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English-Language Literature: Library Resources: The Victorian Period (1837-1901)

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

Full Text Collections

In addition to general resources such as GoogleBooks, the Internet Archive, etc. (see Home), there are several sites devoted to the Victorian period and to specific authors: 

English Poetry. One of the individual collections in Literature Online (LiON). Although this archive contains poems from the 8th through the early 20th centuries, it is particularly strong in poetry of the 18th and 19th centuries. Use the "Complete Contents" tab to scroll through all poets alphbetically, or the Search tab to search for poems by keyword, time period, gender of author, and other criteria.

Nineteenth Century Fiction. Another of the individual collections in Literature Online (LiON). A collection of 250 British and Irish novels from the period 1782 to 1903, stretching from the lden age of Gothic fiction to the Decadent and New Woman novels of the 1890s. Major novelists of the period such as Austen, Scott, Mary Shelley, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy and the Brontës feature alongside popular romances, sensation fiction, colonial adventure novels and children's literature. Click here for a separate LibGuide devoted to the Literature Online database.

19th Century British Pamphlets Online. More than 23,000 pamphlets from 7 UK libraries

At the Circulating Library: A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837-1901

Baldwin Library of Children's Literature Digital Edition.

The Carlyle Letters Online. More than 10,000 letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle.

 A Celebration of Women Writers.

.Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls from the Stanford University Library.  Full texts of almost a dozen dime novels of the late 19th century and about a hundred issues of one of the magazines intended for boys, Secret Service, notable now among other things for its depictions of racial and ethnic stereotypes. Also includes digital images of over 2300 covers from dime novels and penny dreadfuls.

Google Books and Internet Archive. These similar, huge full-text archives have several million scanned books from major research libraries, including the University of California, the University of Michigan, Indian University, Harvard, and others. Primarily useful for examining and/or reading nineteenth and early twentieth-century out-of-copyright editions of Victorian-era texts.  

The Rossetti Archive. Primary texts and secondary material about Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The (Algernon Charles) Swinburne Project. A digital collection and scholarly project devoted to the life and work of Victorian poet Algernon Charles Swinburne and to digital encounters with Swinburne's works and related documents and information resources.

Times Digital Archive. Searchable full text of the Times between 1785 and 1985.

Victorian Women Writers Project. Includes transcriptions of the work of C19 women writers of prose, poetry, novels, religious tracts, and more.

See also NINES in the Useful Websites box. 

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Companions, & Biography

Oxford Reference Library Online. Allows for a combined searching of over 150 separate Oxford reference titles, including the Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, the Oxford Guide to Literary Britain and Ireland, and individual Oxford Readers' Companions to Dickens, Eliot, Trollope, Hardy, and the Brontes.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The most authoritative biographical encyclopedia for British subjects, from the Roman settlement to the 21st Century, with over 58,000 articles and almost 11,000 illustrations. A thorough revision of the Dictionary of National Biography, which was itself one of the monuments of Victorian intellectual achievement.

The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Ed. Paul Schlicke. Slightly revised from the 1999 edition.

 

About this page

Not all boxes on this page are visible from the top. Please scroll down to see the boxes for Useful Websites and Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Companions, & Biography.

Databases, Secondary Bibliographies, Indexes & Reviews of Research

In addition to the MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB), the Annual Bibliography of English Language & Literature (ABELL) and other bibliographies described in the Bibliographies: Secondary section of this Guide, there are several bibliographies specifically devoted to the Victorian period that may provide citations to additional resources.

The Victorian Studies Bibliography. Lists selected books, articles, and reviews on the Victorian period published since 1991. Compiled by the editorial staff of the journal Victorian Studies and members of the Victorian Division of the Modern Language Association. Published by Indiana University Press.  Note: Citations do not have UC eLinks, so journal or book titles will need to be typed into Roger or Melvyl to determine if UCSD or the UC system owns the source cited. If you prefer, the individual annual bibliographies since 1957 can be consulted in JSTOR. From the JSTOR home page, under "Browse by Discipline," click on "Language and Literature," then on Victorian Studies, then on the fourh issue of any volume.

