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Literatures in English: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Handbooks, Etc.

This page lists sources that cover multiple periods, genres, and/or nationalities. See additional resources in the "Historical Literary Period" and "Geographical Region" pages.

Literary Encyclopedias, Handbooks, Companions, Etc.

Oxford Reference Online Premium. Over 150 dictionaries, handbooks, and encyclopedias from Oxford University Press, which may be searched in their entirety, within individual volumes, or within groups of volumes by subject, many of which include critiques of individual writers, surveys of larger topics, or entries on specific topics, such as Phrases & Fables or Literary Terms.

Cambridge Companions to Literature. More than 200 volumes in the Cambridge Companions series are included in Literature Online (LiON). These are not exactly reference books but, rather, surveys of research on various aspects of an author's work.

Panton, Kenneth J. Historical Dictionary of the British Empire. 2015.

A Companion to Crime Fiction. 2010.

Encyclopedia of the Novel  1998. (Also see a separate work with the same title  under Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia, above).

Encyclopedia of Themes in Literature 2011.

Oxford Companion to American Literature 2013.

Routledge Companion to World Literature. 2012.

Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. 2005. A newer edition is available in print format only at Geisel Stacks PN 3437 .O94 2015.

Oxford Classical Dictionary. 3rd edition. 2005

Drury, John. Poetry Dictionary. 2nd ed. 2006.

Bane, Theresa. Encyclopedia of Imaginary and Mythical Places. 2014.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature 2006

Encyclopedia of the Vampire  2011

Thematic Guide to Modern Drama. 2007.

Encyclopedia of the Zombie.  2015

Carty, T.J. Dictionary of Literary Pseudonyms in the English Language. 2nd edition. 2001.

Dictionaries of Literary & Theoretical Terms

The English Language - Dictionaries, Thesauri, Quotations, Corpora, Etc.

The Oxford English Dictionary.  The OED is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words— past and present—from across the English-speaking world. As a historical dictionary, the OED traces the history of individual words, and of the language, through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to films scripts and cookery books. 

The English Dictionaries and Thesauruses sub-set of Oxford Reference Online Premium allows for combined or separate searching of The Oxford Dictionary of English, The Concise OED, New Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford American Dictionary of Current English, Oxford American Thesaurus of Current English, and several others.

Green's Dictionary of Slang. Covering five centuries of innovation in all English-speaking regions of the world, this dictionary is the most authoritative, scholarly approach to slang ever attempted. Over 100,000 words are defined; each word is authenticated by genuine and full-referenced citations of its use.

Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. This 7th edition, 2009, edited by Elizabeth Knowles, includes over 20,000 quotations from the Classical period to the recent past.

Oxford Dictionary of American Quotations. 2nd ed. Ed. Hugh Raswon and Margaret Milner. Almost 6000 quotations offering a sample of American thought and culture.

Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations. 3rd ed. Ed. Elizabeth Knowles. Over 5000 quotations from literary, cultural, and political figures around the world.

Corpus of Contemorary American English. The largest freely-available corpus of English, and the only large and balanced corpus of American English. Currently 425 million words in texts published through 2011.

A Dictionary of Confusable Phrases: More than 10,000 Idioms and Collocations. Compiled by Yuri Dolgopolov. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2010.

​To see the Library's entire collection of English language dictionaries (print and online), type the subject heading English Language--Dictionaries in Roger

To find printed bilingual dictionaries in the Library's collections, use a SUBJECT search in Roger. Enter the name of the non-English language, followed by the word dictionaries, followed by the word English, for example:  Italian language--Dictionaries--English or English Language--Dictionaries--Albanian.

Calendars, Timelines, Atlases, Etc.

See Also

Oxford Reference Online Premium has over a dozen timelines for literature, art, science, war, several individual countries, etc.

The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain & Ireland. A gazeteer listing nearly 2000 places, listing their connections to British and Irish writers.  

Biography