britain

19th Century England

This is the guide for classes to research the "Victorian period" in England. This guide is meant to help you find quality sources in the historical context of literature you have been reading. This guide is not meant for literary analysis/criticism of Victorian literature but as a guide for research into this period's history in England.

  1. Books & Videos
  2. Databases & Articles
  3. Websites

Reference Books

Need to pick a topic?
Have no idea where to go next with your topic? Try these books first.
All are located in the Reference Collection in the Library.

Finding Books using the Library Catalogs

Information about this time period can be found in a number of ways. Try subject and keyword searches in our Library Catalog first. This catalog allows you to search in I-SHARE and make requests for books from other college and university libraries in the state of Illinois. I-Share requests are usually fulfilled within 48-72 hours.
If you need to request books from other libraries, not part of I-Share, please allow 7-10 business days
for delivery. Requests can be made online with a library card. This is a free service.

Sample subject search
for Great Britain History
Sample subject search Great Britain History Victoria 1837 1901
Sample keyword search for Victorian and Women

Some book examples from COD Library

Inside the Victorian home : a portrait of domestic life in Victorian England - HQ615 .F58 2004
Religion in Victorian Britain - BR759 .R43 1988
The rise of respectable society : a social history of Victorian Britain, 1830-1900 - DA550 .T53 1988
Energy & entropy : science and culture in Victorian Britain : essays from Victorian studies - Q175.52 .G7 E54 1989
Victorian masters of mystery : from Wilkie Collins to Conan Doyle - PR 878 .D4 P4 1984
The original illustrated Sherlock Holmes : 37 short stories plus a complete novel, comprising The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The return of Sherlock Holmes and The hound of the Baskervilles - PR 4620 .A2 1978
The man who created Sherlock Holmes : the life and times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - PR4623 .L93 2007

Check out some Ebooks!

The C.O.D. Library has over 10,000 ebooks inside the library catalog. You just search for your subject and see if there are any ebooks which you can view and read right from where you are sitting. Just make sure the ebook is HELD BY College of DuPage. Here are some that should be useful:

Databases

Click here to go to databases.

  • Academic OneFile
  • Use Advanced Search to limit your results.

  • Academic Search Premier
  • Use Advanced Search.

  • Literature Resource Center
  • Use this database for finding books written IN the Victorian period. Enter the name of the author or title of the work.

  • JSTOR
  • Use Advanced Search. Search terms like "Victorian," "England," "Britain," "19th Century," "daily life" all can be of use.

  • Project Muse
  • Use Advanced Search. Search terms like "Victorian," "England," "Britain," "19th Century" along with a field of study or area you are looking into.

British Literature

  1. Reference Sources
  2. Find Literature
  3. Author Biographies
  4. Shakespeare
  5. Historical Context

Reference Books and eBooks

Why Reference Sources?

Is your research topic too big to cover in a short paper?  Is your topic so specific that sources will be hard to find?

Before you even begin your research, start the process with reference sources-- in the Library's Reference Section or online in our databases; Reference books, like subject encyclopedias, can give you a head start and make your research easier in the long run.  Use reference sources to:

  • find a topic
  • narrow your topic
  • find keywords
  • get background information on your topic

Use the menu below to find the reference tool that will best help you start the research process.

Print Reference sources

Dictionaries/Handbooks/Encyclopedias:
The Penguin Companion to English Literature Ref PN 849 .C5 P4
Dictionary of British Literary Characters. 18th- and 19th-Century Novels Ref PR830.C47 D5 1993
Dictionary of British Literary Characters. 20th-Century Novels Ref PR830.C47 D52 1994
British Authors Before 1800 : A Biographical Dictionary Ref PR 105 .K9

Plot Summaries/Explication:
Masterplots PN 44 .M33
Magill's Literary Annual PN 44 .M35
Masterplots II. British and Commonwealth Fiction Series PR881 .M39 1987
Masterplots II: Drama Series PN 6112.5 .M37
Masterplots II: Non-Fiction Series PN 44 .M345
Masterplots II: Poetry Series PN 1110.5 .M37
Masterplots II: Short Story Series PN 3326 .M27
Masterplots II: World Fiction Series PN 3326 .M28

Biographical/Critical Comment on Individual Authors:
British:
British Writers Classics Ref PR85 .B6882 v.1

Multinational, including American and British:
Contemporary Authors Ref PN 451 .E8 C62
Contemporary World Writers Ref PN 51 .C6235
Dictionary of Literary Biography Ref PN 451 .D5
European Writers Ref PN 501 .E9
Reader's Guide to Literature in English Ref PR 85 .R33

Genre-Related Sources:

Drama:
Oxford Companion to the Theatre Ref PN 2035 .O9

Long Fiction:
Critical Survey of Long Fiction Ref PR 821 .C7
English Novel Explication Ref PR 821 .E6

