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English and Comparative Literature

Research Assistance

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Michelle Brasseur
Young Research Library, Level A



The UCLA Library has dictionaries of all kinds, ranging from the familiar look-up-a-word type like the Oxford English Dictionary or Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary to very specialized dictionaries for particular fields. You can find these dictionaries in UC Library Search. Here is a brief list of general dictionaries for literary research.

If there is a particular dictionary you would like me to add here, let me know.

Introductory Works

The Charles E. Young Research Library holds a large selection of print and electronic reference resources for literary research, including encyclopedias, historical and biographical dictionaries, bibliographies, online databases, and more. 

Biographical Information

Literary scholars often need reference materials related to biographical information on authors and literary critics. You will find some of this information in the encyclopedias and dictionaries, and especially the introductory works. Don't forget to try newspapers that are contemporary to the individual in question. Also try searching in the Library Catalog for the term for categories of authors, e.g., Irish poets, twentieth-century American dramatists, South Asian writers in English.

Two key sources for literature-related biography include Contemporary Authors and the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Both of these resources are available online in Gale Literature Resource Center.

Here are some other places to check for individuals who were not primarily known as literary figures:

Style Manuals and Guides