviewers for its substantial scholarship, DARE is a major contribution to dialect studies, sociolinguistics, and areal linguistics in the United States; an essential source for the explication of regional and folk terms in American literature; and a delight to browse. On the myriad uses of DARE and its underlying data, see Hall, “DARE: The View from the Letter Z,” Dictionaries 31 (2010): 98–106. On the future of DARE, see Goebel, “DARE—on beyond Zydeco,” Dictionaries 33 (2012): 156–63. Reviews: (vol. 1) Hugh Kenner, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 9 May 1986: 490–91; Walt Wolfram, American Speech 61.4 (1986): 345–52; (vol. 2) Thomas L. Clark, American Speech 69.3 (1994): 306–11; (vol. 3) Natalie Schilling-Estes, Dictionaries 21 (2000): 125–35.

Although the entries online are the same as those in the printed volumes, the online dictionary includes such enhancements as interactive maps, audio recordings for over 4,000 terms, and the ability for users to browse by region. The search feature can search headwords as well as definitions, etymologies, and regions.

For a survey of the status (as of 1983) of the regional linguistic atlas projects in the United States, see Raven I. McDavid, Jr., “Linguistic Geography,” Needed Research in American English (Q3345), and William A. Kretzschmar, Jr., “Linguistic Atlases of the United States and Canada,” in Needed Research in American Dialects (Q3345).

Q3355[edit]

A Dictionary of American English on Historical Principles (DAE). Ed. William A. Craigie and James R. Hulbert. 4 vols. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1938–44. PE2835.C72 427.9.

A dictionary of words originating in the United States, having greater currency in that nation than elsewhere, or “denoting something which has a real connection with the development of the country and the history of its people.” Slang and dialect terms are limited to early or prominent examples. Although the cutoff date for new words is the end of the nineteenth century, illustrative quotations extend to c. 1925. A typical entry consists of headword, definitions arranged by part of speech, illustrative dated quotations from printed sources for each meaning, combined forms, and, occasionally, pronunciation and etymology. Vol. 4 concludes with a bibliography of sources. Although far from complete, this pioneering work remains an essential source for the history of American English and the explication of American literary works. It must be complemented by Dictionary of Americanisms (Q3360), which is more current and accurate, and Dictionary of American Regional English (Q3350). Supplemented by Joseph A. Weingarten, Supplementary Notes to the Dictionary of American English (New York: n.p., 1948; 95 pp.); additions, corrections, and antedatings are also indexed in Wall and Przebienda, Words and Phrases Index (U6025).

For an account of the genesis, compilation, and editing of DAE, see Craigie, “Sidelights on the Dictionary of American English,” Essays and Studies 30 (1944): 100–13. For a different perspective, however, see M. M. Mathews, “George Watson and the Dictionary of American English,” Dictionaries 7 (1985): 214–24, with a response by Allen Walker Read, “Craigie, Mathews, and Watson: New Light on the Dictionary of American English,” 8 (1986): 160–63.

Q3360[edit]

A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles (DA). Ed. Mitford M. Mathews. 2 vols. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1951. PE2835.D5 427.9.

A dictionary of words originating in the United States, other words with a particular American meaning, and foreign terms adopted in American English through c. 1950. A typical entry consists of headword, pronunciation and etymology for words originating in the United States and foreign terms, definitions organized by part of speech, dated illustrative quotations from printed sources for each meaning, combined forms, and occasionally a line drawing. Vol. 2 concludes with a bibliography of sources. Some additions, corrections, and antedatings are indexed in Wall, Words and Phrases Index (U6025). More restrictive than other dictionaries in defining “Americanism” (and unfortunately vague in delineating criteria governing inclusion of certain kinds of words), this work corrects several attributions of Americanisms in Dictionary of American English (Q3355), Oxford English Dictionary (M1410), and English Dialect Dictionary (M1415). Although DA is generally more accurate in recording Americanisms than the preceding, these dictionaries are complementary and, along with Dictionary of American Regional English (Q3350) and updates in The Barnhart Dictionary Companion (Q3365a), essential sources for the historical study of American English and explication of American literary works. Much remains to be done, however, before we have an adequate record of Americanisms. Reviews: Norman E. Eliason, Modern Language Review 47.4 (1952): 565–67; Archibald A. Hill, Virginia Quarterly Review 28.1 (1952): 131–35.

The abridgment as Mathews, Americanisms: A Dictionary of Selected Americanisms on Historical Principles (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1966; 304 pp.), is of little value for scholarly research.

Q3365[edit]

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (Webster’s Third). Ed. Philip Babcock Gove. Springfield: Merriam, 1961. 2,662 pp. PE1625.W36 423. (New edition in progress, with new and revised entries incorporated into the online edition.) Online through Literature Online (I527) and as Merriam-Webster Unabridged (http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com); CD-ROM.

A dictionary “of the current vocabulary of standard written and spoken English,” especially in the United States. The approximately 450,000 words blend entries from the second edition with new words and meanings, but unlike its predecessor the third edition omits proper names that are not generic, terms obsolete before 1775, and “comparatively useless or obscure words.” A typical main entry includes selected variant spellings; pronunciation, with variants used by educated speakers; part of speech; inflectional forms; a note on capitalization practices; etymology; status label; subject label; definitions, in historical order; illustrative quotations largely from twentieth-century sources; usage notes; cross-references; synonyms; and combined forms. Those consulting the third edition for more than a quick definition must study the detailed prefatory explanation of parts of a main entry. The preliminary matter also includes a section on forms of address.

Some later printings list additions before the main alphabet. These words are incorporated into the online versions and into occasional supplements, the most recent of which is 12,000 Words: A Supplement to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Springfield: Merriam, 1986; 212 pp.). Other sources for new words and meanings include the following:

  • Ayto, John. The Longman Register of New Words. 2 vols. Harlow: Longman, 1989–90. Covers new words and phrases, 1986–90, primarily in American and British English.
  • The Barnhart Dictionary Companion: A Quarterly of New Words. Springfield: Merriam, 1982–2001. Quarterly. Updates a variety of standard dictionaries, including, at various times, the preceding, Dictionary of Americanisms (Q3360), Dictionary of American English (Q3355), Dictionary of American Regional English (Q3350), New Dictionary of American Slang (see below), Oxford English Dictionary (M1410), Oxford Dictionary of New Words (see below), Random House Dictionary of the English Language (see below), Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (see below), and 12,000 Words (see above). Index: vols. 1–4, David K. Barnhart, The Barnhart Dictionary Companion Index (1982–1985) (1987; 102 pp.).
  • The Barnhart Dictionary of New English since 1963. Ed. Clarence L. Barnhart, Sol Steinmetz, and Robert K. Barnhart. Bronxville: Barnhart, 1973. 512 pp. Continued by: The Second Barnhart Dictionary of New English (1980; 520 pp.); Third Barnhart Dictionary of New English (Bronx: Wilson, 1990; 565 pp.).
  • The Oxford Dictionary of New Words. Ed. Elizabeth Knowles. [New ed.] Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997. 357 pp.

Webster’s Third has received a decidedly mixed reception, with the popular press generally condemning the work but linguists and lexicographers considerably more positive toward many of its innovations (especially definition style) and departures from the venerable second edition. Features that have drawn the most criticism include the typographical design; the lowercasing of all proper names (except one sense of God) used as headwords, with some confusing notes on capitalization practices; unnecessary citations; deletion of obsolete words; flaws in etymologies; omission of usage labels (the major criticism of those who mistakenly think that a dictionary should arbitrate usage); a confusing system for recording pronunciation; and definitions that are frequently too abridged.

However one judges its lexicographical practices, Webster’s Third is an essential, if flawed, source for the study of the vocabulary of its time (especially in the United States). For the explication of American literary works, it must be used with the unsuperseded second edition, Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language (Webster’s Second), ed. William Allan Neilson, 2nd ed., unabridged (Springfield: Merriam, 1934; 3,210 pp.). Reviews: R. W. Burchfield, Review of English Studies ns 14.55 (1963): 319–23; Robert L. Chapman, American Speech 42.3 (1967): 202–10; Albert H. Marckwardt, “The New Webster Dictionary: A Critical Appraisal,” Readings in Applied English Linguistics, ed. Harold B. Allen, 2nd ed. (New York: Appleton, 1964) 476–85; James Sledd, College English 23.8 (1962): 682–87. Several reviews in the popular press are reprinted in James Sledd and Wilma R. Ebbitt [eds.], Dictionaries and THAT Dictionary: A Casebook on the Aims of Lexicographers and the Targets of Reviewers (Chicago: Scott, 1962; 274 pp.). Reviews and responses to Webster’s Third are listed in Ted Haebler, “The Reception of the Third New International Dictionary,” Dictionaries 11 (1989): 165–218. For an overview of the controversy, of its place within the history of lexicography, and of the editorial decisions underlying the edition, see Herbert C. Morton, The Story of Webster’s Third: Philip Gove’s Controversial Dictionary and Its Critics (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994; 332 pp.); on changes in language and attitudes to it, developments in linguistic theory, and conception of the function of a dictionary that occasioned the controversy, see David Skinner, The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published (New York: Harper–Harper Collins, 2012; 351 pp.).

As an authority for spelling, most American publishers and style manuals (including Chicago [U6395] and MLA [U6400]) recommend Webster’s Third and the latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (currently the 11th ed. [Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2003; 1,623 pp.; also published on CD-ROM and searchable online at http://www.m-w.com/home.htm]).

Important complementary dictionaries and other works include the following:

  • Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. 2nd ed. New York: Random, 1998. 2,230 pp. (A revised, updated edition of The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Ed. Stuart Berg Flexner, 2nd ed., unabridged [New York: Random, 1987; 2,478 pp.; CD-ROM].) This has much fuller notes on usage; however, the standard general guide to usage in American English is Garner, Garner’s Modern American Usage (M1410a).
  • Dictionary of American Slang. Ed. Barbara Ann Jipfer. 4th ed. New York: Collins–HarperCollins, 2007. 592 pp.
  • New Oxford American Dictionary. Ed. Angus Stevenson and Christine A. Lindberg. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2010. 2,018 pp. (Available through Oxford Reference [I530].) Emphasizes the modern American lexicon, including numerous quotations illustrating terms in actual use.
See also[edit]

English Dialect Dictionary (M1415).

Oxford English Dictionary (M1410).

Studies of Language[edit]

Q3370[edit]

Mencken, H. L. The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States. 4th ed., corrected, enl., and rewritten. New York: Knopf, 1936. 769 pp. Supplement I. 1945. 739 pp. Supplement II. 1948. 890 pp. The fourth edition and its supplements are abridged and updated by Raven I. McDavid, Jr. (New York: Knopf, 1963; 777 pp.). PE2808.M4 427.9.

A detailed account of the development of American English and its divergence from British English. The multitude of examples are loosely organized in chapters on historical developments, influences on American English, its relationship with British English, pronunciation, spelling, the common speech, proper names, slang, and the future of American English. Supplement I updates chapters through the relationship with British English; Supplement II, from pronunciation through slang. Non-English dialects are briefly discussed in an appendix to the fourth edition. Two indexes in each volume: words and phrases; persons, subjects, and titles. Stylistically entertaining but hardly impartial, full of errors, weak in organization, and emphasizing description and accumulation of examples rather than analysis, American Language has had a mixed reception. (For the origins, evolution, and reception of the work, see Raymond Nelson, “Babylonian Frolics: H. L. Mencken and The American Language,” American Literary History 11.4 [1999]: 668–98.) It remains the fullest account of American English, even if one disagrees with Mencken’s argument for its status as a language. Reviews: (supplements) Raven I. McDavid, Jr., Language 23.1 (1947): 68–73; 25.1 (1949): 69–77.

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]

Q3378[edit]

American National Biography Online (ANB). Amer. Council of Learned Socs.–Oxford UP, 2000–10. 3 Jan. 2013. <http://www.anb.org>. Updated quarterly. CD-ROM.

American National Biography (ANB). Ed. John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. 24 vols. New York: Oxford UP, 1999. Supplement 1. Ed. Paul Betz and Carnes. 2002. 926 pp. Supplement 2. Ed. Carnes. 2005. 835 pp. CT213.A68 920.073.

A biographical dictionary of more than 17,400 individuals who died before 1996 and whose achievement, fame, or notoriety occurred while living in what is now the United States or who “directly influenced the course of American history.” Entries, which range from 750 to 7,500 words, chronicle the subject’s life and career; most conclude with a note on the location of the individual’s papers and a selected bibliography. Four indexes: biographees; contributors (with a list of contributions); state or country of birth; occupation or realm of renown. Supplement 2 ends with a cumulative, updated index of occupations or realms of renown classified under 17 topical areas. Biographees are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The supplements include individuals who died after 1996 (admitting “a few people of admittedly ephemeral significance”) as well as notable persons overlooked in the main volumes.

The online version is updated quarterly with new biographies, illustrations, internal and external hyperlinks, and revisions to existing entries and bibliographies; unfortunately, the Web site does not identify revised articles. (A 6 July 2006 e-mail communication from Carnes suggests that revisions will be limited to factual matters.) Quick Search allows for a keyword search of full text. In Advanced Search, users can search by a combination of full-text keyword, name, realm of renown, occupation, birth date, death date, United States state of birth, country of birth outside the United States, and contributor; searches can be restricted to the text of an article or to a bibliography, to articles with illustrations or online resources, and by gender and update. Articles can be printed or e-mailed. An impressive editorial achievement that numbers a legion of major scholars among the contributors, American National Biography is a fully worthy successor to Dictionary of American Biography (Q3380) and will remain the country’s standard national biography for the foreseeable future. Review: Edmund S. Morgan and Marie Morgan, New York Review of Books 9 Mar. 2000: 38–43.

African American National Biography (Q3770) is an essential complement to American National Biography.

Q3380[edit]

Dictionary of American Biography (DAB). Ed. Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone. Corrected rpt. 11 vols. New York: Scribner’s, 1964. (A corrected reprint of the original 20 volumes and the first 2 supplements, 1928–58.) E176.D563 920′.073.

  • Supplement One: To December 31, 1935. Ed. Harris E. Starr. 1944. 718 pp.
  • Supplement Two: To December 31, 1940. Ed. Robert Livingston Schuyler and Edward T. James. 1958. 745 pp.
  • Supplement Three: 1941–1945. Ed. James et al. 1973. 879 pp.
  • Supplement Four: 1946–1950. Ed. John A. Garraty and James. 1974. 951 pp.
  • Supplement Five: 1951–1955. Ed. Garraty. 1977. 799 pp.
  • Supplement Six: 1956–1960. Ed. Garraty. 1980. 769 pp.
  • Supplement Seven: 1961–1965. Ed. Garraty. 1981. 854 pp.
  • Supplement Eight: 1966–1970. Ed. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. 1988. 759 pp.
  • Supplement Nine: 1971–1975. Ed. Kenneth T. Jackson. 1994. 952 pp.
  • Supplement Ten: 1976–1980. Ed. Jackson. 1995. 928 pp.
  • Comprehensive Index. 1996. 1,091 pp.
  • The preceding are online through Gale Biography in Context (J572).

A biographical dictionary of dead individuals who have resided in what is now the United States and “have made some significant contributions to American life.” British officers serving in the colonies after the Declaration of Independence are excluded. The 19,173 entries encompass the eminent and the notorious, although the scope is less catholic than that of its model, the Dictionary of National Biography (M1425a). Written by established authorities, the sketches range from 500 to 16,500 words in the original dictionary, but are limited to 5,000 words after the fourth supplement; combine factual information and interpretation based on extensive original research; and conclude with a short list of sources, which frequently locates unpublished materials. With Supplement Five, much of the extensive family and other personal data are recorded only on forms stored in the DAB archives in the Library of Congress. Errata to the original 20 volumes are printed in vol. 1, pp. xxii–xxxvi, of the 1964 reprint, which also makes some corrections within entries. The Comprehensive Index indexes the corrected reprint and the supplements by biographees, contributors, birthplaces, schools and colleges, occupations, and topics. The history of the work is outlined in vol. 1, pp. vii–xvi, of the 1964 reprint. Although there are errors and notable omissions (especially of women, who account for only 625 of the 13,633 entries in the original 20 volumes) and although the American National Biography Online (Q3378) supersedes many entries, the DAB remains useful for its historical perspective and for the biographies of individuals not included in the ANB. Reviews: Arthur M. Schlesinger, American Historical Review 35.1 (1929): 119–26; 35.3 (1930): 624–25; 36.2 (1931): 402–05; 37.2 (1932): 353–56; 38.2 (1933): 336–38; 39.2 (1934): 337–38; 40.2 (1935): 343–47; 41.2 (1936): 344–46; 41.4 (1936): 761–63; 42.4 (1937): 769–73.

The following are important, if much less trustworthy, sources for information on persons excluded from DAB or ANB:

  • Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography. Ed. James Grant Wilson and John Fiske. 6 vols. and supplement. New York: Appleton, 1887–1900. The Cyclopedia of American Biography: Supplementary Edition. Ed. James E. Homans, L. E. Dearborn, and Herbert M. Linen. Vols. 7–10. New York: Press Assn., 1918–26. Because of numerous fictitious biographies and fabricated publications, the original six volumes must be used with caution; see Margaret Castle Schindler, “Fictitious Biography,” American Historical Review 42.4 (1937): 680–90, and John Blythe Dobson, “The Spurious Articles in Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography—Some New Discoveries and Considerations,” Biography 16.4 (1993): 388–408, for accounts of these deliberate falsifications.
  • The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. 76 vols. Clifton: White, 1898–1984. Includes a considerable number of persons not in the DAB. Because of the nonalphabetic organization, the cumulative Index (1984; 576 pp.) is essential for locating entries.

The DAB, its supplements, Appleton’s Cyclopædia, and National Cyclopedia are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Q3385[edit]

Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Ed. Edward T. James. 3 vols. Cambridge: Belknap–Harvard UP, 1971. Available online through Credo Reference (http://www.credoreference.com).

Notable American Women: The Modern Period: A Biographical Dictionary. Ed. Barbara Sicherman and Carol Hurd Green. Cambridge: Belknap–Harvard UP, 1980. 773 pp. Available online through Credo Reference (http://www.credoreference.com).

Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century. Ed. Susan Ware. Cambridge: Belknap–Harvard UP, 2004. 729 pp. CT3260.N57 920.72′0973. Available online through Credo Reference (http://www.credoreference.com).

A biographical dictionary of American and foreign-born residents who died before 31 December 1999 and who achieved more than local eminence or notoriety. Wives of presidents are the only women included on the basis of a husband’s credentials (and only in 1607–1950). The 2,262 entries, ranging from 400 to 7,000 words, are based on extensive research and combine factual information with interpretation. Each entry concludes with a list of sources that typically locates manuscript and archival material. A classified list of occupations, avocations, groups, and interests concludes each Dictionary. Entrants are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although there are some notable omissions, Notable American Women is the most authoritative biographical dictionary of American women (many of whom receive their first and only scholarly discussion here) and a valuable source for literary scholars because of its inclusion of so many authors. Reviews: Ray Ginger and Victoria Ginger, Canadian Historical Review 55.4 (1974): 106–09; Helen Vendler, New York Times Book Review 17 Sept. 1972: 11; Barbara Welter, William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser. 30.3 (1973): 518–22.

For basic biographical data (including addresses) for living women, see Marquis Who’s Who on the Web (Q3395).

Q3390[edit]

American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present. Ed. Taryn Benbow-Pfalzgraf. 2nd ed. 4 vols. Detroit: St. James–Gale, 2000. Online through Gale Virtual Reference Library (I535). PS147.A4 810′.9′9287′03.

A dictionary of about 1,300 women writers of belles lettres as well as popular forms, diaries, letters, autobiographies, and children’s books. Listed under the name used by the Library of Congress, the signed entries, which range from one to five pages, provide biographical information, an overview of major works, a general critical estimate, a “complete” bibliography of primary works, and a selected list of studies. (Neither bibliography cites full publication information, however.) Indexed in vol. 4 by persons and subjects (including vocations and ethnic groups). Entrants in the second edition—as well as those in the first edition and its Supplement (see below)—are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The second edition updates some entries and adds a few new ones but for the most part merely reprints entries from the first edition (ed. Lina Mainiero and Langdon Lynne Faust, 4 vols. [New York: Ungar, 1979–82] and the Supplement (ed. Carol Hurd Green and Mary Grimly Mason, 2 vols. [New York: Continuum-Ungar, 1994]), in many instances not even revising the bibliographies. The second edition in no way bears out the claim that “the explosion of feminist scholarship has enriched each subsequent edition of American Women Writers”; indeed, the entries for Nella Larsen and Frances Watkins Harper—two writers singled out as examples of how much new information has been discovered about women writers—are unchanged from the first edition (but for updated bibliographies). The essays vary considerably in quality (with many full of errors and hardly penetrating in analysis). Once the most inclusive single guide to female writers in the United States, it is now useful only for those few writers not profiled in other biographical dictionaries.

Q3395[edit]

Marquis Biographies Online. Marquis, 2013. 15 Mar. 2013. <http://search.marquiswhoswho.com>. Updated daily. (Also online through Gale Biography in Context [J572] and Credo Reference [4].)

Who’s Who in America, [1899– ]. New Providence: Marquis, [1899– ]. E176.W642 920.073. CD-ROM.

A biographical database of citizens of the United States, Canada, and Mexico (and some other countries) who are (or were) nationally prominent for their positions or achievements and who were listed since 1985 in Who’s Who in America, [1899– ] or one or more of the complementary regional or topical Who’s Who. In addition, the database includes entries from Who Was Who in America: With World Notables, [1897– ] (1943–) and Who Was Who in America: Historical Volume, 1607–1896, rev. ed. (1967), 689 pp.

The compact entries—largely compiled from information supplied by entrants—supply basic biographical, family, and career data; a list of significant publications and awards; and home or office address.

Quick Search allows users to search by keyword or name. In Advanced Search, users can limit name or keyword searches by the city of mailing address, state or province of mailing address, zip or postal code, country (outside the United States), occupation, company or organization, gender, birth year, birthplace, college or university, degrees, year of graduation, hobbies and special interests, political party, or religion; all of the preceding fields can also be searched separately.

Although the entries offer minimal information and are not always accurate or complete, Marquis Who’s Who on the Web is among the best sources for current information and addresses of prominent Americans. For many entrants, however, American National Biography Online (Q3378) offers fuller, more accurate information.

See also[edit]

Sec. J: Biographical Sources.

Allibone, Critical Dictionary of English Literature (M1430).

Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).

Hart, Oxford Companion to American Literature (Q3210).

Periodicals[edit]

Histories and Surveys[edit]

Q3400[edit]

Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, [1741–1930]. 5 vols. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1930–68. PN4877.M63 051′.09.

  • Vol. 1: 1741–1850. New York: Appleton, 1930. 848 pp.
  • Vol. 2: 1850–1865. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1938. 608 pp.
  • Vol. 3: 1865–1885. 1938. 649 pp.
  • Vol. 4: 1885–1905. 1957. 858 pp.
  • Vol. 5: Sketches of 21 Magazines: 1905–1930. Cambridge: Belknap–Harvard UP, 1968. 595 pp.

A history of the development of English-language periodicals in the United States to c. 1905, with individual studies of important magazines through 1930. Excludes newspapers and annuals but otherwise surveys a representative sample of magazines. Vols. 1 through 3 include a chronological list of periodicals mentioned in the text. Indexed in each volume by persons, titles, and subjects; however, the cumulative index in vol. 5 is more thorough. For a history of the project, see “Unfinished Story; or, The Man in the Carrel” (vol. 5, pp. 341–50). Justly praised for its erudition and style, Mott is the monumental history of periodicals in the country. Vols. 2 and 3 were awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History (1939). Some literary magazines are more fully described in Chielens, American Literary Magazines (Q3410).

For a more succinct and current history, especially of mass market publications, see John Tebbel and Mary Ellen Zuckerman, The Magazine in America, 1741–1990 (New York: Oxford UP, 1991; 433 pp.), which emphasizes social and cultural history in chapters on such topics as magazines for women, African American periodicals, male audiences, and pulp and science fiction magazines.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

Union Lists[edit]
Q3405[edit]

United States Newspaper Program National Union List. 5th ed. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Online Computer Lib. Center, 1999. Microfiche.

A bibliography and union list of newspapers derived from the database being compiled by participants in the United States Newspaper Program and the National Digital Newspaper Program, which are attempting to catalog and eventually microfilm or digitize the more than 300,000 newspapers published in the United States and its territories. (For a description of the programs and their respective status, see http://www.neh.gov/projects/usnp.html and http://www.neh.gov/projects/ndnp.html.) Listed alphabetically by title, entries include publication information and exact holdings. Four indexes: date; subjects; geographic area; place of publication or printing. Entries can also be searched by title through WorldCat (E225), whose records are more current than the published version. The National Union List is especially useful for locating runs and identifying newspapers by locale.

This work largely supersedes Winifred Gregory, ed., American Newspapers, 1821–1936: A Union List of Files Available in the United States and Canada (New York: Wilson, 1937; 791 pp.); for newspapers before 1820, Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers (Q4035), frequently supplies fuller information and locations.

See also[edit]

Sec. K: Periodicals/Union Lists.

Bibliographies[edit]
Q3410[edit]

Chielens, Edward E., ed. American Literary Magazines: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. New York: Greenwood, 1986. 503 pp. Hist. Guides to the World’s Periodicals and Newspapers. Z1231.P45 A43 [PS201] 810′.9′003.

———. American Literary Magazines: The Twentieth Century. Westport: Greenwood, 1992. 474 pp. Hist. Guides to the World’s Periodicals and Newspapers. Z1231.P45 A44 [PS221] 016.8108′005.

A collection of separately authored profiles of 168 of the most important American magazines that print a significant amount of literature (including criticism) or are otherwise important in literary history. The essays, organized by periodical title, typically discuss publishing history, audience, and significant literary content, and conclude with a list of studies, indexes, reprints, and a few locations, as well as details of publishing history (including title changes, numbering and dating of volumes and issues, frequency, publishers, and editors). Each volume concludes with an annotated list of minor literary magazines (and in the earlier volume nonliterary ones that have literary content) and with a chronology of American literary magazines and literary and social events; the later volume also prints a valuable overview, by Willard Fox, of little-magazine collections in the United States and Canada. Indexed by persons, magazine titles, and subjects. Although the essays vary in quality, American Literary Magazines is a useful compendium of information on the publishing history and contents of a small group of significant literary magazines.

See also[edit]

Kelly, Children’s Periodicals of the United States (U5510).

Indexes[edit]

Although many clipping files and unpublished indexes exist for local and regional newspapers, there is no trustworthy guide to these important sources. Because Anita Cheek Milner, Newspaper Indexes: A Location and Subject Guide for Researchers, 3 vols. (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1977–82), is incomplete, poorly organized, inadequately indexed, and full of errors, researchers attempting to locate a clipping file or an unpublished index cannot depend on the work as a guide. Instead, they will usually have to contact the newspaper office and area libraries and historical societies. For other indexes, bibliographies, and union lists of newspapers, see the chapter on guides to newspapers in Prucha, Handbook for Research in American History (Q3185a). For a convenient guide to online indexes, archives, and morgues see U.S. News Archives on the Web (http://www.ibiblio.org/slanews/internet/archives.html); last updated 19 Aug. 2008).

Q3415[edit]

The New York Times Index. Ann Arbor: ProQuest, 1913– . Current Ser. Monthly, with quarterly and annual cumulations. Prior Ser. [covering Sept. 1851–1912]. 15 vols. 1967–74. AI21.N45 071′.47′1.

A subject index with abstracts of articles and features in the late city edition and regional Sunday supplements. Abstracts are listed chronologically under a heading; reviews appear under “Books and Literature” (“Book Reviews,” in earlier volumes), “Theater,” and “Movies” (“Motion Pictures,” in earlier volumes) with cross-references to authors and directors. Besides providing excellent access to the contents of the country’s leading newspaper, the Index can be used to determine the approximate date of stories in newspapers not indexed. The Index is hardly complicated enough to require anyone to endure the wretched prose and belabored explanation of Grant W. Morse, Guide to the Incomparable New York Times Index (New York: Fleet, 1980; 72 pp.). Issues since 1851 can be searched at http://www.nytimes.com; other online providers—including ProQuest (I519) and 19th Century Masterfile (Q4147)—offer full-text access to the Times.

Four specialized indexes also provide access to the Times:

  • Falk, Byron A., Jr., and Valerie R. Falk. Personal Name Index to The New York Times Index, 1851–1974. 22 vols. Verdi: Roxbury Data Interface, 1976–83. 1975–2006 Supplement. 11 vols. Sparks: Roxbury Data Interface, 2010– . The supplement includes names overlooked in the index to 1851–1974.
  • New York Times Book Review Index, 1896–1970. 5 vols. New York: Arno, 1973.
  • The New York Times Obituaries Index, 1858–1968. New York: New York Times, 1970. 1,136 pp. The New York Times Obituaries Index, II: 1969–1978. 1980. 131 pp.
  • The New York Times Obituary Index, [1988]. Westport: Meckler, 1990. (The index was to be annual, but it apparently lasted only one year.)
See also[edit]

Literary Writings in America (Q3255).

Genres[edit]

Most works in section L: Genres are useful for research in American literature.

Fiction[edit]

Most works in section L: Genres/Fiction are important to research in American fiction.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
Q3470[edit]

The Columbia History of the American Novel. Emory Elliott, gen. ed. New York: Columbia UP, 1991. 905 pp. PS371.C7 813.009.

A collection of separately authored essays on the development of the novel in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Organized within four chronological divisions (the beginnings to the mid-nineteenth century, the late nineteenth century, the early twentieth century, the late twentieth century), the chapters emphasize a thematic rather than biographical approach, treating such topics as autobiography and the early novel, the book marketplace, romance, race and ethnicity, realism, gender, popular forms, regions, and movements. Varied in their approaches, the essays—all by established scholars—range from broad surveys to extended examinations of representative works, and they encompass the well-known as well as the newly discovered novelists. Concludes with brief biographies of about 200 novelists and a selected bibliography of criticism (more useful, however, would be a selected bibliography accompanying each chapter). Indexed by persons and subjects. Although generally authoritative and provocative, the Columbia History does not fulfill the pressing need for a unified history of fiction in the United States. Reviews: Paul Bauer, Russell J. Reising, and Ellen Weinauer, Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook: 1992 (1993): 178–86; Marc Dolan, Modern Fiction Studies 38.2 (1993): 459–61.

Although now dated, the following general histories remain useful:

  • Chase, Richard. The American Novel and Its Tradition. Garden City: Doubleday, 1957. 266 pp. A critical survey from Brown to Faulkner that emphasizes major writers in exploring the relationship of the romance to the development of the American novel.
  • Cowie, Alexander. The Rise of the American Novel. New York: American Book, 1948. 877 pp. Amer. Lit. Ser. A critical history of the evolution of the American novel during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a concluding chapter on the first four decades of the present century. Organized chronologically, chapters on groups and major authors also treat representative minor writers. Indexed by titles and authors. Although now dated, this is among the fuller surveys and remains useful for its detailed consideration of several minor novelists.
  • Quinn, Arthur Hobson. American Fiction: An Historical and Critical Survey. New York: Appleton, 1936. 805 pp. A critical history of American fiction from the eighteenth century to the 1930s, excluding juvenile, dime, and detective fiction as well as works by authors who were first published after 1920. Although it is dated, offers some questionable evaluations, and is superseded in many parts by specialized surveys, Quinn remains one of the few works covering both novels and short fiction. Review: Fred Lewis Pattee, American Literature 8.4 (1937): 468–70.
  • Wagenknecht, Edward. Cavalcade of the American Novel from the Birth of the Nation to the Middle of the Twentieth Century. New York: Holt, 1952. 575 pp. A critical history through the 1940s.

A major desideratum remains an adequate history of fiction in the United States.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]
Q3472[edit]

Franklin, Benjamin, V, ed. Dictionary of American Literary Characters. 2nd ed. rev. 2 vols. New York: Facts on File, 2002. Amer. BookWorks Corp. PS374.C43 D5 813.009′27′03.

A dictionary of “major characters” from “significant American novels,” “some uncelebrated ones,” and a “sampling of best-sellers” published between 1789 and 2000; the second edition adds more “literary, popular, and genre fiction.” Ranging from 10 to approximately 100 words (those added in the second edition lack the terseness of the original edition), entries identify a character and the novel in which he, she, or it appears. Two indexes in each volume: titles; authors (for users who cannot recall a character’s name, the author index lists novels and then characters included under each author). Although misleadingly titled, lacking any explanation of the criteria employed to define “major” characters or select the “uncelebrated” novels and best sellers through 1979 (the cut-off date of the first edition; the revised edition relies on best-seller and award lists and “several literature professors” for additions and deletions), and including few major scholars in the list of contributors, the Dictionary is a convenient source of factual details about several thousand fictional characters.

Entries are incorporated into Sollars, Dictionary of Literary Characters (M1507a), which includes more recent novels (and adds short stories and plays and broadens coverage to literature worldwide); however, H. C. Williams (Choice 48 [May 2011]: entry 48-4825 [5]) found “several worrisome inaccuracies.”

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Q3473[edit]

Davis, Gwenn, and Beverly A. Joyce, comps. Short Fiction by Women to 1900: A Bibliography of American and British Writers. London: Mansell, 1999. 413 pp. Bibliogs. of Writings by Amer. and British Women to 1900 4. Z1229.W8 D4 [PS374.W6] 016.813′01089287.

A bibliography of short fiction—including novellas, short stories, prose characters, “narrative tracts and brief stories intended to teach religious lessons,” sketches, “moral tales, collections of legends and folklore, prose allegories, and proverb stories” of less than 150 pages and directed to an adult audience—published separately, for the most part, before 1900 by American and British women writers. The 6,185 entries (listed alphabetically by author) typically provide alternative forms of an author’s name, nationality, birth and death dates, title, publication information for the first edition, source(s) for the entry, and a brief annotation (that sometimes notes forms, genres, subject matter, and revised editions). Authors are sorted into chronological groups in an appendix; however, beginning with 1850, the groupings are too broad to be of much value. Indexed by subjects. As in the other volumes in this series—Drama by Women to 1900 (Q3513), Poetry by Women to 1900 (Q3534), and Personal Writings by Women to 1900 (Q3545a)—the indexing is too unrefined to allow adequate access to the entries. Although based primarily on other sources—notably National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints (E235), the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books (see E250a), and WorldCat (E225)—rather than firsthand examination of copies, Short Fiction by Women to 1900 at least offers a starting place for identifying fiction written by women writers before 1900.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q3474[edit]

Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction through 1865. Ed. Kent P. Ljungquist. New York: Facts on File, 1994. 326 pp. Z1231.F4 F33 016.813.

Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction, 1866–1918. Ed. James Nagel and Gwen L. Nagel. New York: Facts on File, 1993. 412 pp. Z1231.F4 B46 [PS377] 016.813′4.

Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction, 1919–1988. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Judith S. Baughman. 2 vols. New York: Facts on File, 1991. Z1231.F4 B47 [PS379] 016.813′508.

Separately authored bibliographies of important works by and about established and popular United States writers born before 1 January 1941. Coverage of primary and secondary works extends through 1988, but later publications are included in each volume’s prefatory lists of reference works essential to the study of United States literature and of general studies, reference works, and journals important to the authors in the volume. Assignment to a period is determined by the date of the author’s first major work. Writers are listed alphabetically; following a headnote describing the author’s reputation or influence are sections for bibliographies, first and revised second editions of separately published works (except for pamphlets and ephemera) written in or translated into English, standard editions, major repositories of manuscripts, concordances, biographies, interviews, and the most important studies (subdivided into books, collections of essays, special issues of journals, and essays). Each volume ends with a chronology, list of journal acronyms, and index of scholars. There are numerous inconsistencies in citation form and some disconcerting editorial practices, such as the omission of periods after initials and abbreviations and the reduction of the subject author’s name to initials in book and article titles. Both the trustworthiness and degree of the selection vary widely from bibliography to bibliography: some are written by “scholar-specialists” (as the series introduction claims); many, though, are signed by persons whose names do not appear in the list of studies on the author, some are contributed by graduate students, and at least one is by the subject author. Despite these shortcomings, Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction offers a convenient starting place for research on American fiction writers; indeed, many minor writers find their most complete bibliographies in these volumes.

Some bibliographies from Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction have been adapted and updated for the series Essential Bibliography of American Fiction, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Judith S. Baughman:

  • Modern African American Writers. 1994. 92 pp.
  • Modern Classic Writers. 1994. 99 pp.
  • Modern Women Writers. 1994. 100 pp.

The volumes of Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction were the only ones published of the Facts on File Bibliography Series, a project designed to fulfill the long-standing need for a general bibliography—comparable to New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (M1385)—for the literature of the United States.

Q3475[edit]

Gerstenberger, Donna, and George Hendrick. The American Novel, 1789–1959: A Checklist of Twentieth-Century Criticism. 2nd ed. Denver: Swallow, 1961. 333 pp. Swallow Checklists of Criticism and Explication. Z1231.F4 G4

———. The American Novel: A Checklist of Twentieth-Century Criticism on Novels Written since 1789. Vol. 2: Criticism Written, 1960–1968. Chicago: Swallow, 1970. 459 pp. Z1231.F4 G4 016.813′03.

Glitsch, Catherine, comp. American Novel Explication, 1991–1995. North Haven: Archon–Shoe String, 1998. 319 pp. 1969–1980. 2000. 575 pp. Z1231.F4 G58 [PS371] 016.813009.

