Literary Foundations II


This page gathers together some important resources relevant to our course material—links to reference works, extra bibliography on our reading, useful websites.

Reference Works and Library Starting Points

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

The indispensable standard reference on word meanings and word histories. We will spend some time learning to use this.

BobCat Library Catalogue

The library catalogue guides you to print books and e-books, databases, and scholarly journals (many of which are online). Befriend it.

Early English Books Online (EEBO)

This database has scanned images of almost every book published in England before 1700. It also has a powerful search feature. Use this site to take a look at the early forms of the seventeenth-century texts in our course.

Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO)

Does for the eighteenth century what EEBO does for earlier periods. As an example, you can peruse Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary (2nd ed., 1755–56: vol. 1 and vol. 2. Try finding an early edition of Gulliver’s Travels.

Cambridge Histories Online

A very useful resource: the library gives you online access to a series of general histories from Cambridge University Press. A good place to check your historical facts (or to double-check Wikipedia).

Literary Terminology and Other Tools

Interactive Tutorial on Rhythm Analysis
A careful introduction to prosody, which explains some modern methods of scansion. Well worth spending time with if you feel some uncertainty over meter and rhythm in poetry.

On Particular Authors

DigitalDonne: The Online Variorum

A “variorum edition” lists all the different versions of a text—in Donne’s case, this means both the handwritten manuscripts in which his poems were circulated in his lifetime and the early printed editions made after his death. Has images of the actual manuscript and book pages as well as transcriptions. An amazing, though sometimes confusing, wealth of material, giving a powerful sense of the complex and conflicted ways Donne’s poetry has come down to us.

The Milton Reading Room

Edited by Thomas H. Luxon et al. Carefully edited texts of all Milton’s poems, with good annotations. Very useful.

Shelley’s Ghost (Bodleian Library, Oxford)

Website for an extensive exhibition about the Shelley-Godwin family, focusing on Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Images of manuscripts, diaries, letters, portraits, biographical information, family trees, and much else.

Dickinson Electronic Archives

Limited access only. Extensive database of correspondence, manuscript material, and information about the history of Emily Dickinson’s writing and that of her family members. I recommend in particular the lovely collection of versions, including images of letters and fascile pages, of “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers”: Emily Dickinson Writing a Poem, edited by Martha Nell Smith and Lara Vetter.

Guide to the Dickinson Collection at Harvard

An elegant website focusing on the principal collection of Emily Dickinson’s papers, including her fascicles, which is at the rare books library at Harvard. With photographs and links.

Eliot Reading The Waste Land

Recordings from HarperAudio of Eliot reading his poem.

Eliot: Faber and Faber

Account of Eliot produced by the London publishing house where he rose to be a senior figure in later life.

Yale Modernism Lab Wiki

A curated wiki from the Yale Modernism Lab project, with biographical information, historical contexts, and critical discussion of the most famous figures of British modernism, including Woolf and Eliot. Browsing by year in the wiki or the database is also quite instructive.

Translation: What Difference Does it Make? (The Metamorphosis)

A most instructive page, by Victoria Poulakis, which walks the reader through a comparison of four translations of Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis).