An Introduction and Overview

World Literature Overview

BPL: Electronic Resources
World Literature comes from all parts of the world; Africa, Asia, America, Europe, The Middle East, Latin America, as well as Oceania and beyond. You may be reading the works of authors from far-flung places in some of your classes and want to explore them further. Here are some possible subject areas to consider:

Literature and Culture

Literature as a history of a people and place
Understanding and Misunderstanding Culture through writing
European Literature and its influence on American authors
Modern World Literature-- Today's Issues in a Global Society
Multiculturalism and its role on literary voice
We can't fit every resource about World Literature on this list! A pathfinder is just the beginning of building your bibliography.

Reference materials

This is the place to start any research project. Reference books offer short, authoritative information on every topic. These books must be used in the library and can be found on the first floor. Most contain bibliographies of important books on your topic.

Bradbury, Malcolm. (1996). The atlas of literature. 352 pages. REF 809 At6 1996
Harvey, Paul (1959). Oxford companion to French literature. 771 pages. REF 840.3 H26
Parini, Jay. (2004). American writers : classics. 336 pages. REF 810.9 Am3 2004 v. II Contains bibliographical references and index.
Parini, Jay. (2008). British writers. 464 pages. REF 820.9 B76 2008 Supp XIII Contains bibliographical references and index.
Ungar. (1986). Latin American literature in the 20th century : a guide. 278 pages. REF 860 L34 Includes index.


Books by authors from any country and about world literature can be found all over the library. It is important to examine the catalog carefully when researching a subject so large. Literature by famous world authors can be found in the 800s. The 810s-817s hold American literature, poetry from around the world can be found in the 821s, the 830s contain English authors, 840sFrench writing, 850s Italian, 860s Spanish and Latin American writers, 870s house Latin Classics like Virgil's Aeneid, the 880scontain Greek writing and Classics, the 890s are all other literature like Russian and African, and the 895s hold the Asian Literature, specifically Chinese and Japanese authors. However, you may also want to examine the history of eras around the globe to aid your research, which are found in the 901s. Similarly, you may want to understand people, civilization, and society. Books on these topics can be found in the 301s(sociology), and the 572s (anthropology). Also examine the 303s, 305s, 306s, and 307s if you want to connect people and places to a Global Society. And don't forget World Literature also includes Myths, Folklore, and Fairytales, which are found in the 398s.

Chan, Jeffrey Paul. (1991). The Big aiiieeeee! : an anthology of Chinese American and Japanese American literature. 619 pages. 810.8 B48 1991
Garcia, Christina. (2006). Bordering fires : the vintage book of contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a literature. 270 pages. 860.8 B64 2006
Gombrich, Ernest. (2005). A little history of the world. 284 pages. 909 G58 2005
Hughes, Langston. (1969). An African treasury: articles, essays, stories, poems, by black Africans. 207 pages. 808.8 H87
Lape, Noreen Grover. (2000). West of the border : the multicultural literature of the Western American frontiers. 224 pages. 810.9327 L31 2000


Log into any of these databases by clicking on the link. If you are away from campus, please read the instructions on remote access, located on the BCDS library Googlesite.

Biography Resource Center A database of complete biographies on notable people around the world.
Contemporary Literary Criticism A complete database offering full-text articles on literature.
Gale Student Edition Full-text articles and other multimedia geared toward high school students. Go here before Google! Search for subject "American and Literature" to find full-text articles; multimedia, newspapers, and other popular resources. Author searches and subject area searches are also possible. Play with different combination of search terms; for questions, consult the BCDS library for searching help.
Readers Guide Full Text Select Good source of articles and criticisms. Check box for Readers Guide Full Text select.
SIRS Renaissance -- Secondary Source Material. Subject Headings: "literature--world" and "literature--English" or "literature--Asian".

Internet sites

LitWeb: World Literature Outlines A collection of resource and outline material on world literature, countries, and its authors, at San Antonio College.
The Norton Anthology of World Literature Online A webpage dedicated to world literature; helps students frame topics, develop projects, and find resources on World Literature; includes timelines and outlines.
World Literature at the Open Directory Project A comprehensive directory to free resources on World Literature available on the web.
World Literature Resources on the Web A comprehensive list of web resources in World Literature topics, geared to high school students, at the Wade Edwards Foundation.
Words Without Borders An online magazine and community dedicated to world literature.

BPL: Electronic Resources

JSTOR: More than 600 core scholarly journals focusing on literature and the humanities. Collection spans the last 150 years but does not includes most current 3 to 5 years.
Literary Resource Center: Full-text database that combines more than 1,000 books, major literary encyclopedias, and reference works from antiquity to the present. It also houses more than 100 literary journals and unique sources not available elsewhere.
Student Resource Center: Designed for grades 6-12, this database offers easy keyword searching across journals, images, books, and reference materials.

Updated 10-09.

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