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FR 350 - Survey of French Literature


The following guide is intended to provide an overview of some of the resources available in the library and online for French Literature. For further research assistance, please take advantage of the reference services available to you in the Geisel Library. Stop by the Reference Desk in person or online at Ask a Librarian.


Research Basics

The Geisel Library website includes a Research Help page, which contains numerous guides to using library resources and finding information. Included is a Research Strategy guide that walks you through the seven steps of doing successful college-level research, as well as a number of helpful video tutorials. Please take advantage of these resources.


Primary Sources

ARTFL Project
A collection of French-language texts "ranging from classic works of French literature to various kinds of non-fiction prose and technical writing. The eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries are about equally represented, with a smaller selection of seventeenth century texts as well as some medieval and Renaissance texts. Features "a Provençal database that includes 38 texts in their original spellings. Genres include novels, verse, theater, journalism, essays, correspondence, and treatises. Subjects include literary criticism, biology, history, economics, and philosophy." Also includes French and English dictionaries as well as a searchable version of Diderot and d'Alembert's Encyclopédie.


Finding Background Information

Oxford Reference Online
Contains electronic versions of foreign language dictionaries, commonly used Oxford dictionaries, encyclopedias and subject reference works.

The Oxford Business French Dictionary (English-French)

The Oxford Business French Dictionary (French-English)

The Concise Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary (English-French)

The Concise Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary (French-English)

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of French Literature
     Edited by Joyce M. H. Reid
     Ref PQ41 .C6 1976

A Critical Bibliography of French Literature v. 1 The Medieval period
     edited by U.T. Holmes
     Ref PQ103 .C74 v.1

Dictionnaire des Lettres Françaises
     Publié sous la direction de Georges Grente [et al.]
     Ref PQ41 .D53

Dictionnaire des Littératures de Langue Française
     Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais, Daniel Couty, Alain Rey
     Ref PQ41 .B4 1994 v.1-4

Dictionnaire des Oeuvres et des Thèmes de la Littérature Française
     Michel Bouty
     Ref PQ41 .B68 1990

Dictionnaire des Oeuvres Littéraires de Langue Française
     Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais, Daniel Couty
     Ref PQ41 .B42 1994 v.1-4

Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature
     Robert Thomas Lambdin
     Ref PN669 .E53 2000

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages
     edited by Andre Vauchez
     Ref D114 .E53 2000

European Writers
     William T.H. Jackson, editor, George Stade, editor in chief
     Ref PN501 .E9 v.1-2
     v. 1-2. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance: Prudentius to medieval drama
     Petrarch to Renaissance short fiction

French Women Writers: A Bio-bibliographical Source Book
     edited by Eva Martin Sartori and Dorothy Wynne Zimmerman
     Ref PQ149 .F73 1991

Guide de la Littérature Française du Moyen Age
     Louis Kukenheim
     PQ151 .K8

International Medieval Bibliography
     Ref D118 .I57

Literature Resource Center
This database combines three literary databases for biographical information, bibliographic listings of authors' works, plot summaries, and literary criticism for 90,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists and other writers. This resource also provides the full text of articles from more than 100 literary journals and has links to author's official web sites.

Littérature Française, par Antoine Adam. Georges Lerminier, Edouard Morot-Sir
     Antoine Adam
     PQ101 .A3 1972

Medieval France: An Encyclopedia
     William W. Kibler
     DC33.2 M44 1995 (Anselm Collection)

A New History of French Literature
     edited by Denis Hollier with R. Howard Bloch...[et al.]
     Ref PQ119.N48 1989

The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French
     edited by Peter France
     Ref PQ41 .N49 1995

La Renaissance
     Raoul Morcay
     PQ101 .H47 v.2


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Finding Secondary Sources

Sample subject headings to consider when searching the library catalog or Worldcat (century can be included or omitted):

  • French literature - 17th century - History and criticism
  • Poetry, Medieval - History and criticism
  • French poetry - to 1500 - Bibliography
  • French poetry - History and criticism
  • French fiction - 16th century
  • French drama - 18th century

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Finding Journal Articles

Literary Criticism

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)    Journal List (PDF/62KB)

Full-text Databases

Search here for full-text articles from major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including Eighteenth-Century Studies, French Historical Studies, Journal of the History of Ideas, and Yale French Studies. Coverage is generally from the beginning of publication to within 5 years of the current issue.   Journal list for:  Arts & Sciences I    Arts & Sciences II    Arts & Sciences III

Project MUSE
This database offers full-text articles from over 300 peer-reviewed journals, including Eighteenth-Century Life, Eighteenth-Century Studies, and French Forum. (See Journal List for dates of coverage.)

Related Indexes

Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHSearch)
This index provides citations to more than 1,300 arts and humanities journals, which include articles, bibliographies, editorials, letters, and reviews. Note the cited references feature, which may enhance your search. (1980-current)

ATLA Religion Database
ATLA Religion Database provides information on topics such as biblical studies, world religions, church history, and religion in social issues. This database is the definitive index for religious and theological literature. ATLA Religion Database contains more than 1.4 million bibliographic records covering the research literature of religion in over 60 languages.

Historical Abstracts
This index provides abstracts to key history journals from around the globe, covering world history from 1450 to the present. Historical Abstracts includes citations from books, dissertations, and a targeted selection of journals in the social sciences and humanities. (1954-current)

ITER:  Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance
"Iter's bibliography covers all literature pertaining to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700). Citations for journal articles, reviews, review articles, bibliographies, catalogues, abstracts and discographies are included. Also included are citations for monographs, and material published in monographs and collections of essays."    Journal List (PDF/66KB)

Philosopher's Index
The premier international resource in philosophy, this database contains over 160,000 citations with abstracts to journal articles as well as books. (1940-current)    Journal List (PDF/72KB)


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Finding Images

Connect to ARTstor to access a half -million images and related text. These images can be printed for use in your paper, or included in PowerPoint demonstrations. Ask a Reference Librarian if you require assistance using ARTstor.

Websites that are helpful for finding images:

Metropolitan Museum of Art, Timeline of Art History (France 1000-1400 AD)

DScriptorium:  Digital Images of Medieval Manuscripts

Virtual Expositions of the BNF

Google Image Search


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Selected Websites

Lexique des Termes Litteraires

TV5 Monde
Offers dictionnaires, etc.

Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


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Citing Sources

Printed Guide

For a complete introduction and extensive examples, refer to:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
     Ready Ref LB2369 .G53 (at the Reference Desk)

Links to MLA Style Guides on the Web

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