|Lloyd Sealy Library John Jay College of Criminal Justice|
Selected Reference Sources
The John Jay College Library offers a number of useful reference sources that provide biographical and critical information about authors and their works. The materials described below are located on the Library's upper level in the reference section. This handout contains detailed descriptions of four major series and a list of other books that might prove helpful.
Literary Index on CD-ROM is a comprehensive index to a number of these biographical and critical series. Literary Index allows a user to search for individual authors or specific works. The entry notes the particular series, volume, and page where the information is located If the series is held by the Lloyd Sealy Library, the call number will be listed.
In this guide, sources which are included in the Literary Index have (LIT IND) noted after their call numbers.
For your convenience, a separate guide sheet Searching Literary Index on CD-ROM is available near the CD-ROM workstations.
This set provides biographical information about thousands of writers whose works have been published in the twentieth century. Writers in the fields of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, motion pictures, and television are included. In addition, there are entries for writers who are best known for nonliterary activities. These include architects, cartoonists, educators, magazine editors, music critics, songwriters, publishers, radio and television personalities. In order to be considered for inclusion, the individual must either have published in English or have had his or her work translated into English.
Each entry provides personal and career details about the author, some critical comment, additional sources for information, bibliographies of works completed, and notations or works in progress. For the more prolific and important writers, entries include a detailed biographical sketch and, in many cases, and exclusive interview with the individual.
The set is divided into two parts: Contemporary Authors (Original Series and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series). The original series currently numbers over 140 volumes. Approximately five new volumes are published every two years. Entries are arranged alphabetically, and there is no duplication of individual authors within the series. The earlier volumes may carry an R after the volume number: (22R), which simply means that they were updated after the first printing. Some of the earlier volumes have been combined in order to save space. These are clearly marked.
The Contemporary Authors New Revision Series currently numbers thirty-six volumes. Approximately 3 volumes are added to the series each year. The only purpose of the New Revision Series is to update the main set. Only authors whose biographies in Contemporary Authors require significant change are included.
HOW TO FIND THE ENTRY YOU NEED
The entire Contemporary Authors set is indexed by author's name in two ways. There is a separately published index which is generally kept at the Reference Desk. This volume, however, is not the most current indexing source. The alternative, and in many ways preferred approach, is to use the index which appears in even-numbered volumes of the main Contemporary Authors set. This index will always include both series. A user should always check the most recent volume available to search for an author entry.
Both indexes look like this:
See also CLC 12, 26, 37 (4)
(1) The author's most recent biographical entry is in Contemporary Authors New Revision, Vol. 1.
This ambitious series began in 1978 and has grown into a remarkable source for biographical, critical, and historical information on writers. Each volume in the set is organized by topic, period, genre and can stand alone as an excellent overview of a particular area of literature. Individual volumes treat such subject areas as British Novelists Since 1960 (Vol. 14), American Screenwriters (Vol. 44), Afro-American Writers Before the Harlem Renaissance (Vol. 50), and Canadian Writers Since 1960 (Vol. 53).
Entries for each writer are often very extensive and provide not only the biographical and bibliographic information as one would expect, but also related material designed to enhance the researcher's knowledge of the environment in which the author flourished. The embellishments may include drawings and photographs of authors and their families, reproductions, of manuscripts, and brief excerpts from critical reviews.
An author may be represented in more than one volume with each entry emphasizing a different aspect of a writer's career. For example, major entries for Edgar Allen Poe appear in three different volumes in the set: Antebellum Writers in New York and the South (Vol.3), American Literary Critics and Scholars (Vol. 59), and American Magazine Journalists, 1741-1850 (Vol. 73).
The basic series has now grown to over 120 volumes and continues to grow at the rate of seven to nine volumes per year. The series originally included writers of North America only, but in recent years it has been expanded to include British writers and, more recently, modern European writers. The Library purchases selected volumes of this series.
Two smaller series supplement the main set. The Dictionary of Literary Biography Documentary Series is published on a irregular basis and provides biographical and critical source material beyond the scope of a typical DLB entry. Entries include facsimiles of significant literary documents and illustrative material pertinent to the writer's career. These "portable archives" are also useful as primary sourcebooks for critical evaluation. The Documentary Series devotes itself to those major figures of most interest to students of literature. Authors treated in the Documentary Series include Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Vonnegut, Tennessee Williams, and others. Among the subject volumes are The American Transcendentalists and Hardboiled Mystery Writers.
The DLB also publishes a yearbook, which updates published entries and adds new writers to existing volumes. The yearbooks are used to keep the set current and in touch with contemporary activity.
HOW TO FIND THE ENTRY YOU NEED
The entire series is indexed cumulatively in each new volume. To locate an entry for a particular author, choose, the most recent volume and look in the index; the entry or group of entries will be clearly indicated. A handy list of all the volume titles is provided in the inside covers of each volume. This helps in deciding which aspect of an author's career you wish to read about. Also, as noted in the previous section of this guide, the Dictionary of Literary Biography is indexed in the Contemporary Authors series.
