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Literatures in English: 20th & 21st Centuries: U.S., U.K., Canada

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

Collections of texts by individual authors are listed below the first alphabetical listing of large, multi-author databases.

Asian American Drama.

Black Drama, 1850 to Present.

Canadian Poetry. Primarily poetry before 1900, but includes some texts from the early twentieth century. Part of LiON (Literautre Online).*

Caribbean Literature. Will have more than 100,000 pages of poems, drama, novels, stories, and related material at completion, from English, French, and Spanish language writers. Part of LiON (Literature Online). *

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts. Irish literary, historical, and cultural texts; currently more than 15 million words from over 1200 texts.

Latino Literature. Contains more than 100,000 pages pages of poetry, fiction, and over 450 plays written in English and Spanish by hundreds of Chicano, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and other Latino authors working in the United States.

North American Indian Drama.

North American Women's Drama. Contains 1,517 plays by 330 playwrights, together with detailed, fielded information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. More than 30% of the plays in the collection have never been published before.

North American Women's Letters and Diaries, Colonial Times to 1950

Periodical Archives Online. An archive of hundreds of journals and magaszines published in the arts, humanities and social sciences from the last two centuries. Includes many nineteenth century American periodicals, both literary and general interest as well as some technical, professional, and early scholarly journals. Links to the articles in this database are provided by UCeLinks from databases such as MLAIB.

Twentieth-Century African American Poetry. A database of modern and contemporary African American poetry, featuring almost 9,000 poems by 62 of the most important African American poets of the last century. Part of LiON (Literature Online).*

Twentieth Century Advice Literature: North American Guides on Race, Sex, Gender and the Family.

Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Includes 50,000 poems drawn from 750 volumes by over 300 poets.  Part of LiON (Literature Online).*

Twentieth-Century English Poetry. A collection of more than 600 volumes of poetry by 283 poets from 1900 to the present day. Part of LiON (Literature Online).*

Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels. Beginning with the first underground comix from the 1960’s to the works of modern sequential artists, this collection will contain more than 75,000 pages of comics and graphic novels, along with 25,000 pages of interviews, criticism, and journal articles that document the continual growth and evolution of this artform. The current release contains 289 comic series, 1,602 comic books totalling 100,975 pages.

Women's Travel Diaries. The diaries in this digital collection were written by British and American women who documented their travels to places around the globe, including India, the West Indies, countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as around the United States. There are over 100 diaries of varying length,primarily from the 19th anc early 20th centuries.

*Click here for a separate LibGuide devoted to the Literature Online database.


The Willa Cather Archive.

The W. B. Yeats Collection.

Secondary Bibliographies and Surveys of Research

American Literary Scholarship: An Annual. Duke University Press, published since 1965 covering the years 1963-present. A selective, evaluative and authoritative survey by established scholars of important studies, editions, biographies, and reference works. In addition to chapters on 20th century fiction, poetry, and drama, there are separate chapters for several individual authors or pairs of authors, each by an established scholar: Wharton and Cather, Pound and Eliot, Faulkner Fitzgerald and Hemingway. 

The Year's Work in English Studies. Oxford University Press for The English Association, 1919/20-present. Since volume 35 (for the year 1954), YWES has included a one-chapter survey of the scholarship in U.S. literature.

America: History and Life. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 1964-present. The principal article database for scholars of U.S. history and culture, it is very useful for its indexing of articles and dissertations from history and related disciplines. Any research project involving the relationship of American literature to issues such as labor, gender, economic conditioins, race, etc., should search this database.

"Annual Review." In Journal of Modern Literature , 1970-2001. An annual survey of the scholarship on the Modernists in particular and other writers who gained prominence between 1880 and 1950. Unfortunately, this survey ceased after the 2001 volume, but the surveys for the thirty-one years (1970-2001) are very valuable. These volumes are all available in JSTOR.

A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the South. Ed. Owen Robinson and Richard Gray. Wiley-Blackwell, 2004.  

Although dated, many older printed bibliographies did a much better job of surveying the scholarship within their parameters than did the sources that have evolved into MLAIB and ABELL. They also often have descriptive and/or evaluative annotations about the books and articles cited, which are not available in the big databases. Therefore, they can be very valuable for identifying early and still important criticism and other secondary information.