A selective checklist of articles, parts of books, and bibliographies published between 1900 and 1980 and between 1991 and 1995. Gerstenberger and Hendrick favor standard works and periodicals but exclude general literary histories and almost all reviews. Entries are organized in two divisions: authors and general studies. Under each author are sections for individual novels, general studies (of two or more works but with no cross-references under specific titles), and bibliographies. The second part has sections for general studies and centuries. Entries for parts of books and essays from collections are keyed to a list at the back. The two Checklists are time-consuming, frustrating works to use because of the lack of cross-references and indexing and a layout that prevents easy identification of sections. Highly selective in coverage and now dated, The American Novel is principally useful for the indexing of parts of books published before 1969. Superior coverage of articles is offered by Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

American Novel Explication indexes books and articles, primarily in English, that explicate (i.e., interpret “the significance and meaning” of) novels by United States and English- and French-Canadian writers. Entries are organized alphabetically by novelist and then by novel; entries for parts of books are keyed to a list at the back. Indexed by novelists and titles of novel. Although lacking a sufficient explanation of the criteria governing selection, American Novel Explication is useful for its indexing of single-author monographs.

Q3480[edit]

Weixlmann, Joe. American Short-Fiction Criticism and Scholarship, 1959–1977: A Checklist. Chicago: Swallow–Ohio UP, 1982. 625 pp. Z1231.F4 W43 [PS374.S5] 016.813′01′09.

A classified list of English-language articles, interviews, and bibliographies from some 325 journals and of sections in about 5,000 books on the short fiction of more than 500 authors from the eighteenth through the twentieth century. Weixlmann makes an effort to include minority writers. Entries are organized in divisions for general studies and individual authors; under the latter are sections for individual works, general studies, interviews, and bibliographies. The omission of page references in entries for parts of books and the lack of an index mar this otherwise useful compilation.

Weixlmann continues the coverage of American writers in Jarvis Thurston, O. B. Emerson, Carl Hartman, and Elizabeth B. Wright, Short Fiction Criticism: A Checklist of Interpretation since 1925 of Stories and Novelettes (American, British, Continental), 1800–1958 (Denver: Swallow, 1960; 265 pp.; Swallow Checklists of Criticism and Explication), which is only marginally useful because of its exclusion of studies “dealing with the ‘environmental’ circumstances of literature (biography, genesis, source, etc.).”

See also[edit]

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Drama and Theater[edit]

Most works in section L: Genres/Drama and Theater are important to research in American drama and theater.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
Q3490[edit]

Meserve, Walter J. An Emerging Entertainment: The Drama of the American People to 1828. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1977. 342 pp. PS332.M39 812′.009.

———. Heralds of Promise: The Drama of the American People during the Age of Jackson, 1829–1849. New York: Greenwood, 1986. 269 pp. Contributions in Amer. Studies 86. PS343.M47 812′.3′09.

The only volumes published of a projected six-volume critical history of plays written and published in America from its colonization to the present. After a discussion of what constitutes American drama, chapters survey the plays of a period, emphasizing their “relationship . . . to the cultural and historical progress of the country,” offering a brief synopsis of each work and biographical information on important authors, and tracing “the development of American drama as a literary genre and its contribution to American theatre.” Each volume concludes with a selective bibliography that (depending on the volume) lists studies of the cultural and historical background, theater histories, general bibliographies and studies, works on individual dramatists, periodicals and newspapers, manuscript and theater collections, and dissertations. The second volume lists playwrights and plays of the period in appendixes. Indexed by names and plays (separately in the first volume). Although plagued by numerous factual errors, the thoroughness of coverage and attention to the social and political conditions affecting drama make Meserve’s work the best general history of American drama through 1849. Reviews: (Emerging Entertainment) Thomas F. Marshall, American Literature 50.3 (1978): 519–21; Kenneth Silverman, Early American Literature 14.1 (1979): 125–26.

Because it treats popular and “paratheatrical forms,” The Cambridge History of American Theatre, ed. Don B. Wilmeth and Christopher Bigsby, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998–2000; online through Cambridge Histories Online [6]) is an important complement to Meserve. Chapters are devoted to such topics as management, plays and playwrights, actors, directors, theatrical groups, musical theater, stagecraft, and popular entertainment; many contributors are among the leading scholars in the field. Unlike so many recent multiauthored literary histories, Cambridge History of American Theatre provides a bibliographical survey at the end of each chapter (although full citations can be found only in the bibliography that concludes each volume). In addition, a useful chronology is hidden away after the front matter to each volume. Indexed in each volume by persons, subjects, and titles (the online version omits the indexes).

Because of their emphasis on theater, the preceding works do not completely supersede Arthur Hobson Quinn, A History of the American Drama from the Beginning to the Civil War, 2nd ed. (New York: Crofts, 1943; 530 pp.) and A History of the American Drama from the Civil War to the Present Day, rev. ed., 2 vols. in 1 (1936; 296 and 432 pp.).

See also[edit]

Revels History of Drama in English (M1530).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]
Q3499[edit]

Cambridge Guide to American Theatre. Ed. Don B. Wilmeth. 2nd hardcover ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 757 pp. PN2221.C37 792′.0973.

Emphasizes American theater “in the broadest possible terms” from its beginnings through 11 June 2006. Since the new edition deletes about 50 entries (listed on p. xiv), shortens or combines many entries to accommodate new ones, and eliminates sources at the ends of entries, the updated paperback edition (ed. Wilmeth and Tice L. Miller, 1996; 463 pp.) remains useful. Like Bordman and Hischak, Oxford Companion to American Theatre (Q3500), the Cambridge Guide includes entries on performers, theatrical personnel, theaters, organizations, minstrelsy, vaudeville, circus, and individual works (many taken from Cambridge Guide to Theatre [L1125]). Although generally more concise than those in the Oxford Companion, entries in the Cambridge Guide are signed. Indexed by persons who do not have separate entries. In general, the Cambridge Guide offers broader, more balanced, and more accurate coverage of American theater than does the Oxford Companion, but ultimately the two must be used together.

Q3500[edit]

Bordman, Gerald, and Thomas S. Hischak. The Oxford Companion to American Theatre. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. 681 pp. PN2220.B6 792′.0973′03. Online through Oxford Reference (I530) and North American Theatre Online (Q3512).

Although still emphasizing popular Broadway theater (through early 2003) in entries on plays, musicals, actors, actresses, producers, directors, designers, other notable theatrical people, theaters, organizations, and periodicals, the 3rd edition extends its reach outside New York City to include regional theatrical companies and historic theater buildings, admits more off-Broadway and regional works, adds people from the earlier days of American theater, but shortens many entries from the 2nd edition (1999; 735 pp.) to make room for the new ones. In less depth, Bordman and Hischak covers other entertainment, such as minstrelsy, vaudeville, circus, and Wild West and tent shows. The bulk of the entries are for plays (with length of New York run the main criterion governing selection), recording place and date of original production, length of run, and cast and providing a brief synopsis and critical commentary. Entries for people give an overview of career. Entrants in the original edition (1984; 734 pp.) are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The first two editions are plagued by numerous inaccuracies, and the emphasis on popular Broadway entertainment distorts the picture of the American theatrical scene; nevertheless, the Oxford Companion is the single fullest handbook designed for quick reference. It does not offer the balance one expects in an Oxford Companion, however, and it must be used in conjunction with Cambridge Guide to American Theatre (Q3499). Reviews: (1st ed.) John Simon, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 26 Apr. 1985: 477 (an important discussion of weaknesses); Don B. Wilmeth, Theatre History Studies 5 (1985): 116–19.

A useful supplement for plays is Edwin Bronner, The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre, 1900–1975 (San Diego: Barnes, 1980; 659 pp.), which covers plays written or adapted by Anglo-American authors and produced on and off Broadway. Entries cite date and place of original production, length of run, cast, producer, director, and screen adaptations and include a brief synopsis.

For American musical theater, see Hischak, The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film, and Television (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008; 923 pp.; online through Oxford Reference [I530]).

Q3505[edit]

Durham, Weldon B., ed. American Theatre Companies, 1749–1887. New York: Greenwood, 1986. 598 pp. 1888–1930. 1987. 541 pp. 1931–1986. 1989. 596 pp. PN2266.A54 792′.0973. All are online through North American Theatre Online (Q3512).

A collection of separately authored discussions of theatrical companies that produced more than one nonmusical play while in residence in one place for a minimum of 20 consecutive weeks. Organized alphabetically by company (with cross-references for alternative names), entries consist of two parts: a discussion of the history, commercial and artistic significance, and repertory of the company; lists of personnel (including managers, designers, technicians, and performers), works produced (selective if a full list has been published), and selected scholarship and manuscript or archival material. Each volume concludes with two appendixes: a chronology of theater companies; a list by state. Indexed in each volume by persons and play titles. Although the essays vary in quality and some companies are more extensively treated in separate studies, American Theatre Companies is the fullest single compendium of information on American theater companies. Review: (1749–1887 and 1888–1930) Walter J. Meserve, Theatre Survey 28.2 (1987): 108–10.

Annals[edit]
Q3510[edit]

Odell, George C. D. Annals of the New York Stage. 15 vols. New York: Columbia UP, 1927–49. PN2277.N5 O4 792′.097471. Online through North American Theatre Online (Q3512).

A narrative calendar of theatrical entertainment (including opera, ballet, vaudeville, minstrelsy, circus, and concert) in New York City from 1699 through 1894. Organized by season, then by theater or troupe, the commentary draws on newspapers, unpublished manuscripts and archival materials, autobiographies, playbills, and other documents to record performances (along with cast lists) as well as discuss critical reception, performers, and theater architecture. Indexed in each volume by persons, titles, subjects, and theaters; the numerous illustrations are indexed in Index to the Portraits in Odell’s Annals of the New York Stage (N.p.: Amer. Soc. for Theatre Research, 1963; 179 pp.). Odell offers a full, if at times discursive, record of activity in the country’s major theatrical center. Reviews: Arthur Hobson Quinn, American Literature 1.1 (1929): 89–92; 3.3 (1931): 335–39; 8.4 (1937): 472–74; 9.3 (1937): 382–84; 10.3 (1938): 362–64; 12.1 (1940): 123–24; 13.2 (1941): 177–78; 14.4 (1943): 453–55; 22.1 (1950): 88–89; Modern Language Notes 61.2 (1946): 138–39.

Complemented by Gerald Bordman, American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1869–1914 (New York: Oxford UP, 1994; 793 pp.), Bordman, 1914–1930 (1995; 446 pp.), Bordman, 1930–1969 (1996; 472 pp.), and Thomas S. Hischak, 1969–2000 (2001; 504 pp.), a narrative of nonmusical plays produced in New York City. Like Odell, American Theatre draws on a range of documents to discuss cast and reception. Two indexes: plays (with a subsection for sources of plays); persons. Unfortunately, theaters are not indexed. All four volumes are searchable in North American Theatre Online (Q3512).

Q3511[edit]

Norton, Richard C. A Chronology of American Musical Theater. 3 vols. New York: Oxford UP, 2002. ML1711.8.N3.N67 782.1′4′097471.

A chronicle of the “popular American Musical Theatre as presented on first-class stages in New York City [i.e., Manhattan]” with selective coverage from 1750 to 1850 and full coverage from 1850 through 2001. Musical theater is broadly defined to include such forms as operetta, dance drama, and rock opera and is not limited to English-language works. Productions are listed chronologically by season; when possible, each entry includes title, opening and closing dates, venue changes, number of performances and details of revivals, author (and relationship to literary works), production credits, full cast list (with only notable changes recorded), descriptions of acts and scenes, and a list of songs or other musical sketches. Three indexes: titles; names (limited to principal performers); titles of songs (those within double quotation marks in the entries). Based on an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject and extensive examination of opening night programs, advertisements, sheet music, and reviews, Chronology of American Musical Theater offers a seemingly inexhaustible wealth of detail; unfortunately, the restrictions on indexing will leave users hopelessly frustrated by being unable to extract efficiently information about production personnel, venues, genres or forms, authors, composers, and adaptations of literary works. This is an impressive resource that stands ready to encourage important research on Broadway musical theater, but to do so the data herein must be available in an electronic format.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Bibliographies and Indexes[edit]
= Q3512 =[edit]

North American Theatre Online (NATO). Alexander Street Press. Alexander Street, 2005. 3 Jan. 2013. <http://asp6new.alexanderstreet.com/atho/>. Updated quarterly.

A database of reference works that treat North American theater, texts of plays (along with bibliographic records for those the publisher cannot license), a bibliography of published and unpublished plays, image files, biographical data on theater personnel, details of major North American productions, and information on theaters and acting companies. As of early 2013, the database included data on more than 30,000 plays. Coverage of the United States is far more extensive than that for Canada and the rest of North America. Users can browse indexes of people, theaters, acting companies, “resources” (i.e., images), plays, productions, dates, reference works (an uncritical listing of separate chapters or entries from reference works, with hundreds of lines beginning “Chapter” or “Entry”), places, and subjects; several of the preceding include subindexes and sort options, but the only way to search is through a Web browser’s search function. Users can also search (via Quick Search or Search [i.e., Advanced Search]) subsets of data: people, scenes, theaters, production companies, plays, characters, productions, and resources and reference works. Each subset allows searchers to combine a variety of fields and limit searches; for example, the Advanced Search screen for searching plays has fields for full text keyword, title, availability of full text, unpublished plays, date of composition, playwright, gender, nationality, race, translator, lyricist, composer, librettist, author of book for a musical, conceiver, all contributors, publication date, year of first production, medium, genre, original language, setting, performers, character names, theater, production company, subject, and record code; that for characters has fields for full-text keyword, character name, gender, occupation, nationality, race, sexual orientation, marital status, person on whom a character is based, type, author, play title, genre, year of composition, performer, record code. Most of the preceding have lists associated with them, but some lists are alphabetized by first name or initial or with an initial definite article not inverted.

Although the source of the full text of a play can be identified only in the bibliographical record (search or browse Plays) and although some indexes are created by an uncritical sorting of record fields, the indexing of the data herein allows for some very precise and sophisticated searches.

= Q3513 =[edit]

Davis, Gwenn, and Beverly A. Joyce, comps. Drama by Women to 1900: A Bibliography of American and British Writers. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1992. 189 pp. Bibliogs. of Writings by Amer. and British Women to 1900 3. Z1231.D7 D38 016.812.

A bibliography of published (both separately and in collections), unpublished, and nonextant English-language dramatic works (including dramatic poems and poems intended for recitation) written by British or American women before 1900. The 2,828 entries (listed alphabetically by author) typically provide alternative forms of an author’s name, nationality, birth and death dates, title, publication information for the first edition, source(s) for the entry, and a brief annotation (that sometimes notes forms, genres, subject matter, and revised editions). Playwrights are sorted into chronological groups in an appendix; however, beginning with 1850, the groupings are too broad to be of much value. Three indexes: actresses; subjects (including genres, forms, and a few historical persons); translations and adaptations. As in the other volumes in this series—Short Fiction by Women to 1900 (Q3473), Poetry by Women to 1900 (Q3534), and Personal Writings by Women to 1900 (Q3545a)—the indexing is too unrefined to allow adequate access to the entries. Although based primarily on other sources—notably National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints (E235), the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books (see E250a), and WorldCat (E225)—rather than firsthand examination of copies, Drama by Women to 1900 at least offers a starting place for identifying dramatic works written by women writers before 1900.

Coverage is continued—at least cursorily—by Frances Diodato Bzowski, comp., American Women Playwrights, 1900–1930: A Checklist (Westport: Greenwood, 1992; 420 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in Women’s Studies 15), which lists published and some unpublished plays alphabetically by author, with entries including date of production or publication, type of play, number of acts, and locations in anthologies, periodicals, or libraries. Indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The lack of full bibliographical information and of title and subject indexes—coupled with the secondhand nature of much of the information—makes this little more than a place to begin identifying plays by American women of the period.

Text Archives[edit]
= Q3514 =[edit]

American Drama, 1714–1915. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 12 Sept. 2013. <http://collections.chadwyck.com/marketing/index.jsp>.

An archive of rekeyed texts of more than 1,500 English-language dramatic works by American playwrights (including African Americans). The About American Drama, 1714–1915 is uncharacteristically silent about the criteria used to select editions for rekeying. Simple keyword, title, and author searches can be limited by speaker, place of first performance, date of first performance, publisher, publication date, genre, gender, nationality, and ethnicity and to verse or prose drama, notes, and parts (e.g., epilogues, stage directions). Searchers can also browse author and title lists of the contents of the database. Results appear in ascending alphabetical order and cannot be re-sorted. Citations (but not the full text) can be marked for e-mailing, downloading, or printing; each citation includes a durable URL to the full text.

Some works are rekeyed from textually unsound editions; however, the bibliographic record for each work identifies the source of the text and any omissions (e.g., preliminary matter). Besides being a useful source for identifying an elusive quotation or half-remembered line, the scope of American Drama’s text archive makes feasible a variety of kinds of studies (stylistic, thematic, imagistic, generic, and topical).

The contents of American Drama, 1714–1915 can also be searched through LiOn (I527).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Surveys of Research[edit]

For an evaluative survey of histories and general studies (mostly after 1950), see Charles A. Carpenter, “American Drama: A Bibliographical Essay,” American Studies International 21.5 (1983): 3–52.

= See also =[edit]

American Literary Scholarship (Q3265): Chapter on drama.

Other Bibliographies[edit]
= Q3515 =[edit]

Archer, Stephen M. American Actors and Actresses: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1983. 710 pp. Performing Arts Information Guide Ser. 8. Z5784.M9 A7 [PN1998.A2] 016.79143′028′0922.

A bibliography of English-language scholarship on actors and actresses who were associated with the legitimate stage, had substantial careers, and have been the subject of scholarly study. Some foreigners important to the American theatrical tradition or who had substantial careers in the country before 1900 are included; most living persons are omitted. Archer excludes dissertations, theses, newspapers, fan magazines, and reviews of specific performances. The 3,263 entries are organized alphabetically in seven divisions: general reference works; bibliographies and indexes; general histories, surveys, and regional studies; books that discuss several performers; articles that treat several performers; biographies and autobiographies of performers not among those in the next division; 226 individual performers. The lists for individual performers conclude with cross-references to the general divisions. The brief (but adequate) descriptive annotations sometimes offer evaluative comments. Three indexes: persons; titles; subjects (including performers). Although selective, American Actors and Actresses offers the fullest single compilation of scholarship on significant American actors and actresses.

= Q3517 =[edit]

Silvester, Robert. United States Theatre: A Bibliography from the Beginning to 1990. New York: Hall; Romsey: Motley, 1993. 400 pp. Motley Bibliogs. 2. Z5781.S55 [PN2221] 016.792′0973.

A bibliography of separately published works (through 1990) on English-language and Native American drama and theater in the United States and on the musical in other countries. Includes theses and dissertations; periodicals not in Stratman, American Theatrical Periodicals (Q3530), or C. Edwards, World Guide to Performing Arts Periodicals (London: Intl. Theatre Inst., 1982; 66 pp.); and texts of plays with substantial historical or biographical material. Entries, which cite the best or most recently revised edition, are organized chronologically by date of edition cited in three classified divisions: theater; drama; music. The first has variously classified sections for general reference works; federal and state intervention; religion; theater arts; theater history; regional studies; theater companies, clubs, and societies; biography; criticism; revue, vaudeville, and showboats; community and university theater; and pedagogy. The second has sections for general studies, history, foreign influences, and biography and criticism. The third is devoted to the musical. Users should study the admirably clear explanation (pp. 6–8) of the scope and coverage of individual sections. Some entries are accompanied by brief annotations that provide bibliographical information, list contents, or elucidate an obscure title; for all but the most obscure works, locating the copy described at one of 16 institutions is superfluous. Two indexes: subjects; authors. Although it excludes periodical articles, includes little beyond proper nouns in the subject index, and omits numerous non-English-language titles, United States Theatre is especially valuable for its coverage of publications of limited distribution, is attractively printed, and offers the best general list of separately published works on all aspects of United States theater. Review: Don B. Wilmeth, Theatre Survey 35.1 (1994): 143–46.

= Q3520 =[edit]

Eddleman, Floyd Eugene, comp. American Drama Criticism: Interpretations, 1890–1977. 2nd ed. Hamden: Shoe String, 1979. 488 pp. Supplement I. 1984. 255 pp. Supplement II. 1989. 269 pp. Supplement III. 1992. 436 pp. Supplement IV. Comp. LaNelle Daniel. 1996. 239 pp. Z1231.D7 P3 [PS332] 016.812′009.

A selective bibliography of studies published between 1890 and 1993 on plays by Americans (along with a few works by Canadian and Caribbean writers whose plays were performed in the United States). Eddleman initially excludes interviews, biographical studies, and author bibliographies; however, Supplement IV admits nearly anything (even master’s theses), including much that hardly merits being called criticism. Under each playwright, plays are organized alphabetically by title, with each play followed by a list of studies and then reviews (Supplement IV mixes studies and reviews indiscriminately). The supplements add a section of general studies for each author. Entries for parts of books are keyed to a list at the back. Four indexes: scholars; adapted works and their authors; titles of plays; playwrights. Excluding most author bibliographies until Supplement IV (which would lead users to fuller lists of scholarship), plagued by numerous errors, and consisting largely of unverified entries copied from other sources, American Drama Criticism is primarily useful for its identification of parts of books that discuss a play and as an incomplete (and in Supplement IV erratic) compilation of entries from several of the standard bibliographies and indexes in section G.

Even more unsatisfactory is Rosalie Otero, Guide to American Drama Explication (New York: Hall-Simon, 1995; 431 pp.; Reference Pub. in Lit.), a guide to explications—including some reviews, interviews, and dissertations published in or translated into English between 1942 and 1994—of “American” (i.e., United States) drama. Entries are organized alphabetically by playwright, then by play, and then by critic; entries for books including five or more explications are keyed to a list of sources consulted at the end of the book. The criteria governing selection of dramatists and studies are inexcusably vague (“those that most effectively use explication as a critical tool, those that seem to us most essential to scholars as well as students in the field, and those that might be difficult to find in existing bibliographies”), and most of the entries have been gleaned from readily available sources (although the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature [G340] is conspicuously absent from the list of indexes consulted). But the guide—like others of its ilk—is useful for identifying discussions of plays buried in single-author monographs.

Fuller, more accurate coverage of scholarship published between 1966 and 1980 on twentieth-century American drama is offered by Carpenter, Modern Drama Scholarship (M2875); of post-1980 scholarship, by “Modern Drama Studies” (M2870); and of scholarship before c. 1977 on plays before 1900, by Meserve, American Drama to 1900 (Q4200).

An adequate annotated bibliography of studies of twentieth-century American drama is a major desideratum.

= Q3525 =[edit]

Wilmeth, Don B. The American Stage to World War I: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1978. 269 pp. Performing Arts Information Guide Ser. 4. Z1231.D7 W55 [PN2221] 016.792′0973.

A highly selective annotated guide to English-language scholarship (through c. 1974) on the legitimate professional stage to c. 1915. Wilmeth excludes newspaper articles, popular magazines, works exclusively on playwrights or plays, dissertations, theses, and general histories of the theater. The 1,480 entries are listed alphabetically by author in 13 divisions: general reference works; bibliographies; indexes; general histories, surveys, and regional studies; state and local histories (listed by state); general sources on actors and acting on the American stage; individuals in American theater (listed by person); scenery, architecture, and lighting; foreign language theater in America; paratheatrical forms; guides to theater collections; suspended periodicals and serials; current periodicals and serials. The brief descriptive annotations are frequently accompanied by evaluative comments, but many annotations inadequately describe content or establish the significance of a work. Three indexes: authors; titles; subjects. Wilmeth is occasionally useful only as a preliminary guide, since most topics are more fully covered in other sources, including Stratman, American Theatrical Periodicals (Q3530); Gohdes, Literature and Theater of the States and Regions of the U. S. A. (Q3570); Larson, American Regional Theatre History (Q3575); Meserve, American Drama to 1900 (Q4200); and Archer, American Actors and Actresses (Q3515).

For a highly selective guide to reference works and scholarship (through April 1978) on popular theater and other live entertainments established before motion pictures, see Wilmeth, American and English Popular Entertainment: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1980; 465 pp.; Performing Arts Information Guide Ser. 7); continued by Wilmeth, “Stage Entertainment,” vol. 3, pp. 1297–328, in Inge, Handbook of American Popular Culture (U6295a). It emphasizes American forms in covering circus and Wild West exhibitions, outdoor amusements, variety forms, optical and mechanical entertainments, musical theater and review, pantomime, music hall, and popular theater. There are, however, numerous inaccuracies and omissions.

= See also =[edit]

Gohdes, Literature and Theater of the States and Regions of the U. S. A. (Q3570).

Larson, American Regional Theatre History to 1900 (Q3575).

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Stratman, Bibliography of the American Theatre Excluding New York City (Q3580).

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]
See[edit]

Wearing, American and British Theatrical Biography (L1175).

Periodicals[edit]
Guides to Primary Works[edit]
= Q3530 =[edit]

Stratman, Carl J., C. S. V. American Theatrical Periodicals, 1798–1967: A Bibliographical Guide. Durham: Duke UP, 1970. 133 pp. Z6935.S75 016.7902.

A preliminary bibliography of some 685 periodicals and newspapers published in the United States and devoted to the theater (defined broadly to encompass most stage entertainment, including folk performance, magic, opera, puppetry, and vaudeville but excluding television, cinema, and radio). Although the focus is American theater, Stratman includes periodicals that cover other countries as well. Organized chronologically by year of first publication, entries provide (when available) original title; editor(s); publication information; number of volumes or issues; date of first and last issues; title changes; frequency; miscellaneous notes on content, bibliographical matters, or source of information for works not examined; and locations, with exact holdings of incomplete runs. Additions are printed on pp. 86–87. A tabular overview of publication spans in the appendix offers a convenient means of identifying periodicals published during a period. Indexed by titles, subtitles, cities of publication, and sponsoring organizations. Although not comprehensive, it is the fullest single list of theatrical periodicals published in the United States.

Poetry[edit]

Most works in section L: Genres/Poetry are useful for research in American poetry.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
Q3533[edit]

The Columbia History of American Poetry. Ed. Jay Parini. New York: Columbia UP, 1993. 894 pp. PS303.C64 811.009.

A collection of thirty separately authored essays on groups, forms, and individual poets that consider poetry in the United States from Anne Bradstreet to Charles Wright. Employing a variety of critical approaches, the contributors examine neglected and well-known poets; each essay concludes with suggestions for further reading. Indexed by authors, subjects, and titles. Sporting a distinguished roster of contributors, the Columbia History demands the attention of those interested in the relation of poetry to American culture. But it is poorly proofread and marred by some rather surprising omissions; it also concentrates on the twentieth century and, like other recent literary histories, subordinates history to other concerns. Reviews: Ed Folsom, American Literature 66.4 (1994): 832–33; Mark Jarman, Hudson Review 47.4 (1995): 641–47; John Piller, Virginia Quarterly Review 71.2 (1995): 362–66; Jed Rasula, Resources for American Literary Study 23.2 (1997): 263–67; Willard Spiegelman, Kenyon Review 17.3–4 (1995): 219–24.

The following, while dated, are important complements to the Columbia History:

  • Pearce, Roy Harvey. The Continuity of American Poetry. 3rd printing, with corrections and revisions. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1965. 442 pp. A critical survey, from the seventeenth century through Wallace Stevens, that emphasizes cultural history in chapters on periods, forms, and major writers.
  • Waggoner, Hyatt H. American Poets from the Puritans to the Present. Rev. ed. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1984. 735 pp. A critical survey of representative writers, from the Puritans through the 1970s, that argues for the centrality of Emerson to the development of American poetry.
Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Bibliographies and Indexes[edit]
= Q3534 =[edit]

Davis, Gwenn, and Beverly A. Joyce, comps. Poetry by Women to 1900: A Bibliography of American and British Writers. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1991. 340 pp. Bibliogs. of Writings by Amer. and British Women to 1900 2. Z2013.5.W6.D38 [PR508.W6] 016.821008′09287.

A bibliography of separately published first and extensively revised editions of English-language poems or poetry collections published between 1573 and 1900 by American and British women writers. The 6,017 entries, listed alphabetically by author, typically provide alternative forms of an author’s name, nationality, birth and death dates, title, publication information, source(s) for the entry, and an annotation (that sometimes notes subject matter or revised editions). Authors are sorted into chronological groups in an appendix; however, beginning with 1750, the groupings are too broad to be of much value. Indexed by a few general subjects and poetic forms. Although based primarily on other sources—notably National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints (E235), the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books (see E250a), and WorldCat (E225)—rather than firsthand examination of copies, Poetry by Women to 1900 at least offers a starting place for identifying separately published books of poetry by women writers before 1900. What is needed, however, are works such as Smith and Cardinale, Women and the Literature of the Seventeenth Century (M2007), for other periods of British and American literature.

Text Archives[edit]
= Q3536 =[edit]

American Poetry. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 12 Sept. 2013. <http://collections.chadwyck.com/marketing/index.jsp>.

A text archive of rekeyed texts of about 40,000 English-language poems by American poets from the colonial era to the early twentieth century. Editions were selected according to the following criteria: editions “contemporary with their authors were preferred, and, when available, collected editions”; “reliable later editions” in the case of “poets whose established canon could not be covered by contemporary printings.” Poets were chosen on the basis of their inclusion in Blanck, Bibliography of American Literature (Q3250), or the recommendation of the editorial board.

Simple keyword, first line or title, and author searches can be limited by date during an author’s lifetime, gender, ethnicity, literary period, rhymed or unrhymed poems, and parts of a poem (e.g., epigraphs, notes). Searchers can also browse author or title and first-line lists of the contents of the database; the title and first-line lists actually include keywords throughout the poems and notes. Results appear in ascending alphabetical order and cannot be re-sorted. Citations (but not the full text of poems) can be marked for e-mailing, downloading, or printing; each citation includes a durable URL to the full text.

Some works are rekeyed from textually unsound editions; however, the bibliographic record for each work identifies the source of the text and any omissions (e.g., preliminary matter), and the site is refreshingly forthcoming in its explanations of editorial procedures and revision history. Besides being a useful source for identifying an elusive quotation or half-remembered line, the scope of American Poetry’s text archive makes feasible a variety of kinds of studies (stylistic, thematic, imagistic, and topical).

The contents of American Poetry Database can also be searched through LiOn (I527).

Continued by Twentieth-Century American Poetry (Q4333).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
See[edit]

Brogan, English Versification, 1570–1980 (M1600).

Prose[edit]

Most works in section L: Genres/Prose are useful for research in American prose.

Biography and Autobiography[edit]
Histories and Surveys[edit]
= Q3538 =[edit]

Kagle, Steven E. American Diary Literature, 1620–1799. Boston: Twayne, 1979. 203 pp. Twayne’s United States Authors Ser. 342. PS409.K3 818′.103.

———. Early Nineteenth-Century American Diary Literature. 1986. 166 pp. Twayne’s United States Authors Ser. 495. PS409.K33 818′.203.

———. Late Nineteenth-Century American Diary Literature. 1988. 177 pp. Twayne’s United States Authors Ser. 524. PS409.K33 818′.403′09.

A study of the diary tradition in America that attempts to establish a canon of works of literary merit and a methodology for their study. The volumes are organized by type of diary (e.g., spiritual journals, travel diaries, diaries of romance and courtship, war diaries, life diaries, transcendentalist journals), with each chapter offering an extended analysis of selective examples. Each volume concludes with a selected annotated list of diaries and scholarship. Indexed by persons and a few subjects. Although it is highly selective in coverage, Kagle’s work is valuable for its methodology of the literary study of diaries. Review: (1620–1799) Richard C. Davis, Canadian Review of American Studies 12.3 (1981): 301–11.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
= Q3540 =[edit]

Arksey, Laura, Nancy Pries, and Marcia Reed. American Diaries: An Annotated Bibliography of Published American Diaries and Journals. 2 vols. Detroit: Gale, 1983–87. Z5305.U5 A74 [CT214] 016.92′0073.

  • Vol. 1: Diaries Written from 1492 to 1844. 1983. 311 pp.
  • Vol. 2: Diaries Written from 1845 to 1980. 1987. 501 pp.

A bibliography of approximately 6,000 English-language diaries or journals (including translations) written between 1492 and 1980 (and published as late as 1986) by American citizens anywhere in the world and by foreigners while resident in what is now the United States or treating events regarded as American. Along with traditional diaries and journals, American Diaries includes some expedition narratives and ships’ logs that record more than weather or position. Except for some Canadian diaries, this work incorporates everything in William Matthews, American Diaries: An Annotated Bibliography of American Diaries Written Prior to the Year 1861 (Berkeley: U of California P, 1945; 383 pp.). Organized by year of initial entry, then alphabetically by author, entries provide title, publication information, and annotation, which typically notes dates of coverage, place of birth or residence, major emphases, categories of persons discussed, occupations, historic events, modes of travel, religious affiliation, people, places, ships, customs, social milieu, and type of diary or journal. Annotations taken from Matthews frequently add comments on language and the quality of the work. Three indexes in each volume: names of writers and persons mentioned in annotations; subjects; places. The thorough annotations and detailed subject indexing make American Diaries an invaluable source for locating diaries on a topic or associated with a specific place, event, or group. It offers the fullest coverage of published American diaries, many of which appeared in limited editions or obscure periodicals. Many of the entries in Arksey, Pries, and Reed and in Matthews are repeated or revised in Handley, An Annotated Bibliography of Diaries Printed in English (M1615a). Review: (vol. 1) Steven E. Kagle, Early American Literature 20.2 (1985): 174–77.

A few additional published diaries are listed in Patricia Pate Havlice, And So to Bed: A Bibliography of Diaries Published in English (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1987; 698 pp.); however, the best feature of this work is its combined index of diarists in Matthews, American Diaries (see above), British Diaries (M1615), and Canadian Diaries (R4765).

For a list of about 5,000 unpublished diaries and journals held in libraries and other institutions, see William Matthews, American Diaries in Manuscript, 1580–1954: A Descriptive Bibliography (Athens: U of Georgia P, 1974; 176 pp.). The entries are organized chronologically by initial date of entry (with a separate alphabetical list of undated works) and note location along with a brief description of content; unfortunately, works are indexed only by author. Many manuscript diaries are listed in National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (F295) and in other works in sections F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives and Q: American Literature/General/Guides to Primary Works/Manuscripts.

A rekeyed full text of some of the diaries, print and manuscript, listed in the preceding works can be searched in North American Women’s Letters and Diaries: Colonial to 1950 (http://soloman.nwld.alexanderstreet.com). In the current version, c. 150,000 pages can be browsed by author, source, date of composition, geographic location, historical event, and personal event; unfortunately, the source list is organized in no apparent order. Sources, authors, letters, and diaries can also be searched separately through fielded search screens. The Advanced Search screen allows users to combine a number of fields—full-text keyword, author, age when writing, marital status, maternal status, age at marriage, number of marriages, age at first childbirth, number of children, nationality, race, religion, occupation, year of composition, month of composition, document type, where written (setting, geographic region), historical events, personal events, and subjects—in order to construct very sophisticated searches. Search results can be printed or saved only through a Web browser’s print or save functions. Although the selection criteria and plans for expanding the content could be more precisely explained, this archive—if it continues to grow—will provide unprecedented access to the documents herein.

= Q3545 =[edit]

Kaplan, Louis, comp. A Bibliography of American Autobiographies. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1961. 372 pp. Z1224.K3 016.920073.

Briscoe, Mary Louise, ed. American Autobiography, 1945–1980: A Bibliography. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1982. 365 pp. Z5305.U5 A47 [CT220] 016.92′0073.

Together, these two volumes provide a bibliography of more than 11,000 separately published autobiographies (through 1980) of American citizens and foreigners resident for an appreciable time in the United States. Kaplan excludes Indian captivity, travel, and slave narratives; journals; diaries; collections of letters; manuscripts; genealogical works; fiction; and general reminiscences. Briscoe, however, broadens the scope to admit published memoirs, journals, diaries, and nonfiction works that include substantial autobiographical material. Briscoe also includes reprints of autobiographies published before 1945 as well as some works omitted in Kaplan. Kaplan cites the most convenient edition; Briscoe typically refers to the first edition. Entries, organized alphabetically by author, include birth date (and death date in Briscoe), title, publication information, pagination, location of one copy (only in Kaplan), and annotation. Kaplan’s annotations rarely extend beyond occupation and principal areas of residence, but Briscoe’s are much fuller, typically offering an evaluative comment and citing occupation, main focus, precise geographic locations, and important persons and events. In Briscoe, an asterisk denotes a female author. Both offer valuable subject indexes that cite occupations, places, historical events, names, and ethnic and religious groups; however, Briscoe’s index is more precise, detailed, and effectively organized. Together, Kaplan and Briscoe list the majority of the separately published autobiographies of American citizens and long-time foreign residents.

Additional separately published autobiographical works (in print by 1900) are listed in Gwenn Davis and Beverly A. Joyce, comps., Personal Writings by Women to 1900: A Bibliography of American and British Writers (Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1989; 294 pp.), with most entries drawn from WorldCat (E225), National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints (E235), and the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books (see E250a). Concludes with an appendix listing writers by chronological period and an index of places, occupations, types of works, and a few miscellaneous topics. For details of the unsatisfactory coverage of pre-1800 works, see the review by Alexandra Barratt, Library 6th ser. 12.4 (1990): 360–62.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
= See =[edit]

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Regional Literature[edit]

This section includes works limited to or emphasizing a region of the United States.

Most states and some cities have bibliographies of works by native or resident authors. For such bibliographies published through 1970, see vol. 1, pp. 164–68, in Tanselle, Guide to the Study of United States Imprints (U5290); for later ones, see Bibliographic Index (D145).