Short Fiction:
Critical Survey of Short Fiction Ref PN 3321 .C7
Reference Guide to Short Fiction Ref PN 3373 .R36
Twentieth Century Short Story Explication Ref PN 3373 .W3

Poetry:
Critical Survey of Poetry Ref PR 502 .C85
New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics Ref PN 1021 .N39
Poetry Dictionary Ref PN 1021 .D78

Other Genres:
Critical Survey of Mystery and Detective Fiction Ref PN 3448 .D4 C75
Encyclopedia of Fantasy Ref PN 3435 .E53
Feminist Writers Ref PN 451 .F46
Gay & Lesbian Literature Ref PN 56 .H57 G36
Horror Literature Ref PR 830 .T3 H67
Survey of Modern Fantasy Literature Ref PN 56 .F34 S97
Twentieth Century Crime & Mystery Writers PR 888 .D4 T8
Twentieth Century Romance and Gothic Writers PR 888 .L69 T86
Twentieth Century Science Fiction Writers PS 374 .S35 T89

Online Reference sources

You can begin your research without even stepping into the Library with the online reference sources available through our databases. Visit the Databases by Title page for links-- you will need your Library card to access these resources if you are off-campus.

Credo Reference is an online reference service made up of full-text books from the world's best publishers. Whether you're working on a research paper, trying to win trivia or just curious, Credo Reference has something for you.

Discovering Collection has thousands of overview essays, critical analyses, biographies, timelines and multimedia elements in Literature and other core areas. In Literature, search Authors, Literary Works and Literary Topics, Genres, and Movements.

The Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) provides access to general reference materials as well as the following literature resources:

  • Archetypes and Motifs in Folklore and Literature: A Handbook , 2005
  • Literary Themes for Students: The American Dream , 2v, 2007
  • Reference Guide to World Literature , 3rd ed., 2v, 2003

Finding Books, Videos and More in the Library

Use the Library catalog to find books, videos, audiobooks and more. 

To find materials BY an author, enter as an Author Search [Dickens, Charles]

To search the Title of a novel or short story collection, enter as a Title Search or Keyword. Also, if you are certain of the title, use quotation marks (" ") around the title. ["a tale of two cities"]

To find materials ABOUT an author or his or her works, enter as a Subject Search [Dickens, Charles]
See Literary Crticism for more information.
 

College of DuPage Library doesn't have the book, story or poem you seek?? No problem, try I-SHARE services that will allow you to find material from 82 academic libraries throughout Illinois.

Searching by Subject Headings

To identify materials about a particular type of literature, consider the following subject headings:

Novelists, English

English Drama

English Fiction

Authors, English

Poets, English

English Essays

English Poetry

English Literature-History and Criticism

Dramatists, English

Short Stories, English

Call Number Range

Use these call number ranges to browse the General Collection and the Reference Collection.

PR2199-PR3195 British literature, English renaissance 1500-1640
PR3291-PR3785 British literature, 17th and 18th centuries 1640-1770
PR3991-PR5990 British literature, 19th century, 1770/1800-1890/1900
PR6000-PR6049 British literature, 1900-1960
PR6050-PR6076 British literature, 1961-2000
PR6100-PR6126 British literature, 2001-

Literature on the Web

Many examples of classic literature are freely available on the internet.  These books, stories and poems can be published online because the copyright terms of the works have expired and they are in the Public Domain.  Note that online versions of texts may not match republished print editions.

Checking out Materials

Most books, videos and software in the general collection can be checked out and brought home with you for free.

  • DVDs, Videos, and audio CDs can be checked out for 14 days.
  • Most books can be checked out for 28 days.

The only books that cannot be checked out have the letters REF on the label on the side or front of the book. REF means the book is a Reference book and can only be used in the Library. Some items in the CCIC (College and Career Information Collection) may also be in-Library use only.

You need a COD Library Card to check things out of the library. You can get a Library card at the Circulation Desk located near both entrances to the Library.

Search the Library's Catalog

Find author biographies in the Library's Online Catalog. Start by searching for the author's name followed by biography. For example:

To further narrow your search, use the limiters on the left-hand side of the screen. The most helpful limiters for this search are under Format (limit to Books) and Content (limit to Biography).

To check out books, or access ebooks online, you will need a COD Library Card.

Browse the Shelf

Reference Books
Reference books are located on the first floor of the library (second floor of the SRC).

Call Numbers
British author biographies are spread throughout the British Literature Section of the collection. Biographies of individual authors tend to be located close to their actual works.

PR2199-PR3195 British literature, English renaissance 1500-1640
PR3291-PR3785 British literature, 17th and 18th centuries 1640-1770
PR3991-PR5990 British literature, 19th century, 1770/1800-1890/1900
PR6000-PR6049 British literature, 1900-1960
PR6050-PR6076 British literature, 1961-2000
PR6100-PR6126 British literature, 2001-

Databases

Biographical information for British authors can be found in the following Library Databases. They can be accessed on the Databases webpage. To access these databases off-campus, use your COD Library card.

