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Shakespeare Research Guide


This is a guide to selected sources of information related to Elizabethan and Shakespeare studies. Additional information can be found by consulting the following subject guides: LiteratureClassicsHistory, and Philosophy. For additional assistance, please consult a reference librarian.


Selected Reference Books


Cambridge History of English Literature (10 vols.)
     Ref PR 83 .C22

Critical History of English Literature (2 vols.)
     Ref PR 83 .D29

Crowell's Handbook of Elizabethan & Stuart Literature
     Ref PR 19 .R8

Dictionary of Literary Terms
     Ref PN 44.5 .S46

Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs (2 vols.)
     Ref PN 43 .D48

Elizabethan Stage (4 vols.)
     Ref PN 2589 .C4

Encyclopedia of the Renaissance
     Ref CB 361 .B43

English Drama, 1485–1585
     Ref PR 641 .W58

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama (5 vols.)
     Ref PN 1625 .M3

New Dictionary of the History of Ideas
     Ref CB9 .N49 (print version, 6 vols.)

Oxford Companion to English Literature
     Ref PR 19 .O 94

Oxford Companion to the Theatre
     Ref PN 2035 .H3

Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to Great Britain and Ireland
     Ref PR 109 .E18


British Writers
     Ref PR 85 .B688 (8 vols.)

William Shakespeare:  A Documentary Life
     Oversize PR 2894 .S333

Dictionaries, Glossaries, and Concordances

Complete Concordance or Verbal Index to Words, Phrases, and Passages in the Dramatic Works of Shakespeare: With a Supplementary Concordance to the Poems
     Ref PR 2892 .B34

Dictionary of the Characters & Proper Names in the Works of Shakespeare, with Notes on the Sources and Dates of the Plays and Poems
     Ref PR 2892 .S67

Harvard Concordance to Shakespeare
     Ref PR 2892 .S6

Pronouncing Dictionary of Shakespearean Proper Names
     Ref PR 3081 .I65

Shakespeare Glossary
     Ref PR 2892 .O6

Shakespeare Phonology, with a Rime-Index to the Poems as a Pronouncing Vocabulary
     Ref PR 3081 .V5

Shakespeare Phrase Book
     Ref PR 2892 .B3


Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare
     Ref PR 2892 .C3

Shakespeare A to Z:  The Essential Reference to His Plays, His Poems, His Life and Times, and More
     Ref PR 2892 .B69

Guides and Handbooks

All Things Shakespeare:  An Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's World (2 vols.)
     Ref PR 2892 .O56 2002

Companion to Shakespeare Studies
     Ref PR 2894 .G7

Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare (8 vols.)
     Ref PR 2952 .B8

Oxford Companion to Shakespeare
     Ref PR 2892 .O9

Shakespeare the Playwright: A Companion to the Complete Tragedies, Histories, Comedies, and Romances
     Ref PR 2976 .C27

William Shakespeare: His World, His Work, His Influence (3 vols.)
     Ref PR 2976 .W5354

Literary Criticism and Bibliography

Critical Survey of Poetry:  English Language Series (8 vols.)
     Ref PR 502 .C85

Critical Temper (4 vols.)
     Ref PR 83 .C764

English Renaissance Prose Fiction, 1500–1660:  An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism
     Ref PR833 .H37

Essential Shakespeare
     Ref PR 2894 .C53

Shakespeare and the Classical Tradition
     Ref PR 2894 .V44

Shakespeare and Minorities: An Annotated Bibliography, 1970–2000
     Ref PR 2992 .M5 K856


Shakespeare on Film
     Ref PR 3093 .M6


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Find Journal Articles

Search the following indexes to locate citations to and/or full-text of journal articles. If the article does not appear to be full-text online, search for its availability using the Journal Finder. Journals listed as "in Geisel Library Paper Holdings" are shelved alphabetically by journal title on the Lower Level of the library. Many others are available in full text online by following the links provided.

MLA International Bibliography
The most comprehensive information concerning Shakespeare and Elizabethan studies will be referenced in this database. Coverage is from 1963 to the present.

Academic Search Premier
A broad index providing abstracts and some full-text for a range of academic areas. Citations to the most scholarly Shakespeare studies are not included in this database.

Historical Abstracts
Articles and books related to the Elizabethan period will be found in this history database.

This is a very useful scholarly resource for locating information on all aspects of Renaissance literature.  User Guide

JSTOR is a full-text archive of back issues of selected journals in the areas of history, philosophy and literature among others.    User Guide

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

Project MUSE
"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." Coverage may go back as far as 1993, but in most instances begins in 1999.


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Find Books

Search the library catalog to locate books in Geisel Library. Search by keyword (e.g., midsummer night's dream) if you are unsure of the title you are looking for. Many books about Shakespeare's comedies and tragedies are located on the Upper Level of the library, call numbers PR 2800 to PR 2983.

Search WorldCat to search the collections of libraries worldwide. Find a book in this database, and, if not owned by SAC, you can request it from Interlibrary Loan with one click. Your book(s) will be available for pickup in the library within 7–14 days. Ask for help in using this database at the reference desk, in person, or online at Ask a Librarian.

Ebrary is an online library containing thousands of e-books spanning across all scholarly disciplines. Books can either be opened in QuickView for instant viewing or in the ebrary Reader (a downloadable plug-in), which provides enhanced functionality such as the ability to copy/paste, highlight, or take notes in a particular book.


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Selected Websites

There are many Internet guides to Shakespeare and Elizabethan studies. Here are a few of the comprehensive and well-reviewed websites. Most of the sites below offer links to authoritative Internet sources.

Cambridge English Renaissance
This database, known as CERES, offers a 'Starter Guide', an aide to getting started in Renaissance research.

Complete Works of Shakespeare
Uses the trademarked Complete Moby Shakespeare, part of the Moby Lexicon project from the University of Sheffield, England.

Shakespeare's Works
Brings together all the links to the collected and individual works by Shakespeare available on the Internet.

Literary Resources:  Renaissance
This page is part of a collection maintained by a professor at Rutgers University.

Medieval and Renaissance Studies
A clearinghouse site maintained by Margaret Vail Anderson.

Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet
This site attempts to be a complete annotated guide to the scholarly Shakespeare resources available on Internet. It also presents new Shakespeare material unavailable elsewhere on the Internet.

Shakespeare resources on the World Wide Web
Developed and maintained by a research librarian at the University of Adelaide.

Voice of the Shuttle:  English literature:  Renaissance and 17th Century
These VOS pages are highly regarded as having comprehensive information on the respective subjects.


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Selected Journals

These are journal titles that deal exclusively with Shakespeare or Renaissance subjects. Many other literary journals contain articles on Shakespeare studies. The journal titles listed below are available on the Lower Level of the Geisel Library. Some may also be available in full-text online. Consult the Journal Finder for more information.

  • Elizabethan Theatre
  • Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Renaissance Quarterly
  • Shakespeare Newsletter
  • Shakespeare Quarterly
  • Shakespeare Studies
  • Shakespeare Survey

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Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


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