OTHER BIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES
An introduction to the works of, and the contribution made by these authors, from the 18th through the 20th century, to African American and United States culture and history.
The literature of representative Hispanic writers whose work is read, studied, published and distributed in the United States and Puerto Rico. Their work is grounded in the Hispanic communities in United States.
Capsule biographies on 2,100 writers, from or associated, with the English, French, and Spanish speaking islands, the Netherland Antilles, Surinam, and Belize. A list of the authors, by country, preceeds the author entry sections. The biographical and critical entries are: Volume 1 (p.17) - Anglophone authors, Volume 2 (p.283) - Francophone authors, Volume 3 (p.561) - authors from the Netherlands Antilles and Surinam, and Volume 4 (p.629) - authors from Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Contains photographs and illustrations.
Mexican American literature, written since 1848, by authors who have become citizens of the United States or who were born here and are of Mexican descent.
Revised, expanded edition. Includes more new authors from 1980 -1995,and entries for organizations, publications,folklore, journalists, political writers, historians, and orators important to Irish Literature. Entries give biographical, critical, and bibliographic information. Index is in volume 2.
Biographical entries on more than 2700 women writers, of literature in English, from the 13th Century to the present. The women are from various countries: United States, Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean,New Zealand, and South Africa. The entries include not only feminine authors of novels, poetry, essays, and plays, but also women writers of travel literature, autobiography, diaries, letters, pamphlets, and memoirs.
Over 400 biographical entries of Hispanic writers of the 20th century. The majority of the authors are from Central and South America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the United States. Eight authors from Spain have been included because of their impact on literature in the New World. Entries taken from Contemporary Authors series, published by Gale, were updated and the other 250 plus author entries are new and were completed for this volume.
Forty-one representative women writers from different regions of the United States from the 1870's through the present. The group includes poets, playwrights, novelists, and short story writers. Among the authors listed are Kate Chopin, Edna St Vincent Millay, Flannery O’Connor, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison,and Sylvia Plath.
Fifteen hundred poets from the 20th century. The authors from Africa, Asia, Australia, Britain, Canada, the Caribbean, New Zealand, and the United States. The collection includes female authors and Black writers. The entries provide biographical and critical information about the author and his/her poetry. There are also entries on topics, movements, and magazines relevant to poetry.
Over 300 representative writers from Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. This text includes writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Manuel del Cabral, Lydia Cabrera, Miguel Angel Asturias, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Biographies and literary work of 632 authors from the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa. Includes African American authors from the 18th century to the present. This work includes authors such as Alice Childress, Pauli Murray, Rosa Guy, Langston Hughes, Efua T.M. Sutherland, Lonne Elder III, Eustace E.R. Braithwaite, and Amos Tutuola.
Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC)
Twentieth Century Literature Criticism (TCLC)
Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism (NCLC)
Literature Criticism From 1400 to 1800 (LC)
[PN 86 .L56]
Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism (CMLC)
[PN 610 .C53]
These five sets collectively form a comprehensive review of literary criticism from the earliest writings to the present day. Each set offers excerpts from criticism of the works of novelists, poets, playwrights, short story writers, composers and lyricists, screenwriters, and other creative artists.
The excerpted critical analyses are collected from scholarly journals, book reviews, literary histories, and books of criticism. Each author entry contains a brief biographical essay followed by a list of principle works. The critical excerpts are arranged chronologically in order to provide a perspective on changes in critical evaluation over the years. Each excerpt is preceded by an explanatory note giving information about the critic and the criticism that follows. For further reading, an additional bibliography appears at the end of each author entry. These series add new volumes annually.
The user must keep in mind that the criticisms included in these sets are merely excerpts from larger works. The entire critical essay or book may be available at John Jay or can be located at one of the other CUNY libraries or at the public library. Check with the reference librarian for help in locating the complete source. When citing these volumes, go to the last page of this guide for examples of how to cite reprinted or excerpted material.
HOW TO FIND ENTRY YOU NEED
The author’s death date determines in which set he/she will be covered. Living authors are included in Contemporary Literary Ctiticism. To determine where a particular author’s entry is located, look in the cumulative author index included in each volume. There is also a Title Index, which lists all the titles considered since the series began, and a Nationality Index, in which author’s names are arranged alphabetically under their respective nationalities.
