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LTWL 172: Parzival & The Grail: Reference Sources (Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Etc.)

A guide to Geisel Library resources for LTWL 172.

Dictionaries of Literary Terms

Harmon, William. A Handbook to Literature. 12th edition. Based on earlier editions by William Flint Thrall, Addison Hibbard, and C. Hugh Holman. Boston: Longman, 2012.

PN 41 .H355 2012 SSHL Reference DESK


The Harper Handbook to Literature. 2nd edition. Ed. Northrop Frye et al. New York: Longman, 1997.

PN 41 .F75 1997 SSHL Reference Stacks.


Myers, Jack Elliott and Don Charles Wukasch. Dictionary and Handbook of Poetry. Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press, 2003.

PN 1042 .M93 2003 SSHL Reference Stacks


The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Alex Preminger and T.V.F. Brogan, co-editors; Frank J. Warnke, O.

            B. Hardison, Jr., and Earl Miner, associate editors. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993.


A shortened version of this, in print format, is:


The New Princeton Handbook of Poetic

            Terms. Ed. T.V.F. Brogan. Princeton,

            N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994.

PN 1021 .N39 1994 SSHL Stacks (7th floor)

Dictionary of Historical English Language

Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd edition.

The Oxford English Dictionary (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 is very different from those of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings. You'll still find these in the OED, but you'll also find the history of individual words, and of the language—traced through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to films scripts and cookery books. The OED started life more than 150 years ago. Today, the dictionary is in the process of its first major revision. Updates  revise and extend the OED at regular intervals, each time subtly adjusting our image of the English language. 

Subject Encyclopedias

Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Ed. Robert E. Bjork. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

            Designed both for medievalists, who need a detailed and reliable reference tool, and for students and general readers seeking an accessible guide to the period. Over 800 scholars have assembled thousands of comprehensive entries, supplemented by hundreds of illustrations and dozens of maps.


The New Arthurian Encyclopedia. Ed. Norris J. Lacy et al. (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, v. 931). New York: Garland Publishing Co., 1996.

            SSH Reference Collection: DA 152.5 .A7 N48 1996


 Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Ed.-in-chief, Joseph R. Strayer. New York: Scribner, 1982-1989. 13 vols. + Supplement, Ed.-in-chief, William Chester Jordan. New York: Scribner, 2004. Some relevant articles include: "Arthurian Literature," "Arthurian Romances" (Supplement volume), "Grail, Legend of," "Wolfram von Eschenbach,” "Arthurian Literature,” "Chretian de Troyes," "Malory, Sir Thomas," "Eucharist," "Parcevals saga" (Scandinavian versions), "French Literature," "Welsh Literature," etc. 

            SSH Reference Collection: D 114 .D5 1982


Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature. Ed. Robert Thomas Lambdin and Laura Cooner Lambdin. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2000.

            SSH Reference Collection: PN 669 .E53 2000


Ruud, Jay. Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

            SSH Reference Collection: PN 669. R88 2006


Encyclopedia of German Literature. Ed. Matthias Konzett. Chicago & London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000.  2 vols. 

         "Wolfram von Eschenbach, fl. 1195-1220," "Arthurian Romance"

           SSH Reference Collection: PT 41 .E63 2000 SSHL 

The Oxford Companion to German Literature. 3rd edition. Ed. Henry and Mary Garland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

            “Parzival,” “Wolfram von Eschenbach”  

            Print copy available in SSHL Stacks at PT 41 .G3 1997

The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance. Ed. Roberta L. Krueger. (Cambridge Companions to Literature). Cambridge, U.K. and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.  

            Not strictly a reference book, but a collection of introductory essays, including “Medieval German Romance,” “Romance and Other Genres,” “The Manuscript Context of Medieval Romance,” “The Societal Role of Chivalry in Romance: Northwestern Europe,” etc.         SSHL Stacks PN 671 .C36 2000 (7th floor)  


General Encyclopedias

Interdisciplinary encyclopedias also commission experts to write articles on various topics. The SSHL Reference Collection has 3 general encyclopedias that have relevant articles:

The New Encyclopedia Britannica. AE 5 .E363 2005

“Wolfram von Eschenbach,” v. 12; “Lohengrin,” v. 7; and the section on Arthurian romance in “Literature, the Art of,” v. 23.

Encyclopedia Americana. AE 5 .E333 2002

“Parzival,” v. 21; “Arthurian Romances,” v. 2; “Grail, Holy,” v. 13; “Wolfram von Eschenbach,” v. 29; and parts of “German Literature,” v. 12.

The World Book Encyclopedia. AE 5 .W55 2007

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