How to Do Library Research

This set of pages has information on how to do library research. In all cases, once you have located sources, be sure to evaluate them, using the evaluation guides.

Literary Authors/Writers

The pages linked to below list reference books with biographical information about authors and writers.

World Authors/Writers

The books on this page include biographical information, and, in some cases, criticism for major world authors. "Literary Criticism" titles (Classical, Contemporary, etc., individually listed) are useful for finding out how an author's works have been perceived from the time of first publication to the present. Additional biographical titles on world authors are available in Reference in the call number range PN 74-PN 900. To identify which volume of Gale (publisher) publications has a particular author or mentions a particular work (title), use Gale's Literary Databases; CSU owns many of the volumes in the series (the nine major titles are included on this page). Two key titles are available online (in the same database) and are linked to from this page.

  • Buck, Claire, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. New York: Prentice Hall, 1992.
    PN 471 .B57 1992 REF.  Essays in the first section give an overview of literary eras starting in Greek antiquity. The largest part, the "Reference section," has biographical information about women authors and definitions of selected literary terms and concepts (in one alphabetical list).
  • Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of World Authors from Classical Antiquity through the Fourteenth Century, from the First Appraisals to Current Evaluations. 16+ vols. Detroit: Gale, 1988- .
    PA3001 .C52 REF
  • Contemporary Authors: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Current Writers in Fiction, General Nonfiction, Poetry, Journalism, Drama, Motion Pictures, Television, and Other Fields. Detroit: Gale, 1967- . Also available online 1967- (to CSU users).
    PN 771 .C612 REF and PN 771 .C613 Morgan
  • Contemporary Authors: Autobiography Series. Detroit: Gale, 1984- .
    PN 771 .C616 REF
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Today's Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Short Story Writers, Scriptwriters, and Other Creative Writers (CLC). Detroit: Gale, 1973- . Also available online 1992- (to CSU users). More years available online to CSU affiliates via Literature Criticism Online.
    PN 771 .C617 Morgan Temp (not currently available as of March 2012; check later for location of print version) Includes people who are still alive or who died after 1960.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography. (DLB) Detroit: Gale, 1978- . Available online to CSU affiliates via Literature Criticism Online.
    PS 221 .D5 Morgan Now over 340 volumes. Each volume has authors from a particular location, era, or type. See library record for list of volumes. Use cumulative index to search for specific author or work. Highly recommended source.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook. Detroit: Gale, 1981-2002 (print).
    PS 221 .D52 Morgan & Available online to CSU affiliates via Literature Criticism Online.   Published to augment and update entries already published in the DLB. Adds newly prominent writers who were not in original DLB volumes.
  • Madden, David, et al. eds. Contemporary Novelists. 7th ed. Detroit: St. James, 2001.
    PR 883 .C64 2001 REF & Available online to CSU affiliates. Has biographies, publications, and critical studies of the novelists' works.
  • Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Philosophers, and Other Creative Writers, from the First Published Critical Appraisals to Current Evaluations. Detroit: Gale, 1984- . Available online to CSU affiliates via Literature Criticism Online.
    PN 86 .L56 Morgan Temp (not currently available as of March 2012; check later for location of print version)
  • Magill, Frank N. ed. Cyclopedia of World Authors. 5 vols. 4th rev. ed. Pasadena, CA: Salem, 2004.
    PN 451 .M36 2004 REF.  Includes list of works listed by genre and secondary bibliography.
  • Magill, Frank N. ed. Great Women Writers: The Lives and Works of 135 of the World's Most Important Women Writers, from Antiquity to the Present. New York: Henry Holt, 1994.
    PN 471 .G74 1994 REF.  Includes list of principal long fiction, other literary forms, achievements, biography, analysis, other major works, and bibliography.
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Short Story Writers, Philosophers, and Other Creative Writers Who Died between 1800 and 1899, from the First Published Critical Appraisals to Current Evaluations. Detroit: Gale, 1981- . Available online to CSU affiliates via Literature Criticism Online.
    PN 761 .N5 Morgan Temp (not currently available as of March 2012; check later for location of print version)

  • Poetry Criticism. 24 vols. Detroit: Gale, 1991-1999.
    PS 303 .P63 REF As of March 2012 there are 102 volumes available online (one at at time) via Literature Criticism Online. Search for individual volume in library catalog, then browse authors or works within the database itself.  Covers the "most frequently discussed and studied poets in high school and undergraduate college courses." Various nationalities, eras, and movements in each volume. Annotated bibliography of additional sources.
  • Short Story Criticism. Vols. 1-44, 150. Detroit: Gale, 1988-1999.
    PN 3373 .S386 REF As of March 2012 there are 129 volumes available online (one at at time) via Literature Criticism Online. Search for individual volume in library catalog, then browse authors or works within the database itself.  Major short story writers from all eras and nationalities. Gives overviews of major criticism.
  • Tucker, Martin, ed. Literary Exile in the Twentieth Century: An Analysis and Biographical Dictionary. New York: Greenwood, 1991.
    PN 495 .L43 1991 MORGAN
  • Twentieth Century Literary Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Short Story Writers, Philosophers, and Other Creative Writers Who Died between 1900 and 1960, from the First Published Critical Appraisals to Current Evaluations. Vols. 1-217. Detroit: Gale, 1978-2009. Available online to CSU affiliates via Literature Criticism Online.
    PN 771 .G27 Morgan Temp (not currently available as of March 2012; check later for location of print version)
  • Writer's Directory. New York: St. James.
    PS 1 .W73 INFO DESK (latest year) 2012 available online to CSU affiliates.  Living writers who write in English. Good resource for list of publications.

British Writers

  • Kunitz, Stanley J. and Howard Haycraft, eds. British Authors Before 1800: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1952.
    PR 105 K9 REF
  • Scott-Kilvert, Ian, ed. British Writers. 8 vols. New York: Scribner's, 1979. Index volume. Supplement volume 1987.
    PR 85 .B688 REF.  Literary biographies of British authors. Introductions to the works of writers who have made a significant contribution to English literature from the 14th century to the present. Listed in chronological order by the writer's birth date
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. Online to CSU affiliates.
  • Shattock, Joanne. Oxford Guide to British Women Writers. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993.
    PR 111 .S48 1993 Morgan

American Writers

  • Contemporary Authors. Online to CSU affiliates.
  • Kunitz, Stanley J. and Howard Haycraft, eds. American Authors 1600-1900: A Biographical Dictionary of American Literature. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1938.
    PS 21 K5 REF
  • Mainiero, Lina., ed. American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present. 4 vols. New York: Ungar, 1979. Supplement.
    PS 147 .A4 REF  Biographies, list of works, bibliographies and other references.
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. Online to CSU affiliates.
  • Rush, Theressa Gunnels, Carol Fairbanks Myers, and Esther Spring Arata. Black American Writers Past and Present: A Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary. 2 vols. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1975.
    Z 1229 .N39 R87 MORGAN
  • Unger, Leonard, ed. American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies. 10 vols. New York: Scribner's, 1974. Supplement volumes 1979 and 1981.
    PS 129 .A55 REF

Author Information

Content: Naomi Lederer

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