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American Literature Subject Guide

A pathfinder designed to educate people who are interested in American Literature.

Electronic Resources

Bloom's Literary Reference Online

Literary Reference Online examines the lives and works of great writers throughout history. This database contains information on thousands of authors and their major and minor works, an archive of 35,000 characters, an extensive glossary and subject entries featuring historical events and their impact on literature.

Contemporary Authors

Provides complete biographical and bibliographical information and references on more than 120,000 U.S. and international authors. (Provided by the New Jersey State Library).

Literature Resouce Center

Access biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of more than 120,000 authors from every age and literary discipline. Scribner Writer's Series includes 15-20 page signed essays on more than 1,600 authors and literary genres drawn from 13 acclaimed Scribner print series. Twayne World, US, and English Authors each contains the full text of 200 frequently used Twayne Literary Masters books on individual World, US, or English authors, for a total of 600 full-text titles. (This service was partially funded by the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative.)

Literary Reference Center

Literary Reference Center (LRC) is a comprehensive literary reference database, which provides users with a broad spectrum of reference information from antiquity to the present day. LRC is a completely full-text database that combines information from over 1,000 books and monographs, major literary encyclopedias and reference works, hundreds of literary journals, and unique sources not available anywhere else.

Print Resources


African - American writers : a dictionary / Dorantes Hatch, editor Santa Barbara, CA : ABC - CLIO, Inc., c2000. Call # R 810.989 AFR

American writers : a collection of literary biographies / Leonard Unger, editor in chief New York, NY : Scribner, c1974-

A to Z of American women writers / Carol Kort New York, NY : Facts on File, c2007. Call # R 810.9 KO

Cyclopedia of literary characters / edited by A.J. Sobczak Pasadena, CA : Salem Press, c1998. Call #  R 809 CY

Encyclopedia of American literature New York, NY : Facts on File, c2002. Call # R 810.3 EN

Latin American writers / Carlos A. Sole, editor New York, NY : Scribner, c1989. Call # R 860.9 LA

Masterplots II. : African American literature / edited by Tyrone Williams Pasadena, CA : Salem Press, c2008. Call # R 810.9 MA

The Oxford companion to African American literature / editors, William L. Andrews, Francis Smith Foster, Trudier Harris New York, NY : Oxford University Press, c1997. Call # R 810.8 OX

Non Fiction

The best American nonrequired reading Boston, MA : Houghton Mifflin Co., c2002. Call # 810.08 BE 2010 & 2011

Gilbert, Sandra M. Rereading women : thirty years of exploring our literary traditions New York, NY : W.W. Norton & Co., c2011. Call # 810.9 GI

Kanellos, Nicolas Hispanic literature of the United States : a comprehensive reference Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, c2003. Call # 810.9 KA

Kevane, Bridget A. Latino literature in America Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, c2003. Call # 810.9 KE

Making literature matter : an anthology for readers and writers / [compiled by] John Schilb and John Clifford Boston, MA : Bedford / St. Martin's, c2003. Call # 808.06 MA

The Norton anthology of American literature / Nina Baym, general editor New York, NY : W.W. Norton, c1998. Call # 810.8 NO

The Oxford book of women's writing in the United States / Linda Wagner - Martin and Cathy N. Davidson, editors New York, NY : Oxford University Press, c1995. Call # 810.8 OX

Parini, Jay Promised land : thirteen books that changed America New York, NY : Doubleday, c2008. Call # 810.9 PA

Showalter, Elaine A jury of her peers : American women writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx New York, NY : Alfred A. Knopf, c2009. Call # 810.9 SH

Trubek, Anne A skeptic's guide to writers' houses Philadelphia, PA : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2011. Call # 810.9 TR

The vintage book of American women writers / edited and with an introduction by Elaine Showalter New York, NY : Vintage Books, c2011. Call # 810.8 VI

Wilkinson, Brenda African American women writers New York, NY : Wiley, c2000. Call # 810.9 WI

The Woman that I am: the literature and culture of contemporary women of color / [edited by] D. Soyini Madison, c1994. Call # 810.9 WO

Finding Books

All books in the library are arranged by the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system. In the DDC, basic classes are organized by fields of study. At the broadest level, the DDC is divided into ten main classes, which together cover the entire world of knowledge. Each main class is further divided into ten divisions and each division into ten sections. (OCLC) The basic breakdown for American Literature is as follows:

810 American Literature in English
English-language literature of North America, South America, Hawaii and Geographically associated islands

811-818 Subdivisions for specific forms of American literature in English
811 American poetry
812 American drama
813 American fiction
814 American essays
815 American speeches
816 American letters
817 American humor and satire
818 American miscellaneous writings
819 American literatures in English not requiring local emphasis

Find comprehensive works on American liteature in English and Enclish literature in 820.

World Wide Web Resources

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

Literary Criticism Collection

The Literary Encyclopedia

Recommended E - Books

African - American writers [electronic resource] : a dictionary / Shari Dorantes Hatch and Michael R. Strickland, editors Santa Barbara, CA : ABC - CLIO, c2000.

American women writers [electronic resource] : a critical reference guide from colonial times to the present / Taryn Benbow - Pfalzgraf, editor Detroit, MI : St. James Press, c2000.

Black literature criticism [electronic resource] : classic and emerging black writers since 1950 / Jelena O. Krstovic, project editor Detroit, MI : Gale, c2008.

Literary themes for students. The American dream [electronic resource] : examining diverse literature to understand and compare universal themes / Anne Marie Hacht, editor Detroit, MI : Thomson Gale, c2007.

Literary themes for students. Race and prejudice [electronic resource] : examining diverse literature to understand and compare universal themes / Anne Marie Hacht, editor Detroit, MI : Thomas Gale, 2006.

Literature and its times : profiles of 300 notable literary works and the historical events that influenced them [electronic resource] / Joyce Moss and George Wilson, editors Detroit, MI : Gale, c1997.

Modern American literature [electronic resource] / Joann Cerrito and Laurie DiMauro, editors Detroit, MI : St. James Press, c1999.

Skipp, Francis E. American literature [electronic resource] Ashland, OR : Blackstone Audiobooks, c2004.

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