Literature Sources Subject Bibliography

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This subject bibliography outlines some of the major sources that are most commonly used for literary research in the Auburn University at Montogomery Library. For further information and assistance please contact the Reference Department on the 2nd Floor of the AUM Library or by phone at 334-244-3649.


AUM Library Online Catalog

The AUM Library Online Catalog is a computerized finding tool that is an index of what materials the library owns and where they are located.

Search Methods:

  • Keyword Search
  • Title Search
  • Author Search
  • Subject Search

Examples of Library of Congress subject headings:

  • American Literature
  • Bible and Literature
  • Feminism and Literature
  • Literature
  • Literature, Modern
  • Poetry
  • Romances
  • Short Story
  • Violence in Literature
  • specific Author's name

Note the call number of the books you need and refer to the Key To Locations to locate the materials within the AUM Library Tower.

For more information on how to search the online catalog, refer to Basic Search Features.


General Reference Sources

Provide background information about an author and his works. Also included are entries on literary themes and/or specific works.

Oxford Companion to American Literature Ref. PS 21 .H3
Oxford Companion to English Literature Ref. PR 19 .D73
Contemporary Authors Ref. Z 1224 .C6
Cyclopedia of Literary Characters Ref. PN 44 .M3
Masterplots Ref. PN 44 .M33


Collected Literary Criticism

These contain essays analyzing an author's writing style and the particular themes he or she utilizes.

Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 (LC) Ref PN 86 .L56
Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (NCLC) Ref PN 761 .N56
Twentieth Century Literary Criticism (TCLC) Ref PN 771 .G2
Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC) Ref PN 771 .C59

These works provide summaries of critical essays which were originally published in books or journals. Each volume contains a cumulative author index; also included are Title and Critic indexes which are non-cumulative in some sets. Summaries are arranged in chronological order from earliest to most recent; specific works addressed in the essay appear in either bold print or italics. Each volume is arranged alphabetically by author's name. Essays are preceded by the critic's name and followed by complete citation information. These sets are international and cover all genres.

Other sources of summaries of critical essays that are specific to a form of literature or to an author include:

Shakespearean Criticism (SC) Ref PR 2965 .S42
Short Story Criticism (SSC) Ref PN 3373 .S56
Poetry Criticism (PC) Ref PN 1010 .P62
Black Literature Criticism (BLC) Ref PS 153 .N5 B556

To get started, check the cumulative index in the last volume of the appropriate set.


Detailed Critical Analyses

The following titles contain one full length critical essay with a bibliography. These generally include biographical highlights of an author's career followed by an in-depth analysis of works written during that period.

Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB)     Ref PN 41 .D53

    Each volume is devoted to a particular nationality, time period, and form of literature. Information contained therein is arranged alphabetically by author's name. Each volume contains a cumulative index covering the main set and its two supplements.

DLB - Documentary Series (DLB-DS)     Ref PN 41 .D54

    (Periodic supplement to the main set; bound in blue with silver letters) Contains its own index which does not reference the main set or the yearbook.

Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook (DLB-Y)     Ref PS 221 .D5

    (Annual Supplement to the DLB; bound in blue with gold letters Contains its own index which does not reference the main set or the Documentary Series.

Masterplots     Ref PN 44 .M33
Masterplots II  Ref PN 44 .M345

    Editorially reviewed critical analyses and brief plot summaries of the most studied works in the history of literature. Provides author, title, chronological and geographical indexes.

The following titles include single critical essays on authors within certain categories or nationalities:

American Writers Ref PS 129 .A55
British Writers Ref PR 85 .B688
Critical Survey of Long Fiction Ref PN 3451 .C7
Critical Survey of Short Fiction Ref PN 3321 .C7
Critical Survey of Poetry Ref PR 502 .C85
Critical Survey of Drama Ref PR 623 .C75



Academic Search Premier

Search by author or title to retrieve full-text articles and citation abstracts that include critical essays and book reviews.

MLA International Bibliography Database

This database is similar to its print version in content. Although it provides only abstracts, full-text versions may be available in other online databases or in the AUM Library.

Literature Resource Center

This single database provides direct access to biographies, literary criticisms, bibliographies, work overviews, Web sites, and additional resources on more than 122,000 authors and their works.

To get started:  Click on author or title from the front screen.


Print Indexes, Abstracts

Indexes and abstracts are ongoing publications which list, under subject heading arrangement, citations to articles published in magazines or journals. In literature, topics may be either thematic or author specific. For some extensively researched authors, subheadings for specific works may be provided. Indexes merely provide citation information; abstracts provide a summary of the scope of the article as well as the citation information.