An author may appear more than once in the series because of continuing critical interest. A number of entries center on one particular work by an author (for example, D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love or Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye). These special entries are noted in the Author and Title indexes. There are specialized sets which deal with particular topics in much more detail:
Black Literature Criticism (BLC)
[Ref. PS 153 .N3 B556]
Drama Criticism (DC)
[Ref. PN 1601 .D59]
Poetry Criticism (PC)
[Ref. PN 1010 .P499]
Shakespearean Criticism (SC)
[Ref. PR 2965 .S44
Short Story Criticism (SSC)
[PN 3373 .S86]
THE CHELSEA HOUSE LIBRARY OF CRITICISM
This 42 volume series is designed to provide a concise portrait of the critical heritage of significant British and American authors. Each entry contains a brief biography of the author, selected criticism from noted critics, and a list of additional readings.
The series is divided into five sets, each of which covers authors chronologically by date of death. Some of the sets have a separate index which is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the author. Use this index to find out the volume and page for the author. This is noted in the comments describing each set. The criticism is also arranged by time period with the earliest critical commentaries coming before the later ones. The sets are classified as follows:
Volume 11 contains the index to authors for the entire set. See pp. 6650 -6653. Index gives author’s name, volume, and page number,e.g., Hawthorne, Nathaniel 8:4763
Includes only the most widely read British and American writers from the 14th to the 19th century.
Twentieth century criticism of English language authors whose major works predate 1904. Volume 11 contains the index to authors for the entire set. See pp. 6573 - 6574. The index gives the author’s name, volume, and page number,e.g., Austen, Jane 6:3332
The authors are arranged in alphabetical order in each volume: v. 1 A-D, v. 2 E-H, v. 3 H-M, v. 4 M-S, and v. 5 S-Z Inside each volume there is a Contents page which list each of the authors in the volume and the page number for the author entry, e.g., Thomas Hardy....1049
REFERENCE Twentieth Century American literature (8 Vols.)
The authors are arranged in alphabetical order in each volume: v. 1 A-B, v. 2 C-E, v. 3 E-H, v. 4 H-M, v. 5 M-P, v. 6 P-S, and v. 7 S-Z. Inside each volume there is a Contents page which list each of the authors in the volume and the page number for the author entry,e.g., v. 7, Robert Penn Warren....4122
SALEM PRESS CRITICAL SURVEY SERIES
The sets, edited by Frank Magill, are great guides which are useful both as overviews of different literary styles and as critical guides to individual authors. The entry for each writer contains biographical information and short essays discussing the themes, principal characteristics of style, and an analysis of the writer’s complete work. A list of further sources is included.
The Poetry, Long Fiction, Short Fiction, and Drama sets include separate volumes of historical and critical essays. Articles on the development of a particular country’s literature and on literary and narrative devices and poetical terms are also included.
The Mystery and Detective Fiction set includes writers whose works contributed to the development of the literary form,e.g., Edgar Allan Poe, those who are well known for the work in this area, e.g., Agatha Christie, and those writers who are famous in other types of literature but who also write for this genre,e.g., Fyodor Dostoevski. Writers from the United States,Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Sweden Russia., Argentina, France , and The Netherlands are included. Works discussed have diverse plots ,e.g., espionage, romantic suspense, psychological thrillers, and famous private investigator sleuths. Identifies well known series, their authors, and the main characters in the series.
The index is in volume 6 on pp.I - XXXVII. An example of an index entry: McCullers, Carson, 1190-1200; The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, 1190. The author is Carson McCullers and information about her life as well as critical comments about her work is on pp. 1190-1200. A critical discussion of her novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, is on pp. 1190.
The index for v. 1-6 is in volume 6, pp. I-XLIV. Supplement (1987) updates and includes playwrights not covered in the Critical Survey of Drama (1985) and the Critical Survey of Drama: Foreign Language Series (1986). The index for the Supplement is on pp. I - IX.
An example of an index entry: Aristophanes, 111-120; The Birds, 117-118. The author or playwright is Aristophanes and critical information about his plays and a brief summary of his life is on pp.111-120. A critical discussion of his play, The Birds, is on pp. 117-118.
Each volume has a list of the author entries and page numbers. The complete index for v. 1-8 is in volume 8 on pp. I-XLVIII. Supplement (1987) updates and also includes authors not included in v. 1-8. The index to the Supplement is on pp.I -IX. An example of an index entry : Wright, Richard, Black Boy, 2974-2985. The author is Richard Wright and critical comments about his novel, Black Boy are on pp. 2974-2985.
Each volume contains a list of the author entries and page numbers The index for v. 1-7 is in volume 7 on pp. I - LXIV. The Supplement (1987) updates and also includes authors not discussed in v. 1-7. The index for the Supplement is on pp. I - XIV. An example of an index entry in the Supplement: Rhys, Jean, 258-263. The author is Jean Rhys and critical comments about her work plus brief biographical information about her life and career is on pp. 258-263.
