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ENG 3351: British Literature 19th Century - Present: Searching for Scholarly Journal Articles

Background Information

It's useful when you are first reading a new author to take a look at background information sources on the literary culture s/he was writing from.  The online sources listed below will give you reliable and authoritative information on specific authors, genres, or terms and movements in literature.  Spending time with these as you start reading will repay itself in a better understanding of what you are reading.

Scholarly Resources

Researching literary criticism will require using professional tools. This guide introduces you to two of these professional search tools:

  • The Modern Language Association’s MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB) is one of the professional tools you’ll be using to identify professional literary criticism in British and American literature, culture, media studies, folklore, and genre studies
  • Literat Online covers some of the same ground as MLAIB but provides fuller coverage for scholarly journal from the U.K.

Take a moment to review the tutorial below on two key search features in the MLAIB that will increase the effectiveness of your searches in that database.

Reading an MLAIB Entry

When you want to focus on a specific piece of literature use the tag Primary Subject Work in the MLA Bibliography.  This option is in the "Select a field" box in the MLA International Bibliography online. Using this feature also bypasses any variation in spelling in the article title itself - is it Fairy QueenFaerie Queen, or Faerie Queene?

You can can see the way Primary Subject Work shows up in the MLA Bibliography entry below (in pink).

There is a similar box for Primary Subject Author useful for when you are looking for an author (Marie de France) as a subject of scholarly articles, rather than for what that person has written.

For authors with an extensive list of works, combine both the Primary Subject Author and Primary Subject Work to get very specific results. 

Structure and Meaning in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Authors:  Margeson, Robert W.
Source:  Papers on Language and Literature: A Journal for Scholars and Critics of Language and Literature (Edwardsville, IL) 1977; 13: 16-24.
Peer Reviewed: Yes
ISSN:0031-1294
General Subject Areas:
Subject Literature: English literature
Period: 1100-1499 Middle English period
Primary Subject Work: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Document Information:
Publication Type: journal article
Language of Publication: English
Update Code: 197701
Sequence Numbers: 1977-1-2556
Accession Number: 1977102556
Database: MLA International Bibliography

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