Humanities Index     Ref AI 3 .H85   Index Table

    Indexes articles on Religion, Philosophy, the Fine Arts, History, and Literature. The front section is arranged topically; criticism of an author's work is found under the author's name. The titles of articles usually include the title of a work, the name of a character, the setting,or a theme. Record the pertinent information including the full journal title (found in the front of the index). No summary or abstract is included. The back section of the index contains citation information for book reviews published during the given period.

Abstracts of English Studies     Ref PE 25 .A16   Index Table

    This source is published quarterly, each issue containing its own index. A cumulative index is issued at the end of the year. Information about an author's specific work can be found by locating the author's name in the annual cumulative index. After the name is an abstract number(s) (i.e., 90-2124); record all appropriate numbers and refer to the front of the index for the complete citation. Please note that entries are numbered consecutively throughout the year. Once found, the entry will contain the following information: author's name, title of the article, acronym for the journal title, volume and issue numbers, date, and page numbers. Review all pertinent data in the citation as well as the attached summary to determine whether the article relates to the work in question. Record all appropriate data, ensuring that you determine the complete title from the list in the front of the volume.

MLA International Bibliography     Ref P 1 .A1 M52   Index Table

    Although it is used as an index, it really is a bibliography; therefore the arrangement may be confusing, making this valuable resource difficult to use. Information is arranged under headings for the literature of specific countries and within those, by century (i.e., 1900-1999 or Twentieth Century). To find information, on a particular author and a particular work, first locate the section for the author's national origin; once found, locate the appropriate time period.

    For further information on how to search the print version, refer to Searching the Print Version of the MLA International Bibliography.

Essay & General Literature Index     Ref AI 3 .E752   Index Table

    This is an author and subject index to collections of essays in philosophy, religion, social and political science, economics, law, education, linguistics, science, the arts, literature, and history. Information for each entry includes the author and title of the essay, followed by an "In" reference (with inclusive paging) to the collection where the essay will be found.

    e.g. Friesian language

      Feitsma, A. Why and how do the Friesian language and identity continue? In Minority languages today, ed. by E. Haugen, J.D. McClure and D. Thomson p 163-76.

    This essay is taken from a book entitled Minority Languages Today, as is indicated by the "In" reference in the index entry. It can be found by conducting a title search in the AUM Library Online Catalog.



Works containing a list of sources, both books and journal articles, concerning a specific author's work, a genre, or the literature of a specific country. These generally cover essays published during a stated period of time. Bibliographies are usually published once and are seldom revised. Some bibliographies my be annotated, providing a summary of the scope of the entries. Access to bibliographies in the AUM Library is obtained by conducting a keyword or subject search in the AUM Library Online Catalog.


Articles on American Literature Ref Z 1225 .L492
Twentieth Century Short Story Explication Ref Z 5917 .S5 W33
Ernest Hemingway A Reference Guide, 1974-1989 Ref PS 3515 .E37 L37


Original Book Reviews

Book reviews for literary works (printed at the time of publication or shortly thereafter) may be found by consulting one of several print sources: Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature or Humanities Index and its predecessors Social Sciences and Humanities Index and International Index to Periodicals.

Other specialized print indexes to book reviews include:

Book Review Digest (1905 - present date)     Ref Z 1219 .C95

    This ongoing publication indexes book reviews and reprints summaries of those reviews along with the citation information to locate the complete review. Several cumulative indexes to the set can be used to locate the summaries if the actual date of publication is unknown. These indexes contain a single alphabetical listing including both authors and titles. A search under the author's name yields a list of works reviewed during the period of time covered by the index along with the year the work was reviewed.

    e.g. Hemingway, Ernest

    Across the river and into the trees 1950 By-line: Ernest Hemingway 1967-1968 Death in the Afternoon 1932 The enduring Hemingway 1974 Ernest Hemingway, Cub Reporter 1970 A Farewell to Arms 1929

    To locate the summaries of the reviews for A Farewell to Arms, pull the 1929 volume and locate Hemingway's name.

Book Review Index (1965 - present date)     Ref Z 1035 .A1 B6

This index provides citations to reviewed books only. It provides a title/author index.

Magill's Literary Annual (1993 - present date)     Ref PN 44 .M325

Provides essays and reviews for outstanding books published during the year.

Book reviews are also available electronically. In some databases, researchers can limit document type to 'Book review'; otherwise enter book review in the search box along with the title and author's name.

To find articles from a particular magazine or journal in RLC:

  • Use the pull-down menu to select 'Guided Search' under search methods
  • On the search form, choose publication name from the pull down menu and enter name of publication such as 'New York Times Book Review'
  • Use the pull-down menus to select article, title, or subject and enter terms in the remaining search boxes
  • Choose 'book review' as article type
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