Each volume has a list of the author entries and page numbers. The index for v. 1-5 is in volume 5 on pp. I -LIV. An example of an index entry: Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (Hugo), 853-854, 2125. A critical discussion of the book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is given on pp. 853-854 and p. 2125. The last name of the author of the book is Hugo. Looking under the author’s last name will bring additional pages of more entries which contain critical discussions of other books that he/she has written.
Each volume list the author entries and page numbers. The index for the set is in volume 8 on pp.I-LXXXIX. A sample of an index entry: Frost, Robert, 183, 1039-1049, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” 3388. The poet is Robert Frost and a critical discussion of his work plus biographical information about his life and career is on pp. 1039-1049. A short critical analysis of his some of works is on p. 183. A critical discussion of a specific poem, “ Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, by Robert Frost, is on p. 3388.
Each volume has a list of the author entries and page numbers. The index for volumes 1-4 is in volume 4 on pp. XV - XLIV. An example of an index entry: Poe, Edgar Allan, 1331-1337; “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” 1334-1335. The author is Edgar Allan Poe and a discussion of his work plus a short summary of his life is on pp. 1331-1337. A critical discussion of the short story mystery, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” is on pp. 1334-1335.
REFERENCEAMERICAN WRITERS (4 Vols.)
University of Minnesota Pamphlets on 97 American Writers, from 1959-1972, is the basis for this reference set. The material has been expanded and revised (1974-1996) to both include new writers and update material on the earlier authors.
The essays focus on the critical evaluation of each writer’s work. Authors included are from the Colonial Period through the present. The set includes authors such as James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway, Joyce Carol Oates, Maya Angelou, Philip Roth, and James Baldwin. The Retrospective Index I contains those writers which students most frequently address, e.g., Willa Cather, Langston Hughes, John Updike, Herman Melville, etc.
The set is comprised of volumes. 1-4, supplements 1-4 (pts.1&2), and the retrospective supplement I. The index for v. 1-4 is in volume 4. The cumulative index for v. 1-4 and supplements 1-3, pt. 1-2, is in supplement 3 , pt. 2. The retrospective supplement I has its own index, and this supplement also contains a list of all the authors, in v. 1-4, by volume and page.
Series of separate articles, Writers and their Work,initiated by the British Council which has been expanded into a seven volume reference set updated with four supplements.
British writers from the 14th century (Volume 1 begins with William Langland, ca 1332- ca 1400, author of Piers Plowman) through the present (volume 7 ends with the poets of World War II. The supplements I -IV continue with authors not included in volumes 1-7. Each supplement includes authors not listed in the previous supplement. The set includes writers such as Nadine Gordimer, John Le Carre, V.S. Pritchett, Margaret Drabble, Jean Rhys, John Fowles, and Brendan Behan. The articles provide biographical and critical information about each author. In addition, articles on Shakespeare and Chaucer include a discussion of new fields of research on these authors.
The front cover of each volume in the set gives the names of the authors inside the volume. The index for v. 1-7 and supplements I-II is in supplement II. The index for v. 1-7 and supplement I-III is in supplement III. The cumulative ndex for all of the volumes and supplements is in supplement IV on p. 561-668.
OTHER CRITICAL SOURCES
These titles provide criticism about the works of an author. The titles are located in the reference section of the library.
Sixty-five writers from the late 19th through the 20th century who have made a significant contribution to the literature of their country. The authors are from Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana,Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, SouthAfrica, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The cover of each volume lists the authors inside it. The index to the set is in volume two. The authors are classified by country in volume one.
Nature writers from the 17th through the 20th century. Includes William Bartram, the originator of American nature writing, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and current writers like Rachel Carson, Peter Matthiessen, Loren Eiseley and Diana Ackerman.
Critical analysis of 253 American women writers from the colonial era through the present. Includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Latina, and lesbian writers. The authors are playwrights, novelists, poets, and writers of nonfiction.
Critical evaluation of the work of each of the 50 writers from the 18th century to the present. The authors are from Antigua, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, St. Lucia, and Trinidad.
This set features 176 writers from the 16th century to the present. The countries with which the authors are associated are Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica,Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Savador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela. A list of the authors by country is given in volume two. The index to the set is in volume two.
Critical portraits of 137 authors whose work helped to build and develop Latin American literature. The authors are from Argentina, Boliva, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Volumes 1 and 2 contain a list of the authors by name and by country.
CITING REPRINTED OR EXCERPTED MATERIAL
When writing papers, students who quote directly from a collection of reprinted essays should use one of these formats in a bibliography:
Daiches, David. (1939, June). W.H. Auden: The search for a public. Poetry, pp.148-56 Excerpted and reprinted in Poetry Criticism, (1990, 1 , 7-9). Detroit: Gale.
Annas, Pamela. (1998). A disturbance in mirrors: The poetry of Sylvia Plath. New York: Greenwood. Excerpted and reprinted in Poetry Criticism, (1990, 1 , 410-414).