General[edit]

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Q3570[edit]

Gohdes, Clarence. Literature and Theater of the States and Regions of the U. S. A.: An Historical Bibliography. Durham: Duke UP, 1967. 276 pp. Z1225.G63 016.8109.

A checklist of studies through 1964 on regional belles lettres and theater in the United States and its possessions. Gohdes excludes theses and dissertations as well as most newspaper articles, foreign scholarship, and studies of individual writers or theater personnel. Within divisions for states, possessions, and geographic regions, entries are listed alphabetically in sections for literature and theater. Two appendixes: western literature (for studies dealing with this area, as distinct from the Midwest or West); general studies of regionalism. Because there are no indexes or cross-references and few duplicate entries, users must be certain to search the regional as well as state divisions for studies of a locale. Although superseded by Larson, American Regional Theatre History (Q3575), for studies of theater before 1900 and offering less extensive coverage than Stratman, Bibliography of the American Theatre (Q3580), Gohdes remains an indispensable compilation of general studies of regional literature. It must be supplemented by works in sections G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

See also[edit]

“Annual Review,” Journal of Modern Literature (M2780).

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Woodress, Dissertations in American Literature, 1891–1966 (Q3320).

Periodicals[edit]

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
See[edit]

Chielens, Literary Journal in America to 1900 (Q4145).

Genres[edit]

Drama[edit]
Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
= Q3575 =[edit]

Larson, Carl F. W., comp. American Regional Theatre History to 1900: A Bibliography. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1979. 187 pp. Z5781.L34 [PN2221] 016.792′0973.

A bibliography of books, articles, dissertations, theses, newspaper articles, and some manuscripts (through 1976) on regional theater outside New York City. Larson emphasizes English-language theater and studies of a specific geographic area; it excludes publications before 1900 unless their focus is historical and studies of actors, actresses, and theatrical personnel unless they emphasize a specific region. The 1,481 entries are organized chronologically by date of coverage in four divisions: states (with sections for cities and general studies), regions, miscellaneous works, and bibliographies. The chronology of numerous entries is imprecise because the compiler did not examine many items or relied on secondhand information. Three indexes: foreign language theater; subjects (limited to persons); authors. Although no locations are provided for manuscripts, subject indexing is inadequate, the chronological placement is not reliable, and scope is insufficiently defined (especially what “theatre history” encompasses), Larson does offer the best general coverage of regional theater for the period. It corrects several errors in Stratman, Bibliography of the American Theatre (Q3580), and Gohdes, Literature and Theater of the States and Regions (Q3570), but does not completely supersede either. Review: Don B. Wilmeth, Nineteenth Century Theatre Research 8.2 (1980): 109–10.

= Q3580 =[edit]

Stratman, Carl J., C. S. V. Bibliography of the American Theatre Excluding New York City. Chicago: Loyola UP, 1965. 397 pp. Z1231.D7 S8 016.7920973.

A bibliography of studies through c. 1964 on the stage and theater, encompassing a wide range of theatrical activity and types of entertainment such as ballet, minstrel shows, opera, and puppetry and extending to high school and university theater. Stratman excludes general theater and stage histories, newspaper articles, manuscripts, local or state histories, and critical studies of plays. The 3,856 entries are organized by state or region, then by city, then by publication date. Each state section concludes with a list of general works. Except for theses and dissertations, each work is located in at least one library (an especially helpful feature in the case of ephemeral publications); only periodical articles are accompanied by brief descriptive annotations. Indexed by persons and subjects. Although now dated and superseded in part by Larson, American Regional Theatre History (Q3575), Stratman remains a valuable guide to studies of the theatrical activity of a city or region and offers fuller coverage than Gohdes, Literature and Theater of the States and Regions (Q3570).

Eastern Literature[edit]

Most works in section Q: American Literature/Early American Literature (to 1800) and many in American Literature/Nineteenth-Century Literature emphasize eastern writers.

Histories and Surveys[edit]

Q3583[edit]

Westbrook, Perry D. A Literary History of New England. Bethlehem: Lehigh UP; London: Assoc. UP, 1988. 362 pp. PS243.W42 810′.9′974.

A literary history devoted to belles lettres and other writings by natives or residents and treating “some subject, place, or persons—imaginary or not—connected with New England and its culture.” The chapters on major authors, groups, movements, and genres cover 1620 to 1950, with some recent writers mentioned in an epilogue. Concludes with a highly selective bibliography. Indexed by persons and subjects. Literary History of New England offers a balanced overview of literature associated with the region.

Midwestern Literature[edit]

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

Q3592[edit]

Dictionary of Midwestern Literature. Ed. Philip A. Greasley. 3 vols. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2001– . PS273.D53 810.9′977′03.

  • Vol. 1: The Authors. 2001. 666 pp.

A dictionary and history of the literature of the Midwest (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota). Vol. 1 covers the lives and writings of more than 400 established and “emerging” poets, fiction writers, dramatists, journalists, and critics with an “extended connection” with the Midwest who have published English-language works that depict the region. The signed entries typically provide basic biographical information, a critical assessment, a list of major works, and suggestions for further reading. Indexed by persons and titles; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J595). Although readers will wish for regional headings in the index and although the connection to the literature of the Midwest is tenuous for some writers (e.g., T. S. Eliot and Donald Hall), Dictionary of Midwestern Literature offers the best guide to midwestern writers.

Vol. 2 will cover places, movements, themes, genres, and other topics; vol. 3 will be a literary history of the Midwest.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

There is no adequate guide to the literature of the Midwest. For example, Donald W. Maxwell, Literature of the Great Lakes Region: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1991; 485 pp.; Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 1252), offers 1,707 entries on novels, plays, short stories, and poems about locales in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; however, few of the brief annotations are based on the author’s direct knowledge of the books (as he confesses, “I haven’t read many of these works”), and the inexcusable lack of a subject index means that users must scan every entry when searching for works about a place or an event.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Bibliographies on a variety of midwestern writers and subjects appear in issues of Great Lakes Review 1–10 (1974–84); with the title change to Michigan Historical Review (12 [1986]), the journal narrowed its focus to that state.

Serial Bibliographies[edit]
Q3595[edit]

“Annual Bibliography of Midwestern Literature, [1973– ].” Midamerica 2 (1975)– . PS273.M53.

A list of primary and secondary publications relating to authors born or resident in the Midwest as well as of literary works with a midwestern setting. Currently, entries are organized in three divisions: primary sources (an alphabetic list—by writer—of literary works; early installments included the names of authors of secondary works, with a cross-reference to the secondary sources division); secondary sources (with subdivisions for general studies and literary authors); and new periodicals. Users should note that essays in edited collections are not separately listed. Early installments of the bibliography are unnecessarily difficult to read because they are reproduced from a much-reduced uppercase printout, and the cross-referencing system in the primary works division is cumbersome. Although not comprehensive (especially for major authors), the “Annual Bibliography” does assimilate a considerable amount of the year’s work on midwestern literature and serves as a useful complement to the standard bibliographies and indexes in section G.

See also[edit]

MLAIB (G335): See the headings beginning “Midwestern” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies[edit]
Q3600[edit]

Nemanic, Gerald, gen. ed. A Bibliographical Guide to Midwestern Literature. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 1981. 380 pp. Z1251.W5 B52 [PS273] 016.81′08′0977.

A selective bibliography of studies of the literature and culture of the midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and the eastern part of Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas) and of about 150 authors whose works reflect the cultural life of the region. Entries are organized in two divisions: subjects and individual authors. The first grouping consists of extensively classified subdivisions listing primarily books on literature and language, history and society, folklore, personal narratives, architecture and graphics, Chicago, black literature, Indians, and literary periodicals. Each subdivision is preceded by a helpful evaluative overview of scholarship; most entries are succinctly and clearly annotated. Each author bibliography consists of a headnote that briefly comments on the writer’s stature, notes important studies, suggests topics for research, and identifies major manuscript collections; a chronological list of major primary works; and a selective, unannotated list of scholarship. Two appendixes: brief biographical notes on an additional 101 writers; a list of 101 fictional narratives on the Midwest by writers not associated with the region. Individual bibliographies are uneven in quality; the lack of cross-references in the first part and the failure to provide a subject index substantially reduce usability; articles are generally excluded from the subject lists; and major writers are more adequately treated in separate author bibliographies; even so, the usually judicious selection and evaluative comments in the headnotes make Nemanic the first source to consult in the study of midwestern literature generally and minor writers associated with the region. Reviews: Craig S. Abbott, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 6.2 (1982): 135–37; Michael J. Bresnahan, Resources for American Literary Study 12.1 (1982): 111–16.

Southern Literature[edit]

Guides to Reference Works[edit]

For an annotated list of reference works published since 2000 on regions, fine arts, history, and language and literature of the South, see Tisha M. Zelner, “Reference Works for Scholars of the South,” Southern Quarterly 45.2 (2008): 114–69.

Histories and Surveys[edit]

Q3615[edit]

The History of Southern Literature. Louis D. Rubin, Jr., gen. ed. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1985. 626 pp. PS261.H53 810′.9′975.

A collection of essays, on authors, movements, genres, and topics, that makes a concerted effort to include African American literature and emphasizes twentieth-century writers. Unfortunately the essays exclude references to scholarship, a deficiency not compensated for by M. Thomas Inge’s brief appendix surveying anthologies, reference sources, surveys, bibliographies, literary histories, and general critical studies (pp. 589–99). The quality of the essays and breadth of coverage make this work the standard literary history for the region, although Jay B. Hubbell’s monumental The South in American Literature, 1607–1900 (Durham: Duke UP, 1954; 987 pp.) remains valuable for its encyclopedic treatment of the literature before 1865. Reviews: Melvin J. Friedman, American Literature 58.3 (1986): 427–30; Jan Nordby Gretlund, Resources for American Literary Study 16.1-2 (1986–89): 52–57; Michael Kreyling, American Literature 60.1 (1988): 83–95; Ellen M. Weinauer, Nineteenth-Century Contexts 16.1 (1992): 91–96.

Women writers are more fully treated in The History of Southern Women’s Literature, ed. Carolyn Perry and Mary Louise Weaks (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2002; 689 pp.); however, most of the essays read like extended entries in a literary encyclopedia.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

Q3617[edit]

Companion to Southern Literature: Themes, Genres, Places, People, Movements, and Motifs. Ed. Joseph M. Flora and Lucinda H. Mackethan. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2002. 1,054 pp. Southern Lit. Studies. PS261.C55 810.9′975.

A dictionary of authors, institutions, places, customs, historical events and persons, genres, movements, periodicals, scholars, themes, and stereotypes associated with Southern literature (here “broadly defined as constituting a cultural territory that has been imaginatively created by all kinds of ‘makers’”). Focusing on approaches that are not author-centered, the work includes only those few writers who are pioneers or seminal influences and works that are essential for defining the southern mind. The approximately 500 signed entries—many by established scholars or creative writers—provide full, readable, informative treatments of their respective topics and their manifestations in or importance to the literature of the South (see, e.g., “bourbon,” “hog,” “K Mart fiction,” “mammy,” and “whoopin’”); most conclude with a selective bibliography. Broad but representative in its coverage and guided by attentive editorial judgment (except for the lapse that allowed the starkly insubstantial “Sears catalog” entry), Companion to Southern Literature—an essential desktop companion for specialists in the literature of the South—is a resource that will captivate readers into turning leaves long after perusing the entry that brought them to this work.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Surveys of Research[edit]
See[edit]

Harbert and Rees, Fifteen American Authors before 1900, 1971 edition (Q3280a).

Serial Bibliographies[edit]
Q3620[edit]

SSSL Bibliography: A Checklist of Scholarship on Southern Literature, [1968–2006]. Mississippi Quarterly. Mississippi State U, 2006. 30 Dec. 2014. <http://replay.web.archive.org/20060831075107/http://www.missq.msstate.edu/sssl/>.

“A Checklist of Scholarship on Southern Literature for [1968–96].” Supplement to Mississippi Quarterly 22–50 (1969–1996-97). AS30.M58 A2 051.

An annotated bibliographic database of books and articles published between 1968 and 2006 about Southern writers. This cumulates, expands, and continues the annual “A Checklist of Scholarship on Southern Literature for [1968–96].” Users can search entries by keyword or browse lists of writers (either by surname or by period: colonial [1607–1800], antebellum [1800–65], postbellum [1865–1920], modern [1920–50], contemporary [1950 to the present], and unassigned [which includes both writers as well as lists of general and miscellaneous studies, though the distinction between the two is not clear]), scholars, and journals. Results of keyword searches, which are ranked by relevance, provide author, title, and brief descriptive annotation; results of browse searches, which are listed in ascending chronological order, then alphabetically by title within a year, provide title, author, and year as well as links to related Web sites. In both kinds of searches, users must click on a result to view the full citation; since journal acronyms are not expanded, users must click on the acronym to identify the journal. The online version is an archived incomplete capture of the Web site before it was destroyed by a hacker. As of 2014, the online version is most effectively explored by browsing the directory. Searches often try to connect to pages that have not been archived.

Although it is not comprehensive and although the search interface is unsophisticated, SSSL Bibliography is an essential continuation of Rubin, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Southern Literature (Q3625), and supplement to the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

The first eight “Checklists” are cumulated and supplemented in Jerry T. Williams, ed., Southern Literature, 1968–1975: A Checklist of Scholarship (Boston: Hall, 1978; 271 pp.; Reference Pub. in Lit.).

See also[edit]

MLAIB (G335): See the headings beginning “Southern American(s)” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies[edit]
Q3625[edit]

Rubin, Louis D., Jr., ed. A Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Southern Literature. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1969. 351 pp. Southern Lit. Studies. Z1225.R8 016.81.

A collection of selective bibliographies compiled by specialists on southern literature and confined largely to English-language scholarship published through the late 1960s. The bibliographies are organized in two divisions: 23 topics (including general works, periods, themes, local color, periodicals, southern speech, drama, folklore, manuscript collections, and bibliographies) and 135 individual authors. An appendix covers 68 writers of the colonial South. Each bibliography is in two parts: an evaluative summary of scholarship (ranging from a few lines to several pages and sometimes commenting on the stature of the writer) and a selective list of studies (variously classified in the topics division). The appendix has no summaries. An asterisk denotes works including a useful bibliography. The lack of an index significantly reduces usability, there is considerable overlapping among the bibliographies, and the coverage (originally too selective for major writers) is now dated, but this remains a useful guide to the best scholarship before c. 1968 on southern literature generally and on minor writers. Review: Hensley C. Woodbridge, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 63.4 (1969): 332–36.

Coverage must be supplemented with SSSL Bibliography (Q3620), American Literary Scholarship (Q3265), and Jack D. Wages, Seventy-Four Writers of the Colonial South (Boston: Hall, 1979; 252 pp.; Reference Pub. in Lit.). The last work, however, is marred by omissions, frequently uninformative annotations, and cryptic abbreviations of authors’ names in the index.

Dissertations and Theses[edit]
Q3630[edit]

Emerson, O. B., and Marion C. Michael, comps. and eds. Southern Literary Culture: A Bibliography of Masters’ and Doctors’ Theses. Rev. and enl. ed. University: U of Alabama P, 1979. 400 pp. Z1251.S7 C3 [PS261] 016.810′9′975.

Wages, Jack D., and William L. Andrews, comps. “Southern Literary Culture: 1969–1975.” Mississippi Quarterly 32 (1978–79): 13–214. AS30.M58 A2 051.

The revised edition lists about 8,000 American and foreign theses and dissertations, accepted through winter 1969, on southern literature and writers (i.e., those who “flourished” in the South). Entries are listed alphabetically by thesis or dissertation author in three classified divisions: individual writers; cultural, historical, and social background (with sections for general studies, folklore, education, theater, libraries and lyceums, onomastics, language, and southern culture through others’ eyes); and general literary studies (with sections for studies that include the South, studies restricted to southern literature, bibliographies and checklists, comparative studies, newspapers and periodicals, and original works written at southern universities). Each entry provides author, title, institution, year, degree, and department; occasionally a note identifies authors or works discussed. Since a thesis or dissertation is listed only once, the lack of cross-references and an index seriously mars the usability of the work. Although not comprehensive—especially in its coverage of foreign theses and dissertations on Twain—Southern Literary Culture is valuable for its extensive coverage, especially of studies written in a variety of departments other than English.

The supplement is more closely restricted to literary studies and omits foreign theses and dissertations. Its approximately 3,000 entries are listed alphabetically by author in 13 divisions: individual authors, multiple author studies, general culture, education, folklore, history, journalism, libraries, linguistics, music, politics, religion, and speech and theater. Only the first division is classified and includes cross-references for multiple-author studies. Except for the omission of department, entries include the same information as in the revised edition. Indexed by dissertation or thesis writers. Although lacking the breadth of coverage of its predecessor, Wages and Andrews’s work remains a useful compilation but must be supplemented by section H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

Language[edit]

Guides to Scholarship[edit]
Q3635[edit]

McMillan, James B., and Michael B. Montgomery. Annotated Bibliography of Southern American English. [2nd ed.] Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1989. 444 pp. Z1251.S7 M37 [PE2922] 016.427′975.

A bibliography of studies (some as late as 1989 and all but a few in English) of English used in the District of Columbia and the “states south and west of the Mason-Dixon Line from the Delaware Bay to [and including] Texas.” McMillan and Montgomery includes theses, dissertations, research reports, ERIC documents, and scholarly reviews of books, but excludes popular journalism, general works on American English, and studies of folklore, foreign languages, language of children under nine, language contact, and literature unless of interest to students of dialect. The approximately 3,800 entries are listed alphabetically by author in 12 divisions: general studies; historical and creole studies; lexical studies; phonology and phonetics; morphology and syntax; place-names; personal and miscellaneous names; figurative language, exaggerations, and wordplay; literary dialect; language attitudes and speech perception; speech acts and style; and bibliographies. Unlike in the first edition (Coral Gables: U of Miami P, 1971; 173 pp.), a majority of the approximately 3,800 entries are adequately annotated; entries for books cite reviews. Indexed by scholars. Although there are cross-references, the lack of a subject index seriously impedes access to what is otherwise a valuable compilation, especially for those interested in scholarship on the use of southern dialects in literary works. Review: Edgar W. Schneider, English World-wide 10.2 (1989): 345–48.

Recent studies can be identified by searching “Southern American English dialect” in the subject index to post-1981 volumes of MLAIB (G335) and in the online thesaurus.

See also[edit]

Emerson and Michael, Southern Literary Culture (Q3630).

Rubin, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Southern Literature (Q3625).

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]

Q3640[edit]

Southern Writers: A New Biographical Dictionary. Ed. Joseph M. Flora and Amber Vogel. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2006. 468 pp. PS261.S595 810.9′975′03.

A biographical dictionary of more than 600 writers associated (sometimes loosely) with the southern United States (not herein geographically defined). The signed entries (which range from 300 to c. 1,000 words depending on the eminence of the subject) offer a basic overview of a subject’s life and career, and conclude with a chronological list of books. Informative and sometimes witty, Southern Writers will likely assume pride of place among biographical dictionaries of the region.

Western Literature[edit]

On the difficulties researchers face because of a lack of agreement over what constitutes southwestern literature and over what writers should be labeled southwestern, see Kate Manuel, “Researching Southwestern Literature: Challenges and Strategies,” Teaching Literary Research: Challenges in a Changing Environment, ed. Kathleen A. Johnson and Steven R. Harris (Chicago: Assn. of College and Research Libs., 2009; ACRL Pubs. in Librarianship 60) 83–108.

Histories and Surveys[edit]

Q3660[edit]

A Literary History of the American West. J. Golden Taylor, ed. in chief. Fort Worth: Texas Christian UP, 1987. 1,353 pp. PS271.L58 810′.99978. [7]

A collaborative critical history whose 75 chapters employ a variety of approaches to encompass major writers; regions; historical periods; genres; types of characters; ethnic and non-English literatures; folklore; nature writing; and movies, television, and radio. Most chapters conclude with a selective bibliography (several of which are evaluatively annotated). The volume also includes chronologies of historical (1507–1980) and literary (1510–1984) events; an appendix that surveys the development of criticism of western literature; and an incomplete and sometimes inaccurate list of major reference sources. Indexed by persons and subjects. Although uneven in execution, the impressive scope and quality of the contributors make this collection the essential starting point for research on western literature.

Updating the Literary West, Thomas J. Lyon, ed. in chief (1997; 1,031 pp.), updates (through 1996) and expands Literary History of the American West in 106 essays that survey developments in criticism; canonicity; and the study of genres, regions, groups, and individual authors. As in the earlier volume, there is a chronology (of events and texts, 1980–96), the authors employ a variety of approaches, and essays conclude with a selective bibliography (with only a few bearing annotations). Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. Although Updating the Literary West stretches West to include Hawaiʻi and the Midwest and although the essays are uneven, it—like Literary History of the American West—is an essential starting point for research on western literature.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Serial Bibliographies[edit]
Q3665[edit]

Bibliography of Studies in Western American Literature, [1998–2000]. Western Literature Association. Western Lit. Assn., 2013. 12 Sept. 2013. <http://www.usu.edu/westlit/bibliography-of-studies-in-western-american-literature/>.

“Annual Bibliography of Studies in Western American Literature, [1965–97].” Western American Literature 1–32.4 (1966–98). PS271.W46 810.9′978.

An unannotated list of books and articles on western literature. Entries are divided among two divisions: literary authors; subjects (though many studies appear in both). A substantial number of entries are taken from other sources (see Angela Ashurst-McGee, “From the Bibliographic Editor,” Western American Literature 33 [1999]: 342–44). Although it offers better subject access than its print predecessor, the electronic version is a static list that is searchable only through a Web browser’s find function. Even so, the Bibliography was a helpful compilation of the year’s work on western writers, a continuation of Etulain and Howard, Bibliographical Guide (Q3670), and an essential complement to the bibliographies and indexes in section G. Its unfortunate demise deprived scholars of an essential resource for the study of western literature.

Dissertations and theses are listed in the annual Research in Western American Literature, [1997–2003] (http://www.usu.edu/westlit/western-american-literature-research/), which formerly included work in progress and which appeared in Western American Literature until the list for 1996–97 in 32.4 (1998); thereafter, only the overview of trends appears in the journal. “Western American Literary Scholarship [2001]: The Year in Review”—a review essay—lasted one year (37.1 [2002]).

See also[edit]

MLAIB (G335): See the headings beginning “Western American” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies[edit]
Q3670[edit]

Etulain, Richard W., and N. Jill Howard, eds. A Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Western American Literature. 2nd ed. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1996. 471 pp. Z1251.W5 E8 [PS271] 016.8109′978.

A selective bibliography of studies on trans-Mississippi western literature and authors (including a few major nonfiction writers), as well as outsiders who have written on the area or influenced its literature. It is limited to important scholarship (largely in English through 1994) and emphasizes recent studies; the second edition omits master’s theses and several briefer or outdated items included in the original edition (by Etulain [Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1982; 317 pp.]). Coverage is especially selective for major authors such as Cooper, Cather, Clemens, and Steinbeck. The 6,494 entries are listed alphabetically in five divisions: bibliographies and reference works, anthologies, general works (unhelpfully divided into books and dissertations, and articles—special issues of journals unaccountably appear in both sections), special topics (local color and regionalism, dime novels and the western, film, Indian literature and Indians in western literature, Mexican American literature and Chicanos in western literature, the environment and western literature, women and families in western literature, the Beats, and Canadian western literature), and individual authors. A very few entries are briefly annotated. Indexed by scholars. The lack of cross-references and subject indexing means that researchers looking for studies on a writer must skim the divisions on general works and special topics. Although several authors are more fully covered in separate author bibliographies, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Western American Literature is the essential starting point for research on the region.

Because coverage is selective (indeed, there are some inexplicable omissions), the guide must be supplemented with “Annual Bibliography of Studies in Western American Literature” (Q3665), Bibliography of Studies in Western American Literature (Q3665), and the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

As a guide to studies of twentieth-century western literature, Etulain, ed., The American West in the Twentieth Century: A Bibliography (Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1994; 456 pp.), is virtually useless: the criteria governing selection are impossibly vague (“earlier major studies as well as . . . recent burgeoning scholarship”); there are significant omissions in the section on bibliographies and reference works; the division on literature and theater is utterly inadequate, and coverage of individual authors is erratic and incomplete (e.g., the 366 entries include 6 on Willa Cather); and there is no subject indexing. If the divisions on reference works and literature are representative, American West in the Twentieth Century can hardly claim to be “the most comprehensive bibliography now available on the history and culture of the twentieth-century West.”

Ethnic and Minority Literatures[edit]

Many works in sections G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts; H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses; L: Genres; and, especially, Q: American Literature/General are important for research in minority and ethnic literatures of the United States.

General[edit]

Histories and Surveys[edit]

Q3690[edit]

Di Pietro, Robert J., and Edward Ifkovic, eds. Ethnic Perspectives in American Literature: Selected Essays on the European Contribution. New York: MLA, 1983. 333 pp. PN843.E8 810′.9.

Surveys of Franco-American New England writers and the literatures of Americans of German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Jewish, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Scandinavian, and South Slavic ancestry. Organized chronologically, thematically, or by genre, the essays typically offer a basic historical overview of the development of a literature and of its major authors; some essays briefly comment on important scholarship and suggest topics for research. Indexed by persons and titles. Although the surveys vary in breadth and quality, the collection overall serves as a handy (but dated) introduction to some ethnic literatures of the United States.

Q3695[edit]

Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown, and Jerry W. Ward, Jr., eds. Redefining American Literary History. New York: MLA, 1990. 406 pp. PS153.M56 R4 810.9′920693.

A collection of essays that seeks to redefine American literary history by “expanding the canon, forging new critical perspectives, and scrutinizing underlying cultural and ideological assumptions” through a focus on African American, American Indian, Asian American, Chicano, and Puerto Rican literature. The essays are organized in three divisions: discussions of “various ways of redefining the American literary canon and its relation to the literatures of minorities and white women”; the oral dimensions of American literature; critical and historical perspectives. Following the essays are selected, annotated bibliographies through 1989—with sections for bibliographies, anthologies, primary works, general criticism, and major authors—of multiethnic, African American, American Indian (superseded by Ruoff, American Indian Literatures [Q3880]), Asian American, Chicano, and Puerto Rican literatures. Concluding the work is a list of selected presses and journals. The lack of an index hampers access, and some of the essays originally prepared for a 1981 convention do not reflect the debate over and changes in the canon since then; however, Redefining American Literary History is an important contribution to the continuing evaluation of the canon of the literature of the United States.

See also[edit]

Cambridge History of American Literature (Q3205).

Columbia Literary History of the United States (Q3195).

Literary History of the American West (Q3660).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Q3700[edit]

Miller, Wayne Charles. A Comprehensive Bibliography for the Study of American Minorities. 2 vols. New York: New York UP, 1976. Z1361.E4 M529 [E184.A1] 016.973′04.

Minorities in America: The Annual Bibliography, [1976–78]. 3 vols. University Park: Penn State UP, 1985–86. Annual. Z1361.E4 M57 [E184.A1] 016.973′04.

A bibliography of English-language materials on minority groups in America. The Comprehensive Bibliography covers studies through c. 1973; the Annual Bibliography covers 1976 through 1978. Entries are organized by area of origin (Africa and Middle East, Europe, Eastern Europe and Balkans, Asia, Puerto Rico and Cuba, and America [including Indians and Mexican Americans]), then by minority group, and then by subject. Most groups include sections for language, general literary criticism, fiction, poetry, drama, folklore, and some individual writers. Entries in the annual bibliographies are accompanied by descriptive annotations; although only a few are annotated in the Comprehensive Bibliography, each minority group is preceded by an introduction that identifies important studies and reference works. Two indexes: authors; titles. Although the Comprehensive Bibliography is hardly comprehensive, it—along with the Annual Bibliography—offers the fullest single record of scholarship before 1978 on minority groups in the United States.

See also[edit]

“Annual Review,” Journal of Modern Literature (M2780).

Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture (U6295).

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Salzman, American Studies: An Annotated Bibliography (Q3335).

Genres[edit]

Prose[edit]
Q3705[edit]

Stuhr-Rommereim, Rebecca. Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1980–1994: An Annotated Bibliography. Troy: Whitston, 1997. 262 pp. Z5305.U5 S78 [CT220] 016.92.

Iwabuchi, Deborah Stuhr, and Rebecca Stuhr. Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1995–2000: An Annotated Bibliography. Albany: Whitston, 2003. 565 pp. Z5305.U5 [CT220] 973.049016.

An annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 separately published autobiographies by Americans of color that were printed, reprinted, or digitized between 1980 and 2000. Defining autobiography loosely (to include oral narratives, family histories, and “as told to” accounts), both volumes exclude interviews, dissertations, and journal articles. More than half of the works are by African Americans. Entries, which are organized alphabetically by author (and preceded in 1995–2000 by entries for 21 anthologies), include a bibliographical citation (with references to editions preceding 1980 and later reprints) and a lengthy annotation. Indexed by subject (including ethnic group); the subject indexing is much fuller in 1995–2000. The admirably full annotations (clearly based on an actual reading of the works) and coverage of a number of elusive publications not easily identified in standard catalogs make Autobiographies by Americans of Color the standard resource for identifying recently published autobiographies by ethnic Americans. For earlier works, see Brignano, Black Americans in Autobiography (Q3850) and Brumble, An Annotated Bibliography of American Indian and Eskimo Autobiographies and its supplements (Q3925).

African American Literature[edit]

Many works in the other sections on American literature are important to research in African American literature.

Because the Library of Congress subject headings—used in many library catalogs, databases, and printed bibliographies—were until recently inadequate for analyzing African American resources, scholars doing extensive subject searching will find Doris H. Clack, Black Literature Resources: Analysis and Organization (New York: Dekker, 1975; 207 pp.; Books in Lib. and Information Science 16), and Lorene Byron Brown, Subject Headings for African American Materials (Englewood: Libraries Unlimited, 1995; 118 pp.), valuable guides to Library of Congress subject headings and classification numbers in this field.

Guides to Reference Works[edit]

Q3710[edit]

The Harvard Guide to African-American History. Ed. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2001. 923 pp. CD-ROM. E185.H326 973′.0496073.

A guide to reference works on and studies about African American history and culture, with coverage extending through 1999 in some sections. The first part consists of a series of essays on reference works; of most interest to users of this Guide are the ones on general bibliographies, general reference resources, manuscript collections, and film and television. The essays tend to be descriptive rather than evaluative, and some are not as current as users might expect. The second part is a series of classified lists of publications: following a section on general works are ones for ten chronological periods (with that for 1831–65 giving separate treatment to the North and South) and for subjects (women, geographic areas, and autobiography and biography). In each section language, literature, and related topics appear under the Thought and Expression heading. Indexed by authors. The CD-ROM (which is not mentioned in the front matter) provides PDF files of the lists and some of the front matter, as well as a contents file (whose links to other files were nonfunctioning in the two copies I consulted). The first part of Harvard Guide offers the best overview of reference sources for the study of African American culture.

Some additional resources are covered in Nathaniel Davis, comp. and ed., Afro-American Reference: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Sources (Westport: Greenwood, 1985; 288 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-Amer. and African Studies 9), an annotated guide to 642 reference sources (some published as recently as 1985) that are important to research in all aspects of African American life. Entries are listed alphabetically in 17 classified divisions: general reference works; journal abstracts, bibliographies, and guides; newspaper indexes, bibliographies, and guides; genealogy; history; slavery (with a section on slave narratives); social sciences (including linguistics); humanities; literature; mass media; education and multimedia; family and related studies; psychology; medicine; sports; armed forces; and Latin America and the Caribbean. An appendix incongruously lists works on African Americans in Los Angeles and the rest of California. The descriptive annotations typically describe scope, content, and organization. Because of some significant omissions, inclusion of several superseded works, and errors of fact and judgment in annotations, this work cannot always be trusted.

For an exacting (but now dated) survey of reference sources devoted to African American literature and the inadequate treatment of African American writers in some standard reference works in American literature, see Richard C. Tobias, “A Matter of Difference: An Interim Guide to the Study of Black American Writing,” Literary Research Newsletter 1 (1976): 129–46. Still valuable because of its broad topical coverage of scholarship through 1970 on African American culture and history is James M. McPherson et al., Blacks in America: Bibliographical Essays (Garden City: Doubleday, 1971; 430 pp.).

See also[edit]

Perrault and Blazek, United States History: A Multicultural, Interdisciplinary Guide to Information Sources (Q3185).

Histories and Surveys[edit]

For an evaluative survey of literary histories and general critical studies through 1987, see the “Bibliographical Essay,” pp. 401–50 in Jackson, History of Afro-American Literature: The Long Beginning (Q3713).

Q3713[edit]

A History of Afro-American Literature. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1989. PS153.N5 J33 810′.9′896073.

  • Vol. 1: Jackson, Blyden. The Long Beginning, 1746–1895. 1989. 461 pp.

A history of African American literature from 1746 to the present. Vol. 1 treats poetry and novels as well as slave narratives, historical works, sermons, folk literature, spirituals, journalism, and pamphlets. Although the discussions of both major and lesser-known writers favor the biographical and historical, few works escape stringent evaluation. Vol. 1 concludes with a valuable bibliographical essay that evaluates general historical studies, literary histories, critical books, and anthologies. Indexed by persons, literary forms, and titles of anonymous works. A balanced, thorough account of the development of African American literature that stresses racial protest as its common factor, vol. 1 set a high standard for a work that would have filled a major void in the history of literatures of the United States and promised to become the standard work in its field. After the death of Blyden Jackson, the press decided not to go forward with the project. Reviews: John Lowe, Southern Literary Journal 22.2 (1990): 134–39; Edward Margolies, Mississippi Quarterly 45.1 (1992): 105–10.

A useful complement is The Cambridge History of African American Literature, ed. Maryemma Graham and Jerry W. Ward, Jr. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011; 847 pp.), a collection of 28 separately authored essays (organized chronologically) that treat movements, genres, and groups. Although the bibliography is a 60-page alphabetical list, one essay surveys twentieth-century “foundational scholarship, criticism, and theory.”

See also[edit]

History of Southern Literature (Q3615).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

Q3714[edit]

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. Ed. Colin A. Palmer. 2nd ed. 6 vols. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Black Experience in the Americas. E185.E54 973′.0496073′003. Online through Gale Virtual Reference Library (I535) and Gale Biography in Context (J572).

An encyclopedia of a few individuals, events, movements, sports, places, professions, legal cases, and other topics important to the African diaspora in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Besides extending the scope beyond the United States, the second edition omits most of the biographies that dominated the first edition (ed. Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, and Cornel West, 5 vols. [New York: Macmillan Lib. Reference; London: Simon, 1996]), reprints a third of the original entries with no changes or minor ones, revises another third of the original entries, and claims that the remaining third of the entries are new. Concludes with statistical information and an index of names and subjects; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). This is the most wide-ranging of encyclopedias devoted to blacks in North America and the Caribbean.

More compact but equally impressive is The Oxford Companion to African American Literature, ed. William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris (New York: Oxford UP, 1997; 866 pp.), which contains entries on writers and other persons, genres, literary and other works, characters and character types, customs, concepts, groups, periodicals and newspapers, and other topics of importance to African American literature. Most entries conclude with suggestions for further reading. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Hazel Arnett Ervin, The Handbook of African American Literature (Gainesville: UP of Florida, 2004; 236 pp.), is an important complement to the preceding works because it explains literary terminology particularly associated with African American literature (e.g., def-jam poetry and ring shout) as well as defines common terms (such as euphony and free verse) as they are used by African American writers. Some entries include suggestions for further reading. In addition to the alphabetic list of terms, there is a section of longer essays on terms of particular importance: ambiguity, influence, literary history, memory, repetition, representation, signifying and signification, and collective unconsciousness. One appendix provides a chronology of African American, African, and anglophone Caribbean literary history from 1657 to 2002. The index of terms (which unnecessarily replicates the alphabetic list) does not include the longer essays.

Bibliographies of Bibliographies[edit]

Q3715[edit]

Newman, Richard, comp. Black Access: A Bibliography of Afro-American Bibliographies. Westport: Greenwood, 1984. 249 pp. Z1361.N39 N578 [E185] 016.016973′0496073.

A bibliography of bibliographies through c. 1982 on all aspects of African American history, culture, and life in the United States and Canada. The approximately 3,000 works include books, pamphlets, articles, chapters in books, exhibition catalogs, calendars and guides to manuscripts, works on library collections and book collecting, and discographies; they exclude book dealers’ catalogs, bibliographies appended to monographs, and works on the Civil War, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. Organized in a single alphabetical list by author or title of anonymous work, entries generally provide basic publication information but no annotations. Several citations seem to be taken unverified from other sources. In the introduction, Dorothy Parker reflects on her development of the Afro-American collection at Howard University. Two indexes: chronological (by date of coverage); subjects. Although users would be better served by a classified organization—a deficiency not remedied by the subject index, which is insufficiently thorough and precise—the international scope and inclusion of numerous little-known works make Black Access the best source for identifying bibliographies on all African American topics. For recent bibliographies, see Bibliographic Index (D145).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

Q3720[edit]

Dictionary Catalog of the Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and History. 9 vols. Boston: Hall, 1962. First Supplement. 2 vols. 1967. Second Supplement. 4 vols. 1972. Supplement 1974. 1976. 580 pp. Continued by G. K. Hall Interdisciplinary Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies, [1975–2003]. Detroit: Gale, 1976–2004. Annual. (Title varies.) Z881.N592 S35. CD-ROM.

