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EN 104 - Extreme Fiction: Short Stories on the Edge


This is a guide to selected sources of information related to experimental short fiction in the Geisel Library. It is meant as a starting point for your research. For further research assistance, please stop by the Reference Desk in person or pose your question online at Ask a Librarian.


Reference Sources for Background Information

Reference books are shelved by call number in the reference stacks near the reference desk. They may not be checked out, but photocopiers are available on the lower level of the Library. Online reference sources can be found in the library catalog or listed on the E-Reference Resources page. Use reference resources to find background information on authors and literary works, as well as the social issues, historical periods, and themes being addressed in this course.

Electronic Reference Materials

Use the following electronic reference materials instead of wikipedia; these resources are full of quality information and are as easy to use as general web searching.

The following resources are restricted to the Saint Anselm College community.

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)

Credo Reference
Search with keywords to find entries from encyclopedias of anthropology, geography, history, psychology, and other fields of study. Sources include Encyclopedia of Post Modernism.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online
Find overviews on a wide variety of topics by searching this online encyclopedia. This is a good source for obtaining background info on authors and finding good keywords that represent your topic.

Literature Resource Center
This database includes lengthy biographical profiles of authors, plot summaries, and literary criticism for over 90,000 novelists, poets, and other writers. This resource also provides the full text of articles from more than 100 literary journals.    User Guide

New Dictionary of the History of Ideas
Find entries on science fiction, magic and virtual reality.
     Ref CB9 .N49 (print version)

Oxford Reference Online
This database enables you to search many of Oxford's reference works, including the Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Oxford Companion to World Mythology, the Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, and A Dictionary of Writers and Their Works.

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Useful for checking philosophical context of search terms.


Print Reference Books - Listed by sub-topic

Literary Theory and Symbolism

These reference sources can help you understand the terminology you encounter in literary criticism, as well as interpret the meaning of symbols in literary works.

Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (Cuddon)
     Ref PN41 .C83

Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs (2 vols.)
     Ref PN43 .D48

Routledge Companion to Postmodernism
     Ref B831.2 .R68

Symbolism:  A Comprehensive Dictionary
     Ref CB475 .O38

Literary Criticism and Author Biographies

American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies (13 vols.)
     Ref PS129 .A55

Literary Criticism Series
     Contemporary Literary Criticism (Ref PN94 .C65)
     Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (Ref PN761 .N56)
     Twentieth Century Literary Criticism (Ref PN94 .T83)
To find out the volumes in which your author or literary work are covered, use the Gale Literary Index.

Supernatural Fiction Writers
     Ref PN 3435 .S96

Fantasy, Fable, and Science Fiction Resources

Anatomy of Wonder
     Ref PN 3433.5 .A5

Encyclopedia of Fantasy
     Ref PN 56 .F34 E53

Guide to Supernatural Fiction
     Ref PN 56.S8 B57

Supernatural Literature of the World, an Encyclopedia
     Ref PN 56 .S8


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Find Books/Secondary Sources

Headings suggestions to use in searching the Catalog:

AUTHOR (books written by): examples-

  • (last name, first name)
  • Calvino, Italo
  • Paley, Grace

Keywords to consider when using the Catalog:

  • absurd*
  • experimental fiction
  • experimental novel
  • metafiction
  • formalism
  • History and criticism (use with author name or setting)
  • Biography (use with author name)
  • Author name (first name last name)

Use the * (asterisk) as a truncation symbol to retrieve variant forms of a word root. Use the Boolean OR to expand your search by including synonyms and related terms. When using two different Boolean commands in the same search statement ("and" and "or" in the preceding examples) you must include parentheses to indicate which command is to be performed first.

SUBJECTS (books written about): examples-

  • (author last name, first name)
  • Short stories, American (or other geographic area)
  • Symbolism in literature
  • Magical realism literature
  • Supernatural in literature
  • Absurd philosophy in literature
  • Science fiction
  • Postmodernism literature
  • Surrealism literature

By searching WorldCat, you can identify potentially useful books owned by other college libraries and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use. Try searching the same keywords and subject headings that proved successful in the Geisel Library catalog. To request a book, open the book's WorldCat record, click the "Request via Interlibrary Loan" link, and follow the on-screen instructions. Allow 7-10 days for delivery. You will be emailed when your book arrives.


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Find Journal Articles


To search for journal articles across multiple databases at once, try CrossSearch. This tool allows you to select either subject categories or individual databases that relate to your topic, enter your keywords, and run the search. For papers with a literary focus, search the English subject category; for other topics, you may wish to search in History, Politics, and/or Sociology. CrossSearch displays the first 20 results from each database. If an article looks useful, click on the WebBridge icon to see if it is available in full-text or in Geisel Library's periodicals collection.

Starting your article search in CrossSearch can help you gauge how many articles are available about your topic, and pinpoint which databases are worth exploring individually. You can then run additional searches in those databases, where you can take advantage of limiters and subject terms to zero in on the best articles for your topic. For tips on using CrossSearch, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins.; includes audio).

Individual Databases

Below are several databases that may yield useful journal articles for your research. Some focus on literary criticism while others will provide historical and socio-cultural context for the literature. Try searching on the same keywords that you used in the book catalog. Remember to use Boolean operators and wildcards (the asterisk symbol) to improve your search.

In the results screen, if there is no full-text link readily available, click on the WebBridge icon to determine whether the journal is available in the Geisel Library or in full-text via another electronic database. If the article isn't available, consider clicking on the Interlibrary Loan link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Articles requested via ILL will be delivered to your email inbox within about a week.

Literature Resource Center
Find biographical information on authors, as well as bibliographies, plot summaries, and literary criticism of their works. This resource also provides the full text of articles from more than 100 literary journals.    User Guide

MLA International Bibliography
Produced by the Modern Language Association of America, this electronic index consists of bibliographic records pertaining to literature, language, linguistics, and folklore.

Academic Search Premier
A broad index providing abstracts and some full-text for a range of academic areas, including literature, politics, and sociology.

ProQuest Central
A massive database covering a wide range of subjects, with full-text of scholarly journal articles, newspapers, and dissertations.

Search here for full-text articles from major journals in the humanities and social sciences. Coverage is generally from the beginning of publication to within 5 years of the current issue.    User Guide

Project MUSE
This database offers all full-text articles from over 300 peer-reviewed journals; subjects include humanities, arts, medicine, mathematics, social sciences, and more.

New York Times
The full-text of the New York Times can assist you with determining the news and cultural interest at the time that stories were written.


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Selected Websites

Fantastic Fiction
Use Fantastic Fiction to browse titles and authors of gothic, supernatural, science fiction, and horror novels.

The Libyrinth
A literary site focusing on 20th and 21st century writers, with an emphasis on experimental fiction.

The Modern Word
A literary website focusing on 20th- and 21st-century authors of experimental fiction.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database
More than 73,000 historical and critical citations about the related genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

Voice of the Shuttle - Contemporary British and American Literature
Detailed list of links to sites on contemporary American and British Literature.


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Citing Sources

MLA is the citation style required in this class. The library has both print and electronic versions of MLA citation guides available, or ask a librarian for assistance.


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