This is a guide to selected sources of information related to drama criticism on Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, and August Strindberg at the Geisel Library. It is meant as a starting point for your research and an aid for searching and locating relevant information sources. For further research assistance, please stop by the Reference Desk in person or pose your question online at Ask a Librarian.
Reference books are shelved by call number in the reference stacks near the reference desk on the Main Level of the library. They may not be checked out, but photocopiers are available on the lower level of the Library. 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. A few selected titles are listed below.
Select Indexes and Encyclopedias in the Reference Collection
The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama
Ref PN1861 .C65
Ref PN1655 .C6, Vol. 2
Volume 2 is a checklist of interpretation since 1940 of classical and continental plays.
Dramatic Criticism Index; a Bibliography of Commentaries on Playwrights from Ibsen to
Ref PN1707 .B74
European Drama Criticism, 1900-1975
Ref PN1721 .P37
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama
Ref PN1625 .M3 1984
Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism
Ref PN94 .T83
Though this only provides excerpts of critical works, it is a good starting point to discover patterns of thought on authors and movements and criticism on selected works. Use the bibliographies to explore relevant criticism in other publications.
Online Reference Resources
Online reference sources can be found in the library catalog or listed on the E-Reference Resources page.
Oxford Reference Online
This database enables you to search within many of Oxford's highly-regarded reference works in the fields of literature and history. Of particular note is the Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre which "contains entries on a vast range of theatrical styles, dramatists, performers, and directors, as well as information on theatres, festivals, and such technical topics as lighting, sound, and method acting."
Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature
This electronic encyclopedia provides comprehensive coverage of literature and especially of playwrights and covers the entire history of literature in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in the major literary languages (Anglo-Saxon, English, Welsh, Scots, Irish, and Latin). It includes substantial accounts of individual authors and detailed histories of particular themes, movements, genres, and institutions, whose impact upon the writing or the reading of literature was significant.
Below are several databases that may yield useful journal articles for your research on Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw, and Strindberg. Some of the resources focus on drama criticism, while others provide historical and socio-cultural context for the works and authors.
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, click 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 college email inbox within about a week. To learn how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).
Theatre Research Databases
Literature Resource Center
Find biographical information on authors, as well as bibliographies, plot summaries, and literary criticism of their works. This resource provides the full text of articles from more than 100 literary journals. It also provides an interesting feature entitled "Selected Websites" that provides links to sites of importance on authors and topics.
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. (1963–present)
Arts & Humanities Citation Index
This index provides citations to more than 1,300 arts and humanities journals, including articles, bibliographies, editorials, letters, and reviews. Note the cited references feature, which may enhance your search.
Academic Search Premier
Gain access to full-text as well as indexing and abstracting for a wide range of journal titles covering business, social sciences, humanities, general science, and education. Includes publications such as Theatre, Theatre History Studies, and Theatre Research International.
Other Theatre Research Databases
JSTOR contains the full text of back issues of major journals in the humanities and social sciences. Use this to find articles in selected scholarly literature journals. You can set limiters, such as selecting the 'Performing Arts' check box for journals covering theatre and criticism. Coverage is generally from the beginning of publication to within 5 years of the current issue. JSTOR is an archive of back issues of selected journals. User Guide
"Project MUSE provides online, worldwide, institutional subscription access to the full text of more than 200 scholarly journals in arts and humanities, social sciences, and mathematics." Includes relevant journals in drama research such as Theatre Journal and Modern Drama.
Examples of subject headings to search in the Catalog:
- Shaw, Bernard
- Chekhov, Anton Pavlovich, 1860-1904
- Ibsen Henrik 1828 1906 - Criticism And Interpretation
- Strindberg, August, 1849-1912 - Translations into English
Examples of keyword searches to use in the Catalog:
- drama and criticism and europe and modern*
- european drama and not shakespeare or renaissance and criticism
- criticism and text* and ibsen
- critic* and drama and european drama and not renaissance
Use the * (asterisk) as a truncation symbol to retrieve variant forms of a word root; for example, text* will catch books with the words "text" or "textual" in the catalog record. Use the Boolean AND to combine together multiple concepts, and use the Boolean OR to expand your search with synonyms and related terms. Use AND NOT to eliminate any instances of a term or phrase. AND NOT is particularly useful if you notice in search results multiple instances of terms appearing in titles or entries that are not relevant to your topic.
If you are unable to locate enough materials in the Geisel Library catalog, search the collections of libraries worldwide using WorldCat. This enables you to identify relevant books owned by other colleges and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use, via our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. Try searching on the same keywords and subject headings that you used in the library catalog. If you find a relevant book, click on the title and look for the Request ILL link. Once you submit the request, the book is typically delivered to Geisel Library within 7–8 days.
The following books are a representative sample of the books at the Geisel Library for each playwright. Use the library catalog and WorldCat to search for more books on each playwright. Most works on theatre that will be relevant to this course are classified within the PN-PT range of call numbers and are located on the Upper Level of the Geisel Library.
Select Books on Drama in the Library's General Collection
Homan, Sidney. Staging Modern Playwrights: From Director's Concept to Performance.
Lucas, F. L. The Drama of Chekhov, Synge, Yeats, and Pirandello.
Lumley, Frederick. New Trends in 20th Century Drama; a Survey Since Ibsen and Shaw.
Szondi, Peter. Theory of the Modern Drama: A Critical Edition.
Williams, Raymond. Drama from Ibsen to Brecht.
Malcolm, Janet. Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey.
Rayfield, Donald. Understanding Chekhov: A Critical Study of Chekhov's Prose and Drama.
The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen.
Fjelde, Rolf. Ibsen: A Collection of Critical Essays.
George Bernard Shaw
Critical Essays on George Bernard Shaw.
May, Keith M. Ibsen and Shaw.
Carlson, Harry Gilbert. Out of Inferno: Strindberg's Reawakening as an Artist.
Modernism in European Drama: Ibsen, Strindberg, Pirandello, Beckett: Essays from Modern Drama.
These websites were handpicked for their relevance to your course topic. You may also want to conduct keyword searching on your topics in a search engine such as Google, but be sure to look for indications that the site's information is authoritative, objective and reliable.
Interesting websites for each of the four authors can be found using the online database, Literature Resource Center. Under the tab "Additional Resources" you will find websites selected by editors of the database.
This site provides full text electronic copies of works whose copyright has expired. Project Gutenberg may be useful for searching word use and/or frequency in a play (by using the search feature in your Internet browser). Note: Not all of the four playwrights' works are included.
See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.