A reproduction of the card catalog of the most important and extensive collection of material by and about people of African descent. Along with printed material, the collection includes art objects, recordings, sheet music, photographs, and manuscripts. Manuscripts are listed only in the supplements; photographs and vertical file materials are excluded in all volumes. Since the supplements and G. K. Hall Interdisciplinary Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies record material newly acquired—not just recently published—users must search the supplements and the G. K. Hall Interdisciplinary Bibliographic Guide as well as the original Catalog. An indispensable, but frequently overlooked, source for identifying authors and titles, the Dictionary Catalog is especially valuable for the detailed subject access it offers to works relating to all aspects of African American culture. The CD-ROM (Black Studies on Disc, 1995–2004) includes the Dictionary Catalog, supplements, and Index to Black Periodicals (Q3740); however the data is difficult to extract because the primitive search interface offers limited search and export options. Holdings of the Schomburg Center can be searched through the New York Public Library Catalog (http://catalog.nypl.org; scroll to the bottom of the Collections menu for the Schomburg Center).

Other published catalogs of important collections include the following:

  • Afro-Americana, 1553–1906: A Catalog of the Holdings of the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 2nd ed. New Castle: Oak Knoll, 2008. 890 pp.
  • Dictionary Catalog of the Arthur B. Spingarn Collection of Negro Authors, Howard University Library, Washington, D.C. 2 vols. Boston: Hall, 1970.
  • Dictionary Catalog of the George Foster Peabody Collection of Negro Literature and History, Collis P. Huntington Memorial Library, Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia. 2 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 1972.
  • Dictionary Catalog of the Jesse E. Moorland Collection of Negro Life and History, Howard University Library, Washington, D.C. 9 vols. Boston: Hall, 1970. First Supplement. 3 vols. 1976.
  • Dictionary Catalog of the Negro Collection of the Fisk University Library, Nashville, Tennessee. 6 vols. Boston: Hall, 1974.
  • Dictionary Catalog of the Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, the Chicago Public Library. 4 vols. Boston: Hall, 1978.

Many of these collections—at least a portion of them—can be searched through their respective library’s OPAC.

The holdings of 65 southern libraries are the basis for Geraldine O. Matthews, comp., Black American Writers, 1773–1949: A Bibliography and Union List (Boston: Hall, 1975; 221 pp.). Although entries are frequently incomplete and only about 60% cite locations, Matthews is occasionally useful for tracking down an elusive work.

To identify other catalogs and collections, see section E: Libraries and Library Catalogs/Library Catalogs.

Q3723[edit]

Jordan, Casper LeRoy, comp. A Bibliographical Guide to African-American Women Writers. Westport: Greenwood, 1993. 387 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-Amer. and African Studies 31. Z1229.N39 J67 [PS153.N5] 016.8108′09287′08996.

A bibliography of works in English by and about black American women writers. Coverage extends to “poetry, memoirs, biographies, criticisms, autobiographies, essays, short fiction, novels, diaries and journals” written between 1746 and 1991. Entries are organized in three divisions: individual authors; anthologies; general works. In the first, authors are listed alphabetically; under each are sections for primary works and for studies (the former listed alphabetically by title and the latter by author), and some sections are followed by “1988–1991 Supplement,” the inconsistent placement of which is decidedly confusing (e.g., the additional list of works by an author sometimes follows the primary works section and sometimes follows the secondary works section). In addition, the separate “Supplement: Additional Writers and Sources, 1988–1991” follows the general-works division. Coverage of primary works seems much fuller than that of studies, especially for post-1987 publications (e.g., “1988–1991 Supplement” under Toni Morrison lists only 20 works about her). The inexcusably haphazard organization, failure to include names in running heads, and poorly designed index make this book needlessly difficult to use. And the numerous omissions—especially in the coverage of critical studies—unfortunately render it untrustworthy.

Q3725[edit]

Kallenbach, Jessamine S., comp. Index to Black American Literary Anthologies. Boston: Hall, 1979. 219 pp. Z1229.N39 K34 [PS153.N5] 016.8108′0896.

An author list of African American poetry, fiction, essays, and plays in some 140 literary anthologies designed for adults, primarily by African American authors, and published through c. 1975. Under each author, works are organized by genre, then alphabetically by title. Indexed by titles. The Index is frequently useful for locating texts, although it is limited in scope.

Chapman, Index to Poetry by Black American Women (Q3840a) and Index to Black Poetry (Q3840a), index, by subject, poems in collections.

Q3730[edit]

Schatz, Walter, ed. Directory of Afro-American Resources. New York: Bowker, 1970. 485 pp. Z1361.N39 R3 917.3′06′96073.

A guide to about 5,365 collections of books, manuscripts, documents, and other materials held by 2,108 organizations, libraries, institutions, and private and government agencies. Entries are organized alphabetically by state, then city, then institution. Entries typically include organization or institution, address and telephone, name of contact person (now outdated), services provided for researchers, purpose of organization, publications (especially guides and indexes to collections), description of individual collections (identifying subject, size, inclusive dates, scope, and content), and restrictions on use. Since entries are based on responses to questionnaires and on printed sources, they vary in accuracy and sophistication; the most complete are taken from National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (F295) through 1968 or submitted by libraries, and the skimpiest are from local organizations and agencies. Two indexes: persons, subjects, institutions, and places; supervisors and administrators of organizations and collections. Although the Directory is now dated and omits several important institutions and organizations, its focus and extensive coverage make it still useful for identifying subject collections and locating manuscripts. The work must, however, be supplemented by Archive Finder (F280), National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, and works in section E: Libraries and Library Catalogs/Library Catalogs.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Surveys of Research[edit]
Q3735[edit]

Inge, M. Thomas, Maurice Duke, and Jackson R. Bryer, eds. Black American Writers: Bibliographical Essays. 2 vols. New York: St. Martin’s, 1978. PS153.N5 B55 016.810′9′896073.

Selective surveys of research through mid-1970, with chapters devoted to major eighteenth-century writers, slave narratives, nineteenth-century polemicists, early modern authors, the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Wright, Ellison, Baldwin, and Baraka. The chapters are variously organized, but each has sections for bibliographies, editions, manuscripts and letters, biographical studies, and criticism; a few offer suggestions for further research. Indexed by persons in each volume; also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although the essays vary in selectiveness and rigor of evaluation, most provide authoritative assessments of scholarship before mid-1970. What is needed is a revised edition that would evaluate recent scholarship and devote chapters to general reference works and studies. Review: R. Baxter Miller, Black American Literature Forum 13.3 (1979): 119–20.

For an evaluative survey of general histories, studies of slavery, and critical volumes through 1987, see the “Bibliographical Essay,” pp. 401–50 in Jackson, History of Afro-American Literature: The Long Beginning (Q3713).

See also[edit]

American Literary Scholarship (Q3265): Chapter on black literature in the vols. for 1977–88.

Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (U6133) sometimes devotes a chapter to black cultural studies.

Serial Bibliographies[edit]
Q3740[edit]

G. K. Hall Index to Black Periodicals: [1950–2004]. Detroit: Gale, 1950–2005. Annual, with cumulations for 1950–59 and 1960–70; the volumes since 1989 are included in Black Studies on Disc (CD-ROM; 1995–2004; annual). Former titles: Index to Black Periodicals (1988–99); Index to Periodical Articles by and about Blacks (1973–86); Index to Periodical Articles by and about Negroes (1966–72); Index to Selected Periodicals (1954–65); Index to Selected Negro Periodicals (1950–54). AI3.O4 974.

An author and subject index to the contents of general and scholarly periodicals (currently 38) devoted to African American topics. Literary works are listed by title under genre headings; reviews are indexed by author, reviewer, and title (the last only under headings such as “Book Reviews” and “Drama Reviews”). Because of its highly selective coverage, the work is primarily useful for its indexing of a few periodicals excluded from the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

The data from G. K. Hall Index in Black Studies on Disc is difficult to extract because of the primitive search interface that offers limited search and export options.

Some additional studies are included in “Studies in African-American Literature: An Annual Annotated Bibliography, [1983–89],” Callaloo 7–13 (1984–90) and in “An Annual Bibliography of Afro-American Literature, [1975–76], with Selected Bibliographies of African and Caribbean Literature,” CLA Journal 20–21 (1976–77). For earlier publications, some coverage is offered by A Guide to Negro Periodical Literature, 4 vols. (Winston-Salem: n.p., 1941–46).

Some additional periodicals and newspapers are indexed by subject—though idiosyncratically and incompletely—in The Kaiser Index to Black Resources, 1948–1986: From the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, 5 vols. (Brooklyn: Carlson, 1992), an edited version of a card index at the Schomburg Center.

International Index to Black Periodicals Full Text (http://iibp.chadwyck.com; also available through Black Studies Center [8]) provides the full text of c. 140 periodicals since the mid-1990s and indexes several others. The major gaps in coverage of many journals and the limitation of subject searches to documents dated 1988 or later mean that anyone extracting information from this database must also search all the preceding works in this entry.

See also[edit]

Secs. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

MLAIB (G335): American Literature division through the volume for 1969; Afro-American heading in American Literature sections in the volumes for 1970–80; in later volumes, researchers must consult the headings beginning “African American” or “Afro-American” in the subject index and “African American” in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies[edit]
Q3750[edit]

Perry, Margaret. The Harlem Renaissance: An Annotated Bibliography and Commentary. New York: Garland, 1982. 272 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 278: Critical Studies on Black Life and Culture 2. Z5956.A47 P47 [NX511.N4] 016.81′09′97471.

A bibliography of works (published through 1980) by and about writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Perry includes authors who identified themselves with the movement as well as those who lived during the 1920s through early 1930s, and covers published works as well as dissertations, theses, manuscripts, and films in English or French. The 913 entries are organized alphabetically by author in eight divisions: bibliographies and reference works (including author bibliographies), histories of African American literature that include significant discussion of the Harlem Renaissance, general studies (with sections for works on the period, and for reviews of books and plays), 19 major authors (with selected primary works listed by genre, followed by criticism), miscellaneous materials (a hodgepodge), anthologies, library and special collections (organized by institution, with descriptions of individual collections), and an unannotated list of theses and dissertations. The reasonably full annotations are largely descriptive, although some include evaluative comments. Two indexes: persons (regrettably not indexing references to writers in divisions other than that for individual authors); titles of works cited. Poor and inconsistent organization, incomplete cross-references, and inadequate indexing mean that users searching for single-author studies must skim all entries. These shortcomings, together with the lack of clarity about criteria governing the selection of both primary and secondary works and the exclusion of most foreign scholarship, render Harlem Renaissance much less useful and accessible than it should be. Review: Hensley C. Woodbridge, American Notes and Queries 20.9-10 (1982): 159–60.

Q3755[edit]

Turner, Darwin T., comp. Afro-American Writers. New York: Appleton, 1970. 117 pp. Goldentree Bibliogs. in Lang. and Lit. Z1361.N39 T78 016.8108′091′7496.

A selective bibliography of primary and secondary works (chiefly in English and published through 1969) that are important to the study of African American literature. Theses, dissertations, book reviews, and general literary histories are excluded. Entries are organized in four classified divisions: aids to research (with sections for bibliographies, guides to library collections, other reference works, and periodicals); background studies (with highly selective lists of autobiographies and collections of essays; slave narratives; studies of historical, social, and intellectual backgrounds; and works on art, journalism, music, and theater); literary history and criticism (with sections for anthologies, general studies, drama, fiction, poetry, and folklore); and individual writers who have been the subject of critical or popular attention or are otherwise important (with lists of primary works, bibliographies, and biographical studies and criticism for most authors). Additional entries appear in a supplement on pp. 105–17. Studies of African Americans as characters appear in an appendix. Important works are marked with an asterisk. Indexed by persons. Although now dated, Afro-American Writers remains the best selective guide to scholarship before 1970.

Theressa Gunnels Rush, Carol Fairbanks Myers, and Esther Spring Arata, Black American Writers Past and Present: A Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary, 2 vols. (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1975), offers a fuller—but much less accurate—list of works by and about some 2,000 writers. Although it is incomplete, lacks any indexes (however, writers are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index [J565]), and frequently is based on other sources, the work is useful for its inclusion of parts of books and a host of minor authors.

Modern African American culture through c. 1974 is the subject of Charles D. Peavy, Afro-American Literature and Culture since World War II: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1979; 302 pp.; Amer. Studies Information Guide Ser. 6), but the poor organization, inadequate definitions of scope and criteria determining selection, frequent errors, and omission of numerous significant works make it virtually useless as a selective guide. (For the numerous inadequacies, see the review by Jill Warren, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 4.1 [1980]: 78–85.)

A major desideratum is an authoritative and current selective bibliography of scholarship on African American literature.

See also[edit]

Harvard Guide to African-American History (Q3710).

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Nemanic, Bibliographical Guide to Midwestern Literature (Q3600).

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Szwed and Abrahams, Afro-American Folk Culture (U5880).

Woodress, Dissertations in American Literature, 1891–1966 (Q3320).

Language[edit]

Guides to Scholarship[edit]
Q3760[edit]

Brasch, Ila Wales, and Walter Milton Brasch. A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography of American Black English. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1974. 289 pp. Z1234.D5 B7 016.427′973.

An author list of publications, dissertations, theses, and unpublished papers (through c. 1973 and primarily in English) on Black English, as well as a few literary and folklore works that use black speech. About 80% of the approximately 2,300 entries are accompanied by brief descriptive annotations. The work is marred by an inadequate explanation of scope (especially regarding the selection of works illustrating Black English), lacks an index and cross-references (thus one must skim all entries to locate studies of a particular topic), and falls far short of the comprehensiveness claimed in the title; nevertheless, Brasch offers the fullest single list of scholarship through c. 1973. It must be supplemented—even for studies before 1973—by MLAIB (G335), ABELL (G340), Bibliographie linguistique (U6010), LLBA: Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (U6015), and most works in sections G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses. A major desideratum is a current, thorough, adequately indexed bibliography of scholarship on Black English. Review: J[ohn] A[lgeo], American Speech 49.1-2 (1974): 142–46.

See also[edit]

ABELL (G340): Dialect section of the English Language division in the volumes for 1920–26; the American English section in the volumes for 1927–33; the English Dialects section in the volume for 1934; the American English section in the volumes for 1935–72; and the Dialects/Dialects of [North] America section in later volumes.

MLAIB (G335): English Language and Literature division in the volumes for 1922–25; American Literature I: Linguistics in the volumes for 1926–40; English Language and Literature I: Linguistics in the volumes for 1941–55; English Language and Literature I: Linguistics/American English in the volumes for 1956–66; Indo-European C: Germanic Linguistics IV: English/Modern English/Dialectology in the volumes for 1967–80; and Indo-European Languages/Germanic Languages/West Germanic Languages/English Language (Modern)/Dialectology in the volumes since 1981. Researchers must also check the heading “Black English Dialect” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]

Indexes[edit]
Q3765[edit]

AABD: African American Biographical Database. Chadwyck-Healey. ProQuest, 2013. 13 Sept. 2013. <http://aabd.chadwyck.com>. Updated bimonthly.

A database of biographical information that incorporates Randall K. Burkett, Nancy Hall Burkett, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds., Black Biography, 1790–1950: A Cumulative Index, 3 vols. (Alexandria: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991) and the microform collection Black Biographical Dictionaries, 1790–1950 (Alexandria: Chadwyck-Healey, 1987) as well as other resources (almost all of which are out-of-copyright texts or Web sites). The title of the database is misleading since it includes numerous entries for Africans who have no connection with North America (e.g., Amenotep III and Haile Selassie I), and it is hardly “a resource of first resort.” Entries can be searched by any combination of name, state or country, city or county, occupation, religion, date of birth, date of death, and gender; in addition, full-text documents can be searched by keyword. A typical entry (which can be downloaded by e-mail) includes date of birth and of death, birthplace, occupation, religion, and a hyperlinked list of dictionaries in which a biographical sketch or illustration appears. Although supposedly updated bimonthly, there is no record of updates on the site. The lack of coverage of printed sources published after the late 1940s and the reliance on Web sites for living individuals means that AABD must be complemented by Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565) and Dorothy W. Campbell, Index to Black American Writers in Collective Biographies (Littleton: Libraries Unlimited, 1983; 162 pp.), a name index to biographical sketches of about 1,900 black writers in 267 collective biographies that focus on African Americans and were published between 1837 and 1982. AABD, Black Biography, and Index to Black American Writers are essential starting points for locating biographical information on African Americans; the three resources index a number of works not covered by Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565), which should also be checked, since it offers broader, more current coverage.

See also[edit]

Sec. J: Biographical Sources/Biographical Dictionaries/Indexes.

Dictionaries[edit]
Q3770[edit]

African American National Biography (AANB). Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. 8 vols. New York: Oxford UP, 2008. E185.96 920′.009296073. Supplement 2008–2012. Ed. Gates and Higginbotham. 2 vols. 2013. <http://dubois.fas.harvard.edu/aanb>. Also available through Oxford African American Studies Center (http://www.oxfordaasc.com).

A biographical dictionary of 4,851 African Americans, living and dead, including the famous, the all-but-forgotten, the infamous, the colorful, and the quirky; a searchable list of entrants is available at the AANB Web site. (New entries appear in the Oxford African American Studies Center version; updated ones appear in the Supplement.) The signed entries (typically ranging from 750 to 1,500 words) conclude with suggestions for further reading and, occasionally, a note on the location of the entrant’s papers. Appendixes include lists of prizewinners, of medalists, of members of Congress, and of judges. Two indexes: subjects and realms of renown; birthplaces. AANB is the most authoritative biography of African Americans and an essential complement to American National Biography (Q3378).

Although now dated, Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: Norton, 1982; 680 pp.), treats 636 African Americans who died before 1970. Entrants, chosen on the basis of historical significance, represent a variety of walks of life. The separately authored entries provide essential details of an entrant’s life and career, a brief estimate of the person’s significance, and references to biographical sources and collections of papers. Entrants are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Review: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times Book Review 1 May 1983: 13, 29.

For basic biographical information about living African Americans, see the most recent edition of Who’s Who among African Americans (Detroit: Gale-Cengage, 1975– ; online through Gale Biography in Context [J572] and Gale Virtual Reference Library [I535]), which is indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The fullest biographical coverage of writers is offered by Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).

See also[edit]

Contemporary Authors (J595).

Rush, Myers, and Arata, Black American Writers Past and Present (Q3755a).

Periodicals[edit]

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Q3775[edit]

Danky, James P., and Maureen E. Hady, eds. African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1998. 740 pp. Harvard UP Reference Lib. Z6944.N39 A37 [PN4882.5] 015.73′035′08996073.

A census of more than 6,500 newspapers and periodicals published, for the most part, in the United States and edited by or published by or for blacks between 1827 and 1997. Organized alphabetically by title, entries (which are based on personal examination by the editors, their research assistants, librarians, and archivists) typically cite current title; beginning and cessation dates; frequency; current editor and address; subscription rate; publisher(s); number of pages in final issue or the last one examined; content (line drawings, photographs, commercial advertising); size; previous editor(s); variations in title, place of publication, or frequency; bibliographies that index the work; availability in microform; ISSN, WorldCat, and LC catalog numbers; subject focus and special features; and libraries that hold the title (with volumes or issues held and location within the library). Four indexes: subjects and features; editors; publishers; places of publication. Although lacking an adequate discussion of scope and editorial procedure and failing to index or cross-reference variant titles, African-American Newspapers and Periodicals is an important resource that provides the basis for the recovery and assessment of the rich tradition of African American periodical fiction and poetry. The plan to update the bibliography and make it available electronically was never realized. Some additions are described in Randall K. Burkett, “The Joy of Finding Periodicals ‘Not in Danky,’” Library Trends 56 (2007–08): 601–17.

African American Newspapers, 1827–1998 (http://infoweb.newsbank.com) includes 270 newspapers from Readex’s America’s Historical Newspapers digital archive. A keyword search of full text, headline, and title (standard or as published) can be limited by date, article type, language, place of publication, or newspaper title. Records can be sorted by date (ascending or descending) or relevancy.

Genres[edit]

Some works in sections L: Genres and Q: American Literature/General/Genres are useful for research in African American literature.

Fiction[edit]

Some works in sections L: Genres/Fiction and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Fiction are useful for research in African American fiction.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
= Q3805 =[edit]

Bell, Bernard W. The Afro-American Novel and Its Tradition. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1987. 421 pp. PS153.N5 B43 813′.009′896.

A “sociopsychological, sociocultural” history of extended prose narratives from 1853 through 1983. Organized chronologically, chapters emphasize the place of about 150 works in their respective historical, cultural, and literary contexts, with particular attention given to the relation to oral, literary, European, and African traditions. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. The most thorough, balanced, and sympathetic history of the African American novel, Bell supersedes earlier histories (especially Robert Bone, The Negro Novel in America, rev. ed. [New Haven: Yale UP, 1965], 289 pp.).

Short fiction awaits comparable treatment. Robert Bone, Down Home: Origins of the Afro-American Short Story, rpt. with a new pref. (New York: Columbia UP, 1988; 328 pp.)—a critical survey of African American short fiction (primarily the short story) from 1885 to 1935 that emphasizes its debts to oral tradition as well as to mainstream Western literary forms, the Protestant tradition, the rural South, the anxiety about the role of the African American writer in American society, and (in the preface to the reprint) the blues tradition—is too restrictive in coverage and controversial in its underlying critical assumptions to serve as an adequate history of African American short fiction. For an important disagreement with these assumptions, see the review by Darwin T. Turner, American Literature 48.3 (1976): 416–18.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
= Q3815 =[edit]

Margolies, Edward, and David Bakish. Afro-American Fiction, 1853–1976: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1979. 161 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 25. Z1229.N39 M37 [PS374.N4] 016.813′008′0352.

A highly selective list of novels, short story collections, and scholarship through c. 1976. Entries are organized in four divisions: novels for adults (listed alphabetically by author, then chronologically by publication date), short story collections (with separate lists of single-author collections and anthologies), 15 major novelists chosen for their historical or literary importance (authors are listed chronologically by publication date of their first novels, with separate lists of bibliographies and critical studies), and bibliographies and general studies. Only entries in the third and fourth divisions are annotated, with many works inadequately described. The appendix lists fictional works by publication date. Three indexes: authors; titles; and subjects. Because it is highly selective in all but the first division, inefficiently organized, and marred by an inadequate explanation of scope and criteria governing selection, Afro-American Fiction is primarily useful for its list of novels. Review: Jill Warren, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 4.1 (1980): 78–85.

Somewhat better—although also selective—coverage of novels published between 1965 and 1975 is offered by Helen Ruth Houston, The Afro-American Novel, 1965–1975: A Descriptive Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Materials (Troy: Whitston, 1977; 214 pp.), which is an annotated list—not a “descriptive” bibliography—of novels, studies, and reviews.

More than 850 short stories published between 1950 and 1982 in collections, anthologies, and periodicals are indexed by author, title, collection, and year of publication in Preston M. Yancy, comp., The Afro-American Short Story: A Comprehensive, Annotated Index with Selected Commentaries (Westport: Greenwood, 1986; 171 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-American and African Studies 10). Coverage is far short of “comprehensive,” and the work is confusingly organized and repetitive.

= See also =[edit]

Fairbanks and Engeldinger, Black American Fiction: A Bibliography (Q3820).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
= Q3820 =[edit]

Fairbanks, Carol, and Eugene A. Engeldinger. Black American Fiction: A Bibliography. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1978. 351 pp. Z1229.N39 F34 [PS153.N5] 016.813.

A selective list of novels, short fiction, and English-language studies (including dissertations) through c. 1976. Under each fiction writer are sections, when appropriate, listing novels, short fiction, collections, biographical studies and criticism, and reviews (by work reviewed). General studies of African American fiction appear in a concluding list. There is no explanation of criteria governing selection and no index; many entries are copied from unidentified sources; significant omissions and incomplete citations occur; and relevant pages of parts of books are not cited. In spite of these serious deficiencies, Black American Fiction provides the single fullest list of works by and about African American fiction writers. The work must, though, be supplemented by Margolies and Bakish, Afro-American Fiction (Q3815), as well as the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

= See also =[edit]

Margolies and Bakish, Afro-American Fiction, 1853–1976 (Q3815).

Weixlmann, American Short-Fiction Criticism and Scholarship, 1959–1977 (Q3480).

Drama and Theater[edit]

Some works in sections L: Genres/Drama and Theater and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Drama and Theater are useful for research in African American drama.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
= Q3823 =[edit]

Hill, Errol G., and James V. Hatch. A History of African American Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. 608 pp. PN2270.A35 H55 792′.089′96073.

A history of African American theater from 1821 to 2000 that includes the legitimate stage as well as minstrelsy, spectacles, musicals, operas, and educational theater. With the issue of racism at their center, chapters proceed more or less chronologically to examine the principal works, performers, theater personnel, playwrights, and acting companies. An appendix surveys broadly the scholarship on African American theater. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. Written by the preeminent scholars in the field, History of African American Theatre offers a masterful survey of African American theater and provides the basis for the “thoroughly integrated American theatre history” that remains to be written. Review: Harry Elam, Theatre Survey 46.1 (2005): 127–29.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
= Q3825 =[edit]

Hatch, James V., and OMANii Abdullah, comps. and eds. Black Playwrights, 1823–1977: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Bowker, 1977. 319 pp. Z1231.D7 H37 [PS338.N4] 016.812′009′352.

An author bibliography of about 2,700 plays by approximately 900 African Americans, along with some foreigners whose plays have been produced in the United States. Although a majority of the works are published and unpublished stage plays, some film, television, and radio dramas are also included. Each entry provides (when available) title, date of composition and copyright, genre, a brief summary (sometimes based on reviews or written by the playwright or an agent), cast (by race and sex), location of at least one copy, and permission information. Concludes with selected bibliographies of books, anthologies, and dissertations and theses and three appendixes: a list of taped interviews on the African American theater and held in Hatch-Billops archives; awards; addresses of playwrights, agents, and agencies (although more-current addresses are usually available in Contemporary Authors [J595]). Indexed by titles. Superior in coverage to the drama part of French, Afro-American Poetry and Drama (Q3845), Black Playwrights is the fullest record of plays by African Americans and an invaluable source for locating copies of obscure works.

It must, however, be supplemented by Bernard L. Peterson, Jr., Contemporary Black American Playwrights: A Biographical Directory and Dramatic Index (New York: Greenwood, 1988; 625 pp.) and Early Black American Playwrights and Dramatic Writers: A Biographical Directory and Catalog of Plays, Films, and Broadcasting Scripts (New York: Greenwood, 1990; 298 pp.), with entries on about 900 “black American and U. S. resident dramatists, screenwriters, radio and television scriptwriters, musical theatre collaborators, and other originators of theatrical and dramatic works, written, produced, and published” through 1985. Each entry provides biographical information, address, and a list of dramatic works (noting genre, production or publication information, and source; providing a brief synopsis and production history; and locating scripts or recordings). Indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although not the “comprehensive” work claimed in the preface and necessarily incomplete in many entries, Peterson is an invaluable source for identifying and locating frequently unpublished dramatic works by African American writers. The preceding are complemented by Peterson, The African American Theatre Directory, 1816–1960: A Comprehensive Guide to Early Black Theatre Organizations, Companies, Theatres, and Performing Groups (Westport: Greenwood, 1997; 301 pp.).

For additional theatrical works (by blacks and whites) with black characters, see James V. Hatch, Black Image on the American Stage: A Bibliography of Plays and Musicals, 1770–1970 (New York: DBS, 1970; 162 pp.), with additions by Joseph N. Weixlmann, “Black Portraiture on the Eighteenth-Century American Stage: Addenda,” Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 1.3 (1977): 203–06.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

There is no adequate bibliography devoted to studies of African American drama. Esther Spring Arata and Nicholas John Rotoli, Black American Playwrights, 1800 to the Present: A Bibliography (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1976; 295 pp.), and Arata, More Black American Playwrights: A Bibliography (1978; 321 pp.), are too error-ridden, poorly organized, incomplete, and inconsistent to recommend to researchers. French et al., Afro-American Poetry and Drama (Q3845), is so selective that it is barely a place to begin research. And Dana A. Williams, Contemporary African American Female Playwrights: An Annotated Bibliography (Westport: Greenwood, 1998; 124 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-Amer. and African Studies 37), is ineffectively organized, incompletely indexed (e.g., authors of critical studies of individual playwrights are excluded from the name index), and—despite its subtitle—offers annotations for fewer than one-third of its entries (the annotations that do exist are hardly informative).

Poetry[edit]

Some works in section L: Genres/Poetry are useful for research in African American poetry.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
= Q3830 =[edit]

Sherman, Joan R. Invisible Poets: Afro-Americans of the Nineteenth Century. 2nd ed. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1989. 288 pp. PS153.N5 S48 811′.009′896073.

A series of essays on 26 poets born between 1796 and 1883 and representative of nineteenth-century African American poets, who are virtually ignored in literary histories and anthologies. The individual essays, organized by birthdate of authors, consist of a biography, critical appraisal, and selective list of sources (including manuscripts). The essays are complemented by a series of bibliographies and appendixes: a bibliography of primary works that includes manuscripts and locations of printed copies; a bibliographical essay that evaluates the bibliographies, periodical guides and indexes, biographical and critical works, anthologies, and manuscript collections important to research in nineteenth-century African American literature; a list of 35 writers who published a significant amount of poetry and who need further research; a list of other, less prolific poets who need further research; anonymous and pseudonymous poets; turn-of-the-century writers who did not publish before 1900; poets erroneously identified as African American; Creole poets of Les Cenelles; and selected bibliographies of Wheatley and Harmon. The bibliographical essay and selective bibliographies appended to discussions of individual poets are updated through c. 1987 in the second edition (pp. 237–53), which is otherwise a reprint of the first edition (1974). Indexed by persons, subjects, and anonymous titles; unfortunately, the index in the second edition is not revised to reflect the repagination of the latter part of the work. Besides providing the fullest history of nineteenth-century African American poets, Invisible Poets is an essential guide to research on the topic and a valuable source for identifying writers who need further attention. Review: Duncan MacLeod, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 13 June 1975: 675.

= Q3835 =[edit]

Wagner, Jean. Black Poets of the United States: From Paul Laurence Dunbar to Langston Hughes. Trans. Kenneth Douglas. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1973. 561 pp. (Originally published as Les poètes nègres des Etats-Unis: Le sentiment racial et religieux dans la poésie de P. L. Dunbar à L. Hughes, [1890–1940]. Paris: Istra, 1963. 637 pp.) PS153.N5 W313 811′.009.

A detailed critical history of African American poetry that emphasizes “the interdependence of racial and religious feeling” in the works of major poets from 1890 to 1940. The chapters on early nineteenth-century African American poets, Dunbar, his contemporaries, the African American renaissance, McKay, Toomer, Cullen, Johnson, Hughes, and Brown consider biography, cultural and social contexts, and themes. The selective bibliography, extended to c. 1972 by Keneth Kinnamon, is now outdated. Indexed by persons, subjects, and titles. An encyclopedic work noteworthy for its scrupulous scholarship, it remains the standard history. Review: Robert Penn Warren, Études anglaises 28.2 (1975): 241–42.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
= Bibliographies and Indexes =[edit]
== Q3840 ==[edit]

Columbia Granger’s Index to African-American Poetry. Ed. Nicholas Frankovich and David Larzelere. New York: Columbia UP, 1999. 302 pp. Z1229.N39 C65 [PS153.N5] 016.811008′0896073.

A title, first-line, last-line, author, and subject index to 7,983 poems by 659 poets that appear in 55 anthologies or collected works (“the poetry books most likely to be found on library shelves”). As in its model, Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry (L1235), the indexes are cumbersome to use because the author and subject listings are keyed to the title, first-line, and last-line entries, which are in turn keyed to the list of anthologies and collections at the front of the volume; however, the subject indexing in this work goes beyond title keywords, forms, and genres. (The most efficient way to search this resource is through Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry database [L1235].) Although the most current source for identifying poems by African American writers on a topic or in anthologies, Columbia Granger’s Index to African-American Poetry must be supplemented by Dorothy Hilton Chapman, comp., Index to Poetry by Black American Women (New York: Greenwood, 1986; 424 pp.; Bibliogs. and Indexes in Afro-Amer. and African Studies 15), a title, first-line, and subject index to about 4,000 poems in 120 single-author collections and 83 anthologies (through c. 1984) by more than 400 African American women. Also included are about 185 anonymous poems, several of which may be by males. The title and first-line index is keyed to a list of collections. The subject index extends beyond title keywords. Although lacking an adequate explanation of the criteria governing the choice of collections and omitting some significant anthologies, the Index is a useful source for locating texts and identifying poems on topics. Since her projected volume on African American male poets was never published, Chapman’s Index to Black Poetry (Boston: Hall, 1974; 541 pp.) remains useful. Additional anthologies are indexed by title and author in Kallenbach, Index to Black American Literary Anthologies (Q3725). Some poems by African Americans are indexed in Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry (L1235), Poetry Index Annual (L1235a), and Index of American Periodical Verse (Q4325).

== Q3845 ==[edit]

French, William P., et al. Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760–1975: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1979. 493 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 17. Z1229.N39 A37 [PS153.N5] 016.810′9′896073.

A bibliography of primary works and selected studies in two parts: poetry from 1760 through 1975, compiled by French, Michael J. Fabre, and Amritjit Singh; drama from 1850 through 1975, by Geneviève E. Fabre.

Poetry. This part attempts comprehensive coverage of separately published volumes of more than four pages by African Americans born in the United States as well as a few foreign-born residents. Although emphasizing written works, the part includes some folk and oral poetry. Coverage of scholarship is highly selective, especially for major writers. Entries are organized in two divisions: general studies (with sections for bibliographies and reference works, general studies, and anthologies) and individual authors (organized in three periods—1760–1900, 1901–45, 1946–75—with separate lists of primary works, bibliographies, and biographical studies and criticism for each poet). Few entries are annotated. Although coverage of scholarship is highly selective, Afro-American Poetry and Drama offers the fullest list of separately published volumes of poetry by African Americans and is especially valuable for its identification of numerous privately printed and ephemeral publications.

Drama. This part attempts comprehensive coverage of published plays by African Americans born or resident in the United States, includes some unpublished works, and lists selected scholarship. Entries are organized in two divisions: general studies (with sections for library collections, periodicals, bibliographies, collections of plays, and criticism) and individual authors (organized in three periods—1850–1900, 1901–50, 1951–75—with separate lists of published plays, unpublished ones, collections, and biographical studies and criticism for each playwright). Published plays are accompanied by summaries and details of first production; otherwise, few entries are annotated. Because Hatch and Abdullah, Black Playwrights (Q3825), offers more extensive and informative coverage of published and unpublished plays, this section is only marginally useful as a preliminary guide to scholarship. A single index of persons, titles, and subjects encompasses both parts. Left unexplained are the justification for publishing the two parts as a single volume and the criteria governing the selection of studies. Review: Joe Weixlmann, Black American Literature Forum 14.1 (1980): 44–46.

= Text Archives =[edit]
== Q3848 ==[edit]

African American Poetry. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 13 Sept. 2013. <http://collections.chadwyck.com/marketing/index.jsp>.

A text archive of rekeyed texts of about 3,000 English-language poems by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century African American poets. Editions were selected according to the following criteria: first editions or more-inclusive later editions; poems originally appearing in periodicals are also included. Apparently only poets listed in French et al., Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760–1975 (Q3845), merited inclusion.

Simple keyword, first-line or title, and author searches can be limited by date during a poet’s lifetime, gender, literary period, rhymed or unrhymed poems, and parts. Searchers can also browse author and first-line or title lists of the contents of the database. Results appear in ascending alphabetical order by poet and cannot be re-sorted. Citations (but not the full text of poems) can be marked for e-mailing, downloading, or printing; each citation includes a durable URL to the full text.

Some works are rekeyed from textually unsound editions; however, the bibliographic record for each work identifies the source of the text and any omissions (e.g., preliminary matter). Besides being a useful source for identifying an elusive quotation or half-remembered line, the scope of African American Poetry’s text archive makes feasible a variety of kinds of studies (stylistic, thematic, imagistic, and topical).

Coverage is continued by Twentieth-Century African American Poetry (http://collections.chadwyck.com; also included in Twentieth-Century American Poetry [Q4333]), which includes more than 9,000 poems by 70 poets. Editions were selected according to the following criteria: a collected edition; other editions for poets without a collected one. Selection seems to be based on the ability to secure rights for electronic publication.

Twentieth-Century African American Poetry uses the same search interface as African American Poetry but allows users to limit a search by publisher, although not to rhymed or unrhymed poems. The contents of both archives can also be searched through LiOn (I527).

Prose[edit]

Some works in sections L: Genres/Prose and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Prose are useful for research in African American prose.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
= Q3850 =[edit]

Brignano, Russell C. Black Americans in Autobiography: An Annotated Bibliography of Autobiographies and Autobiographical Books Written since the Civil War. Rev. and expanded ed. Durham: Duke UP, 1984. 193 pp. Z1361.N39 B67 [E185.96] 016.973′0496073022.

An annotated bibliography of book-length autobiographical works by African Americans through 1982. The 710 entries are listed in four divisions: autobiographies (i.e., “volumes describing appreciable spans of the authors’ lives”); autobiographical books that address a phase of the author’s life; works that the compiler could not locate or read; autobiographical works published before 1865 and reprinted since 1945. Entries provide publication information, details of reprints, locations in up to 10 libraries, and, in the first two parts, a descriptive annotation. Five indexes: activities, experiences, occupations, and professions; organizations; geographic locations and educational institutions; chronological listing of works by date of first publication; titles. Except for the rare volumes that have not been reprinted, citing library locations is unnecessary (especially since there is no logic to the choice of locations for commonly available books). Although the value of including post-1945 reprints of pre-1865 publications and the reasons for separating post-1865 works into three lists are unclear, Brignano offers valuable subject access to an important body of African American writing.