  • Credo Reference
  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • History Study Center
  • Literature Resource Center
  • Project Muse
  • Salem Literature

Helpful Websites

Use the websites below to search for British Author biographies. Often, more prominent authors have individual websites dedicated entirely to their life and work. Try a Google search with "author name" in quotes, then browse for organizations, foundations, educational (.edu), or government (.gov) websites on that author. Check out the Evaluating Websites Guide for more information on choosing appropriate web resources.

Tips for Researching Shakespeare

The sheer amount of literature critiquing the bard can become overwhelming to new Shakespeare researchers. Don’t be alarmed when a search for Shakespeare turns up 33,000 hits in the COD catalog. Instead, focus on refining your search using the tips and tricks listed below.

Shakespeare at the Library

Search the Catalog

Use the Library Catalog to find books/media on Shakespeare. When searching for criticism, use AND to combine search terms. Start with three main concepts - Author, Text, and Topic. For example, if you are interested in the role of prophecy in Macbeth your Search Statement would be: Shakespeare AND Macbeth AND Prophecy. Play around with different combinations of these three search terms: Shakespeare AND Macbeth, Shakespeare AND Prophecy, Macbeth AND Prophecy. For longer titles like The Merry Wives of Windsor or A Midsummer Night's Dream use quotes around the title. Here are a few sample searches:

If you are looking for a specific text, i.e. a copy of The Taming of the Shrew, use the Catalog to search by title and author.

Recommended Books:

Recommended Videos:

Browse the Shelf

Use the Call Numbers below to browse for books in the Library's reference (2nd floor SRC) and general (3rd floor SRC) collections.

PR2750-PR3112 Shakespeare Resources
Search Library Databases

Use the Library Databases to find articles, videos, and ebooks. All of the databases listed can be found on the Databases by Title tab.

Reference Databases:
Start with the Reference Databases for biographical information and an overview of various works. When using the Reference Databases, start with a single search term like Shakespeare or the title of one of his works.

  • Credo Reference
  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Gale Virtual Reference Databases

General / Subject Databases:
Use the General / Subject Databases to find in-depth articles on your topic. Take some time to brainstorm search terms before you begin, remember our three main concepts from the catalog search: Author, Title, Topic. Use these as a starting point and add or take away terms as needed. Remember to take advantage of AND to join your search terms together.

  • Academic OneFile
  • Academic Search Complete
  • JSTOR
  • Literary Index
  • Literature Criticism Online
  • Literature Resource Center
  • Magil OnLiterature Plus

Shakespeare on the Web

Works

The following websites offer free access to Shakespeare's plays and poetry.

Biographical Information
Performances

Use these links to find information regarding local performances and Shakespeare's Globe in London.

Click on the buttons below to see recommended books, videos, databases, and websites in the following categories. If you click a button and no information appears, try reloading the page.

Renaissance / Elizabethan

Books and Videos

Use the Library catalog to search the COD Library's collection of books, videos, e-books, and streaming media. Use your COD Library card to check these items out or access them online.

Books
Videos

Databases

The following databases are your best bets for history research. They can be accessed on the Databases webpage. To access these databases off-campus, use your COD Library card.

  • JSTOR
  • Project Muse
  • History Study Center

Recommended Websites

Neoclassicism / Augustan

Books and Videos

Use the Library catalog to search the COD Library's collection of books, videos, e-books, and streaming media. Use your COD Library card to check these items out or access them online.

Books

Databases

The following databases are your best bets for history research. They can be accessed on the Databases webpage. To access these databases off-campus, use your COD Library card.

  • JSTOR
  • Project Muse
  • History Study Center

Recommended Websites

Romantic

Books and Videos

Use the Library catalog to search the COD Library's collection of books, videos, e-books, and streaming media. Use your COD Library card to check these items out or access them online.

Books
Videos

Databases

The following databases are your best bets for history research. They can be accessed on the Databases webpage. To access these databases off-campus, use your COD Library card.

  • JSTOR
  • Project Muse
  • History Study Center

Recommended Websites

Victorian

Books and Videos

Use the Library catalog to search the COD Library's collection of books, videos, e-books, and streaming media. Use your COD Library card to check these items out or access them online.

Books
Videos

Databases

The following databases are your best bets for history research. They can be accessed on the Databases webpage. To access these databases off-campus, use your COD Library card.

  • JSTOR
  • Project Muse
  • History Study Center

Recommended Websites

Modern / 20th Century

Books and Videos

Use the Library catalog to search the COD Library's collection of books, videos, e-books, and streaming media. Use your COD Library card to check these items out or access them online.

Books

Databases

The following databases are your best bets for history research. They can be accessed on the Databases webpage. To access these databases off-campus, use your COD Library card.

  • JSTOR
  • Project Muse
  • History Study Center

Recommended Websites

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