Cumulative Bibliography of Victorian Studies. [Print only] 5-year cumulations of Annual Bibliography of Victorian Studies, published since 1980 by LITIR Database in Alberta, Canada.  Geisel Library has the cumulation volumes for the periods 1945-1969, 1985-1989, and 1995-2004, along with the annual volumes for 2005 and 2006. (Budgetary restraints forced us to cancel this resource after 2006.) This resource is very interdisciplinary, including articles, books, and reviews on the political, social, and cultural history, economics, literature, and the arts.  Shelved in Geisel Reference Collection at CB 415 .A62.

"Recent Studies in the Nineteenth Century" appears annually in the Autumn issue of the journal Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900An invited major scholar surveys the previous year's book-length scholarship. Volumes of this journal since 1999 can be found in Project Muse; volumes before 1999 are available in JSTOR -- use the links from the Roger record.

"Guide to the Year's Work in Victorian Poetry." Appears annually in the journal Victorian Poetry, which is online in Project Muse (since 2000) and in JSTOR (except for last 5 years). Use links from the record in Roger.

Vann, J. Don and Rosemary T. VanArsdell, eds. Victorian Periodicals: A Guide to Research. NY: MLA, 1978-79. 2 vols.   Geisel stacks PN 5124 .P4 V5

DeLaura, David J., ed. Victorian Prose: A Guide to Research. NY: MLA, 1973. Geisel stacks PR 785 .D4

Faverty, Frederic E., ed. The Victorian Poets: A Guide to Research. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968. Reviews research through 1966. Geisel stacks PR 593 .F3 1968

For additional bibliographies: 1) consult the newest edition of James Harner's Literary Research Guide; 2) use the subject headings "English Literature--19th Century--Bibliography" (generally for primary sources) and "English Literature--19th Century--History and Criticism--Bibliography" (for secondary sources), or subject headings for individual authors, genres, etc., for example: Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870--Bibliography, or "English Fiction--19th Century--Bibliography" / "English Poetry--19th Century--Bibliography" etc.

    

Useful Websites

The Victorian Web. A comprehensive, well-maintained and -organized site dedicated to all aspects of Victorian culture; it contains thousands of scholarly articles, primary texts, images, and related materials.

C19: The Nineteenth-Century Index. C19 Index draws on the strength of established indexes such as the Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalogue (NSTC), The Wellesley Index, Poole's Index, Periodicals Index Online and the Cumulative Index to Niles' Register 1811–1849 to create integrated bibliographic coverage of over 1.7 million books and official publications, 70,000 archival collections and 22.7 million articles published in over 2,500 journals, magazines and newspapers. C19 Index now provides integrated access to 13 bibliographic indexes, including more than three million records from British Periodicals Collections I and II, together with the expanded online edition of the Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism (DNCJ).

Victoria Research Web. A guide to research on C19 Britain, including short reference works created by scholars, such as guides to periodicals research, locating and using Victorian publishing records, or planning a research trip to the UK. Also includes "At the Circulating Library," a database of information about the "triple-deckers" published during the period and serialization information for novels in more than 60 Victorian periodicals.

NINES (Nineteenth Century Scholarship Online). Enhanced access to digital research on the C19 (almost one million digital objects as of March 2012); also serves as a peer-reviewing body for digital scholarship.

Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians. A megasite from the British Library with selected full texts, images, audio talks, biographical information, videos, articles, and links to BL catalogs and descriptions of its collections and services. 

Digitizing "Chinese Englishmen": Representations of Race and Empire in the Nineteenth Century. This is a project that involves digitization and academic commentary on the Straits Chinese Magazine, a literary magazine published in colonial Singapore from 1897-1907 by a combination of Southeast Asian-born Anglophone Chinese subjects, European colonial writers and mixed-race Eurasian writers. It documents how British colonial culture created a group of “Asian Victorians” in Southeast Asia through the establishment of a colonial intermediary class within the diasporic Chinese group known as the “Straits Chinese.”