For earlier works, see “Annotated Bibliography of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760–1865” in William L. Andrews, To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760–1865 (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1986), 333–42, a selective list of separately published autobiographies; the annotations, however, consist of pagination and publication details for a few translations or later editions. In the same volume is “Annotated Bibliography of Afro-American Biography, 1760–1865” (343–47), which is drawn from Andrews, “Annotated Bibliography of Afro-American Biography, Beginnings to 1930,” Resources for American Literary Study 12.2 (1982): 119–33; the annotations are minimal in both lists.

For autobiographies published or reprinted between 1980 and 2000, see Stuhr-Rommereim, Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1980–1994, and Iwabuchi and Stuhr, Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1995–2000 (Q3705).

American Indian Literatures[edit]

Some works in section Q: American Literature/General are useful for research in American Indian literatures.

Guides to Reference Works[edit]

Q3860[edit]

Hirschfelder, Arlene B., Mary Gloyne Byler, and Michael A. Dorris. Guide to Research on North American Indians. Chicago: Amer. Lib. Assn., 1983. 330 pp. Z1209.2.N67.H57 [E77] 016.970004′97.

A highly selective annotated bibliography of important reference works and studies of Indians of the United States and Alaska, along with a few major works on the rest of the Americas. The approximately 1,100 entries encompass English-language books, articles, and government documents published through 1979 (with a few as late as 1982) but exclude ethnographies. Entries are organized in four divisions: general works (with sections for general bibliographies and general studies); history (including sections for descriptive narratives and autobiographies and biographies); economic and social topics (including a section for language); and religion, arts, and literature (with sections for religion and philosophy, music and dance, education, the arts, science, law, and literature). Each section begins with an essay overview of sources, followed by a list of general studies, then works devoted to a specific region, and then bibliographies. The full annotations offer detailed descriptions of contents. Two indexes: authors and titles; subjects. Superficial and inconsistent in its coverage of specialized studies (especially in the literature and literature-related sections) and now dated, it is primarily useful as a guide to important reference works before 1980.

It is far superior, however, to Marilyn L. Haas, Indians of North America: Methods and Sources for Library Research (Hamden: Lib. Professional–Shoe String, 1983; 163 pp.), an elementary guide that is frequently inaccurate and misleading. Review (Hirschfelder, Byler, and Dorris; Haas): G. Edward Evans, American Indian Culture and Research Journal 8.4 (1984): 66–70.

Histories and Surveys[edit]

Q3865[edit]

Wiget, Andrew. Native American Literature. Boston: Twayne, 1985. 147 pp. Twayne’s United States Authors Ser. 467. PM155.W54 810′.9′897.

A critical history of the oral and narrative literatures of Native Americans of North America and Mesoamerica. The six chapters—organized variously by genre, group, or author—offer basic surveys of oral narrative (especially creation myths); oratory and oral poetry; the beginnings of a written literature; modern fiction; contemporary poetry; and recent nonfiction, autobiography, and drama. Concludes with a selected bibliography of primary and secondary works (the latter are accompanied by terse evaluative comments). Indexed by persons, works, and subjects. Although it is an introductory survey that emphasizes representative works and major authors, Wiget is currently the fullest history of Native American literatures. Given the level of interest, the time is ripe for a more comprehensive history.

See also[edit]

Cambridge History of American Literature (Q3205).

Columbia Literary History of the United States (Q3195).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

Q3867[edit]

Dictionary of Native American Literature. Ed. Andrew Wiget. New York: Garland, 1994. 598 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 1815. (Reprinted as Handbook of Native American Literature [1996].) PM155.D53 897.

A collection of 73 essays by various authors on oral and written Native American literature, organized into three sections: oral literatures (with essays on geographic areas, genres, and topics [e.g., the trickster figure, myth and religion]); the historical emergence of Native American writing (with a historical overview, discussions of genres, and essays on individual writers); Native American renaissance (with a historical overview, discussions of critical approaches, European responses, pedagogy, genres, Native Americans in Anglo-American literature, and essays on individual authors). Written mostly by established authorities, the essays offer essential biographical and bibliographical information and critical estimates; all but a few conclude with a selective bibliography. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Dictionary of Native American Literature is the best single compendium of biographical and bibliographical information on Native American literature.

Q3868[edit]

Handbook of North American Indians. William C. Sturtevant, gen. ed. 20 vols. Washington: Smithsonian Inst., 1978– . E77.H25 970′.004′97.

  • Vol. 1: Introduction.
  • Vol. 2: Indians in Contemporary Society. Ed. Garrick A. Bailey. 2008. 577 pp.
  • Vol. 3: Environment, Origins, and Population. Ed. Douglas H. Ubelaker. 2006. 1,146 pp.
  • Vol. 4: History of Indian-White Relations. Ed. Wilcomb E. Washburn. 1988. 838 pp.
  • Vol. 5: Arctic. Ed. David Damas. 1984. 829 pp.
  • Vol. 6: Subarctic. Ed. June Helm. 1981. 837 pp.
  • Vol. 7: Northwest Coast. Ed. Wayne Suttles. 1990. 777 pp.
  • Vol. 8: California. Ed. Robert F. Heizer. 1978. 800 pp.
  • Vol. 9: Southwest. Ed. Alfonso Ortiz. 1979. 701 pp.
  • Vol. 10: Southwest. Ed. Ortiz. 1983. 868 pp.
  • Vol. 11: Great Basin. Ed. Warren L. d’Azevedo. 1986. 852 pp.
  • Vol. 12: Plateau. Ed. Deward E. Walker, Jr. 1998. 791 pp.
  • Vol. 13: Plains. Ed. Raymond J. DeMallie. 2001. 2 pts.
  • Vol. 14: Southeast. Ed. Raymond D. Fogelson. 2004. 1,042 pp.
  • Vol. 15: Northeast. Ed. Bruce G. Trigger. 1978. 924 pp.
  • Vol. 16: Technology and Visual Arts.
  • Vol. 17: Languages. Ed. Ives Goddard. 1996. 957 pp. (A rev. ed. of the map in the back pocket was published in 1999.)
  • Vols. 18–19: Biographical Dictionary.
  • Vol. 20: Index.

An encyclopedic treatment of the history and culture of North American Indians. The volumes devoted to geographic areas typically include essays by established scholars on ethnography, languages, archaeology, tribal groups, art, and—occasionally—literature, religion, and mythology. The extensive list of works cited in each volume constitutes a valuable bibliography of major studies. Indexed in each volume by names and subjects. Although the essays are uneven in quality and some ignore controversies about their subject matter, the Handbook will eventually be the most authoritative general source of information on American Indian history, ethnography, and culture. Reviews: (vol. 4) J. R. Miller, Canadian Historical Review 72.4 (1991): 241–44; (vol. 5) Steve Talbot, American Indian Culture and Research Journal 11.1 (1987): 123–27; (vol. 7) Michael Harkin, Ethnohistory 39.2 (1992): 172–78; (vol. 9) Bernard L. Fontana, Arizona Quarterly 38.1 (1982): 81–85.

Bibliographies of Bibliographies[edit]

Q3869[edit]

White, Phillip M., comp. Bibliography of Native American Bibliographies. Westport: Praeger, 2004. 241 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in Ethnic Studies 11. Z1209.2.N67.W55 [E77] 016.970004′97.

A selective bibliography of bibliographies (including books, articles, and Web sites published by 2003) about Native Americans of the United States and Canada. The 843 entries—which exclude outdated material, textbooks, and most dissertations—are organized under a variety of subject headings, of which the following will be of most interest to users of this Guide: archives, authors, biographies and autobiographies, children’s literature, languages and linguistics, libraries, literature, performing arts, periodicals, and stage (the theater). Literature researchers must check both the author and literature sections since there are a number of publications on individual authors in the literature section and vice versa. Entries are accompanied by brief, descriptive, woodenly written annotations. Excluding coverage of annotations in the index of persons, tribes, and subjects seriously hampers access to the work. Despite these shortcomings, White is a serviceable guide to bibliographies of Native American topics.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

Q3870[edit]

Littlefield, Daniel F., Jr., and James W. Parins. A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772–1924. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1981. 343 pp. Native Amer. Bibliog. Ser. 2. Supplement. 1985. 339 pp. Native Amer. Bibliog. Ser. 5. Z1209.2.U5.L57 [E77] 016.973′0497.

An author list of works published between 1772 and 1924 and written in English by Native Americans of the United States (including Alaska). Except for writers known only by pseudonyms, coverage is limited to individuals definitely identified as Native Americans and to writings composed by the authors themselves. Each volume is made up of three parts: writers of established identity, writers known only by pseudonyms, and biographical notices. Under an author, entries are listed by publication date (a practice that needlessly separates later editions, reprints, and revisions from an original edition or version). A code system identifies the genre of each work, and in the Supplement brief descriptive annotations explain unclear titles. The biographical notices offer basic factual details; only in the Supplement do these cite sources. Two indexes in each volume: writers by tribal affiliation; subjects. In addition, the biographical notices are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although not comprehensive, Littlefield is an indispensable guide to these early writings, the majority of which are indexed nowhere else. Review: A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff, Arizona Quarterly 38.3 (1982): 272–74.

In “A Literary Journey: Current Scholarship on Early Native American Literature,” Before Yesterday: The Long History of Native American Writing, ed. Simone Pellerin (Pessac: PU de Bordeaux, 2009; Lettres d’Amérique) 21–34, A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff surveys recent editions and suggests authors and works that need editing.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Other Bibliographies[edit]
Q3875[edit]

Marken, Jack W., comp. The American Indian: Language and Literature. Arlington Heights: AHM, 1978. 205 pp. Goldentree Bibliogs. in Lang. and Lit. Z7118.M27 [PM181] 016.497.

A selective bibliography of scholarship and some primary works (through c. 1976) for the study of the languages and literatures of Indians (other than the Eskimo) in the United States and Canada. The 3,695 entries are organized alphabetically by author in 16 divisions. The first four are devoted to general topics: bibliography, autobiography (both primary and secondary works), general literature (with sections for collections and anthologies, general studies of Indian authors, types of Indian literature, and general studies of Indian literature), and language (with sections for general studies; lexicography, grammar, and morphology; language classification; glottochronology and lexicostatistics; language and culture; linguists, collecting, recording, and transcribing; interrelationships of Indian languages and their relationships to other languages; sign language). The remaining divisions are devoted to regions, each with sections for literature, language, and tribal groups; under the last heading are separate alphabetical lists for literature and language. An asterisk denotes an important work. Because of the overlapping of regions and tribal groups, users should check the index to locate studies of a particular tribe. Indexed by authors, tribal groups, and subjects, but because of the organization, the subject indexing does not provide adequate access to the entries. Although selective, dated, and emphasizing written literature, this work remains the best general guide to research before 1977 on Indian languages and literatures. Review: Dennis R. Hoilman, Old Northwest 4.2 (1978): 180–82.

Q3880[edit]

Ruoff, A. LaVonne Brown. American Indian Literatures: An Introduction, Bibliographic Review, and Selected Bibliography. New York: MLA, 1990. 200 pp. PM155.R86 897.

A three-part introduction to American Indian literatures. The first is an introduction to the kinds of oral forms and a history of written literatures. The second is an essay review of reference works, anthologies and collections, general studies, scholarship on selected writers, and materials for teaching. The third is a selected bibliography, whose organization copies that of the essay review. Although the essay review and bibliography supersede Ruoff’s selective bibliography in Redefining American Literary History (Q3695), the latter has the advantage of being annotated (and actually includes most entries in the newer version). The index of subjects and authors unfortunately excludes the selected bibliography. Although selective, this is the most current guide to scholarship on American Indian literatures.

See also[edit]

Etulain and Howard, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Western American Literature (Q3670).

Leary, Articles on American Literature (Q3295).

Literary History of the United States: Bibliography (Q3300).

MLAIB (G335): American Literature division through the volume for 1973; American Indian heading in American Literature sections in the volumes for 1974–80; in later volumes, researchers must consult the headings beginning “Native American(s)” and related terms in the subject index and in the online thesaurus.

Woodress, Dissertations in American Literature (Q3320).

Related Topics[edit]
Q3885[edit]

Clements, William M., and Frances M. Malpezzi, comps. Native American Folklore, 1879–1979: An Annotated Bibliography. Athens: Swallow, 1984. 247 pp. Z1209.C57 [E98.F6] 016.398′08997073.

An annotated bibliography of about 5,500 English-language books and articles (mostly published between 1879 and 1979) on the “oral narratives, songs, chants, prayers, formulas, orations, proverbs, riddles, word play, music, dances, games, and ceremonials” of Native Americans living north of Mexico. Clements and Malpezzi excludes newspaper articles, works for children, and reviews. Entries are listed alphabetically in 12 classified divisions. The first covers general studies in sections for bibliographies and reference works, collections of essays, collections of primary works in various genres, and general studies of genres. Each of the remaining divisions is devoted to a cultural area, with sections for general studies and individual tribal groups. The descriptive annotations (sometimes accompanied by evaluative comments) are succinct yet admirably clear. Two indexes: subjects; scholars. The indispensable guide to scholarship on the folklore of the Native Americans of North America. For recent studies, see section U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Folklore and Literature/Guides to Scholarship and Criticism.

See also[edit]

America: History and Life (Q3310).

Haywood, Bibliography of North American Folklore and Folksong (U5875).

Historical Abstracts (U6500).

Miller, Folk Music in America (U5910).

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Salzman, American Studies: An Annotated Bibliography (Q3335).

Periodicals[edit]

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Q3895[edit]

Littlefield, Daniel F., Jr., and James W. Parins, eds. American Indian and Alaska Native Newspapers and Periodicals, [1826–1985]. 3 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 1984–86. Hist. Guides to the World’s Periodicals and Newspapers. PN4883.L57 051.

  • Vol. 1: 1826–1924. 1984. 482 pp.
  • Vol. 2: 1925–1970. 1986. 553 pp.
  • Vol. 3: 1971–1985. 1986. 609 pp.

A collection of profiles of “newspapers and periodicals edited or published by American Indians or Alaska Natives and those whose primary purpose was to publish information about contemporary Indians or Alaska Natives.” Excludes ethnological, archaeological, historical, Mexican, and Canadian publications. Organized alphabetically by most recent title (or title used when under the control of Indians or Alaska Natives), entries provide a publishing history and overview of content and cite scholarship, indexing sources, location sources (noting a few actual locations and availability in microform collections), publication information, and editors. Alternative and earlier titles are cross-referenced to main entries. Three appendixes list titles by date of original publication, place of publication, and tribal affiliation. Indexed by persons and subjects.

Complemented by James P. Danky, ed., and Maureen E. Hady, comp., Native American Periodicals and Newspapers, 1828–1982: Bibliography, Publishing Record, and Holdings (Westport: Greenwood, 1984; 532 pp.), which is more exhaustive in its coverage and precise in recording holdings but lacks the useful overviews of publishing history and is less thorough and precise in its subject indexing.

Together, these works on Native American periodicals are the essential guides to extensive but underutilized sources, many of which are omitted from standard union lists.

See also[edit]

Sec. K: Periodicals/Directories and Periodicals/Union Lists.

United States Newspaper Program National Union List (Q3405).

Genres[edit]

Fiction[edit]

Some works in sections L: Genres/Fiction and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Fiction are useful for research on fiction by American Indians.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
= Q3920 =[edit]

Colonnese, Tom, and Louis Owens. American Indian Novelists: An Annotated Critical Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1985. 161 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 384. Z1229.I52 C65 [PS153.I52] 016.813′009′897.

A selective annotated bibliography of works (published through c. 1983) by and about 21 novelists. Under each novelist are sections for book-length primary works (with separate chronological lists of novels and other books), selected shorter works (organized by genre, then alphabetically by title), and selected studies (with separate lists of criticism—organized by primary work and including reviews—and biographical sources). Novels are accompanied by plot summaries, and studies of novels are accompanied by descriptive annotations; both are wordy and wooden. Indexed by novelists and titles. Highly selective and marred by an inadequate discussion of criteria governing selection of both novelists and studies, American Indian Novelists does little more than offer a place to begin research. Review: Jerome Klinkowitz, American Indian Culture and Research Journal 8.2 (1984): 58–60.

Prose[edit]
Guides to Primary Works[edit]
= Q3925 =[edit]

Brumble, H. David, III. An Annotated Bibliography of American Indian and Eskimo Autobiographies. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1981. 177 pp. Z1209.B78 [E89] 016.970004′97.

———. “A Supplement to An Annotated Bibliography of American Indian and Eskimo Autobiographies.” Western American Literature 17.3 (1982): 243–60.

———. “The Autobiographies.” American Indian Autobiography. Berkeley: U of California P, 1988. 211–58. E89.5.B78 970.004′97.

A bibliography of some 600 first-person narratives written by North American Indians and Eskimos or transcribed and edited by other persons. Although largely confined to published autobiographies (through c. 1987), the work includes a few in manuscript or on tape. Organized alphabetically by the commonly used name of the autobiographer, entries provide collaborator, editor, or amanuensis; gender, if not apparent from the name; title; publication information or location of tape or manuscript; birthdate; date of composition; tribal affiliation; an account of how the narrative was composed; and a detailed description of content. Three indexes: editors, anthropologists, ghostwriters, and amanuenses; tribes; subjects. Although it is imprecise and insufficiently detailed in subject indexing and incomplete in cross-referencing Indian and Anglo names, Brumble’s compilation offers the fullest record of these autobiographical narratives, many of which are hidden in anthropological or historical studies. Review: Ralph Maud, Canadian Review of American Studies 14.1 (1983): 71–77.

For autobiographies published or reprinted between 1980 and 2000, see Stuhr-Rommereim, Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1980–1994, and Iwabuchi and Stuhr, Autobiographies by Americans of Color, 1995–2000 (Q3705).

Asian American Literature[edit]

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

Q3930[edit]

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature. Ed. Guiyou Huang. 3 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 2009. PS153.A84 G74 810.9′895.

An encyclopedia about literature written between the 1890s and 2007 by North Americans of Asian descent. Although most of the 272 entries are devoted to individuals, some treat works, genres, concepts, ideologies, movements, places, and events. The lengthy entries conclude with a selective bibliography. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. Intended for a student audience, the Greenwood Encyclopedia is nevertheless the most extensive encyclopedia of Asian American literature.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Q3940[edit]

Cheung, King-Kok, and Stan Yogi. Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: MLA, 1988. 276 pp. Z1229.A75 C47 [PS153.A84] 016.81′08′089507.

A bibliography of works (through July 1987) by and about writers of Asian descent resident in the United States and Canada as well as those living elsewhere who have written about the experiences of Asians in North America. Includes autobiographies, essays, and popular fiction but excludes publications by native Pacific Islanders, works in Asian languages not translated into English, individual poems in anthologies or periodicals, manuscripts, and works in student publications. The approximately 3,400 entries are organized in seven divisions: bibliographies and reference works, anthologies, periodicals, primary works (with sections for national groups and children’s literature; each national group has separate lists of prose, poetry, and drama), scholarship and criticism (with the sections for general studies and national groups divided into three parts: books, theses, and dissertations; articles; and interviews, profiles, and commentary), fiction about Asians or Asian Americans by non-Asians, and background studies. Some works have descriptive annotations that sometimes cite reviews; unfortunately, most of the annotations are too brief to convey an adequate sense of content. Four indexes: writers; scholars; reviewers; editors, translators, and illustrators. Although it is frustratingly brief in its annotations and less accessible than it should be because of the lack of a subject index, Asian American Literature fills a major gap in reference sources for the literatures of the United States and Canada.

More recent work by and studies of Asian American writers can be found in An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature, ed. Cheung (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997; 414 pp.). The surveys, covering literature by Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian, and Vietnamese descent, are complemented by a selective bibliography.

See also[edit]

MLAIB (G335): See the headings beginning “Asian American(s)” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Hispanic American Literature[edit]

Some works in section Q: American Literature/General are useful to research in Hispanic American literatures.

Guides to Reference Works[edit]

Q3970[edit]

Robinson, Barbara J., and J. Cordell Robinson. The Mexican American: A Critical Guide to Research Aids. Greenwich: JAI, 1980. 287 pp. Foundations in Lib. and Information Science 1. Z1361.M4 R63 [E184.M5] 016.973′046872.

A selective, annotated guide to reference works (in English and Spanish and published between 1857 and 1978) on the cultural, historical, social, political, artistic, or economic milieu of Mexican Americans. The authors cover both published and unpublished works (including dissertations, theses, and mimeographed material) and emphasize the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The 668 entries are listed alphabetically by author in two classified divisions: general works and subject bibliographies. The first has sections for general bibliographies, library guides, biographical sources, genealogical sources, statistical sources, directories, dictionaries, newspaper and periodical guides, and audiovisual sources; the second for education, folklore, history, labor, linguistics, literature, social and behavioral sciences, and women. Each section is preceded by an evaluative overview of the reference sources. The full annotations are largely descriptive and focus on scope, content, and organization. Three indexes: authors; titles; subjects. Although it is now dated, includes several ephemeral and superseded works, and lacks an adequate explanation of criteria governing selection, this work remains a useful guide to important reference sources for the study of Mexican Americans.

Julio A. Martínez and Ada Burns, Mexican Americans: An Annotated Bibliography of Bibliographies (Saratoga: R and E, 1984; 132 pp.), is an important complement because of its full evaluative annotations and coverage of works through 1983.

Less thorough than Mexican Americans but including Cuban American and continental Puerto Rican literature as well as sociolinguistics is David William Foster, ed., Sourcebook of Hispanic Culture in the United States (Chicago: Amer. Lib. Assn., 1982; 352 pp.). Coverage is very selective and rarely extends beyond 1975.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

Q3971[edit]

Allatson, Paul. Key Terms in Latino/a Cultural and Literary Studies. Malden: Blackwell, 2007. 281 pp. E184.S75 A795 973′.0468003.

An encyclopedia of terms and concepts important to Latino/a literary and cultural studies since the 1960s. Emphasizing the multidisciplinarity and globalization of the field, the 230 entries cover “Latino/a critical and theoretical concepts, cultural and literary practices and forms, Spanish-origin and Spanglish terms that appear in the critical literature and cultural productions, significant historical terms, and discussions of broader sociocultural and transnational processes.” The clear discussions—which typically combine definition, historical overview, and explanation of the importance of the terms to the field—are especially valuable to scholars new to the field.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Serial Bibliographies[edit]
Q3973[edit]

HAPI Online. UCLA Latin American Institute. UC Regents, 1997–2013. 30 Dec. 2014. <http://hapi.ucla.edu/>. Updated regularly. (HAPI indexing is also included in PRISMA: Publicaciones y revistas sociales y humanísticas [9].)

An online compilation of

  • HAPI: Hispanic American Periodicals Index, [1970–2008]. Los Angeles: U of California, Los Angeles, Latin Amer. Center, 1977–2011. Annual. Z1605.H16 [F1408] 016.98′0005. CD-ROM.
  • HAPI: Hispanic American Periodicals Index: Articles in English, 1976–1980. Ed. Barbara G. Valk. Los Angeles: U of California, Los Angeles, Latin Amer. Center; Westwood: Faxon, 1984. 403 pp. Z1605.H6 [F1408] 016.98′0005.

A database that indexes the content of about 500 humanities and social science periodicals on Latin Americans and Hispanics in the United States, with coverage extending to all areas except the hard sciences and technology. Records can be searched by keyword, document author, title, subject (based on a thesaurus), and journal; searches can be limited by date and language and to articles with full-text links or about United States Hispanics only; in addition, searchers can elect to exclude book reviews. Records (which can be sorted by author or date [ascending or descending]) can be printed, exported by e-mail, or downloaded into bibliographic software programs. In the print version, entries are currently organized in two parts: subjects; authors of articles and literary works (coverage of book reviews was discontinued after the volume for 2001). The version in PRISMA uses the standard ProQuest search interface (I519). The substantial coverage of literary periodicals makes HAPI the best source for identifying current studies of Hispanic American literature.

Chicano Database (U of California, Berkeley, Chicano Studies Collection, Ethnic Studies Lib. [online through FirstSearch (E225a)]; updated quarterly), includes records (a few with abstracts) for books, dissertations, and articles since the 1960s on Hispanic American literature, language, and folklore. Its coverage is much less current than that by HAPI.

Other Bibliographies[edit]
Q3975[edit]

Eger, Ernestina N. A Bibliography of Criticism of Contemporary Chicano Literature. Berkeley: Chicano Lib., U of California, 1982. 295 pp. Z1229.M48 E36 [PS153.M4] 016.81′08′086872073.

A bibliography of books, articles, theses, dissertations, commercial audio- and videotapes, reviews, newspaper articles, unpublished convention papers, and some works in progress from 1960 to mid-1979 on Chicano and Mexican American literature of the same period. The 2,181 entries are organized alphabetically in 12 divisions: collections of critical essays; bibliographies; general studies; the Chicana or Chicano as writer, critic, or literary character; general criticism; linguistic studies; poetry; fiction; theater (with sections for general studies, Teatro Campesino and Luis Valdez, other teatros, and theater festivals); literary festivals; individual authors; and anthologies. Studies of literature before 1960 are listed in a brief appendix; another appendix serves as a directory of Chicano literary periodicals. Two indexes: scholars; titles. Although there are several omissions as well as duplicate entries for subsequently published convention papers, Eger is the fullest list of scholarship through mid-1979. Review: Hensley C. Woodbridge, Bilingual Review / Revista bilingüe 10.1 (1983): 69–72.

Some recent general studies—but not those of individual authors—are listed in Roberto G. Trujillo and Andres Rodriguez, comps., Literatura Chicana: Creative and Critical Writings through 1984 (Oakland: Floricanto, 1985; 95 pp.); however, numerous omissions, poor organization, and a confusing description of scope make this source an unsatisfactory guide to critical works. More useful as a supplement to Eger is Julio A. Martínez and Francisco A. Lomelí, eds., Chicano Literature: A Reference Guide (Westport: Greenwood, 1985; 492 pp.), a collection of essays with selective bibliographies on established authors and some literary periods, genres, and topics, along with a chronology of Chicano literature from 1539 to 1982 and a glossary of Chicano literary terms. Entrants are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Unfortunately, principles governing selection are not clearly stated, and many entries are poorly written.

See also[edit]

Secs. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

Etulain and Howard, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Western American Literature (Q3670).

MLAIB (G335): Until the volume for 1972, see the American Literature division; in the volumes for 1972–80, see the Mexican American heading in American Literature sections; in later volumes, see the headings beginning “Hispanic American(s)” and “Mexican American(s)” (and related headings) in the subject index and in the online thesaurus.

Ruoff and Ward, Redefining American Literary History (Q3695).

Language[edit]

Guides to Scholarship[edit]
Q3980[edit]

Teschner, Richard V., gen. ed. Spanish and English of United States Hispanos: A Critical, Annotated, Linguistic Bibliography. Arlington: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1975. 352 pp. Z2695.D5 T47 [PC4826] 016.467′9′73.

Bills, Garland D., Jerry R. Craddock, and Richard V. Teschner. “Current Research on the Language(s) of U. S. Hispanos.” Hispania 60.2 (1977): 347–58. PC4001.H7 460′.5.

A bibliography of publications, dissertations, theses, and some unpublished papers and reports (through January 1977 in the supplement) on the Spanish and English used by Hispanic citizens or residents of the mainland United States. Excludes most discussions of language teaching. In the 1975 volume, entries are organized alphabetically in divisions for general studies, Mexican Americans (subdivided by region), Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Louisiana Canary Islanders, Spaniards, and Sephardic Jews. Each division has sections, when appropriate, for bibliographies, general studies, sociolinguistics, textbooks, Spanish phonology, Spanish grammar, Spanish lexicon, onomastics, English influence on Spanish, Spanish influence on English, English as used by the group, and code switching. Each section begins with lists of the most important works and cross-references. Annotations typically combine detailed description with trenchant evaluation, and the introduction surveys trends in research. The author index utilizes a confusing system of sigla. (The supplement is merely an unannotated author list.) The extensive evaluative annotations in the 1975 volume make it a valuable guide to scholarship on Spanish and English as used by Hispanics in the United States. For recent studies, see MLAIB (G335), Bibliographie linguistique (U6010), and LLBA: Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (U6015). Review: Hensley C. Woodbridge, Modern Language Journal 60.5-6 (1976): 316.

See also[edit]

Eger, Bibliography of Criticism of Contemporary Chicano Literature (Q3975).

Genres[edit]

Fiction[edit]
Guides to Primary Works[edit]
= Q3985 =[edit]

Leonard, Kathy S. Bibliographic Guide to Chicana and Latina Narrative. Westport: Praeger, 2003. 273 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in Women’s Studies 31. Z1229.M48 L46 [PS153.M4] 016.8109′9287′08968.

An index to short fiction in anthologies or collections, novels, and biographies or autobiographies written by Latina or Chicana authors for an adolescent or older audience and published in English or Spanish between the early 1940s and 2002. The approximately 2,745 works by nearly 600 authors are organized alphabetically in five indexes: authors and titles; titles and authors; anthologies; novels; autobiographies and biographies. The lists of titles and authors (alphabetized according to English-language conventions) are keyed to the other three indexes; novels and autobiographies and biographies include a one- or two-sentence description of content. The list of novels inconsistently cites translations and editions (e.g., the two entries for Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street are for the 1999 Knopf edition and a 1994 Spanish translation; the German, Italian, and Chinese translations and earlier English-language editions are not included); the practice of listing translations separately with virtually the same annotation wastes space. The autobiographies and biographies list is something of a hodgepodge that includes interviews and biographical dictionaries with entries on—not by—Chicana and Latina authors. Although marred by inconsistencies and omissions and a lack of explanation of what denominates Chicana and Latina, in need of a good copyediting, and stronger in its coverage of works published in the United States, Bibliographic Guide to Chicana and Latina Narrative offers a serviceable guide to the subject.

Jewish American Literature[edit]

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Q3990[edit]

Nadel, Ira Bruce. Jewish Writers of North America: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1981. 493 pp. Amer. Studies Information Guide Ser. 8. Z1229.J4 N32 [PS153.J4] 016.810′8′08924.

A selective bibliography of works by and about American and Canadian Jewish writers chosen for their “literary excellence, cultural significance, and historical importance.” Coverage extends through the late 1970s. The 3,291 entries are organized in four divisions: general works (with sections for bibliographies, biographical sources, indexes, library and manuscript collections, literary history, general criticism, and anthologies), poets, fiction writers, and dramatists (with sections for reference works and criticism and theater history). Each division or section has separate lists for American and Canadian literature and writers. Under each author are lists of bibliographies, primary works (chronologically by genre), and criticism. Appendix A is devoted to Yiddish literature in English translation, appendix B to a list of other Jewish writers. The descriptive annotations are brief but generally adequate; however, many entries are not annotated. Three indexes: authors; titles; subjects. Users should note that some writers appear under more than one genre. Although marred by an inadequate explanation of scope and the failure to index authors and topics mentioned in annotations to the first division, this work offers the fullest single guide to North American Jewish writers. Many studies of American and Canadian Jewish literature can be identified through the headings beginning with “Jewish” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes of MLAIB (G335) or in the online thesaurus.

Additional English-language studies of and works by (published through 1988) 62 Jewish American fiction writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries can be found in Gloria L. Cronin, Blaine H. Hall, and Connie Lamb, Jewish American Fiction Writers: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1991; 1,233 pp.; Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 972). A majority of the entries have been culled from standard databases and indexes, and the excessive number of pages needlessly consumed by annotations of book reviews (while dissertations and general studies are listed without comment) should instead be devoted to an index.

Early American Literature (to 1800)[edit]

Many works in section Q: American Literature/General are important to research in early American literature.

Research Methods[edit]

Q3995[edit]

Courtney, Angela. Literary Research and the Era of American Nationalism and Romanticism: Strategies and Sources. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2008. 251 pp. Lit. Research: Strategies and Sources 2. (Updates appear at http://www.literaryresearchseries.org.) PS217.R6 C68 [PS153.J4] 80.9′002072.

A guide to research strategies and reference sources for the scholar working with literature of the early republic (1790–1860). Following an admirably clear explanation of the basics of online searching are chapters on general literary reference sources (including some devoted to individual writers); library catalogs; print and electronic bibliographies, indexes, and annual reviews (again, with some devoted to individual writers); scholarly journals; contemporary reviews and literary magazines; contemporary journals and newspapers; microform and digital collections; manuscripts and archives; and Web resources. The last two chapters demonstrate how to use many of the works and strategies previously discussed to develop a research plan and address how to find definitions of terms (using “nationalism” as an example). An appendix lists sources in related disciplines. Indexed by titles and subjects. Describing fully the uses of kinds of reference tools, providing illuminating examples in discussions of key individual resources, detailing techniques for finding kinds of information (including primary works), and illustrating research processes, Literary Research and the Era of American Nationalism and Romanticism admirably fulfills its intent: “to serve as a guide to best practices for the researcher . . . through the potentially confusing and constantly changing milieu of literary research on the literature of the Early Republic.”

Guides to Reference Works[edit]

For a selective overview of World Wide Web resources for the study and teaching of early American literature and culture, see Joanna Brooks, “New Media’s Prospect: A Review of Web Resources in Early American Studies,” Early American Literature 39.3 (2004): 577–90.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

See[edit]

Blackwell Companion to the Enlightenment (M2218).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

Q4000[edit]

Alden, John, and Dennis Channing Landis, eds. European Americana: A Chronological Guide to Works Printed in Europe Relating to the Americas, 1493–1776 [i.e., 1750]. 6 vols. New Canaan: Readex, 1980–97. Z1203.E87 [E18.82] 016.97.

  • Vol. 1: 1493–1600. 1980. 467 pp.
  • Vol. 2: 1601–1650. 1982. 954 pp.
  • Vol. 3: 1651–1675. 1996. 682 pp.
  • Vol. 4: 1676–1700. 1997. 711 pp.
  • Vol. 5: 1701–1725. 1987. 597 pp.
  • Vol. 6: 1726–1750. 1988. 852 pp.
  • ———, eds. European Views of the Americas, 1493–1750. EBSCOhost. EBSCO, 2013. 13 Sept. 2013. <http://www.ebscohost.com/archives/general-archives/european-views-of-the-americas>. (This is a free database.)

A chronological guide to separately published works and editions thereof printed in Europe and related to the Americas (here defined as North and South America, Greenland, and the Caribbean islands). Based on the holdings of important North American and European collections and listings in several bibliographies, European Americana includes in vol. 1 many literary and other works with only incidental references to the area; in later volumes, the scope narrows to exclude most works that have only a passing mention of the New World. Users must consult the Guide to Use in vol. 4 to find the fullest discussion of scope and editorial principles. Organized alphabetically within each year by author, corporate author, or title of anonymous work, entries provide title, imprint, final page number, format, a note on American content if not clear from the title, references to standard bibliographies, and locations. Users must remember that much information is taken unverified from other sources and that titles and imprints are frequently edited rather than exact transcriptions. Additions are printed in vol. 1, pp. 261–66, and vol. 2, pp. 526–27. Each volume has three indexes: geographic index of printers and booksellers; alphabetical index of printers and booksellers; authors, titles, and subjects. The Alden-Landis European Americana supersedes Henry Harrisse, Bibliotheca Americana Vetustissima: A Description of Works Relating to America Published between the Years 1492 and 1551 (New York: Philes, 1866; 519 pp.) and Additions (Paris: Tross, 1872; 199 pp.), and, for the volumes published, represents a major improvement in coverage, organization, and accuracy over Sabin, Eames, and Vail, Bibliotheca Americana (Q4015); for example, supposedly fewer than one-quarter of the entries in volumes 3–4 also appear in Sabin. Although such a work cannot be comprehensive and inevitably perpetuates many of the errors of its sources, its coverage, organization, and indexing make European Americana the indispensable source for studying the impact of the Americas on Europe. Reviews: (vol. 1) David B. Quinn, Renaissance Quarterly 34.4 (1981): 570–72; (vols. 1–2) J. A. Leo Lemay, Resources for American Literary Study 13.1 (1983): 26–32; Edwin Wolf II, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 78.1 (1984): 91–95.

European Views of the Americas, 1493–1750 gives the best access to the information in European Americana through a modified EBSCO interface (I512) that in Advanced Search allows searches to be limited by date, format, document type, and location of copy.

Q4005[edit]

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639–1800. NewsBank Info Web. Readex, n.d. 30 Dec. 2014. <http://www.readex.com/content/early-american-imprints-series-i-evans-1639-1800>.

Early American Imprints, Series I: Supplement from the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1670–1800. NewBank Info Web. Readex, n.d. 30 Dec. 2014. <http://www.readex.com/content/early-american-imprints-series-i-ii-supplements-library-company-philadelphia-1670-1819>.

Evans, Charles. American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets, and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from the Genesis of Printing in 1639 down to and Including the Year 1820 [i.e., 1800] (Evans). 14 vols. (vols. 1–12) Chicago: Privately printed, 1903–34; (vols. 13–14) Worcester: Amer. Antiquarian Soc., 1955–59. (Vol. 13 is by Clifford Shipton; vol. 14, by Roger Pattrell Bristol.) Z1215.E92 015.73.

A bibliographical database and digital archive based on Evans, American Bibliography, and Bristol’s Supplement (see below) that reproduces the c. 37,000 works in the original microprint and microform version of Early American Imprints along with 1,080 additional titles; the Supplements add nearly 2,000 titles. Users can view digitized facsimiles of pages as well as search ASCII text generated by Optical Character Recognition scanning. In the basic search mode, documents can be searched by citation, full text, title, subject (i.e., Library of Congress subject headings), genre, author, place of publication, publisher, document number (i.e., Evans number), and date of publication; the advanced search mode allows users to combine up to two fields with full text and date. Given the treatment of attributions of authorship, users should search for an author in both the Author and Citation Text fields. Because of the spelling practices in the period covered and because of scanning errors in the ASCII text underlying the digital images, users must read the discussion of spelling under Hints/Elongated S and Background/Historical Materials and OCR on the Help screen before attempting a keyword search. Users can also browse by author, place of publication, history of printing (with separate lists of publishers, printers, and booksellers), language, and selected genres and subjects.

