Oxford Companions and Cambridge Companions are a series of authoritative guides, written by leading experts, offering introductions to major writers, artists, topics, and periods. They are an excellent resource for getting started with your research.
There are many handbooks, dictionaries, and encyclopedias that provide basic information for literary studies. If you are not clear about your topic, try establishing its limits with a good definition and some introductory information. The following sources can give you a quick overview or summary of a topic.
A guide to the intellectual traditions of literary theory that includes articles on individual critics and theorists, critical and theoretical schools and movements, and the critical and theoretical innovations of specific countries and historical periods.
Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
"Provides surveys of 106 national poetries; descriptions of poetic forms and genres...detailed explanations of the devices of prosody and rhetoric; and overviews of all major schools of poetry ancient and modern, Western and Eastern...provides balanced and comprehensive accounts of the major movements and issues in criticism and literary theory."
Reader's Guide to Literature in English
Ref PR85 .R42 1996
Provides descriptions and evaluation of critical writing on a range of topics and writers of the British Isles, the United States, and other major English-speaking traditions.
Please note: This Item is available in the Reading Room Reference Collection
Provides biographical and bibliographical information and references on more than 120,000 U.S. and international authors