English Literature Resource List

If you’ve just started an English course and are feeling out of your depth, or if you’d like to get a head start before the semester begins, this list of resources will be invaluable. To start with, English Literature Periods provides an overview of the schools of thought present in literature from 1200 BCE to the present. This timeline gives a one-paragraph explanation of each historical time period and provides examples of authors writing at that time. Once you’ve got the overview straight, read on for in-depth sources on each specific time period. [Photo courtesy of Famous People: Virginia Woolf

Medieval Literature

  • Annotated Bibliography: was complied by an English professor at Wheaton College for her students. This list features reference books which illuminate medieval symbols such as animals, biblical typology, liturgical symbols, plants, saints, and music.
  • Early Manuscripts: is available through Oxford University. Over eighty early manuscripts are available as high resolution digital images for anyone to view. This is a great resource for students who wish to view primary sources in their original state.
  • Internet Medieval Sourcebook: offers information on the Roman Church, Empire and Papacy, the Crusades, the Renaissance and the Reformation, among other subjects. This internet database is offered in conjunction with Fordham University’s Center for Medieval Studies.
  • Medieval Literature Resources : provides users with a list of web links relating to medieval authors, literature, and medieval history timelines. Also available are guides to dialect exercises, pronunciation, phonology and numerology.
  • netSERF: offers a wide range of information about medieval times, from archaeology, architecture, and art to the philosophy, religion, and science of the time. Links to full-length texts are available here, as well tutorials and secondary resources.
  • The Labyrinth: is a list of medieval resources offered by professors at Georgetown University. The list is searchable by category or material type. Information offered here includes cookery, cosmology, decorative arts, old english, ethics, philosophy and theology. While all subjects may not directly relate to literature, students may find scientific and historical articles useful in explaining references in literary texts.

Renaissance Literature

  • Elizabethan Authors: gives viewers access to full-length primary texts. Texts are organized by categories such as satire, drama, poetry and fiction.MIT Literary Resources provides links to electronic Renaissance texts, writers, literature databases, ballad archives and early english dictionaries. Web resources are provided in chronological order and briefly described.
  • Renaissance Luminarium: offers information on forty Renaissance authors. Visitors to this site are provided with biographies, works, portraits, and literary criticism of each author, as well as some background on their historical time period.
  • Shakespeare Resources: provided by a professor at Carson-Newman University, gives students access to information on Shakespeare’s sonnets, tragedies and comedies as well as the Elizabethan Globe Theatre and Shakespeare’s life.
  • Voice of the Shuttle: Renaissance: offered by the University of California, Santa Barbara, provides a wealth of links to authors and works, literary criticism, journals, listserves, newsgroups, and Renaissance literature conferences. Resources for sixty Renaissance authors are listed here.

Enlightenment Literature

  • Intro to Neoclassicism :gives an overview of the themes in Neoclassic literature and provides examples of these themes appearing in texts. This overview is offered by a professor at Brooklyn College in New York.
  • Neoclassical Timeline: is a short but useful timeline of significant publications and historical events. The timeline is available through Berkeley City College.
  • Restoration and 18th Century Literature: gives students a helpful overview of the period 1660 to 1800. Two professors from Shepherd University offer their views on the aesthetic characteristics of the literature and significant writers of the period.
  • Restoration and 18th Century Timeline: provides a detailed list of yearly events from 1600 to 1850. The list includes important births, death, publication, wars, decrees and political movements. This timeline is offered by George Mason University.
  • Restoration Luminarium: offers essays, articles and biographies on twenty-six different authors from the years 1660-1785. Full-length primary sources written by Restoration authors and short quotes are available here.

Romantic Literature

  • British Romanticism focuses on the period from 1770-1832. This outline, prepared by a professor from Shepard University, offers a look at several characteristics of the period and provides short descriptions of writers from the “Pre-Romantic” and “High Romantic” periods.
  • British Women Romantic Poets:
    is a project sponsored by the library at the University of California at Davis. Hundreds of full-length texts as well as photographs of original works are available on this site. Texts are searchable alphabetically by author’s last name.
  • Romantic Chronology: looks at the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and gives detailed accounts of yearly events during this time period. This timeline offers a wide range of information, including important publications, musical performances, deaths and political events.
  • Romantic Writers: is the outline of a powerpoint presentation describing the characteristics of Romanticism, Romantic writers, and Romantic schools of thought. This outline if provided by a professor from Waycross College.
  • Romanticism : discusses the origins of the Romantic movement. This article touches upon nationalism, folklore, exoticism, and religion. The information provided here is a helpful overview for a student looking at historical and textual themes in Romantic literature.
  • Voice of the Shuttle: Romantics : provides a list of general Romantic literature resources as well as information about specific authors. Dozens of authors are featured, including Jane Austen, William Blake, Robert Burns, and Lord Byron.

Modernist Literature

  • Lost Poets of the Great War: features six poets: Rupert Brooke, John McCrae, Wilfred Owen, Issac Rosenberg, Alan Seeger, and Edward Thomas. The site provides short biographies, and, in some cases, excerpts of poems from these authors. Also of interest on the site is a bibliography of war poetry sources.
  • Modern Literature: gives an overview of the time period 1915-1945 and discusses major influences on modernist writing, characteristics of modernism, and overviews of several modernist texts. This article would be of use to students needing to identify and compare themes in modern literature.
  • Poets of the First World War: offers short biographies of poets who were combatants, journalists, or relief workers in WWI. A listing of each poet includes work titles, brief personal histories, and, in some cases, excerpts of poems.
  • Twentieth-Century English Poetry : provides a short list of poets with an excerpt from each author as well as a bibliography and links to web pages about the author. This site is maintained by a professor at Kobe University in Japan.
  • Voice of the Shuttle: Modern: lists modern British authors, works, and projects. For each author, this site provides links to web pages and full-length works. Featured authors include Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Graham Greene, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, and C.S. Lewis.

Postmodernist Literature

  • American Postmodernism : is a Powerpoint presentation detailing the central concepts of postmodernism, its philosophical roots, postmodern critics, and the phenomenology of the term. For students new to postmodern theory, this presentation is a great introduction.
  • The Write Stuff: provides texts of interviews with contemporary writers. Writers are listed alphabetically and include Kathy Acker, Nicholson Baker, Dennis Cooper, Doug Rice, and Paul Williams.
  • Twentieth-Century British, Irish, and Commonwealth Literary Resources :offers listings of dozens of webpages about twentieth-century authors. Featured authors include Virginia Woolf, Tom Stoppard, James Joyce, and Salman Rushdie.
  • Voice of the Shuttle: Contemporary: is a directory offering links to pages featuring contemporary English authors. Authors are categorized by nationality: American or British. Included are links to full-length texts, university pages, and author society homepages.
  • What Reality Isn’t: is a Powerpoint presentation comparing and contrasting modernism and postmodernism. The presentation explains the evolution of literary thought and gives examples of basic concepts and classic postmodern literature as well as postmodern architecture and visual art.

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