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View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

English Literatures: Find Background Information

A guide to research resources for English, American, and Anglophone world literature.

Research Guides

Research guides are designed to direct you to other information sources in a particular field.

Theory Sources

Literary Histories

Using Reference Sources

This page is designed to direct you to some of the major reference sources for literary studies. If you need period- or genre-specific sources, see subject guides to particular periods and genres.

If you need to use a new reference source, keep the following tips in mind:

1. Read the introduction of the book to find what information is contained in the book, how the information is organized, and how best to use it.

2. Use the indexes and table of contents to help you quickly locate relevant information.

3. If you find a citation to a journal article, use Journal Finder to determine whether Georgetown subscribes to the journal.

4. If you find a citation to a book, use GEORGE to determine whether Georgetown owns the book.

5. If the book or journal isn't available at Georgetown, you may request it from another library.

Dictionaries & Thesauri

Use dictionaries to find definitions and the histories of words. Use thesauri to find synonyms and antonyms.


Biographies provide detailed information about an author's life and often situate an author's works within the context of their life. You can also search GEORGE to find book-length biographies.

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