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English Literature: A Guide to Resources: Biographical Sources

This bibliography includes reference titles on English (UK) and Commonwealth literature held in the collections of Olin and Uris Libraries, as well as resources accessible online.

Biographical Sources

Arthurian Writers: a Biographical Encyclopedia, edited by Lambdin, Laura Cooner and Robert Thomas Lambdin. Greenwood Press : Westport, Conn., c2007. Olin Ref PR149.A79 A78 2007+
"Included in this volume are extended entries on more than 30 writers who incorporate Arthurian legend in their works. Arranged chronologically, the entries trace the pervasive influence of Arthurian lore on world literature across time. Entries are written by expert contributors and discuss such writers as Geoffrey of Monmouth, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, and Margaret Atwood. Each entry provides biographical information, a discussion of the author's use of Arthurian legend and contribution to the Arthurian literary tradition, and a bibliography of primary and secondary material." (publisher)
Biographical Dictionary of English Women Writers, 1580-1720. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1990. Olin Ref PR 113 B43
Alphabetically arranged by name, this volume provides short biographical entries, as well as lists of anonymous and pseudonymous texts, false ascriptions, and several critical appendices on such topics as Quaker women writers and women in the book trade.
British Authors Before 1800. Kunitz, Stanley and Howard Haycroft, eds. New York: Wilson, 1952. Olin Ref PR 105 K96+; also Library Annex
One in a series of biographical dictionaries edited by Stanley Kunitz and Howard Haycroft. The arrangement is alphabetical by author and entries run from a paragraph to several pages in length. Many of the entries are illustrated and nearly all end with a bibliography of works by and about the author.
British Authors of the Nineteenth Century. Kunitz, Stanley, ed. New York: Wilson, 1936. Olin Ref PR 451 K96+
A single volume biographical dictionary providing brief accounts of the lives of the major and minor British authors of the nineteenth century. Arranged alphabetically by author, most entries include a bibliography of works by and about the author.
British Writers. Scott-Kilvert, Ian, gen. ed.  Print volumes plus supplements in Uris Ref PR 85 B86+
A set of literary biographies, originally published as individual studies in a British Council series called Writers and their Work. Arrangement is chronological, starting in Vol. l with the 14th century (William Langland: Piers Plowman) and ending in Vol. VII with Louis MacNeice and an essay on the poets of World War II. Volume VIII serves as an index for the complete set. Supplements issued regularly. Each essay contains both critical and biographical material and ends with a bibliography of works by and about the author.
Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1978- . Uris Ref PS 129 D55+; online via Library Catalog and Database Names
An ongoing set of volumes designed to provide biographic, bibliographic and critical material on major writers of America and Great Britain as well as some writers of Canada, France and Germany. Each volume is arranged alphabetically by the writers covered. There are numerous portraits and often there are appendices containing special information. A list of further reading concludes each volume. An index to all volumes appears at the end of each latest volume. Individual author essays are available online through the Literature Resource Center, minus illustrations, photographs, and other visual material that appears in the printed volumes.
Encyclopedia of British Women Writers. Schlueter, Paul and June Schlueter, eds. New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, 1998. Revised & expanded ed. Olin Ref PR111 E54x 1998 +
Contains biographical entries for British women writers from the eighteenth century to the present. Each entry includes a list of the author's primary works and a bibliography of critical sources. Entries are signed and a list of contributors is provided. The detailed index is cross referenced for pseudonyms or variant names used by an author.
Feminist Companion to Literature in English. Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Olin Ref PR 111 F32; also Library Annex
A 1200-page compendium of biographical sketches for more than 2700 women writing in English, including those from African, Asian, Caribbean, Canadian and other literary traditions. Includes some topical entries as well. Some list sources for further reading.
Great Writers of the English Language. Vinson, James, ed. 3 vols. New York: St. Martin's, 1979. (Vol. 1 Poets, Vol. 2 Novelists, Vol. 3 Dramatists) Library Annex PR 106 G7
Extensive coverage of writers (poets, novelists and dramatists) from Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and other English speaking areas of the world. Entries include a short biography giving very basic information, a list of publications by and about the writers and a short critical essay discussing one or more of that writer's best known works.
Irish Women Writers : an A-to-Z Guide, edited by Alexander G. Gonzalez. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006. Olin Ref PR8733 I75 2006+
"Through roughly 75 alphabetically arranged entries written by more than 35 expert contributors, this reference overviews the lives and works of Irish women writers active in a range of genres and periods. Each entry includes a brief biography, a discussion of major works and themes, a survey of the writer's critical reception, and a list of works by and about the author. The volume closes with a selected, general bibliography." [publisher]
Literature Resource Center.
"LRC is a complete literature reference database designed for the undergraduate student. LRC combines biographical, bibliographical, and contextual information to deliver a complete reference/resource package on authors and their works (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, history, and journalism). Centering on respected Gale sources, including Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Literary Biography, and Contemporary Literary Criticism, this data set is augmented with full-text, excerpted, and commissioned critical material illuminating an oeuvre or era. LRC offers the Encyclopedia of Literature including over 10,000 entries for authors, works, literary landmarks, literary and critical terms, mythological and folkloric figures, fictional characters, literary movements, and prizes. LRC also offers The Scribner Writer Series, providing more than 1500 original biocritical essays on authors of all nationalities and time periods, and The Twayne Authors Series: Twayne's US Authors, Twayne's English Authors and Twayne's World Authors,providing literary criticism, history and influence of literary movements, and the development of literary genres for approximately 200 authors.
Modern British Women Writers: an A-to-Z Guide, edited by Vicki K. Janik and Del Ivan Janik. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002. Olin Ref PR116 M63 2002; also Olin stacks
Alphabetically arranged entries on 58 British women writers of the 20th century discuss each writer's life, works, and critical reception. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and contains an overview of the writer's background, an Analysis of her major works, and an assessment of the critical response to her writings. The entries close with primary and secondary bibliographies, and the volume concludes with a selected, general bibliography. (publisher's description)