 

Bibliographies & Indexes of Primary Sources

Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue.  Part of C19 (see Useful Websites box). An attempt to list all books and much of the ephemera printed between 1801 and 1919 in Britain, its colonies, and the U.S.

Reilly, Catherine W. Mid-Victorian Poetry, 1860-1879: An Annotated Bibliography. London: Mansell, 2000.  Geisel Reference PR 581 .R454 2000

Reilly, Catherine W. Late Victorian Poetry, 1880-1899: An Annotated Bibliography. London: Mansell, 1994. Geisel Reference PR 581 .R453 1994  These two volumes attempt to list every separately-published volume of poetry in English by poets who lived in the U.K. between 1860 and 1899. It is NOT an index of poems in periodicals, anthologies, gift-books, etc. 

Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900. Part of C19 (see Useful Websites box). An index to the prose content (not poetry) of 43 major literary and general interest periodicals over the last three quarters of the Nineteenth Century.

Sullivan, Alvin, ed. British Literary Magazines. Volume III: THe Victorian and Edwardian Age, 1837-1913. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood, 1983. Geisel Reference PN 5124 .L6 B74 1983 v. 3.

Many bibliographies exist that enumerate all the known editions of an author's work, or some sub-set of them (such as first editions only). These bibliographies are called "Descriptive" bibliographies if they attempt to describe, using conventional terms and symbols, the exact appearance of particular editions, printings, and states of an author's works. One of the most important of these, for Victorian literature, is:

Sadleir, Michael. XIX Century Fiction: A Bibliographical Record Based on His Own Collection. (London: Constable, 1951, 2 volumes), located in Special Collections Reference, PR 821z .S34.  (The bulk of Sadleir's collection is now in the Special Collections Department at UCLA.)

A more recent and more comprehensive bibliography, also based on an individual collector's library, is:

Wolff, Robert Lee. Nineteenth-Century Fiction: A Bibliographical Catalogue Based on the Collection Formed by Robert Lee Wolff. (New York: Garland, 1981-86, 5 volumes), shelved in Geisel Reference at PR 861 .W6   

Also of interest are:

Summers, Montague. A Gothic Bibliography. (London: The Fortune Press, 1941); UCSD has a 1964 reprint edition in te Annex (Z 2014 .F4 S9 1964).

Parrish, Morris Longstreth. Victorian Lady Novelists: George Eliot, Mrs. Gaskell, the Bronte Sisters: First Editions in the Library at Dormy House, Pine Valley, New Jersey, Described With Notes (London: Constable, 1933), located in Special Collections Reference, PR 1145z .P3 1933.

Other primary bibliographers are not particularly interested in describing the various editions listed, but in simply providing as comprehensive a listing of titles as possible within the parameters chosen.  Examples of these are:

Alston, R. C. A Checklist of Women Writers, 1801-1900: Fiction, Verse, Drama. London: British Library, 1990. Geisel Reference PR 115 .A428 1990

Davis, Gwynn and Beverly A. Joyce. Poetry by Women to 1900: A Bibliography of American and British Writers. London: Mansell, 1991. Geisel Reference PR 508 .W6 D38 1991

Snell, K. D. M. The Bibliography of Regional Fiction in Britain and Ireland, 1800-2000. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002. Geisel Reference PR 868 .R4 S64 2002

North, John S., editor. The Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800-1900. Series 1 of 5. Waterloo, Ont.: North Waterloo Academic Press, 1997-     . 1st series (10 volumes.) Geisel Reference Z 6956 .E5 W37 1997.  A bibliography and finding list of approximately 25,000 serials published in England during the C19. This first series (out of a projected 5) is strong on theater periodicals, but not on literary ones. An expanded online database based on this product is available, but UCSD has not acquired it.  

A particular kind of bibliography is a published catalog of a particular library or of a particular museum or library exhibition. See, for example, "Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, Baron, 1809-1892--Bibliography--Catalogs" or "Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870--Bibliography--Catalogs"

MANUSCRIPTS

Index of English Literary Manuscripts. London: Mansell; NY: Bowker, 1980-     . Vol. 4: 1800-1900 compiled by Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White. Geisel stacks PR 83 .i5