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Western Literature I,II

Welcome to the research guide for your course in Western Literature

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Welcome to the research guide for your course in Western Literature! The suggested databases are accessible from this page and from the Electronic Resources section of the library home page. Print resources are available in the PHC on-campus collection or by mail to distance learning members of the PHC community. You may check the location and the availability of an item in our collection through the online catalog, accessible from the library home page.

Professional library assistance is available on campus, by phone at 540-441-8400, or by email at askalibrarian@phc.edu.

Reference Works


  • OED- The Oxford English Dictionary is the definitive work on the English language and a great place to start for general information if you are unfamiliar with an author or term. OED includes the first use of the word and changes in meaning over time.
  • MLA is a resource for researching literature and language topics, including literary criticism. The site provides essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies.
  • Masterplots database provides reference data, plot synopses, and critical evaluations of a comprehensive selection of English language and world literature.
  • Literary Reference Center is an extensive, full text reference database with information combined from literary reference works, journals, and books. A search here is sure to bring results on any of a variety of literary topics.
  • Critical Survey of Long Fiction offers 678 profiles of major writers of long fiction throughout history and the world, including analyses of their significant novels and novellas. Overview essays examine works within their context by time period, country, ethnicity, and genre.
  • Critical Survey of Short Fiction provides access to scholarly essays with each one containing ready reference informaiton, biographical information, and substantial listings of literary work by genre.
  • Critical Survey of Poetry provides access to essays covering over 800 poets from 40 countries.
  • Early English Books Online offers access to full-text books printed in English from 1473-1700.
  • JSTOR collection contains complete back issues of 241 scholarly journals in a wide range of disciplines. Issues from the most recent three to five years for each title may not be included in the collection. If you locate an article that is not available in full-text, check to see if the journal is available on any of PHC's other databases.
  • ProQuest contains the citations and abstracts of over 1,000 titles in the broad areas of social sciences and law. Of those 1,000 titles, 710 provide users with full-text, images and graphics online. Indexing and full-text coverage begins in the early 1990s for most titles.
  • eBooks provides access to over 65,000 academic, full-text, electronic books that can be accessed immediately on your computer. On first use, patrons are prompted to create a userID and password for future access.


Search the catalog using an Advanced Search for the any of the following strings as a "subject":

Classical literature
Classical literature - dictionaries
Classical literature - History and criticism
English literature
English literature - dictionaries
English literature - History and criticism

French literature
French literature - dictionaries
French literature - History and criticism
Russian literature
Russian literature - dictionaries
Russian literature - History and criticism

Selected Journals

Locate online access to these journals through the library's Periodical Listing.

  • American Literature (Online 1929-2009)
  • Christianity & Literature (Print 2000-Present, Online 9/1/2003-Present)
  • Classical and modern literature (Print 2001-2007)
  • English Literature in transition 1880-1920 (Online 1/1/2004 to Present)
  • Nineteenth=century literature (Online 1986-Present
  • Russian studies in literaure (Online 3/1/2001-Present)
  • Studies in English Literature (Online 1975-2009)

Research Tips

  • Citation help needed? Try OWL (Online Writing Lab) for Chicago/TurabianMLA, and APA styling formats. 
  • Search by subject: Once you have located one item in the catalog, you can click on the search term within the record to find other items on the same or similar subjects. Once you have located a helpful source, additional potential sources may be found in the item's bibliography.
  • Can't find what you need in the PHC collection? If you are unable to locate an item in the PHC collection, you may request resources through Interlibrary loan. ILL requests may be made directly in the library catalog.
  • Research assistance is available in the library or by email at askalibrarian@phc.edu

Created: Dr. Steven Hake/Thornhill, 2011. ReivsedHake/Thornhill 2013. Reviewed and revised: Hake/Thornhill, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019.

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