A search returns records in Evans number order (i.e., chronologically—but see the discussion below of problems with the chronological sequence in Evans); an individual record reformats the enhanced cataloging copy created for the microform version of Early American Imprints (which cites Evans number along with other standard bibliographies, albeit in abbreviated forms that will mystify the majority of users). The original Evans entry (along with identification of the copy reproduced) is hidden under a Document Source link at the end of the Table of Contents.

Copies can be downloaded as PDF or TIF files (file transfer can be slow, and a maximum of 75 pages can be downloaded at a time), printed, or saved to a personal collection for later access.

Inevitably, many of the images are only partly legible because of flaws in the underlying copy or problems with the original filming, and thus keyword searches of the full text frequently return false hits (e.g., in a search for Macbeth, three of the first ten records show false hits on teacheth or toucheth), but this resource brings to the computer screen the text of thousands of rare volumes and, because of the search capabilities, makes possible studies that would otherwise be unfeasible because of the time it would take to identify and acquire the necessary books. Review: Norman Desmarais, Charleston Advisor 6.2 (2004): 15–17; 23 Dec. 2012; <http://www.charlestonco.com>.

While Early American Imprints vastly improves access to information hidden away in Evans (especially anonymous works), it replicates silently many of the limitations and quirks of its progenitor. Thus a thorough familiarity with American Bibliography is a prerequisite for informed use of the digital archive. And the user of any digital archive must be aware that a copy reproduced may have leaves supplied from another copy, be of an edition that is extant in more than one issue or state, or be incomplete.

American Bibliography is a preliminary retrospective national bibliography of printed works (excluding tickets, invitations, circulars, and forms designed to be completed in manuscript). Organized by year of publication, then alphabetically by author, corporate author, or title of anonymous work, the 39,162 entries typically cite title, imprint, pagination, size or format, locations, and contemporary auction values. A few are accompanied by bibliographical, biographical, or historical notes.

Each volume has two indexes (authors and anonymous titles; subjects). However, the author and title indexes are superseded by the Index (vol. 14), which lists pseudonyms, corporate authors, and authors; includes titles (as well as running titles and half titles recorded by Evans); and adds names of people, ships, and Indian tribes mentioned in titles. Because of inconsistencies in the treatment of main headings for some kinds of works, erroneous dating, and incorrect attributions of authorship, the Index frequently offers the only convenient way to locate unsigned publications. The History of Printing tab in Early American Imprints offers far better access to individuals in the book trade than do the lists of printers and publishers in vols. 1–12 or in Bristol, Index of Printers, Publishers, and Booksellers Indicated by Charles Evans in His American Bibliography (Charlottesville: Bibliog. Soc. of the U of Virginia, 1961; 172 pp.). Items in Evans and Early American Imprints containing printed musical notation are indexed in Donald L. Hixon, Music in Early America: A Bibliography of Music in Evans (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1970; 607 pp.).

To make effective use of Evans, researchers must be aware of its major deficiencies:

  1. Because of numerous typographical errors and because much information is copied without verification from secondary sources—including other bibliographies, advertisements, and booksellers’, auction, and library catalogs—as many as 30% of the entries are inaccurate, especially in recording titles, publication information, and date. Particularly vexing is Evans’s practice of supplying descriptive titles based on advertisements. Although Evans does not identify secondhand entries, Shipton encloses within brackets titles not seen or “described by a careful bibliographer” and derives entries from booksellers’ or auction catalogs only when a title page is reproduced.
  2. Anonymous works are difficult to locate because Evans frequently misattributes authorship, place, publisher, or date or lists such works under inconsistent or peculiar corporate author headings without supplying title cross-references. Only vol. 13 identifies attributions (within brackets) and cross-references titles of anonymous works. By utilizing more accurate, consistent corporate headings and listing short titles, the Index (vol. 14) allows for the location of many anonymous publications.
  3. Regardless of the number of copies extant, Evans typically locates only one or two and sometimes omits locations to save an additional line of type. (Vol. 13 provides more locations.) To decipher Evans’s location symbols, see John C. Munger, “Evans’s American Bibliography: Tentative Check List of the Library Location Symbols ,” Bulletin of the New York Public Library 40.8 (1936): 665–68. (In Early American Imprints, this information is hidden away at Help/Background/Owning Sources Abbreviations.)
  4. Several works are listed out of chronological sequence because they were discovered after publication of the appropriate volume. And many undatable publications are grouped under “1800.”

Not surprisingly, there are numerous ghosts and duplicate entries. Also, many works or editions identified in studies and catalogs as “not in Evans” are actually there but difficult to locate.

The following works supplement Evans:

  • “American Bibliographical Notes.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 82.1 (1972): 45–64; 83.2 (1973): 261–73; 87.2 (1977): 409–15; 88.1 (1978): 90–119; 88.2 (1978): 327–28; 89.1 (1979): 155–57; 93.1 (1983): 197–221. A series of variously authored notes and lists that provide numerous additions and corrections to Evans.
  • Bristol, Roger P. Supplement to Charles Evans’ American Bibliography . Charlottesville: UP of Virginia for Bibliog. Soc. of Amer.–Bibliog. Soc. of U of Virginia, 1970. 636 pp. Collects from a variety of sources some 11,200 additions, with locations and entry numbers for those reproduced in the Readex microfilm series. Addenda appear on pp. 631–34. Separately indexed as Index to Supplement to Charles Evans’ American Bibliography (Charlottesville: UP of Virginia for Bibliog. Soc. of U of Virginia, 1971; 191 pp.). Review: J. A. Leo Lemay, Early American Literature 8.1 (1973): 66–77.
  • Federal Copyright Records, 1790–1800. Ed. James Gilreath. Comp. Elizabeth Carter Wills. Washington: Lib. of Congress, 1987. 166 pp. A transcript of surviving records for the period.
  • Shipton, Clifford K., and James E. Mooney. National Index of American Imprints through 1800: The Short-Title Evans. 2 vols. Worcester: Amer. Antiquarian Soc. and Barre, 1969. An index to the microform version of Early American Imprints that makes numerous corrections to Evans and in some instances cites the sources of his errors. It is particularly useful for identifying duplicate entries. Review: J. A. Leo Lemay, Early American Literature 8.1 (1973): 66–77.

American imprints are also included in the Short-Title Catalogues (M1377, M1990, and M1995), which are typically more thorough and accurate than Evans. Book catalogs are more thoroughly covered in Winans, Descriptive Checklist of Book Catalogues (U5410).

Despite its manifold deficiencies and incompleteness, Evans and its supplements currently offer the fullest record of early American imprints; provide an invaluable resource for investigating the intellectual milieu of works, surveying publishing trends, identifying works and editions by standard reference number, and locating copies; and form the basis for a fuller, more sophisticated and accurate retrospective bibliography. Only because of this preliminary bibliography has it been possible to make readily available in digital form a majority of works printed before 1801 in the United States. Scholars should also search the North American Imprints Program database (Q4010), which will eventually supersede Evans and its supplements.

The chronological record is continued by Shaw and Shoemaker, American Bibliography (Q4125), and Shoemaker et al., Checklist of American Imprints (Q4130).

Bibliography of American Imprints to 1901, 92 vols. (New York: Saur, 1993), conflates entries from the American Antiquarian Society catalog and RLG Union Catalog into a title list with separate author, subject, place, and date indexes; it is notable only for the amount of shelf space it wastes.

Q4010[edit]

North American Imprints Program (NAIP). American Antiquarian Society. Amer. Antiquarian Soc., 2011. 30 Dec. 2014. <http://www.americanantiquarian.org/naip>.

A machine-readable union catalog whose goal is to record all extant books, pamphlets, and broadsides (but not periodicals, newspapers, and engraved materials) printed through 1876 in what is now the United States and Canada. Entries for works examined by NAIP staff contain a full transcription of title page and imprint, detailed statement of pagination, collation, notes, and references to published bibliographies. Descriptions based on reports by cooperating libraries, Early American Imprints (Q4005), or published bibliographies are less detailed. Records are being incorporated into the ESTC (M1377) database and can be searched through the American Antiquarian Society’s OPAC (http://catalog.mwa.org), which supports special indexes that allow searching by genre, series, illustrator, printer, publisher, bookseller, place, language, and date. Eventually the database will supersede Tremaine, Bibliography of Canadian Imprints (R4615), and Evans, American Bibliography and its various supplements (Q4005) and continuations.

Q4015[edit]

Sabin, Joseph, Wilberforce Eames, and R. W. G. Vail, eds. Bibliotheca Americana: A Dictionary of Books Relating to America, from Its Discovery to the Present Time (Sabin). 29 vols. New York: Sabin, 1868–1936. (Originally issued in parts.) Z1201.S2 015.73.

A bibliography of publications related to the political, governmental, economic, social, intellectual, and religious history of the western hemisphere since 1492. Until vol. 21 (1929–31), Sabin includes potentially anything even remotely touching on the Americas published up to the date of publication of a part (except that post-1800 newspapers and broadsides are generally excluded); in succeeding volumes, both scope and coverage are substantially reduced. With vol. 21, the cutoff date becomes 1876; with pt. 130 (in vol. 22 [1931–32]), the cutoff date is 1860 (earlier for certain kinds of publications—e.g., 1800 for most literary works, but 1830 for those “of historical importance”); with pt. 141 (in vol. 24 [1933–34]), virtually nothing published after 1840 is included. Researchers must be certain to read the explanation in vol. 29, pp. x–xi, of the successive narrowing in scope and coverage.

Entries are listed alphabetically by author or, for anonymous works, by title, locale, or subject. An entry includes title; publication information; size or format; pagination; occasional notes on content, editions, related titles, scholarship, reviews, other works by the author, or references to booksellers’ or auction catalogs; and locations (more consistently and fully in the later volumes; location symbols are listed in vol. 29, pp. 299–305). References in the notes more than double the 106,413 numbered entries.

Users must be aware of the deficiencies of Sabin: there are numerous omissions; the volumes through 13 (1881) admit many works that can hardly be classified as Americana, but with Eames’s editorship (beginning in pt. 83 [1884]), standards defining coverage are tighter; many errors exist because of Sabin’s reliance on unsound secondary sources and frequent use of wrappers as sources for titles (accuracy improves under Eames’s editorship); entries are not standardized and there are several duplicate entries.

John Edgar Molnar, comp., Author-Title Index to Joseph Sabin’s Dictionary of Books Relating to America , 3 vols. (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1974), remedies many of the difficulties in locating works in Sabin by indexing authors, editors, compilers, illustrators, corporate authors, main titles, series titles, and selected subtitles and alternative titles, as well as by identifying several anonymous and pseudonymous authors.

Despite its incompleteness and manifold deficiencies, Sabin remains the single most extensive bibliography of early works related to the western hemisphere.

Many works in Sabin are included in the digital archive Sabin Americana, 1500–1926 (http://gdc.gale.com/products/sabin-americana-1500-1926/). Basic Search allows users to limit keyword searches of full text, authors, subjects, or titles by publication date; Advanced Search allows users to search by document number (MARC, Sabin, or Thomson Gale number) or to limit combined searches of keywords, authors, titles, full text, front matter, main text, subjects, persons as subjects, geographic subjects, publishers, source libraries, and places of publication by date, subject area, language, serial title, number of pages, and kinds of illustrations. Advanced Search also allows for fuzzy searches—an especially valuable feature for searching documents published before spelling became normalized. Users can also browse lists of authors and titles. Images (which vary in quality and legibility as expected in archives produced from microfiche) can be saved as PDF files or printed. The breadth of coverage and the powerful search engine make possible numerous studies that heretofore would have consumed years of research or would have been simply untenable.

For more thorough coverage of European imprints through 1750, see Alden and Landis, European Americana (Q4000); some areas are more fully treated in bibliographies devoted to a region or country (consult Besterman, World Bibliography of Bibliographies [D155], and Bibliographic Index [D145]).

Lawrence S. Thompson, The New Sabin: Books Described by Joseph Sabin and His Successors, Now Described Again on the Basis of Examination of Originals, and Fully Indexed by Title, Subject, Joint Authors, and Institutions and Agencies, 10 vols. and cumulative index (Troy: Whitston, 1974–86), is misleadingly titled. Rather than a revision of Sabin, the work is merely a set of separate lists of and indexes to large-scale microform collections (including Wright, American Fiction [Q4180]). The entries consist of information taken from catalog cards prepared for the collections (and not from the compiler’s personal examination of original copies). Cumulatively indexed by subjects, titles, joint authors, and corporate bodies. Although restricted to publications available in microform collections, awkwardly organized, and lacking cross-references to Sabin, New Sabin adds as well as corrects numerous entries and offers useful, but limited, subject access to works about the Americas.

See also[edit]

Boswell, Check List of Americana in A Short-Title Catalogue (M1990a).

English Short Title Catalogue (M1377).

Pollard and Redgrave, Short-Title Catalogue, 1475–1640 (M1990).

Wing, Short-Title Catalogue, 1641–1700 (M1995).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Surveys of Research[edit]

See[edit]

American Literary Scholarship (Q3265): chapter on literature to 1800.

Harbert and Rees, Fifteen American Authors before 1900 (Q3280).

Serial Bibliographies[edit]

See[edit]

ABELL (G340): English Literature/Seventeenth Century and Eighteenth Century sections.

ECCB: The Eighteenth Century Current Bibliography (M2245).

MLAIB (G335): American Literature division in the volumes for 1922–25; American III: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1607–1815) in the volumes for 1926–28; American III: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in the volumes for 1929–40; American II: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in the volumes for 1941–80; and American Literature/1600–1699 and 1700–1799 (or any larger chronological section that encompasses either century) in volumes after 1980. Researchers must also check the headings beginning “American” and “Colonial” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

“Some Current Publications,” Restoration (M2250).

Other Bibliographies[edit]

See[edit]

Rubin, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Southern Literature (Q3625).

Wages, Seventy-Four Writers of the Colonial South (Q3625a).

Theses and Dissertations[edit]

Q4020[edit]

Montgomery, Michael S., comp. American Puritan Studies: An Annotated Bibliography of Dissertations, 1882–1981. Westport: Greenwood, 1984. 419 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in Amer. Hist. 1. Z1251.E1 A54 [F7] 016.974′02.

An annotated bibliography of 940 dissertations accepted through 1981 by American, Canadian, British, and German universities on American Puritanism from c. 1620 to c. 1730. Besides literature and language, this work encompasses philosophy, psychology, politics, history, geography, religion, recreation, economics, sociology, law, education, music, art, science, medicine, and military affairs. Arranged chronologically by date of degree, entries record author, title, degree, institution, and pagination. The typically full annotations cite ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (H465); identify full, partial, or revised publication as a monograph (but not article); and note when a dissertation is not extant. Descriptions, which consist largely of quotations from introductions or abstracts and/or a list of contents, are derived (in order of preference) from published versions, printed abstracts, or the dissertations themselves, and frequently note parts not appearing in a published version. Four indexes: authors; short titles; institutions; subjects. American Puritan Studies is valuable for its compilation and indexing of entries in the standard national lists of dissertations, annotation of numerous works not abstracted elsewhere, and identification of published versions. For dissertations after 1981, see section H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

Related Topics[edit]

Q4025[edit]

Gephart, Ronald M., comp. Revolutionary America, 1763–1789: A Bibliography. 2 vols. Washington: Lib. of Congress, 1984. Z1238.G43 [E208] 016.9733.

A selective, yet extensive, bibliography of primary and secondary works (through December 1972) related to the Revolutionary period. Although journal articles, theses, and dissertations are included, selection is limited to holdings of the Library of Congress. The 14,810 entries are organized alphabetically by author or title of anonymous work in most of the 12 extensively classified divisions: bibliographies and reference works (with sections for subject bibliographies, catalogs of eighteenth-century imprints, and guides to manuscript collections); general studies; the British Empire and the American Revolution; the colonies on the eve of independence; the West; the war, 1775–83; loyalists; diplomacy and other international aspects of the Revolution; confederation and consolidation of the Revolution; the Constitution, 1787–89; economic, social, and intellectual life (with sections on printers, newspapers, books, and libraries; literature; and fine arts); and biographical sources. Fewer than 40% of the entries are accompanied by descriptive annotations that frequently cite related works. The work is indexed by names and some subjects, but users must study the explanation of indexing procedures on p. 1,469 before searching the index. Restricting coverage to Library of Congress holdings and works published before 1973 results in the omission of some important studies, especially in the sections related to literature, and the inclusion of several works of dubious value; even so, Gephart provides an important guide to scholarship and primary materials that range well on either side of the period 1763–89.

See also[edit]

Pargellis and Medley, Bibliography of British History: The Eighteenth Century (M2260).

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]

Q4030[edit]

Levernier, James A., and Douglas R. Wilmes, eds. American Writers before 1800: A Biographical and Critical Dictionary. 3 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 1983. PS185.A4 810′.9′001.

A collection of biographical-bibliographical-critical essays on 786 representative writers. Each essay consists of four parts: a list of major works, biography, critical estimate, and list of selected studies (to c. 1982). Concluding the work are a chronology (1492–1800) and three appendixes (lists of writers by year of birth, place of birth, and principal residence). Indexed by persons and subjects; entrants are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although the essays are uneven in quality, several incorporate recent discoveries. Overall this is a generally trustworthy compilation of information, especially for minor writers; for authors in common, the Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600) volumes on the period are generally superior. Reviews: Norman S. Grabo, Eighteenth-Century Studies 19.1 (1985): 130–35; J. A. Leo Lemay, Early American Literature 19.2 (1984): 215–17.

See also[edit]

Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).

Todd, Dictionary of British and American Women Writers (M2265).

Periodicals[edit]

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

Bibliographies[edit]
Q4035[edit]

Brigham, Clarence S. History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820. 2 vols. Worcester: Amer. Antiquarian Soc., 1947. Z6951.B86 016.071.

———. “Additions and Corrections to History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 71.1 (1961): 15–62. E172.A35 973′.0519.

Lathem, Edward Connery, comp. Chronological Tables of American Newspapers, 1690–1820: Being a Tabular Guide to Holdings of Newspapers Published in America through the Year 1820. Barre: Amer. Antiquarian Soc., 1972. 131 pp. Z6951.L3 016.071′3.

A bibliography of 2,120 newspapers published through 1820 in what is now the United States. Organized alphabetically by state, then by original title (with cross-references for later ones), entries include notes on the date of establishment and cessation, frequency, title changes, printer(s), and publisher(s), followed by a list of holdings; both the notes and locations are generally fuller than those in United States Newspaper Program National Union List (Q3405). Concludes with lists of libraries and private owners. Two indexes in vol. 2: titles; printers, publishers, and editors. The Chronological Tables, which includes Brigham’s additions, is organized by state, then city, then newspaper. A monumental work, Brigham is still the best general source for information about and locations of early American newspapers, which remain understudied by literary scholars. For other holdings, see WorldCat (E225).

Q4040[edit]

Kribbs, Jayne K., comp. and ed. An Annotated Bibliography of American Literary Periodicals, 1741–1850. Boston: Hall, 1977. 285 pp. Reference Pub. in Lit. Z1219.K75 [PS1] 016.81′05.

A bibliography of 940 periodicals of “distinctly literary interest,” excluding dailies, almanacs, and gift books. Entries are organized alphabetically by original title, with cross-references for subtitles and later titles. The amount of detail varies depending on available information, but a full entry cites title, date of first and last issue, frequency, editor(s), publisher(s), and up to two locations. (For a more complete list of locations, see section K: Periodicals/Union Lists and WorldCat [E225].) Most entries conclude with a summary of literary content organized by genre and noting representative poets, types of prose works, subjects of biographies, titles of fiction and plays, and miscellaneous topics. Five indexes: chronological index of periodicals; geographic list of periodicals; editors and publishers; literary authors; titles of fiction and plays. Some information is taken from Union List of Serials (K640a) and other standard sources rather than personal examination of runs. Although Kribbs’s work is not comprehensive, cites publication information incompletely, and is highly selective in recording contents, it is nevertheless an important pioneering effort that is especially valuable for the access its indexes offer. Review: Benjamin Franklin Fisher, IV, Literary Research Newsletter 5.3 (1980): 149–52.

Indexes[edit]
Q4045[edit]

Index to Early American Periodicals to 1850. Ed. Nelson F. Adkins. New York: Readex, 1964. Micropaque.

A reproduction of a card index to some 340 American magazines published between 1730 and 1850. The cards are divided into six parts:

  1. general prose, with separate alphabetical sequences for authors and titles of anonymous works
  2. fiction, also with sequences for authors and anonymous works
  3. poetry, with alphabetical lists of authors, titles, and first lines
  4. book reviews, with sequences for authors of books reviewed and titles of anonymous books
  5. songs, with lists for authors, composers, titles of anonymous works, and first lines
  6. subject index to pt. 1

A card typically records author, title, periodical, publication information, and an occasional note on content. The illegibility of many of the handwritten cards and poor quality of the reproduction, incomplete coverage of many periodicals, numerous inconsistencies in recording information, a multitude of inaccuracies, and uneven, idiosyncratic indexing render the volume an exasperating work to consult. Yet as the only index to many of the periodicals, it remains a useful source of American literary and cultural history. A major desideratum is an index similar to the Wellesley Index (M2545).

Many of the periodicals covered by the Index are included in American Periodicals Series Online, 1740–1900 (Q4050), whose search interface offers superior access to contents.

Text Archives[edit]
Q4050[edit]

American Periodicals Series Online, 1740–1900. ProQuest. ProQuest, 2013. 13 Sept. 2013. <http://search.proquest.com>.

A digitized collection of more than 1,100 periodicals that were microfilmed for the American Periodicals microform collection. For an evaluation of the ProQuest search interface used by the archive, see entry I519. Users must remember to search for variant spellings. As is true of any text archive, the digital images vary widely in legibility, but the ability to search by keyword such a large amount of text will save searchers years of reading through bound printed volumes.

Selected records can be searched through C19: The Nineteenth Century Index (M2466).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

See[edit]

Chielens, Literary Journal in America to 1900 (Q4145).

Genres[edit]

Most works in section Q: American Literature/General/Genres and some in L: Genres are important to research in early American literature.

Fiction[edit]

Most works in section Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Fiction and some in L: Genres/Fiction are useful for research in early American fiction.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
Q4055[edit]

Petter, Henri. The Early American Novel. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1971. 500 pp. PS375.P4 813′.03.

A descriptive, critical survey of American fiction (excluding that published in magazines) from the 1780s to 1820. Organized by subject matter (didactic, satiric, or polemical fiction; love stories; novels of adventure), the discussions of individual works typically incorporate lengthy synopses. Additional summaries are printed in an appendix. Concludes with a bibliography of primary and secondary works (although the latter is superseded by Parker, Early American Fiction [Q4065]). Indexed by persons and titles. The standard survey of early American fiction, Petter is more valuable for its description of works than for critical commentary. Reviews: Alexander Cowie, American Literature 43.3 (1971): 485–86; John Duffy, New England Quarterly 45.1 (1972): 133–34.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Q4060[edit]

Pitcher, Edward W. R., comp. Fiction in American Magazines before 1800: An Annotated Catalogue. [Rev. ed.] 3 vols. Lewiston: Mellen, 2002. Studies in British and Amer. Magazines 17-18. Z1231.F4 P58 [PS375] 016.813′108005.

A catalog of fiction (broadly conceived) of more than 500 words in 77 American magazines before 1800. Organized alphabetically by story title, entries cite publication information and typically include notes on authorship, source, reprints, related works, content, and scholarship. (Users must be certain to check the supplementary notes [book 1, pt. 2: 727–45].) Concludes with an index of authors, pseudonyms, and a few subjects; a register of fiction by magazine; and chronological lists of fiction by American authors and of translations. Based on extensive research on sources and authorship, Fiction in American Magazines before 1800 is an indispensable catalog that will make feasible and encourage studies of a neglected area of early American fiction.

See also[edit]

Wright, American Fiction, 1774–1850 (Q4180).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q4065[edit]

Parker, Patricia L. Early American Fiction: A Reference Guide. Boston: Hall, 1984. 197 pp. Reference Guide to Lit. Z1231.F4 P25 [PS375] 016.813′2.

A descriptively annotated bibliography of studies (through 1980, with a few as late as 1982) on American fiction before 1800. Entries are listed by year of publication within divisions for general and thematic studies, anonymous works, and 28 individual authors (excluding Brown, who is the subject of her Charles Brockden Brown: A Reference Guide [Boston: Hall, 1980, 132 pp.; Reference Pub. in Lit.]). Reprints are needlessly given separate entries; dissertations actually read by the compiler appear under date of acceptance but others, incongruously, under the year an abstract was published in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (H465). Although several works receive multiple listings, users should check the name index to locate all studies treating an author. Annotations are adequately descriptive. Two indexes: names; titles and subjects. The fullest guide to scholarship on early American fiction.

See also[edit]

Holman, American Novel through Henry James (Q4185).

Kirby, America’s Hive of Honey (Q4190).

Drama and Theater[edit]

Most works in section Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Drama and Theater and some in L: Genres/Drama and Theater are important to research in early American drama and theater.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Q4070[edit]

Hill, Frank Pierce, comp. American Plays Printed, 1714–1830: A Bibliographical Record. Stanford: Stanford UP; London: Oxford UP, 1934. 152 pp. Z1231.D7 H6 061.812.

A bibliography of original plays and translations written and published between 1714 and 1830 by American authors, either resident in the country or abroad, and foreigners living in America. Although admitting a broad range of works, Hill excludes dialogues with fewer than three characters and grand opera libretti. Entries, listed by author or title of anonymous work, include title, publication information, pagination, size, locations (restricted to the holdings of 10 United States libraries), and occasional notes (on, e.g, productions, sources, authorship, and dedicatee). Works not located are listed separately on pp. 117–20. Two indexes: titles; dates of publication. Although it includes several inaccurate descriptions, much unverified information, and many works that can hardly be considered plays or are not by Americans or foreign residents, Hill remains the standard guide. It must be used with the extensive corrections and additions recorded in four articles by Roger E. Stoddard: “Some Corrigenda and Addenda to Hill’s American Plays Printed, 1714–1830,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 65.3 (1971): 278–95; “Further Corrigenda and Addenda to Hill’s American Plays Printed, 1714–1830,” 77.3 (1983): 335–37; “Third Addenda to Hill’s American Plays Printed, 1714–1830,” 93.4 (1999): 519–20; “United States Dramatic Copyrights, 1790–1830: A Provisional Catalogue,” Essays in Honor of James Edward Walsh on His Sixty-Fifth Birthday, [ed. Hugh Amory and Rodney G. Dennis] (Cambridge: Goethe Inst. and Houghton Lib., 1983) 231–54.

Although superseded in its listing of published plays, Oscar Wegelin, Early American Plays, 1714–1830: Being a Compilation of the Titles of Plays by American Authors Published and Performed in America Previous to 1830, ed. John Malone (New York: Dunlap Soc., 1900; 113 pp.), remains useful for its attempt to cover all plays, published or not.

Q4073[edit]

Johnson, Odai, and William J. Burling. The Colonial American Stage, 1665–1774: A Documentary Calendar. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson UP; London: Assoc. UP, 2001. 519 pp. PN2237.J64. 792′.0973′09032.

A calendar of performances by professional or amateur theatrical companies and solo performers in the British American Colonies and British West Indies between 1665 and 1774. Depending on the available information, a typical entry for a performance includes date; venue; title of play(s), afterpiece(s), or entertainment(s) performed (in bold print for the first known performance); author(s); cast; theatrical company; benefits; details from advertisements or reviews; source of information; ticket prices; and related financial or legal information. Other entries provide details of building contracts and financial records, moral opposition to the theater, laws governing theatrical activity, and the formation and movement of acting companies. Three indexes: persons; subjects and places; titles and authors of theatrical works (the lack of running heads makes it difficult to identify an index).

In consolidating, correcting, and adding substantial new data from an impressive array of published and primary resources, Colonial American Stage is an indispensable source for research on stage and theater history, acting careers, repertory, theater personnel, reception history, and trends in theatrical taste—in short, on every aspect of the theatrical life of colonial America.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

For a survey of scholarship (through the mid-1980s) and suggestions for future research, see Carla Mulford, “Re-presenting Early American Drama and Theatre,” Resources for American Literary Study 17.1 (1990): 1–24.

See[edit]

Meserve, American Drama to 1900 (Q4200).

Wilmeth, American Stage to World War I (Q3525).

Poetry[edit]

Some works in section L: Genres/Poetry are useful for research in early American poetry.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Q4075[edit]

Jantz, Harold S. “The First Century of New England Verse.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 53.2 (1944): 219–508. Also separately published: Worcester: Amer. Antiquarian Soc., 1944. 292 pp. PS312.J3 811.109.

A historical survey, anthology, and bibliography of early New England verse, including fragments and epitaphs from gravestones. The bibliography lists all known verse, printed and manuscript, by New England writers born up to the 1670s, by immigrants before their arrival in the colonies, and written in or about New England by transients. Under each author, individual poems or collections are listed by composition or publication date; a chronological list of anonymous verse through 1700 follows the author section. An entry typically provides title, first line or descriptive heading, number of lines, publication information, location of manuscript or a particularly rare printed work, reprints, and occasional notes on textual or bibliographical matters. See Leo M. Kaiser, “An Addendum to Jantz from Cotton Mather’s Paterna,” New England Quarterly 55.1 (1982): 110–12. Although in need of revision and updating, Jantz remains an essential guide to identifying and locating early American verse.

Q4080[edit]

Lemay, J. A. Leo. A Calendar of American Poetry in the Colonial Newspapers and Magazines and in the Major English Magazines through 1765. Worcester: Amer. Antiquarian Soc., 1972. 353 pp. Z1231.P7 L44 016.811′1′08.

A chronological list of American poetry (that is, English-language poems of five or more lines by American residents as well as poems about the country by foreigners) published in 52 periodicals between 1705 and 1765. Because of difficulties in establishing authorship, as many as 20% of the 2,091 entries may represent poems by foreign writers. A typical entry provides date and publication information, first line, title, number of lines, author or pseudonym, and notes (including a list of reprints, biographical information, or commentary on subject matter). Four indexes: first lines; names, pseudonyms, and titles; subjects and genres; periodicals. Because of its numerous attributions of authorship and the access to subject and genre it provides, the Calendar is the indispensable guide to the previously uncharted body of early American poetry.

Separately published verse is recorded in Stoddard, A Bibliographical Description of Books and Pamphlets of American Verse Printed from 1610 through 1820 (Q4085).

Q4085[edit]

Stoddard, Roger E., comp. A Bibliographical Description of Books and Pamphlets of American Verse Printed from 1610 through 1820. Ed. David R. Whitesell. University Park: Penn State UP for Bibliog. Soc. of Amer., 2012. 809 pp. Penn State Ser. in the Hist. of the Book. Z1231.P7 S745 [PS312] 016.811′1.

A bibliography of separately published editions of “poems written in what is now the United States . . . [and] printed before 1821,” along with notes on reprints published before 1900. Excluded are broadsides and leaflets (for which, see Wegelin, below). The 1,318 entries (arranged chronologically by date of publication of the edition described) include author, title page transcription (not quasifacsimile), agents or shareholders, authorship attribution, printer attribution, collation, pagination, dedication, engraved plates, copyright statement, misprints in signatures and pagination, bindings, notes on issues, subscription books, advertisements, watermarks, later editions, citations to standard references, copies located, copies examined, and provenance. Eight indexes: place of publication; printers and publishers; artists and engravers; signed or attributed bindings; dedicatees; provenance; subjects; authors and titles. In addition, the front matter includes chronological lists of printed dedications, subscription books, recitations, publishers’ bindings in paper, cuts and engravings, and a conspectus. For the most part American Verse supersedes Oscar Wegelin, Early American Poetry: A Compilation of the Titles of Volumes of Verse and Broadsides by Writers Born or Residing in North America North of the Mexican Border, [1650–1820], 2nd ed., rev. and enl., 2 vols. (New York: Smith, 1930), and Stoddard’s series of addenda and corrigenda:

  • A Catalogue of Books and Pamphlets Unrecorded in Oscar Wegelin’s Early American Poetry, 1650–1820. Providence: Friends of the Lib. of Brown U, 1969. 84 pp. (Reprinted from Books at Brown 23 [1969]: 1–84.) Review: J. A. Leo Lemay, Early American Literature 8.1 (1973): 66–77.
  • “Further Addenda to Wegelin’s Early American Poetry.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 65.2 (1971): 169–72.
  • “More Addenda to Wegelin’s Early American Poetry.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 88.1 (1978): 83–90.
  • “Progress Note on a Bibliography of American Poetry Printed 1610–1820 and Some Corrigenda to Wegelin’s Early American Poetry.” Early American Literature 13.3 (1978): 299–301.
  • “Fourth Addenda to Wegelin’s Early American Poetry.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 90.2 (1981): 387–90.
  • “A Provisional List of U. S. Poetry Copyrights, 1786–1820, and a Plea for the Recovery of Unlocated Copyright Registers.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 75.4 (1981): 450–83.
  • “Lost Books: American Poetry before 1821.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 76.1 (1982): 11–41.
  • “Poet and Printer in Colonial and Federal America: Some Bibliographical Perspectives.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 92.2 (1983): 265–361.
  • “Fifth Addenda to Wegelin’s Early American Poetry.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 100.1 (1990): 251–53.
  • “Sixth Addenda to Wegelin’s Early American Poetry.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 107.2 (1997): 389–93.

Based on personal examination of multiple copies and replete with detail and new discoveries and attributions, American Verse richly deserves its place among the monumental bibliographies.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q4090[edit]

Scheick, William J., and JoElla Doggett. Seventeenth-Century American Poetry: A Reference Guide. Boston: Hall, 1977. 188 pp. Reference Guides in Lit. 14. Z1227.S3 [PS312] 016.811′1.

Rainwater, Catherine, and William J. Scheick. “Seventeenth-Century American Poetry: A Reference Guide Updated.” Resources for American Literary Study 10.2 (1980): 121–45. Z1225.R46 016.81.

An annotated bibliography of scholarship through 1979 on poetry by American immigrants or transients born before 1680. Excludes bibliographies and general literary histories. Following a division for general and thematic studies, literary influences, and aesthetics are sections for individual authors and almanacs; broadsides, ballads, and anonymous verse; and elegies. Within each division, works are listed by publication date under separate headings for books, shorter writings (including parts of books), and dissertations. (As in other early Hall Reference Guides, these headings are repeated even when no book, shorter writing, or dissertation appears in a year.) Entries are accompanied by full descriptive annotations. Although many works are given multiple entries, users should consult the index to locate all studies of a writer or type of verse. An asterisk marks the few works not seen. The index of persons and selected topics is difficult to use because of the abbreviations identifying the section in which an entry appears. Despite the omission of bibliographies and general literary histories, Seventeenth-Century American Poetry is an essential compilation for identifying scholarship on early American verse.

See also[edit]

Donow, Sonnet in England and America (L1250).

Kuntz and Martinez, Poetry Explication (L1255).

Ruppert, Guide to American Poetry Explication, vol. 1 (L1255a).

Prose[edit]

Most works in section Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Prose and some in L: Genres/Prose are important to research in early American prose.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q4095[edit]

Yannella, Donald, and John H. Roch. American Prose to 1820: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1979. 653 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 26. Z1231.P8 Y36 [PS367] 016.818′08.

A selective bibliography of studies and editions through 1975 (but with some works as late as 1978) of nonfiction prose. Yannella and Roch emphasizes twentieth-century scholarship but excludes most dissertations and foreign language studies. Entries are organized alphabetically by author in five divisions: general studies and reference works (with sections for printing and publishing, anthologies and collections, bibliographies and checklists, genres and rhetoric, studies in period criticism, studies of periodicals and newspapers, African American slave narratives, and Indian captivity narratives), colonial period, Revolutionary and early national period (both with sections for literary and cultural studies, anthologies and collections, and bibliographies and checklists), principal authors (with separate lists of editions, bibliographies, and biographical and critical studies under each), and other authors. Indexed by persons, titles, and selected subjects. The guide is a useful starting place for research on early prose, even though it is selective, lacks a clear explanation of criteria governing selection, and is awkwardly organized (with many sections unnecessarily split into books and articles).

Nineteenth-Century Literature[edit]

Most works in section Q: American Literature/General are important to research in nineteenth-century American literature.

Research Methods[edit]

Q4100[edit]

Stein, Linda L., and Peter J. Lehu. Literary Research and the American Realism and Naturalism Period: Strategies and Sources. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 317 pp. Lit. Research: Strategies and Sources 4. (Updates appear at http://www.literaryresearchseries.org.) PS217.R4 S74 810.9′004072.

A guide to research strategies and reference sources for the scholar working with literature of the realist and naturalist era (1861–1914). Following an admirably clear explanation of the basics of online searching are chapters on general literary reference sources; library catalogs; print and electronic bibliographies, indexes, and annual reviews; scholarly journals; publishing history; newspapers and magazines; microform and digital collections; manuscripts and archives; and Web resources. (Many of the preceding chapters discuss works devoted to individual authors.) The last chapter demonstrates how to use many of the works and strategies previously discussed to develop a research plan. An appendix lists sources in related disciplines. Indexed by names, titles, and subjects. Describing fully the uses of kinds of reference tools, providing illuminating examples in discussions of key individual resources, detailing techniques for finding kinds of information (including primary works), and illustrating research processes, Literary Research and the American Realism and Naturalism Period admirably fulfills its intent: to introduce research tools and processes essential to the study of American literature from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of World War I.

See also[edit]

Courtney, Literary Research and the Era of American Nationalism and Romanticism: Strategies and Sources (Q3995).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

Q4105[edit]

Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism. Ed. Wesley T. Mott. Westport: Greenwood, 1996. 280 pp. PS217.T7 E53 810.9′384.

An encyclopedia of the “major philosophical concepts, antecedents, genres, institutions, organizations, movements, periodicals, events, and places associated with transcendentalism in the United States.” The 145 signed entries employ a history-of-ideas approach and focus on New England; each concludes with a list of suggested readings. Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism has somewhat fuller discussions than is typical for such a compendium and offers a convenient guide to the aesthetic, intellectual, and social background of the movement.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

Q4110[edit]

American Book Publishing Record (ABPR). Amenia: Grey House, 1960– . Monthly, with annual, quinquennial (for 1960–1964 through 1980–1984), and retrospective cumulations for 1876–1949, 1950–77, and 1876–1981 (microfiche). Title varies. Z1219.A515 015.

Originally an augmented, corrected cumulation of the alphabetical lists in Weekly Record (in Publishers Weekly from 1876 through 26 August 1974; after that, published separately by Bowker through 23 December 1991), ABPR is now a classified list of books published or distributed in the United States that have been cataloged by the Library of Congress. Excluded are “federal and other governmental publications, subscription books, dissertations, new printings as distinct from reprints, reissue[s] and other periodicals, pamphlets under 49 pages, specialized publications of a transitory nature or intended as advertising, and most elementary and high school textbooks.” Books are organized by Dewey Decimal Classification (with separate alphabetical lists of adult and juvenile fiction). In addition to basic library catalog information, entries usually list price and the address of an obscure publisher or distributor. Corrected entries are substituted in the various cumulations, and the ones for 1950–77 and 1876–1981 add thousands of records taken from the NUCs (E235 and E240). Each issue and cumulation has author, title, and Library of Congress subject-tracing indexes; in addition, there are cumulative indexes covering 1876–1981 (1982, microfiche). Unfortunately the indexes cite Dewey Decimal Classification rather than page number; thus, in the cumulations users must frequently scan several columns to locate an entry. The title index offers quicker access than the author index to books by someone with a common name such as “Susan Jones” or “John Smith.” Although not comprehensive and including several ghosts and errors, ABPR is the most convenient source for keeping abreast of new works, editions, or reprints published or distributed in the United States, and, within the limitations of the Dewey Decimal Classification, the cumulations provide a subject guide to a majority of the books published since 1876 in the country. Review: (1950–77 cumulation) Ruth P. Burnett, College and Research Libraries 40.4 (1979): 358–62.

Works for children that are listed in ABPR also appear in Fiction, Folklore, Fantasy, and Poetry for Children, 1876–1985 (U5475). The 1876–1950 cumulation supersedes E. Leypoldt and R. R. Bowker, eds., American Catalogue: Author and Title Entries of Books in Print and for Sale (Including Reprints and Importations), July 1, 1876–December 31, 1910, 8 vols. in 13 pts. (New York: Publishers Weekly, 1880–1911).

Q4115[edit]

Bibliotheca Americana: Catalogue of American Publications, Including Reprints and Original Works, from 1820 to 1852, Inclusive. Comp. O. A. Roorbach. New York: Roorbach, 1852. 652 pp. Supplements: October, 1852, to May, 1855. 1855. 220 pp. May, 1855, to March, 1858. New York: Wiley; London: Trubner, 1858. 256 pp. March, 1858, to January, 1861. New York: Roorbach; London: Trubner, 1861. 162 pp. Z1215.A3 015.73.

An author and title list of books published in the United States. Biographies are entered under subject rather than author; legal publications and periodicals occupy separate lists in the 1820–52 collection. An entry records author, title, number of volumes, size, binding, price, and publisher. The original compilation gives publication dates for only historical and travel literature; the first and second supplements, for most works; the last supplement, for none. Although incomplete, frequently inaccurate, and inconsistent in providing both author and title entries, Bibliotheca Americana remains the most comprehensive general list of works published in the country during the period. It is partly superseded, however, by Shoemaker et al., Checklist of American Imprints (Q4130).

Q4120[edit]

Kelly, James, comp. The American Catalogue of Books (Original and Reprints) Published in the United States from Jan., 1861, to Jan., [1871], with Date of Publication, Size, Price, and Publisher’s Name. 2 vols. New York: Wiley, 1866–71. Z1215.A5 015.73.

An author and title list that continues Bibliotheca Americana (Q4115) and includes some pre-1861 works omitted from it. Most author and title entries cite editor, illustrator, translator, edition, size, binding, price, publication information, and date. Three appendixes: (vol. 1) pamphlets, sermons, and addresses on the Civil War; other sermons and addresses (giving topic but neither title nor publication information); (both vols.) publications of learned societies. The American Catalogue is incomplete (especially for works published in the South during the Civil War), frequently inaccurate, and inconsistent in supplying title entries. Nevertheless, it provides the fullest general list of works published in the country during the 10 years. Continued by American Book Publishing Record (Q4110).

Q4125[edit]

Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801–1819. NewsBank InfoWeb. Readex, n.d. 31 Dec. 2012. <http://infoweb.newsbank.com>.

Early American Imprints, Series II: Supplement from the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1801–1819. NewsBank InfoWeb. Readex, n.d. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://infoweb.newsbank.com>.

Shaw, Ralph R., and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps. American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for [1801–19] (Shaw-Shoemaker). 22 vols. New York: Scarecrow, 1958–66. Z1215.S48 015.73.

A bibliographical database and digital archive based on Shaw and Shoemaker, American Bibliography, that reproduces the c. 36,000 works in the original microprint and microform version of Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker (New Canaan: Readex) along with about 975 additional titles (however, the microprint and microform collection omits serial publications listed in Shaw-Shoemaker); the Supplement adds nearly 2,000 titles. Users can view digitized facsimiles of pages as well as search ASCII text generated by Optical Character Recognition scanning. In the basic search mode, documents can be searched by citation, full text, title, subject (i.e., Library of Congress subject headings), genre, author, place of publication, publisher, document number (i.e., Shaw-Shoemaker number), and date of publication; the advanced search mode allows users to combine up to two fields with full text and date. Given the treatment of attributions of authorship, users should search for an author in both the Author and Citation Text fields. Because of the spelling practices in the period covered and because of scanning errors in the ASCII text underlying the digital images, users must read the discussion of spelling under Hints/Elongated S and Background/Historical Material and OCR on the Help screen before attempting a full-text search. Users can also browse by author, place of publication, history of printing (with separate lists of publishers, printers, and booksellers), language, and selected genres and subjects.

A search returns records in ascending chronological order; an individual record reformats the enhanced cataloging copy created for the microform version of Early American Imprints, Series II (which cites Shaw-Shoemaker number along with other standard bibliographies, albeit in abbreviated forms that will mystify the majority of users). The original Shaw-Shoemaker entry (along with identification of the copy reproduced) is hidden under a Document Source link at the end of the Table of Contents.

Copies can be downloaded as PDF or TIF files (file transfer can be slow, and a maximum of 75 pages can be downloaded at a time), printed, or saved to a personal collection for later access. Inevitably, many of the images of pages are only partly legible because of flaws in the underlying copy or problems with the original filming (and thus keyword searches of the full text generally return some false hits), but this resource brings to the computer screen the text of thousands of rare volumes and, because of the search capabilities, makes possible studies that would otherwise be unfeasible because of the time it would take to identify and acquire the necessary books. Review: Norman Desmarais, Charleston Advisor 6.2 (2004): 15–17; 31 Dec. 2012; <http://www.charlestonco.com>.

While Early American Imprints, Series II vastly improves access to information hidden away in Shaw-Shoemaker (especially anonymous works), it replicates silently many of the limitations and quirks of its progenitor. Thus a thorough familiarity with American Bibliography is a prerequisite for informed use of the digital archive. And the user of any digital archive must be aware that a copy reproduced may have leaves supplied from another copy, be of an edition that is extant in more than one issue or state, or be incomplete.

Shaw-Shoemaker continues Evans, American Bibliography (Q4005), with each volume devoted to a single year. The 51,960 entries—listed alphabetically by author, corporate author, or title of anonymous work—record title, imprint, pagination, and locations. Corrections appear in vol. 22 and in the list of omitted entries in Frances P. Newton, comp., Printers, Publishers, and Booksellers Index; Geographical Index (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1983; 443 pp.). Indexed by titles in vol. 21, by authors in vol. 22. Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker (New Canaan: Readex) reproduces in microform a majority of the nonserial publications.

A preliminary bibliography based entirely on secondary sources (with discrepancies resolved by reliance on what the compilers determined was the “best” source), Shaw-Shoemaker is subject to many of the same deficiencies and limitations as Evans, including misattributions of authorship, publication information, or date; inaccurate titles; and duplicate entries. Like its predecessor, however, Shaw-Shoemaker offers the fullest record of printing during the period; is a useful resource for investigating the intellectual milieu of works, surveying publishing trends, identifying works or editions by standard reference number, and locating copies; and forms part of the basis for a fuller, more sophisticated and accurate retrospective bibliography. Some additions appear in “American Bibliographical Notes,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 82.1 (1972): 53–64; 83.2 (1973): 273–76; 84.2 (1974): 399–402, 404–06.

The chronological record is continued by Shoemaker et al., Checklist of American Imprints (Q4130).

Q4130[edit]

Shoemaker, Richard H., Gayle Cooper, Scott Bruntjen, and Carol Rinderknecht [Bruntjen], comps. A Checklist of American Imprints for [1820–46] (Shoemaker). Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1964–97. (Publication has been suspended.) Z1215.S5 015.73.

A continuation of Shaw and Shoemaker, American Bibliography (Q4125). Like its predecessor, Shoemaker devotes a volume to each year; lists entries alphabetically by author, corporate author, or title of anonymous work; and records title, imprint, pagination, and locations of copies. Unlike Evans, American Bibliography (Q4005), and Shaw-Shoemaker, it excludes serial publications. Indexed by decade:

  • Cooper, M. Frances, comp. A Checklist of American Imprints, 1820–1829: Author Index, Corrections, and Sources. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1973. 172 pp.
  • ———. A Checklist of American Imprints, 1820–1829: Title Index. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1972. 556 pp.
  • Newton, Frances P., comp. A Checklist of American Imprints, 1820–1829: Printers, Publishers, and Booksellers Index; Geographical Index. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2000. 391 pp.
  • Rinderknecht, Carol, comp. A Checklist of American Imprints, 1830–1839: Author Index. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1989. 173 pp.
  • ———. A Checklist of American Imprints, 1830–1839: Title Index. 2 vols. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1989.

Although some entries are based on examination of copies, the majority are derived from secondary sources; thus Shoemaker is subject to many of the same limitations and deficiencies as Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker, including misattributions of authorship, publication information, or date; inaccurate titles; and duplicate entries. (Corrections are printed in Cooper, Author Index [see above].) Like its predecessors, however, Shoemaker offers the most thorough record of printing during the period; is a useful resource for investigating the intellectual milieu of works, surveying publishing trends, identifying works or editions by standard reference number, and locating copies; forms part of the basis for a fuller, more sophisticated and accurate retrospective bibliography; and supersedes, for the volumes published, Bibliotheca Americana (Q4115) and American Imprints Inventory, 52 nos. (Washington: Historical Records Survey, 1937–42).

Complementing Shoemaker is American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series I (http://infoweb.newsbank.com), a digital archive of c. 30,000 documents from the collections of the American Antiquarian Society. Part of Readex’s Archive of Americana, American Broadsides and Ephemera uses the same search interface as Early American Imprints, Series I (Q4005) and II (Q4125).

See also[edit]

Literary Writings in America (Q3255).

Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue (M2475).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Surveys of Research[edit]

Q4135[edit]

Myerson, Joel, ed. The Transcendentalists: A Review of Research and Criticism. New York: MLA, 1984. 534 pp. Mod. Lang. Assn. of Amer. Reviews of Research. Z7128.T7 T7 [B905] 016.141′3′0973.

A collection of evaluative surveys of research (from the nineteenth century through 1981), with individual essays on general topics (the transcendentalist movement, its historical background, relation to Unitarianism, communities, and periodicals), 28 transcendentalists, and the contemporary reaction of 11 authors. The essays on transcendentalist writers (varying from 2 to 28 pages) include sections on bibliographies, manuscripts, editions, biographical studies, and criticism (with the last variously subdivided); the essays on major authors such as Emerson and Thoreau focus on the transcendentalist period of their careers. The other essays are variously organized, with those on contemporary writers limited to their relation to the movement. Most essays offer suggestions for further research. Unlike other MLA surveys of research, this work records full publication information in a list of works cited. Indexed by persons, anonymous titles, and some subjects. Judicious evaluation, accuracy, and thoroughness make The Transcendentalists the indispensable guide to the movement. Review: Kenneth Walter Cameron, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography ns 1.2 (1987): 92–97.

For evaluations of recent scholarship, see the chapters “Emerson, Thoreau, and Transcendentalism” and “19th-Century Literature” in American Literary Scholarship (Q3265).

Q4140[edit]

Woodress, James, ed. Eight American Authors: A Review of Research and Criticism. Rev. ed. New York: Norton, 1972. 392 pp. PS201.E4 810′.9′003.

Evaluative surveys of research on Poe, Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, Twain, and James, in a collection that revises the work by Floyd Stovall, ed. (New York: MLA, 1956; 418 pp.; rpt., with a bibliographic supplement by J. Chesley Mathews, New York: Norton, 1963; 466 pp.). Coverage extends through 1969, is selective (especially for articles), and excludes dissertations and foreign scholarship in some chapters. The essays—by established scholars but not necessarily specialists in the respective authors—are variously organized within a general framework that encompasses bibliographies, editions, biographical studies, and criticism. The failure to provide complete bibliographical information sometimes results in delays in tracking down an article. Indexed by persons. While Eight American Authors is now badly dated, its thoughtful and exacting evaluations make it an indispensable guide to studies published before 1970. For evaluative surveys of later scholarship, see American Literary Scholarship (Q3265), which has chapters on each author.

See also[edit]

American Literary Scholarship (Q3265): Chapters on Emerson, Thoreau, and transcendentalism; Hawthorne; Poe; Melville; Whitman and Dickinson; Mark Twain; James; and the nineteenth century.

Romantic Movement: A Selective and Critical Bibliography (M2485).

Serial Bibliographies[edit]

See[edit]

ABELL (G340): English Literature/Nineteenth Century section.

MLAIB (G335): American Literature division in the volumes for 1922–25; American IV: Romantic Period (1815–90) and V: 1890 to the Present in the volume for 1926; American III: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1607–1815) in the volumes for 1926–28; American IV: Nineteenth Century in the volumes for 1929–34; American IV: Nineteenth Century, 1800–70 and V: Nineteenth Century, 1870–1900 in the volumes for 1935–40; American III: Nineteenth Century, 1800–70 and IV: Nineteenth Century, 1870–1900 in the volumes for 1941–80; and American Literature/1800–99 (as well as any larger chronological section encompassing the century) in volumes after 1980. Researchers must also check the heading beginning with “American” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]

See[edit]

Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).

Periodicals[edit]

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

See[edit]

Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820 (Q4035).

Index to Early American Periodicals to 1850 (Q4045).

Kribbs, Annotated Bibliography of American Literary Periodicals, 1741–1850 (Q4040).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Q4145[edit]

Chielens, Edward E. The Literary Journal in America to 1900: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1975. 197 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 3. Z6951.C57 [PN4877] 016.81′05.

A selective annotated bibliography of English-language studies (through the early 1970s) of literary periodicals as well as other periodicals that were influential in the development of American literature. Chielens excludes dailies and annuals as well as any work that has not been the subject of at least one dissertation, book, chapter, or article. Entries are listed alphabetically by author in seven divisions (some of which have sections for general studies and individual periodicals): general studies, New England, Middle Atlantic states, the South, the West, bibliographies and checklists (including sections for some of the preceding divisions), and background studies. Studies of literary materials in nonliterary periodicals and of Poe and American literary periodicals are relegated to appendixes. The work is flawed by a narrow focus, inadequate explanation of scope, and inefficient organization, but it is a serviceable compilation of studies that are sometimes difficult to locate in the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G. Continued by Chielens, Literary Journal in America, 1900–1950 (Q4250).

Indexes[edit]

Q4147[edit]

19th Century Masterfile. Paratext, n.d. 30 Dec. 2014. <http://history.paratext.com/>. (Former title: Poole’s Plus.)

An electronic index to printed author, subject, and title indexes of nineteenth-century periodicals, newspapers, government documents, and patents, including Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature (Q4150); “A.L.A.” Index (G380a); New York Times Index (1863–1905; entry Q3415); Palmer’s Index to the Times Newspaper (1880–90; entry M1450a); and individual indexes to such periodicals as North American Review, Putnam’s Monthly, and Atlantic Monthly. The overwhelming majority of the publications indexed were printed in the United States. Users can search by keyword(s) in all fields, document authors, or article titles. Searchers must try variant forms of names in keyword searches (e.g., Robert Browning is indexed under seven different forms of his name). Some records can be browsed by title, author, or keyword (though the last will require scrolling through hundreds of screens for words appearing near the end of the alphabet). Search results are broken down by printed source, then by relevancy rank within each source; results can be sorted (in ascending or descending order) by date, author, title, language, or classification (though it is unclear what the last entails). Although the content of a record is determined by its printed source (and thus frequently lacks full bibliographical details), some records have been enhanced. Records marked for downloading must first be saved to a list. Although subject to most of the limitations of the sources it reproduces and hampered by a primitive search interface, 19th Century Masterfile does allow users to extract information from a wide range of printed indexes.

Q4150[edit]

Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature. By William Frederick Poole et al. 6 vols. Boston: Houghton, 1888–1908. AI3.P7 016.05.

  • 1802–81. 2 pts. Rev. ed. By William Frederick Poole and William I. Fletcher. 1891.
  • First Supplement: 1882–87. By William Frederick Poole and Fletcher. 1888. 483 pp.
  • Second Supplement: 1887–92. By Fletcher. 1895. 476 pp.
  • Third Supplement: 1892–96. By Fletcher and Franklin O. Poole. 1897. 637 pp.
  • Fourth Supplement: 1897–1902. By Fletcher and Mary Poole. 1903. 646 pp.
  • Fifth Supplement: 1902–07. By Fletcher and Mary Poole. 1908. 714 pp.

A subject index to 479 British and (predominantly) American periodicals published between 1802 and 1 January 1907. The supplements provide current as well as retrospective coverage for periodicals newly added. Although entries cite an abbreviated title, author (with many unauthenticated attributions), periodical title, volume, and initial page number, researchers accustomed to modern subject indexes will find Poole’s a frustrating work to consult because (1) subject headings, derived largely from title words, are capricious and inconsistent and offer few cross-references to related headings; (2) the imposition of uniform periodical titles and volume numbers that ignore title changes and a publisher’s numbering system means that Dearing (see below) must be consulted to locate many articles; (3) literary contributions are listed by title; (4) reviews of literary works appear under the author of the work reviewed, but reviews of nonfiction books appear under the subject of the work; (5) the numerous attributions of unsigned articles must be authenticated in more reliable sources. Some of these defects are remedied in the following:

  • Dearing, Vinton A. Transfer Vectors for Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature: Number One: Titles, Volumes, and Dates. Los Angeles: Pison, 1967. 95 pp. (The projected key to subject headings was never published.) Because it expands title abbreviations, lists title changes, provides volume-year correspondences, and converts assigned volume numbers to those used in periodicals, this work is essential for ascertaining the actual publication details for citations. Dearing is easier to use than Marion V. Bell and Jean C. Bacon, Poole’s Index Date and Volume Key (Chicago: Assn. of College and Reference Libraries, 1957; 61 pp.; ACRL Monographs 19).
  • Wall, C. Edward, comp. and ed. Cumulative Author Index for Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature, 1802–1906. Ann Arbor: Pierian, 1971. 488 pp. Provides access to authors listed in Poole’s, but users must search all possible variants because Wall does not regularize names.

Additions and corrections appear in Thorvald Solberg, “Authors of Anonymous Articles Indexed in Poole,” Bulletin of Bibliography 1.6 (1898): 91–93, 1.7 (1898): 105–07, and in a series of variously authored “Errata in Poole’s Index and Supplements,” 2.2 (1900): 24–25, 2.3 (1900): 40–41, 2.4 (1900): 56–58, 2.5 (1900): 75–76, 2.7 (1901): 107–08, 2.9 (1901): 133–34, 3.2 (1902): 25–26, 4.1 (1904): 11–12, 4.5 (1905): 72.

Despite its manifold deficiencies, Poole’s offers the only available indexing of numerous periodicals and—if approached with patience, an awareness of its limitations, and inventiveness—can yield valuable access to more than 590,000 articles. For an instructive discussion of search strategies, see vol. 1, pp. 37–40 in Vann and VanArsdel, Victorian Periodicals (M2525).

Some of the frustrations of searching Poole’s are alleviated by the electronic versions included in 19th Century Masterfile (Q4147) and C19: The Nineteenth Century Index (M2466); however, researchers should first consult Robert Balay’s evaluation of the 19th Century Masterfile version (pp. 25–28) in Early Periodical Indexes (G327).

More accurate indexing of a limited number of periodicals can be found in Nineteenth Century Readers’ Guide (G400a) and Wellesley Index (M2545); however, neither approaches the breadth of Poole’s. Reviews published between 1880 and 1900 in 13 popular American periodicals not in Poole’s are indexed in Patricia Marks, American Literary and Drama Reviews: An Index to Late Nineteenth Century Periodicals (Boston: Hall, 1983; 313 pp.; Reference Pub. in Lit.).

Q4155[edit]

Wells, Daniel A., and Jonathan Daniel Wells. The Literary and Historical Index to American Magazines, 1800–1850. Westport: Praeger, 2004. 506 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in Amer. Lit. 32. Z1225.W37 [PS214] 016.8108′004.

Wells, Daniel A. The Literary Index to American Magazines, 1850–1900. Westport: Greenwood, 1996. 441 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in Amer. Lit. 22. Z1225.W38 [PS214] 016.8108′004.

Author and rudimentary subject indexes to articles, excerpts, reviews, and regular columns of literary, cultural, or historical (the last only in 1800–1850) interest in c. 90 important or representative literary magazines between 1800 and 1900. Entries for authors consist of three parts: general references to the life or career; references to books and pamphlets by the author; works by the author. Anonymous contributors are identified only for Dial. Although coverage is limited and the subject indexing is minimal, the Literary Index is a useful preliminary source for locating works by several minor authors and for studying the American reception of writers, native and some foreign, of the period.

See also[edit]

Literary Writings in America (Q3255).

Genres[edit]

Most works in sections L: Genres and Q: American Literature/General/Genres are useful for research in nineteenth-century American literature.

Fiction[edit]

Most works in sections L: Genres/Fiction and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Fiction are useful for research in nineteenth-century American fiction.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
See[edit]

Petter, Early American Novel (Q4055).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Bibliographies and Indexes[edit]
= Q4180 =[edit]

Wright, Lyle H. American Fiction, 1774–1850: A Contribution toward a Bibliography. 2nd rev. ed. San Marino: Huntington Lib., 1969. 411 pp. Z1231.F4 W9 016.812′3.

———. American Fiction, 1851–1875: A Contribution toward a Bibliography. Rpt., with additions and corrections. 1965. 438 pp. Z1231.F4 W92 016.8133.

———. American Fiction, 1876–1900: A Contribution toward a Bibliography. 1966. 683 pp. Z1231.F4 W93 016.8134.

A bibliography of American editions of separately published American fiction, including novels, romances, tall tales, allegories, and fictitious biographies and travels but excluding juvenile fiction, jestbooks, Indian captivity narratives, periodicals, annuals, gift books, folklore, tracts published by religious societies, dime novels, and subscription series. The 1774–1850 volume attempts to include all editions; the later volumes are limited to first or earliest located editions. Organized alphabetically by author, unidentified pseudonym, or title of anonymous work, entries provide title, publication information, pagination, format, list of contents for collections of stories, copyright deposit information, occasional notes on subject matter, and locations in selected major libraries and private collections. Stories in collections are cross-referenced to the collection. Indexed by titles in all volumes and by dates in the 1774–1850 volume. Although not comprehensive, Wright offers an incomparable record of American fiction through 1900. A number of corrections appear in Edward W. Pitcher, “Some Emendations for Lyle B. [sic] Wright’s American Fiction, 1774–1850,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 74.2 (1980): 143–45. Reviews: (1774–1850) John S. Van E. Kohn, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 42.4 (1948): 324–30; (1876–1900) Roger E. Stoddard, New England Quarterly 41.4 (1968): 600–04.

All but a few of the works in Wright have been microfilmed in American Fiction, 1774–1910 (Woodbridge: Research, 1967–84). Post-1900 editions were compiled from the Library of Congress shelf list of American adult fiction. American Fiction, 1774–1900: Cumulative Author Index to the Microfilm Collection (New Haven: Research, 1974; 416 pp.) and American Fiction, 1901–1910: Cumulative Author Index to the Microfilm Collection (Woodbridge: Research, 1984; 217 pp.) are essential for locating individual titles on the microfilm reels. Wright American Fiction, 1851–1875 (http://www.letrs.indiana.edu/web/w/wright2) allows keyword searches of digitized copies of 2,887 volumes from the microfilm; as of 31 December 2012, 1,124 of these texts had been fully encoded and edited, but the site has not been updated since 2005. Keyword, Boolean, or proximity searches can be limited to titles, authors, place of publication, publisher, date, bibliographical citation, or idno (which is not explained at the site). In addition, users can browse a word index. Like other archives of encoded digitized texts, Wright American Fiction, 1851–1875 makes feasible studies of style, imagery, subjects, and intellectual history that would otherwise require years of reading texts cover to cover.

Coverage is continued by American Fiction Database (Q4267).

= See also =[edit]

Early American Fiction, 1789–1875 (Q4183).

Grimes and Daims, Novels in English by Women, 1891–1920 (M2640).

Text Archives[edit]
= Q4183 =[edit]

Early American Fiction, 1789–1875. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://collections.chadwyck.com/marketing/index.jsp>.

An archive of rekeyed texts and digital images of more than 730 first editions of novels and collections of short stories published by American writers between 1789 and 1875. To be included a first edition must be owned by the University of Virginia Library and be listed in Wright, American Fiction, 1774–1850 (Q4180), or its author included in BAL (Q3250). Each book is photographed from front cover to back cover (along with the spine and top, front, and bottom edges).

Simple keyword, title, and author searches can be limited to parts (e.g., front matter, epigraphs) and by publication date, place of publication, publisher, date during an author’s lifetime, and gender. Searchers can also browse author, publisher, place of publication, and title lists of the contents of the database. Results appear in ascending alphabetical order by author and cannot be re-sorted. Citations (but not the full text) can be marked for e-mailing, downloading, or printing; each citation includes a durable URL to the full text.

Besides being a useful source for identifying an elusive quotation or allusion, Early American Fiction’s text archive makes feasible a variety of kinds of studies (stylistic, thematic, imagistic, and topical). This archive incorporates all the content of Early American Fiction, 1789–1850 (http://collections.chadwyck.com).

The contents of Early American Fiction can also be searched through LiOn (I527).

= See also =[edit]

Wright American Fiction, 1851–1875 (Q4180a).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q4185[edit]

Holman, C. Hugh, comp. The American Novel through Henry James. 2nd ed. Arlington Heights: AHM, 1979. 177 pp. Goldentree Bibliogs. in Lang. and Lit. Z1231.F4 H64 [PS371] 016.813.

A highly selective bibliography of English-language scholarship through 1976 that emphasizes nineteenth-century novelists. Holman excludes most studies before 1900 and most general literary histories as well as dissertations and bibliographies of bibliographies. Entries are organized in divisions for the novel as form, histories of the American novel, special studies (with sections for periods, genres, and themes or subjects), major novelists (with sections for editions, bibliographies, biographical and critical books, and essays), and lesser novelists. The supplement (pp. 141–57) is similarly organized. A few entries are accompanied by brief descriptive annotations. Indexed by scholars.

A similar work is David K. Kirby, American Fiction to 1900: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1975; 296 pp.; Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 4), with highly selective coverage through c. 1975 and an inadequate explanation of scope and criteria governing both the selection of authors and scholarship.

Highly selective and dated, The American Novel and American Fiction together offer only a preliminary guide to scholarship.

For reviews of late nineteenth-century fiction, see Clayton L. Eichelberger, comp., A Guide to Critical Reviews of United States Fiction, 1870–1910, 2 vols. (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1971–74). Unfortunately, because of its numerous errors and inconsistencies, omission of significant periodicals, inclusion of many nonfictional works, and inadequate editing, Eichelberger’s Guide cannot be trusted. (For the deficiencies of this work, see the review by Blake Nevius, Nineteenth-Century Fiction 27.2 [1972]: 245–47.)

Q4190[edit]

Kirby, David. America’s Hive of Honey; or, Foreign Influences on American Fiction through Henry James: Essays and Bibliographies. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1980. 214 pp. Z1231.F4 K573 [PS374.F64] 813′.009′3.

A selective annotated bibliography of studies of 16 major influences on the fiction of Brown, Irving, Cooper, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, James, Howells, Norris, and Crane. The work is limited to studies (through 1976 and primarily in English) that identify specific sources. Within divisions for Asian sources, classical literature, the Bible, Dante and the Middle Ages, Spenser, Cervantes, Shakespeare and the Renaissance, Milton and his age, the eighteenth century, Austen, Gothic novelists, the Romantics, Scott, the Victorians, realists, and scientific thinkers and naturalists, entries are listed alphabetically by author in sections for general studies and individual American writers. Each division begins with a headnote assessing generally the influence of the author, period, group, movement, or work. Two brief appendixes list general studies of the influence of foreign cultures on American fiction and of the reading habits of individual authors. Indexed by persons and titles of primary works. The detailed annotations make America’s Hive of Honey a useful guide to source studies, few of which are readily identifiable in standard bibliographies and indexes.

Drama and Theater[edit]

Most works in sections L: Genres/Drama and Theater and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Drama and Theater are useful for research in nineteenth-century American drama and theater.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Q4195[edit]

Dramatic Compositions Copyrighted in the United States, 1870 to 1916. 2 vols. Washington: GPO, 1918. Z5781.U55 [PN1851] 016.812.

A list of the approximately 60,000 plays registered for copyright between 1870 and 1916. Works are listed alphabetically by title, with cross-references for alternative titles or subtitles. Because of changes in copyright law, entries vary in content but typically record (when appropriate) title; author; translator; copyright claimant; and date of registration, publication, and deposit of copy. (Users should study the explanation of the sample entries on pp. iii–iv.) Plays registered during part of 1915 and all of 1916, along with additions and corrections, appear in a supplementary list (vol. 2, pp. 2,659–833). Indexed by persons (with titles following each name). Copies of about 20,000 works registered before 1 July 1909 were never deposited; however, Dramatic Compositions is an underutilized but indispensable record of plays that were copyrighted in the United States. Since some deposit copies—many of which are unpublished manuscripts or printed acting copies—are held by the Library of Congress, the work also serves as a valuable source for locating otherwise unobtainable materials. Researchers should note that printed copies selected for the Library of Congress collection are included in the library’s online catalog; other printed copies and manuscripts must be located by consulting the card file in the Copyright Office Public Record Reading Room. After obtaining the copyright registration number for an unpublished manuscript or typescript, researchers may consult microfilm copies of many of the deposits for this period in the Manuscript Reading Room. Some notes about prefilming transfers of certain twentieth-century scripts may be found in the Manuscript Division’s evolving, internal finding aid for selected plays from the Copyright Deposit Drama Collection. For other copyright records, see Tanselle, “Copyright Records and the Bibliographer” (Q3260).

See also[edit]

Hill, American Plays Printed, 1714–1830 (Q4070).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q4200[edit]

Meserve, Walter J. American Drama to 1900: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1980. 254 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 28. Z1231.D7 M45 [PS345] 016.812.

A bibliography of English-language scholarship and selected editions through c. 1977. Meserve excludes studies of theater because of the presence of Wilmeth, American Stage to World War I (Q3525), in a related Gale series. Entries are listed alphabetically by author in two divisions: general studies and major authors. The first has sections for bibliographies, indexes, library and microform collections, anthologies and collections, general histories, and history and criticism (with the last organized by period and including studies of minor authors and anonymous plays). Each of the 34 important playwrights (most of whom date from the nineteenth century) has separate lists of editions, nondramatic works, bibliographies, biographical studies, and criticism. Generous cross-references guide users to related studies. The generally brief descriptive annotations are uneven, with many failing to convey a sense of content. Three indexes: persons; titles; subjects. Although selective and lacking an adequate explanation of scope and criteria governing selection, Meserve offers the best preliminary guide to studies of American drama before 1900 and is far superior to Eddleman, American Drama Criticism (Q3520). It must be supplemented by the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G and in section Q: American Literature/General/Guides to Scholarship and Criticism.

For an overview of recent scholarship and suggestions for future research, see Brenda Murphy, “Breaking the Constraints of History: Recent Scholarly Treatment of Nineteenth-Century American Drama,” Resources for American Literary Study 17.1 (1990): 25–34.

See also[edit]

Wilmeth, American Stage to World War I (Q3525).

Poetry[edit]

Some works in section L: Genres/Poetry are useful for research in nineteenth-century American poetry.

Prose[edit]

Many works in sections L: Genres/Prose and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Prose are useful for research in nineteenth-century American prose.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q4205[edit]

Partridge, Elinore Hughes. American Prose and Criticism, 1820–1900: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1983. 575 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 39. Z1231.P8 P37 [PS368] 016.818′08.

A highly selective list of editions and studies through c. 1981 of nonfiction prose. Entries are organized in three divisions: general studies (with sections for bibliographies and reference works; periodicals and annual bibliographies; cultural, historical, and literary studies; and anthologies), prose (with sections for literary theory and criticism; autobiographies, memoirs, and diaries; essays and sketches; works of travel and description; educational, religious, philosophical, and scientific writings; and history and politics—each with lists of primary works and studies), and 45 individual authors (with lists of principal works; letters and journals; editions, selections, and reprints; bibliographies; biographical studies and criticism; and related general studies). The descriptive annotations sometimes include brief evaluative comments. Indexed by persons and titles. Because of the inadequate explanation of scope and criteria governing selection, poor organization of the first division, exclusion of most articles in the lists of studies, and numerous inconsistencies, Partridge offers little more than a place to begin research on prose of the period.

See also[edit]

Yannella and Roch, American Prose to 1820 (Q4095).

Twentieth-Century Literature[edit]

Most works in section Q: American Literature/General and some in section M: English Literature/Twentieth-Century Literature are important to research in twentieth-century American literature.

Research Methods[edit]

Q4210[edit]

Matuozzi, Robert N., and Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay. Literary Research and the American Modernist Era: Strategies and Sources. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2008. 173 pp. Lit. Research: Strategies and Sources 3. (Updates appear at http://www.literaryresearchseries.org.) PS228.M63 M38 810.9′112072.

A guide to research strategies and reference sources for the scholar working with literature of the modernist era (c. 1914–50s). Following an admirably clear explanation of the basics of online searching are chapters on general literary reference sources; library catalogs; print and electronic bibliographies, indexes, and annual reviews; scholarly journals; contemporary reviews; newspapers, little magazines, and microforms; manuscripts and archives; and Web resources. (Many of the preceding chapters discuss works devoted to individual authors.) The last chapter demonstrates how to use many of the works and strategies previously discussed to develop a research plan. An appendix lists sources in related disciplines. Indexed by titles and subjects (excluding those in the appendix). Describing fully the uses of kinds of reference tools, providing illuminating examples in discussions of key individual resources, detailing techniques for finding kinds of information (including primary works), and illustrating research processes, Literary Research and the American Modernist Era admirably fulfills its intent: to offer “a clear introduction to the best contemporary library sources and practices for researching American modernist writing.”

See also[edit]

Stein and Lehu, Literary Research and the American Realism and Naturalism Period (Q4100).

Histories and Surveys[edit]

Q4220[edit]

Hoffman, Daniel, ed. Harvard Guide to Contemporary American Writing. Cambridge: Belknap–Harvard UP, 1979. 618 pp. PS221.H357 810′.9′0054.

A critical history of trends and movements in American literature from 1945 to c. 1978 that emphasizes established writers and literature as an exposition of culture. Separate essays consider intellectual backgrounds; literary criticism; realists, naturalists, and novelists of manners; southern fiction; Jewish writers; experimental fiction; African American literature; women’s literature; drama; and poetry. Although not a connected history and not always balanced in its treatment, the Harvard Guide offers the fullest overview of the period. Reviews: Nina Baym, JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology 79.2 (1980): 271–75; Jerome Klinkowitz, College English 42.4 (1980): 382–89.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]

See[edit]

Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century (M2755).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

Q4225[edit]

Books in Print. Global ed. Bowker, 2012. 2 Jan. 2013. <http://www.booksinprint2.com/default.ashx>. (A variety of specialist databases are cloned from the Books in Print database; for a list, see http://www.bowker.com/en-US/products/printed_directories/servprintdir_default.shtml.)

A database of books in a variety of print and other formats published worldwide and available for general purchase. The basic search screen allows for searching by keyword, subject, author, title, series title, or publisher. Advanced Search allows users to combine keyword searches of a variety of record fields (e.g., author, title, subject) and to limit searches by such filters as format, status, market, date, country of publication, language, and audience level. Results can be sorted in a variety of ways (including author, title, and ascending or descending date) and refined by several filters (e.g., market, price, format, and language). Records can be marked for saving to a list, searching in a library’s catalog, downloading, printing, or e-mailing. Users can also set up RSS feeds. A typical entry records author, title, publication information, market, ISBN, binding, status, price, and subject descriptors; many records also include a synopsis or review(s). Because names are not standardized, users must check all forms of an author’s name. Compiled from information supplied by publishers, Books in Print is neither comprehensive nor always accurate, but it is the most convenient source for determining what books are currently available for sale from publishers and distributors in the major English-speaking countries.

