Main Content

PH 342 - Existentialism


This is a guide to selected sources of information related to the PH342 Existentialism course. Covered in this guide are resources pertaining to major existentialist philosophers and concepts. The guide is only meant to be a starting point for your research. For further research assistance, please contact the Philosophy Liaison Librarian.


Research Basics

The reference librarians have created a group of Web pages named Research Help to help teach you the basics of library research and to introduce you to Geisel Library. On the Research Help pages, you will find a guide on Research Basics and a helpful guide on evaluating Web resources titled, our guide on Evaluating Websites. Please take advantage of these resources.


Reference Sources

Search these resources for information on specific philosophers as well as information on concepts such as existentialism, nihilism, subjectivity and death.

Electronic Reference Materials

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

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

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Credo Reference

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)

Oxford Reference Online (ORO)

Print Reference Materials

The following reference books are shelved on the first floor of the library in the reference area:

Dictionary of Existentialism
     Call Number: Ref B819 .D455

Encyclopedia of Philosophy
     Call Number: Ref B41 .E5

Handbook of World Philosophy
     Call Number: Ref B804 .A1 H36


Return to top


Search Tips

To search the catalogs and databases highlighted in this guide you will need to use Boolean operators (ANDs and ORs), truncation, and quotation marks to pull up books and articles on your topic. Here is a brief overview of how to use Boolean operators and truncation:

  • AND - use AND to link together search topics Heidegger and death
  • OR - use OR to link together synonyms or like concepts (responsibility OR morality) AND Sartre
  • * - use truncation to pull up the root of a word with variant endings existential* will pull up items with the words existential, existentialism, existentialist, etc.


Return to top


Find Books/Secondary Sources

Geisel Library Catalog
The first step when looking for books is to search the Geisel Library Catalog. Remember that you can search by keyword or by subject heading.

The list of subject heading and keyword searches listed below are only examples; Geisel Library has a wealth of information related to existentialism, make sure to construct your own subject heading and keyword searches to access information on your topic.

Subject Heading Searches

Books by Albert Camus (primary sources)
Books by Simone De Beauvoir (primary sources)
Books by Jean-Paul Sartre (primary sources)

Books about Soren Kierkegaard
Books about Gabriel Marcel
Books about Friedrich Nietzsche
Books about Jean-Paul Sartre

French Philosophy

Keyword Searches

Camus and Sartre
Phenomenology and Existentialism
Freedom and Philosophy
(Being or Self) and Existential*

If you searched the Geisel Library Catalog but could not locate a book on your topic try searching WorldCat, a database that allows you to search the collections of libraries throughout the United States. If you find a book that you want you can request it through interlibrary loan (ILL) by clicking on the ILL icon in the book's catalog record. Please be aware that items requested through WorldCat can take a week to two weeks to be delivered, it is important therefore to request books through WorldCat early in the research process.


Return to top


Find Journal Articles

The following databases will help you locate scholarly research in the field of philosophy. When examining your search results you may come across the WebBridge icon. To learn how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).

Core Philosophy Databases

Philosopher's Index

Academic Search Premier


Project MUSE

Additional Databases

Use SocINDEX to find articles that examine the influence that existentialists have on society.


Return to top


Selected Internet Resources

Searching the Internet can yield a vast amount of information, but in terms of quality and reliability, your results may be uneven at best. The ease and speed with which individuals can publish information on the web, regardless of accuracy or quality makes it imperative that when doing research on the web you know how to evaluate the information you find. To learn more, see our guide on Evaluating Websites.

If when searching the Internet, you locate references to books or articles that you would like to view please check with a reference librarian to see if the items can be located in Geisel Library's print or electronic collection or through Interlibrary Loan.

Philosophy Search Engines

Use the following customized search engines to search only those websites that contain scholarly research in the field of philosophy.

Intute: Arts and Humanities
University of Oxford and Manchester Metropolitan University

University of Evansville

University of Hong Kong

Selected Websites

Autour de Simone De Beauvoir
This site about the life and works of Simone De Beauvoir was originally published in French, to read the site in English click on the "English Version" link.

The Existential Primer

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Use the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy to access peer-reviewed essays on philosophers and philosophical topics.

John-Paul Sartre Archive
Marxists Internet Archive

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Search the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy by keyword or by browsing their table of contents. Make sure to take advantage of the links to related entries and the bibliographic references at the end of entries.


Human All Too Human: Martin Heidegger
BBC Documentary (49 minutes)
Available on Google Video

Human All Too Human: Friedrich Nietzsche
BBC Documentary (49 minutes)
Available on Google Video

Human All Too Human: Sartre the Road to Freedom
BBC Documentary (48 minutes)
Available on Google Video

Philosophy Talk: Existentialism
Philosophy Talk Radio Show (54 minutes, requires RealPlayer)
Stanford University
Click "Listen Online" to listen to streaming audio

Digitized Books

Google Book Search
Google Books lets you read digitized books on its website. To search for full text versions of works:

  1. Click Advanced Book Search
  2. Enter in your keywords
  3. Click the "Full View" radio button

By selecting Full View you are limiting your search to only those books that are available in full text in the Google Books collection. Full View books are limited to those works that are no longer copyright protected.


Return to top


Citing Sources

Geisel Library has both print and electronic resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


Return to top