American Literature

Online Encyclopedias

The following links will take you to online encyclopedias and reference manuals to help you get started on your research. Here you can find general background information, definitions, and history on many literary terms, concepts, works, and authors specific to American literature.

Print Encyclopedias

The library also has a number of print encyclopedias that can be found in the Reference section on the second floor of the library. Reference books cannot be checked out of the library but there are scanners available on the second floor that can be used to scan information from these texts into a PDF which you can email to yourself.

Finding Articles

Use databases to find academic articles to continue your research. Below are the most helpful databases for finding relevant articles for literature and literary topics. The MLA International Bibliography is the most popular, as it indexes most published works in literature. Make sure to click the "full text" option when searching if you are looking for the full article PDF. 

Good Starting Journals for American Literature

The following are links to specific academic journals which are published and peer-reviewed by experts in the field. If you want to narrow your search to a specific time period or genre, finding a journal that publishes in that area can help. For example, if you are writing a paper about Cormac McCarthy, you might want to check out Western American Literature.

Historical Resources

Literature and history are, and have always been, closely related. These online and print resources covering various topics on American history can help you understand the literature and its times.


Internet Resources

Search the entire library catalog here.

Materials on Literature topics are found under the "P" category more generally, while subclass PS features American literature specifically. These books are found on the third floor of the Chester Fritz Library. 

PS1-3576 American literature
PS201-217 19th century
PS221-228 20th century
PS229-231 21st century
PS241-286 Special regions, states, etc
PS301-326 Poetry
PS330-353 Drama
PS360-380 Prose
PS501-689 Collections of American literature

Featured Books 

Looking for an interesting research topic? Currently, the featured books section holds some of the newest additions to the library's collection of research-worthy, literary texts on American literature.

Movie/TV Adaptations

The library has a DVD collection which includes many film and television adaptations of some of American literature's most popular and impactful works. The following are some of our featured DVD editions. The DVD's are on the the third floor of the library and can be checked out with your student ID just like books! (Make sure to check out the popular releases when you're there, too!).