The following are useful related Bowker publications:

  • Books in Print (BIP). Amenia: Grey House, 1948– . Annual, with supplement between editions. Currently published in three parts—authors, titles, and publishers—the printed BIP does not offer the breadth of coverage of the online version.
  • Children’s Books in Print (U5470).
  • Publishers’ Trade List Annual (PTLA). 1873–2001. Annual. A compilation of publishers’ catalogs (of four or more pages) along with a yellow-page section comprising smaller lists. Although far from comprehensive, PTLA was once a useful supplement to BIP, especially for a description of a book or list of titles within a series. Since few libraries have extensive holdings of publishers’ catalogs, PTLA is a valuable resource for studying publishing history and reconstructing a firm’s list.

For author, title, publisher, and subject lists of books published by small and private presses, see the current edition of Small Press Record of Books in Print, CD-ROM (Paradise: Dustbooks, 1969– ; irregular; online through Dustbooks eDirectories [K775]). Coverage is international but emphasizes English-language works printed in the United States.

Q4230[edit]

Lepper, Gary M. A Bibliographical Introduction to Seventy-Five Modern American Authors. Berkeley: Serendipity, 1976. 428 pp. Z1227.L46 [PS221] 016.81.

Checklists of first printings of separately published works through 1975 by 75 authors who achieved prominence after 1945. Lepper includes signed and revised editions, ephemera (such as broadsides and mimeographed or photocopied material), and some bound proofs and advance review copies; he excludes sheet music, recordings, and edited books. Authors are listed alphabetically; works, chronologically. Entries include title, publication information, type of binding or method of reproduction, format, notes on priority of issues, identifying marks of first printings, illustrator, and series. The descriptions are not bibliographically sophisticated; criteria governing selection of authors are unstated; there are some notable omissions; and coverage is sometimes inconsistent. Nonetheless, the Bibliographical Introduction offers a useful and reasonably accurate preliminary guide to first printings of works by writers who are not the subject of separate author bibliographies. Some other contemporary authors are treated in Bruccoli, First Printings of American Authors (Q3250a). Review: Patricia McLaren-Turner, Book Collector 28 (Autumn 1979): 449–50, 453.

Q4235[edit]

Vrana, Stan A. Interviews and Conversations with 20th-Century Authors Writing in English: An Index. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1982. 239 pp. Series II. 1986. 288 pp. Series III. 1990. 435 pp. Z2013.V73 [PR471] 016.82′09′0091.

A selective author index to interviews and similar works from 1900 through 1985 in periodicals, newspapers, and books (the majority of which are published in the United States and involve American authors). Entries are listed chronologically under an author and include citations to reprints. Authors in Series II are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565); Series III includes addenda for 1900–80. Although not at all comprehensive—since it omits recordings and numerous serials—Interviews and Conversations is a useful starting point for locating interviews; however, the inadequate explanation of scope and failure to record the years or volumes actually searched for periodicals and newspapers in the list of sources consulted mean that a user will frequently end up having to duplicate much of Vrana’s research.

Reviews in selected little magazines are listed in “Little Magazine Interview Index,” Serials Review 11.2 (1985– ). A card file covering 1976–83 is available in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Researchers with access to the MLAIB (G335) database can identify additional interviews.

See also[edit]

American Book Publishing Record (Q4110).

Literary Writings in America (Q3255).

Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue (M2475).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Surveys of Research[edit]

Q4240[edit]

Bryer, Jackson R., ed. Sixteen Modern American Authors: A Survey of Research and Criticism. New York: Norton, 1973. 673 pp. PS221.F45 810′.9′0052.

———. Sixteen Modern American Authors: A Survey of Research and Criticism since 1972. Durham: Duke UP, 1989. 810 pp. PS221.S625 810.9′0052.

Evaluative surveys of research and criticism on Anderson, Cather, Crane, Dreiser, Eliot, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Frost, Hemingway, O’Neill, Pound, Robinson, Steinbeck, Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Wolfe. The first volume revises Fifteen Modern American Authors (Durham: Duke UP, 1969; 493 pp.), correcting errors, extending coverage through 1971–72, and adding the essay on Williams. The second volume continues coverage through 1985, with most essays having an addendum that superficially treats publications from late 1985 through mid-1988. Although each chapter consists of five parts—bibliographies, editions, manuscripts and letters, biographical studies, and criticism, with a supplementary section for each—there is considerable variation in the extent of coverage, especially of dissertations and foreign language scholarship (with very little attention to either in the second volume). A majority of the contributors are frank in their evaluations but seldom offer suggestions for further research and do not provide full publication information for articles. These authoritative surveys remain indispensable for their winnowing of pre-1986 scholarship. For evaluative surveys of recent scholarship, see American Literary Scholarship (Q3265). Review: (1st ed.) Willard Thorp, American Literature 42.1 (1970): 122–24.

See also[edit]

American Literary Scholarship (Q3265): Chapters on Pound and Eliot; Faulkner; Fitzgerald and Hemingway; fiction: 1900–1930s; fiction: 1930s–1960s; fiction: 1960s–present; poetry: 1900–1940s; and poetry: 1940s–present.

Contemporary Authors: Bibliographical Series (J595a).

Serial Bibliographies[edit]

See[edit]

ABELL (G340): English Literature/Twentieth Century and Twenty-First Century sections.

“Annual Review,” Journal of Modern Literature (M2780).

“Current Bibliography,” Twentieth Century Literature (M2790a).

MLAIB (G335): American Literature division in the volumes for 1922–25; American V: 1890 to the Present in the volumes for 1926–28; American V: Contemporary Literature (occasionally called Twentieth Century) in the volumes for 1929–34; American VI: Contemporary in the volumes for 1935–40; American V: Twentieth Century (also called Contemporary in 1941–56) in the volumes for 1941–80; and American Literature/1900–99 and 2000–99 (as well as any larger chronological section encompassing either century) in later volumes. Researchers must also check the headings beginning with “American” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies[edit]

See[edit]

Contemporary Authors: Bibliographical Series (J595a).

Pownall, Articles on Twentieth Century Literature (M2790).

Somer and Cooper, American and British Literature, 1945–1975 (M2800).

Language[edit]

See[edit]

Quirk et al., Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (M2810).

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]

See[edit]

Contemporary Authors (J595).

Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).

Periodicals[edit]

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

See[edit]

Sec. K: Periodicals/Little Magazines.

Chielens, American Literary Magazines: The Twentieth Century (Q3410).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Q4250[edit]

Chielens, Edward E. The Literary Journal in America, 1900–1950: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1977. 186 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 16. Z6951.C572 [PN4877] 016.051.

An annotated, selective bibliography of English-language studies (through the early 1970s) of periodicals devoted to creative works or criticism. Chielens excludes weeklies and annuals and includes only those publications that have been the subject of at least one dissertation, book, chapter, or article. Entries are listed alphabetically by author in eight divisions (most of which have sections for general studies and individual titles): general works, general mass circulation periodicals, little magazines, regional publications, politically radical literary periodicals, academic quarterlies of scholarship and criticism, bibliographies and checklists (including sections for some of the preceding divisions), and background studies. Scholarship on literary material in nonliterary periodicals is listed in an appendix. Most annotations are helpfully descriptive. Indexed by persons and titles. While Literary Journal in America is not comprehensive, is inefficiently organized, and lacks an adequate explanation of scope, it is a useful compilation of studies that are sometimes difficult to locate in standard serial bibliographies and indexes. This work continues Chielens, Literary Journal in America to 1900 (Q4145).

Indexes[edit]

See[edit]

Literary Writings in America (Q3255).

Genres[edit]

Most works in sections L: Genres and Q: American Literature/General/Genres are important to research in twentieth-century American literature.

Fiction[edit]

Most works in sections L: Genres/Fiction and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Fiction are useful to research in twentieth-century American literature.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
Q4260[edit]

Karl, Frederick R. American Fictions, 1940–1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Evaluation. New York: Harper, 1983. 637 pp. PS379.K24 813′.54′09.

———. American Fictions, 1980–2000: Whose America Is It Anyway? N.p.: Xlibris, 2001. 535 pp. PS379.K244.

A critical history of American fiction that emphasizes its relationship to modernism and favors experimental works (in 1940–1980) and its reflection of “a cultural mosaic of so many conflicting ideas and efforts” that precludes any sense of direction or judgment of achievement (in 1980–2000). Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects in the first installment; by persons only in the second. An encyclopedic and polemical work, it is especially valuable for placing fiction in cultural contexts. Review: Sanford Pinsker, Georgia Review 38.4 (1984): 891–93.

See also[edit]

Allen, Tradition and Dream: The English and American Novel from the Twenties to Our Time (M2830).

Bibliographies of Bibliographies[edit]
Q4265[edit]

McPheron, William, and Jocelyn Sheppard. The Bibliography of Contemporary American Fiction, 1945–1988: An Annotated Checklist. Westport: Meckler, 1989. 190 pp. Z1231.F4 M36 [PS379] 016.813′54′09.

An annotated bibliography of bibliographies of works by or about writers of adult fiction (including science fiction, fantasy, crime, historical, regional, ethnic, and small-press authors) who have achieved prominence since 1945 (along with a few whose reputations were established earlier and who continued to publish into the late 1970s). Coverage extends to books, articles, dissertations, and parts of books published through 1986 (but with some as late as 1988). The 613 entries are organized in two divisions: multiauthor bibliographies (listed alphabetically by editor, author, or title of anonymous work and excluding serial bibliographies, highly selective checklists, and outdated works); single-author bibliographies (listed by publication date, then alphabetically by compiler, under each fiction writer [except, unaccountably, Baldwin]). Many of the informative annotations are evaluative (but not always rigorously so, especially in the first division) and point out the importance of a work. Two indexes: fiction writers; authors of bibliographies. An essential guide because so many bibliographies of contemporary fiction writers appear in obscure journals or parts of books or are published by little-known presses—and thus not indexed in the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Q4267[edit]

American Fiction Database. Rare Books Room, Ohio State University Libraries, Columbus.

A database of American fiction based on—but not limited to—the William Charvat Collection of American Fiction at Ohio State University. The focus is 1901–50 (but includes works before and after); selection generally follows Lyle H. Wright’s criteria for American Fiction, 1774–[1900] (Q4180). Records for 1901–25—for which coverage is virtually complete—are published as Geoffrey D. Smith, American Fiction, 1901–1925: A Bibliography (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997; 1,038 pp.); work on 1926–50 is ongoing. Although the database, which is housed in the Rare Books Room, is not publicly accessible, individual volumes can be identified through the Ohio State University Library Catalog (http://library.ohio-state.edu/); search for “Bibliography of American Fiction” as a keyword and restrict the location to Special Collections and Archives. Because of the depth of coverage and multiple points of access, the database is a key resource for the study of twentieth-century American fiction—one that makes possible a multitude of subject and genre studies. For a description of the project, see Smith, “Literary Databases: Some Thoughts on Standards,” Literary Research 13.1 (1988): 5–12.

See also[edit]

Facts on File Bibliography of American Fiction, 1919–1988 (Q3474).

Grimes and Daims, Novels in English by Women, 1891–1920 (M2640).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q4270[edit]

Woodress, James. American Fiction, 1900–1950: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1974. 260 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit. and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 1. Z1231.F4 W64 016.813′03.

A selective guide to scholarship (mostly in English and published before c. 1972) on 44 authors who have received substantial critical attention. Entries are organized in two divisions: general works and individual authors. The first division consists of inadequately annotated lists of references works (including general historical and critical studies), general works on the novel (with sections for history and criticism, types, themes, and regionalism), studies of the short story, and collections of interviews. Individual authors are treated in essays, with sections for bibliographies and manuscripts, primary works, editions and reprints, biographical studies, and criticism. The commentary here is much fuller and judiciously evaluative, with important works marked by an asterisk; however, the essay form prevents skimming. Indexed by persons. Although now dated, American Fiction is superior to Blake Nevius, comp., The American Novel: Sinclair Lewis to the Present (New York: Meredith-Appleton, 1970; 126 pp.; Goldentree Bibliogs. in Lang. and Lit.), and remains useful for its guidance to important scholarship before c. 1972 on authors not included in Bryer, Sixteen Modern American Authors (Q4240). For evaluative surveys of recent scholarship, see American Literary Scholarship (Q3265).

See also[edit]

American Literary Scholarship (Q3265): Chapters on fiction: 1900–1930s; fiction: 1930s–1960s; and fiction: 1960s–present.

Martine, American Novelists (J595a).

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]
See[edit]

Contemporary Novelists (M2845).

Drama and Theater[edit]

Most works in sections L: Genres/Drama and Theater and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Drama and Theater are useful for research in twentieth-century American drama and theater.

Guides to Reference Works[edit]

Although there is no general guide to reference tools for the study of twentieth-century American theater, the musical theater of this century is more than adequately treated in Paul Metzger, “American Musical Theater: A Guide to Information Sources,” Bulletin of Bibliography 49.4 (1992): 251–61 and “American Musical Theater: Supplement, 1992–1996,” Bulletin of Bibliography 54.3 (1997): 181–86. The annotations are very brief, but several are helpfully evaluative.

Histories and Surveys[edit]

Histories and general studies are surveyed in Jackson R. Bryer and Ruth M. Alvarez, “American Drama, 1918–1940: A Survey of Research and Criticism,” American Quarterly 30.3 (1978): 298–330, and C. W. E. Bigsby, “Drama as Cultural Sign: American Dramatic Criticism,” 331–57; these are updated by Mark W. Estrin, “The American Drama 1900–1940: Areas of Recent Scholarly Achievement and Critical Neglect,” Resources for American Literary Study 17.1 (1990): 35–49, and Thomas P. Adler, “American Dramatic Scholarship, 1940–Present: The Contours and Some Items for an Agenda,” 51–61 (both with useful suggestions for future research).

Q4275[edit]

Bigsby, C. W. E. A Critical Introduction to Twentieth-Century American Drama. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982–85. PS351.B483 812′.52′09.

A critical rather than historical survey of major playwrights, theater groups, and—in vol. 3—types of drama that emphasizes alienation as the central theme of modern American drama. Vol. 1 has several appendixes listing productions by important theater groups; in vol. 3, an appendix traces the growth of not-for-profit professional theater. Indexed in each volume by persons, titles, and theater groups. Densely written and omitting some important writers, Bigsby nonetheless is the best survey of the topic. Reviews: Peter L. Hays, Theatre Research International 8.3 (1983): 265–67; Myron Matlaw, Essays in Theatre 5.1 (1986): 77–81.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]
Q4280[edit]

Notable Names in the American Theatre. [Ed. Raymond D. McGill.] Rev. ed. Clifton: White, 1976. 1,250 pp. PN2285.N6 790.2′0973.

An accumulation of biographical and other information on the American stage through c. 1974 that revises Walter Rigdon, ed., The Biographical Encyclopaedia and Who’s Who of the American Theatre (New York: Heinemann, 1966; 1,101 pp.). Notable Names is organized in nine divisions:

  • a title list of New York productions since 1900, with entries providing theater, opening date, and number of performances
  • a title list of premieres in America since 1968, with entries citing author, date of first performance, producing group, and theater and with an author index following
  • a chronological list of premieres of American plays abroad from 9 December 1948 through 8 April 1974, with entries noting date, title, author, director, producer, theater, and location
  • an alphabetical list of active and defunct American theater groups, with entries giving address, major personnel, and a brief history
  • an alphabetical list of active and defunct American theaters, with entries citing address and opening date
  • an alphabetical list of theater awards, with a chronological list of recipients of each
  • a subject bibliography of biographies and autobiographies of American and foreign theater persons
  • an alphabetical necrology of American and foreign theater persons, with entries providing birth and death dates
  • a biographical dictionary of notable persons in the American theater, with stylistically wooden entries providing basic biographical information, address, and lists of credits, publications, and awards

While the work lacks an adequate statement of scope for most of the lists, fails to provide a general index, and is sometimes inaccurate, it does bring together a significant amount of useful detail about the American stage. (Biographies in Notable Names and Biographical Encyclopedia are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index [J565].)

See also[edit]

Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama (M2858).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Q4285[edit]

Leiter, Samuel L., ed. The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage, 1920–1930. 2 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 1985. 1930–1940. 1989. 1,299 pp. 1940–1950. 1992. 946 pp. PN2277.N5 L36 792.9′5′097471. All are online through North American Theatre Online (Q3512).

A description of Broadway and off-Broadway plays (as well as foreign language and ethnic theater productions reviewed in the English-language press) staged from mid-June 1920 through the end of May 1950. Productions are organized alphabetically by title. For each production, a typical entry includes (where appropriate) genre, subject categories, language if other than English, author, translator or adapter, reviser, librettist, music composer, lyricist, source, director, choreographer, set and costume designers, producer, theater, opening date, length of run, plot synopsis, and notes on critical reception. Concludes with a selected bibliography and 10 appendixes: chronological calendar of productions, with length of run; classified lists by genre, subject, and language (but confusingly organized by subcategories); awards; sources of plays; institutional theaters, with a list of plays produced; foreign companies and stars; longest running shows; critics cited; seasonal statistics; theaters. Two indexes: proper names; titles. The inclusion of cast lists and the provision of clearer subject access would increase the Encyclopedia’s utility; it is still, however, a valuable compendium of information on the New York theater.

See also[edit]

Bzowski, American Women Playwrights, 1900–1930 (Q3513a).

Dramatic Compositions Copyrighted in the United States, 1870 to 1916 (Q4195).

Harris, Modern Drama in America and England, 1950–1970 (Q4290).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Surveys of Research[edit]
= Q4287 =[edit]

Kolin, Philip C., ed. American Playwrights since 1945: A Guide to Scholarship, Criticism, and Performance. New York: Greenwood, 1989. 595 pp. Z1231.D7 A53 [PS350] 016.812′54′09. Online through North American Theatre Online (Q3512).

A collection of separately authored bibliographic essays on 40 playwrights who have written for the American stage since 1945. Each essay consists of six parts: a brief overview of the playwright’s critical reputation, achievements, and important contributions to American theater; a classified list of published and unpublished primary works (including interviews); a history of productions and their critical reception; an evaluative survey of scholarship and criticism (with separate sections for bibliographies, biographies, source studies, general studies, and analyses of individual plays); suggestions for further research; and a checklist of all sources cited in the essay. Two indexes: persons; titles of plays and screenplays. Coverage is selective—too much so for major playwrights—and limited to English-language publications, and some contributors are cryptic or insufficiently rigorous in assessing secondary works; yet, American Playwrights offers a convenient introduction to the reputation of and scholarship on several contemporary dramatists and is especially valuable for its numerous suggestions for further research. Still needed, however, is a full bibliography of studies of contemporary American drama and theater.

Other Bibliographies[edit]
= Q4289 =[edit]

Gavin, Christy. American Women Playwrights, 1964–1989: A Research Guide and Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1993. 493 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 879. Z1231.D7 G38 [PS338.W6] 016.812′54099287.

A selective bibliography of plays by and publications about American women playwrights “who have demonstrated a sustained record of achievement and who have produced at least one play on Broadway, Off Broadway, or Off-Off Broadway from the early 1960s through 1989.” Following a prefatory survey of feminist scholarship (which concludes with suggestions for future research), the 4,214 entries are organized in two divisions: general studies of contemporary women dramatists and feminist theater; playwrights (with sections for selected plays, profiles and interviews, and reviews and studies of individual plays). Entries for profiles, interviews, and studies (as well as a few reviews) are accompanied by annotations that are often evaluative (and usually wordy). Indexed by authors of annotated entries only. An utterly inadequate (and incomplete as well as frequently erroneous) index, lack of an explanation of the criteria governing selection of works by and about the playwrights, omission of International Bibliography of Theatre (L1160) and ABELL (G340) from the serial bibliographies searched for entries, and poor design (e.g., the failure to include names of dramatists in running heads makes locating sections on individuals needlessly difficult) make American Women Playwrights frustrating to consult; that is unfortunate since the volume offers the best available guide to the widely scattered literature about contemporary American women playwrights.

= Q4290 =[edit]

Harris, Richard H. Modern Drama in America and England, 1950–1970: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1982. 606 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 34. Z1231.D7 H36 [PS351] 016.822′914.

A selective bibliography of editions of British and American plays published for the first time between 1950 and 1975 and of English-language scholarship through 1975 on plays published between 1950 and 1970. Excludes plays produced during the period but published after 1975, musicals, and works by African American playwrights (presumably because such works are included in French, Afro-American Poetry and Drama [Q3845], in the same Gale series). Entries are organized in three divisions: bibliographies; general criticism; and 255 authors, each with sections for editions of plays, collaborative works, bibliographies, selected nondramatic works, and criticism. Annotations typically combine description with evaluative comment, but several are inaccurate or inadequately descriptive. Three indexes: persons; titles; subjects (including playwrights). There are significant omissions and the description of scope is confusing and incomplete; thus Harris is useful only for preliminary work. Review: Albert Wertheim, Literary Research Newsletter 8.1 (1983): 38–41. Carpenter, Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism, 1966–1980 (M2875), offers more thorough coverage of studies after 1965.

Superior coverage of works (through c. 1981) by and about Albee, Baraka, Bullins, Gelber, Kopit, Mamet, Rabe, Shepard, Simon, and Lanford Wilson can be found in Kimball King, Ten Modern American Playwrights: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1982; 251 pp.; Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 234), which is particularly valuable for its full annotations, coverage of foreign scholarship, lists of reviews, and inclusion of translations of primary works.

= Q4295 =[edit]

Wildbihler, Hubert, and Sonja Völklein. The Musical: An International Annotated Bibliography / Eine internationale annotierte Bibliographie. München: Saur, 1986. 320 pp. ML128.M78 W56 016.78281′09.

A bibliography of studies through 1985 on the musical (including stage and film productions, extravaganzas, vaudeville and variety shows, and operettas), primarily in North America but also in Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, and a few other countries. Most reviews of individual productions are excluded. The approximately 3,600 entries are organized by publication date in five classified divisions: general reference works (with sections for encyclopedias and guides, review and song indexes, bibliographies, yearbooks, and discographies); stage musical in North America (predecessors, history and development, elements of the musical [such as music and dance], production, and public reception); stage musical in other countries (Great Britain, Federal Republic of Germany and Austria, socialist countries, and other countries); film musical (general studies, essays and short criticism, special effects, adaptations of stage musicals, and dance); and people (general biographical works; composers, lyricists, and librettists; directors, choreographers, and producers; performers). The subtitle is misleading, since only about one-fourth of the entries are accompanied by descriptive annotations, a few of which incorporate an evaluative comment; none of the entries in the people divisions is annotated. Two indexes: scholars; subjects and titles of musicals. Despite the incomplete annotation, this work provides the fullest list of scholarship on the musical and is especially valuable for its international coverage of scholarship.

= See also =[edit]

Carpenter, Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism, 1966–1980 (M2875).

“Modern Drama Studies: An Annual Bibliography,” Modern Drama (M2870).

Roudané, American Dramatists (J595a).

Wilmeth, American Stage to World War I (Q3525).

Review Indexes[edit]
= Q4300 =[edit]

Salem, James M. A Guide to Critical Reviews. 4 pts. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1971–91. Z5781.S16 [PN2266] 016.8092.

  • Pt. 1: American Drama, 1909–1982. 3rd ed. 1984. 657 pp.
  • Pt. 2: The Musical, 1909–1989. 3rd ed. 1991. 820 pp.
  • Pt. 3: Foreign Drama, 1909–1977. 2nd ed. 1979. 420 pp.
  • Pt. 4: The Screenplay from The Jazz Singer to Dr. Strangelove . 2 vols. 1971. Supplement One: 1963–1980. 1982. 698 pp.

A selective checklist of reviews in general-circulation American and Canadian periodicals and the New York Times of productions on the New York stage and of movie and television screenplays. Salem excludes productions of plays written before the late nineteenth century (but the precise cutoff date is unclear). Plays are listed alphabetically by author; screenplays and musicals, by title. Under each work, reviews are organized alphabetically by periodical title. Each part includes a list of major awards; lists of popular or long-running plays appear in pts. 1–3. Indexes: pt. 1 (names; titles); pt. 2 (authors, composers, lyricists; directors, designers, choreographers; original works and authors); pt. 3 (authors, adapters, translators; titles). Limited in scope, the series is principally useful as a compilation of reviews indexed in the standard general indexes in section G.

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]
Q4305[edit]

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television: A Biographical Guide Featuring Performers, Directors, Writers, Producers, Designers, Managers, Choreographers, Technicians, Composers, Executives, Dancers, and Critics in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and the World. Detroit: Gale-Cengage, 1984– . Annual. (Subtitle varies.) PN2285.C58 791′.092′2. Online through Gale Biography in Context (J572) and Gale Virtual Reference Library (I535).

The expanded continuation of Who’s Who in the Theatre (Detroit: Gale-Cengage, 1912–81), which emphasizes established, active individuals but also includes some major figures who are inactive or who died after 1960. Entries, which are modeled after Contemporary Authors (J595), provide biographical information; career data; publications; screen credits; recordings; memberships; awards; miscellaneous details; and home, office, or agent address. All but a few entries are based on information supplied or checked by the entrant or an agent. Succeeding volumes print updated or revised entries. Cumulative index in each volume; beginning with vol. 2, the cumulative index also covers all 17 editions of Who’s Who in the Theatre and Who Was Who in the Theatre: A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Directors, Playwrights, and Producers of English-Speaking Theatre, 4 vols. (Detroit: Gale, 1978; Gale Composite Biographical Dictionary Ser. 3). All these volumes are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Although the guide is not comprehensive and although the information supplied by entrants or agents is not always accurate or complete, Contemporary Theatre is a useful source of biographical and career information (as well as addresses) of important persons connected with American or British theater, film, or television.

See also[edit]

Contemporary Dramatists (M2880).

Notable Names in the American Theatre (Q4280).

Poetry[edit]

Most works in section L: Genres/Poetry are important to research in twentieth-century American poetry.

Histories and Surveys[edit]
Q4310[edit]

Nelson, Cary, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 889 pp. PS323.5094 811′.5409.

An edited collection of twenty-six essays that endeavors “to recognize major voices and to bring many other poets into our conversations about modern poetry.” Focused on recovering American poets who have fallen outside the literary canon, Nelson explains that recovery in this setting is necessarily theorized in complex social and historical contexts. Part 1, the opening chapter, introduces the century of poetry and weaves strands among entries to create a cohesive whole made of diverse parts. The chapters that follow have been arranged in logical and complementary order. Part 2, the main body of the text, covers movements, genres, and theories such as modernism, sentimentality, poetry and labor, poetry and music, surrealism, psychoanalysis, political poetry, and disability poetics and topics such as American Indian poetry, women, economics and gender, American culture, war, African American poetry, Asian American poetry, religion, news, diaspora, environmental criticism, the Black Arts movement, and technology. Sparsely but effectively illustrated. Two indexes: poets; subject. Review: Stephen Fredman, Modern Language Review 109.3 (2014): 791–94.

See[edit]

Perkins, History of Modern Poetry (M2890).

Bibliographies of Bibliographies[edit]
Q4315[edit]

McPheron, William. The Bibliography of Contemporary American Poetry, 1945–1985: An Annotated Checklist. Westport: Meckler, 1986. 72 pp. Z1231.P7 M37 [PS323.5] 016.811′54.

A bibliography of bibliographies of works by or about American poets whose reputations were established since 1945. Coverage includes separately published bibliographies, articles, dissertations, theses, and parts of books through 1984. The 267 entries are listed in two divisions: multiple-author bibliographies (organized alphabetically by compiler or editor and including bibliographies of private presses) and single-author bibliographies (listed by publication date under each author). The annotations offer a clear description of scope and (usually) a succinct evaluation of a work’s utility or quality. The introduction provides an overview of the bibliography of contemporary poetry. Although the first division includes some works that hardly qualify as bibliographies and although access is hampered by the lack of a subject index or cross-references to multiple-author bibliographies, McPheron includes a number of works not indexed in the standard serial bibliographies and indexes in section G and is the essential guide to bibliographies of contemporary poets.

Guides to Primary Works[edit]
Bibliographies and Indexes[edit]
= Q4320 =[edit]

Davis, Lloyd, and Robert Irwin. Contemporary American Poetry: A Checklist. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1975. 179 pp. Davis. Second Series, 1973–1983. 1985. 297 pp. Z1231.P7 D38 [PS323.5] 016.811′5′4.

An author list of books of poetry by Americans born after 1900 and still publishing after 1950. The original volume covers 1950 through 1972 (as well as some earlier publications by established poets); the latter, 1973 through 1983. Both exclude vanity press books, collaborations, translations, children’s books, broadsides, reprints, and most publications of fewer than 10 pages, although exceptions are made for established writers. Books are listed by publication date under each poet. Indexed by titles. Because the works are far from complete, include many errors, list several non-American writers, and take many entries unverified from unidentified sources, they are useful only as a preliminary guide to volumes of poetry published after 1950 by writers who are not the subject of an author bibliography. For most others, WorldCat (E225) will provide a more accurate, thorough list of separate publications.

Kirby Congdon, Contemporary Poets in American Anthologies, 1960–1977 (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1978; 228 pp.), is virtually useless since it indexes poets but not poems.

= Q4325 =[edit]

Index of American Periodical Verse: [1971–2006]. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1973–2008. Annual. Z1231.P7 I47 016.811′5′4.

An author list of poems appearing in selected periodicals, primarily English-language little magazines, university reviews, and scholarly journals published in North America (although a few Spanish-language publications have been indexed since the volume for 1981). Coverage encompasses 200 to 300 periodicals and includes poets from all periods and countries, although the majority are contemporary American writers. Entries are listed alphabetically by author; cross-references cite variant forms of names. Indexed by titles. Compilations from 1982 through 2006 are also available as digital files from the editors. Although the criteria governing selection of periodicals are vague (“a broad cross section” and “recommendations of poets, librarians, literary scholars, and publishers”) and although coverage is far from comprehensive, this work is a useful source for locating poems by contemporary poets in periodicals indexed nowhere else.

Some additional periodicals—along with a variety of single-author collections—are indexed by author, title, and first line in Roth’s American Poetry Annual, [1988–90]: A Reference and Guide to Poetry Published in the United States during [1987–89] (Great Neck: Roth, 1989–91; annual), which continues Annual Index to Poetry in Periodicals, [1984–86] (Great Neck: Poetry Index, 1985–88) and American Poetry Index: An Author, Title, and Subject Index to Poetry by Americans in Single-Author Collections, [1981–86] (Great Neck: Granger, 1983–88). None of the preceding explains the criteria governing the selection of periodicals or collections.

For earlier publications, see the following:

  • Caskey, Jefferson D., comp. Index to Poetry in Popular Periodicals, 1955–1959. Westport: Greenwood, 1984. 269 pp. 1960–1964. 1988. 232 pp. Author, title, first-line, and subject indexes to poems in periodicals covered by Readers’ Guide (G400), which does not index poems after 1957.
  • Index to Poetry in Periodicals, 1925–1929: An Index of Poets and Poems Published in American Magazines and Newspapers. Great Neck: Granger, 1984. 265 pp. Covers about 450 periodicals and newspapers.
  • Index to Poetry in Periodicals, 1920–1924: An Index of Poets and Poems Published in American Magazines and Newspapers. Great Neck: Granger, 1983. 178 pp. Covers 302 periodicals and newspapers.
  • Index to Poetry in Periodicals: American Poetic Renaissance, 1915–1919: An Index of Poets and Poems Published in American Magazines and Newspapers. Great Neck: Granger, 1981. 221 pp. An author index to 122 American magazines and newspapers.
= Q4330 =[edit]

Reardon, Joan, and Kristine A. Thorsen. Poetry by American Women, 1900–1975: A Bibliography. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1979. 674 pp. Reardon. Poetry by American Women, 1975–1989: A Bibliography. 1990. 232 pp. Z1229.W8 R4 [PS151] 016.811′008.

An author bibliography of about 12,380 separately published volumes of poetry by some 7,065 female United States citizens who published significant works between 1900 and 1989. Both compilations exclude mixed-genre works, foreign language editions, and most broadsides; reprints and collaborative works are excluded in the 1900–75 volume but not in the supplement. Entries—listed by publication date under an author—cite title, publication information, and pagination. Indexed by titles. Although the authors base most entries on standard bibliographical resources rather than the examination of copies and are inconsistent in citing later editions and providing cross-references for pseudonyms and variant forms of names, Poetry by American Women is a serviceable compilation.

= See also =[edit]

Baughman, American Poets (J595a).

Poetry Index Annual (L1235a).

Text Archives[edit]
= Q4333 =[edit]

Twentieth-Century American Poetry. 2nd ed. Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections. ProQuest, 1996–2013. 16 Mar. 2013. <http://collections.chadwyck.com/marketing/index.jsp>.

An archive of rekeyed texts of more than 100,000 English-language poems by twentieth-century American poets that includes Twentieth-Century African American Poetry (Q3848a) and adds 500 volumes to the original Twentieth-Century American Poetry . Editions were selected according to the following criteria: a collected edition; other editions for poets without a collected one. Selection is based on an attempt to present “a broad representative collection that reflects the diversity of modern American literary traditions, including . . . major figures alongside historically important writers and younger emergent poets” and on the ability to secure rights for electronic publication.

Simple keyword, first-line or title, and author searches can be limited to notes and by publication date, publisher, gender, date during a poet’s lifetime, ethnicity, and literary movement. Searchers can also browse lists of authors, titles or first lines, publishers, ethnic groups, and literary movements. Results appear in ascending alphabetical order and cannot be re-sorted. Citations (but not the full text of poems) can be marked for e-mailing, downloading, or printing; each citation includes a durable URL to the full text.

Some works are rekeyed from textually unsound editions; however, the bibliographic record for each work identifies the source of the text and any omissions (e.g., preliminary matter). Besides being a useful source for identifying an elusive quotation or half-remembered line, the scope of Twentieth-Century American Poetry’s text archive makes feasible a variety of kinds of studies (stylistic, thematic, imagistic, and topical).

The contents of Twentieth-Century American Poetry can also be searched through LiOn (I527).

Continues American Poetry (Q3536).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q4335[edit]

Gingerich, Martin E. Contemporary Poetry in America and England, 1950–1975. Detroit: Gale, 1983. 453 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 41. Z1231.P7 G56 [PS303] 016.811′5.

An annotated selective bibliography of English-language studies (published through 1978, but with some additions through 1981) on contemporary British and American poetry. The approximately 100 poets (two-thirds of them American) are selected on the basis of having been the subject of a reasonable amount of criticism, although writers who appear in other volumes in the series are excluded. The studies included seem to represent what the compiler found in standard bibliographies and indexes. The descriptively annotated entries are organized alphabetically in eight divisions: bibliographies and reference works, contemporary culture and sociology, general aesthetics and poetic theory, general studies of poetry and poets, general studies of American poets and literature, general studies of British poets and literature, studies of two or more poets, and individual authors (each with sections, when needed, for books of poetry, bibliographies, biographies, books about, and articles about). Users must consult existing author bibliographies, since Gingerich supplements but does not duplicate listings in them, and use the name index to locate general studies that discuss an author, since there are no cross-references. Two indexes: names; titles of works cited. The considerable gaps in coverage and lack of a subject index leave this work far short of the sorely needed bibliography of scholarship and criticism on contemporary poetry. It is, however, far superior to Phillis Gershator, A Bibliographic Guide to the Literature of Contemporary American Poetry, 1970–1975 (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1976; 124 pp.), which relies extensively on other sources, is far from complete, is inadequately indexed, and includes only books published between 1970 and 1975.

See also[edit]

Sec. M: English Literature/Twentieth-Century Literature/Genres/Poetry/Guides to Scholarship and Criticism.

American Literary Scholarship (Q3265): Chapters on poetry: 1900–1940s and poetry: 1940s–present.

Baughman, American Poets (J595a).

Kuntz and Martinez, Poetry Explication (L1255).

Leo, Guide to American Poetry Explication, vol. 2 (L1255a).

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]
See[edit]

Contemporary Poets (M2895).

Prose[edit]

Some works in sections L: Genres/Prose and Q: American Literature/General/Genres/Prose are useful for research in twentieth-century American prose.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]
Q4345[edit]

Brier, Peter A., and Anthony Arthur. American Prose and Criticism, 1900–1950: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1981. 242 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 35. Z1231.P8 B74 [PS362] 016.81′08′0052.

A bibliography of works (through the mid-1970s) by and about prose writers “who transcend the idiom and intention of purely journalistic or academic writing.” The entries are organized in two separate parts: prose and criticism. The first is composed of two divisions: general works (with sections for handbooks, bibliographies and checklists, intellectual background, rhetorical studies, anthologies, and studies of periodicals) and individual authors, who are categorized as entertainers, teachers, or reporters and then ranked in three groups: A, who receive an annotated list of primary and secondary works; B, for whom selected primary works and studies are summarized in a few paragraphs; and C, who are given a couple sentences each. The criticism part is composed of three divisions: general works (with sections for bibliographies, general histories of criticism, studies of schools and movements, and literary histories important to the history of criticism), collections of critical essays, and major critics (with separate lists of bibliographies and critical works, an essay discussion of representative studies, and a list of other sources). In both parts, annotations or discussions are largely descriptive. Three indexes: scholars; titles; subjects. Because of the incomplete coverage and lack of criteria governing the selection of both writers and studies, American Prose and Criticism is only marginally useful as a starting point for research and must be supplemented by the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.