Brown, Christopher C. and William B. Thesing. English Prose and Criticism, 1900-1950: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research, 1983. Cassis, A. F. The Twentieth-Century English Novel: An Annotated Bibliography of General Criticism. NY: Garland, 1977. A bibliography of studies of multiple novelists or the C20 novel as a genre. Geisel stacks PR 881 .C3

Davies, Alistair. An Annotated Critical Bibliography of Modernism. Brighton, UK: Harvester Press; Totowa, NJ: Barnes, 1982. Although dated, still valuable for the annotations and for the listings of books in the General chapter that are not necessarily indexed in either ABELL or MLAIB (Harner M2795). Geisel stacks PR 478 .M62 D38 1982

Duke, Maurice, Jackson R. Bryer, and M. Thomas Inge, eds. American Women Writers: Bibliographical Essays. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1983. (Yes, it is strange that neither of the compilers is a woman.)

Etulain, Richard W. A Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Western American Literature. 2nd ed. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995. Geisel stacks PS 271 .E8 1995

Leary, Lewis. Articles on American Literature, 1900-1950. Durham: Duke University Press, 1954. Updated by volumes covering 1950-1967 (1970) and 1968-1975 (1979).

Pownall, David E., comp. Articles on Twentieth Century Literature: An Annotated Bibliography, 1954 to 1970. NY: KTO, 1973-80. 7 volumes. An expanded cumulation of "Current Bibliography" in the journal Twentieth Century Literature, volume one to volume sixteen, 1955 to 1970. Geisel Reference PN 771 .P66

Rice, Thomas Jackson. English Fiction, 1900-1950: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979-83. 2 vols. Geisel stacks PR 881 .R5

Bibliographies on single authors (listed only if available online):

Carpenter, Charles A. Dramatic Works of Samuel Beckett: A Selective Bibliography of Publications About His Plays and Their Conceptual Foundations. London: Continuum, 2011. Most of the articles, books, and other docuemnts cited are literary or dramaturgical critiques of Beckett's theater pieces, but articles on performance history, audience reception, etc. are also included.

Wise, Jon and Mike Hill. The Works of Graham Greee: A Reader's Bibliography and Guide. London: Continuum, 2012.


Indexes to Poetry, Short Stories, Plays, Interviews, Etc.

McWilliams, Jim. In Their Own Words: An Index of Interviews with American AUthors, 1945-2000. West Cornwall, CT: Locust Hill Press, 2002. Geisel Reference PS 225 .M39

Encyclopedias, Biography, Dictionaries, Companions, Etc.

The following titles can be searched separately or together within Oxford Reference Premium Online The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature, The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, The Oxford Companon to American Literature (6th ed., 2004), The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7th ed., 2009), The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (3rd ed., 2007), The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Literature in English, The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English, The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain and Ireland, The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing, The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction, A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology 1475-2000.

The following resources are listed alphabetically by title.

Hischak, Thomas S. American Literature on Stage and Screen: 525 Works and Their Adaptations. Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2012.

The Companion to Southern Literature: Themes, Genres, Places, People, Movements, and Motifs. Ed. Joseph M. Flora and Lucinda H. MacKethan. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2002. Geisel Reference PS 261 .C55 2002

Contemporary Novelists. 7th edition.  Ed. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Detroit: Gale/St. James, 2001. Geisel Reference PR 883 .C64 2001.

Contemporary Poets. 7th edition. Ed. Thomas Riggs. Detroit: Gale/St. James, 2001. Geisel Reference PR 603 .C6 2001

Lucy, Niall. Dictionary of Postmodernism. Ed. John Hartley. Chichester, W. Sussex; Malvern, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Ed. John Clute and John Grant. NY: St. Martin's Press, 1997. This digital edition makes some updates and corrections to the 1997 printed edition, but is not a complete revision.

Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz, general editors. Chichester, West Suffolk; Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

Encyclopedia of the Environment in American Literature. Ed. Geoff Hamilton and Brian Jones. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2013.

Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction. Ed. Brian W. Schaffer. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century. Ed. Leonard S. Klein. 2nd, revised edition. NY: Ungar, 1981-93. 5 volumes. Geisel Stacks (Oversize, 6th floor): PN 771 .E5 1981

Mason, Fran. Historical Dictionary of Postmodernist Literature and Theater. (Scarecrow, 2007).

Literature Resource Center is particularly strong on twentieth- and twenty-first-century writers.

Modernism: Keyterms. Ed. Melby Cuddy-Keane, Adam Hammond, and Alexandra Peat. Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage. (Scribner Writers Series). Rather lengthy biographical and critical essays covering influential writers of mystery, detective, police, and spy novels.

SFE: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Ed. John Clute and David Langford. 3rd edition. 2011-     . An online-only revision of the 1993 edition edited by Clute and Peter Nicholls. It is a Beta version and is therefore being continually revised.

Supernatural Fiction Writers: Contemporary Fantasy and Horror. Ed. Richard Bleiler. 2nd ed. (Scribner Writers Series). Rather lengthy biographical and critical essays covering influential writers of science fiction and fantasy fiction.

Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers. 3rd ed. Detroit: St. James, 1991. Geisel Reference PR 888 .D4 T8 1991 

Twentieth-Century Romance and Gothic Writers. Ed. James Vinson. London: Macmillan, 1982. Geisel Reference PR 888 .L69 T86 1982

Twentieth-Century Western Writers. Ed. Geoff Sadler. 2nd ed. Detroit: St. James P, 1991. Geisel Reference PS 271 .T84 1991

Bibliographies of Primary Sources

Literary Writings in America: A Bibliography. Millwood, NY: KTO, 1977. A reproduction of the card file compiled by the Works Progress Administration that cataloged creative works and reveiws published by Americans between 1850 and 1940.

American Literary Magazines: The Twentieth Century. Ed. Edward E. Chielens. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1992. Profiles of the most important literary periodicals of the century, with publishing histories, available indexes to the contents, and library locations of some copies.

American Women Playwrights, 1900-1930: A Checklist. Ed. Frances Diodato Bzowski. NY: Greenwood, 1992. Geisel Reference PS 338 .W6 B95 1992

Bibliography of American Fiction, 1919-1988. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Judith S. Baughman. NY: Facts on File, 1991. 2 volumes. Geisel Reference PS 379 .B524 1991

Arksey, Laura, Nancy Pries, and Marcia Reed. American Diaries: An Annotated Bibliography of Published American Diaries and Journals. Detroit: Gale, 1983-87. 2 volumes.  Volume 2 covers diaries published between 1845 and 1980. Copies in Geisel Reference and on the 7th floor.

Grimes, Janet and Diva Daims. Novels in English by Women, 1891-1920: A Preliminary Checklist. NY: Garland, 1981.  Geisel Reference PR 1286 .G75

Ramsdell, Kristin and Diana Tixier Herald. Romance Fiction: A Guide to the Genre. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2012.

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

Spratford, Becky Spiegel. The Readers' Advisory Guide to Horror. 2nd ed. Chicago: American Library Assn., 2012.

Sullivan, Alvin, ed. British Literary Magazines. Volume IV: The Modern Age, 1914-1984. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood, 1986. Geisel Reference PN 5124 .L6 B74 1983 v. 4.

Comprehensive Index to English-Language Little Magazines, 1890-1970. Ed. Marion Sader. Millwood NY: KTO, 1976. 8 volumes. Geisel Reference PN 4888 .L55 C6

Location Register of 20th-Century English Literary Manuscripts and Letters. Maintained (as funding permits) by the University of Reading Library. The printed edition doesn't have the post-1988 updates that the database does, but may still be useful: Geisel Reference Z 6611 .L7 L63 1988 (2 volumes).

British National Bibliography (BNB). Annual compilation of all books, e-resources, and new periodicals published in the British Isles, arranged by Dewey Decimal classification number, with author, title, and broad subject indexes.  For British literature and that of its former non-U.S. colonies, consult the 820s. The last ten years are kept in Geisel Reference Z 2001 .B75; older volumes are stored at SRLF.


Tremaine, Marie. Bibliography of Canadian Imprints, 1751-1800. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.