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Shakespeare Studies: Reference Sources

A guide for students and professors interested in the study of Shakespeare's life and works

Reference to the rescue!


Why Reference?

Reference materials are excellent resources for providing an overview of the subject you are researching.  They will provide well-known facts on literary authors and their works; historical and political events that may have impacted their work; the society and culture in which they lived and worked and/or may have based their work upon; and the impact of their work on future generations.  They are trustworthy and reliable, giving you the correct information you will need for your research papers and presentations.


Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a time-saving, scholarly search interface accessible from within the Google interface. With Google Scholar, you can access peer-reviewed journal articles, books and book sections. For literature searching, specialized databases have more functionality and access more comprehensive results, but Google Scholar is a good tool

What does that word mean? Look it up in the OED!

The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.

Shakespeare in the Reference Room

General Shakespearean Resources

William Shakespeare: his world, his work, his influence 
John F. Andrews, ed.  New York: Scribner, 1985. 3 volumes.  
REF 1  PR 2976 .W5354 
The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare 
Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells, eds.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
REF 1  PR 2892 .O94
A Companion to Shakespeare's works
Richard Dutton and Jean E. Howard, eds.  Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2000.
REF 1  PR 2976 .C572 
Shakespearean Criticism
Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1984-  
Also available online via The Shakespeare Collection. 
REF 1  PR 2965 .S44
A Companion to Shakespeare
David Scott Kastan, ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1999. 
REF 1  PR 2910 .C66
Longman Guide to Shakespeare's Characters: a who's who of Shakespeare -
Kenneth McLeish.  Burnt Mill, Harlow, Essex, UK: Longman, 1985. 
REF 1  PR 2989 .M35
The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare
Margreta de Grazia and Stanley Wells, eds.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 
REF 1  PR 2894 .C33 
Shakespearean scholarship: a guide for actors and students
Leslie O'Dell.  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
REF 1  PR 2965 .O34
Shakespeares after Shakespeare : an encyclopedia of the Bard in mass media and popular culture
Richard Burt.  Westport, Ct: Greenwood Press, 2007
REF 1  PR2880 .A1 S48 2007

Historical resources 

The writer's guide to everyday life in Renaissance England from 1485-1649
Kathy Lynn Emerson.  Cincinnaati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1996.
REF 1  DA320 .E48 1996
Historical Dictionary of Tudor England, 1485-1603
Ronald H. Fritze, ed.  NY: Greenwood Press, 1991.
REF 1  DA315 .H5 1991 
Historical Dictionary of Stuart England, 1603-1689
Ronald H. Fritze and William Robison, eds. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996.
REF 1 DA375. H57 1996
Historical Dictionary of the Elizabethan World: Britain, Ireland, Europe, and America
John A. Wagner.  Phoenix, AZ: Oryz press, 1999.
REF 1  DA357 . W34 1999
The Longman Companion to the Stuart Age, 1603-1714
John Wroughton.  New York: Longman, 1997.
REF 1  DA375 .W76 1997
Understanding Shakespeare's England : a companion for the American reader 
Jo McMurtry.  Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1989.
REF 1  PR2940 . M35 1989 
Shakespeare in America: an anthology from the Revolution to Now
James Shapiro.  New York: Library of America, 2014.
REF 1 PR2971 .U6 S49 2014

Theatrical resources   

English Renaissance theatre history : a reference guide
David Stevens.  Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1982.
REF 1  Z2014 .D7 S78
Dictionary of literary and dramatic censorship in Tudor and Stuart England
Dorothy Auchter.  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.
REF 1  PR411 .A93 2001
A dictionary of stage directions in English drama, 1580-1642
Alan C. Dessen and Leslie Thomson.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
REF 1  PR658 .S59 D47 1999
Renaissance theatre costume, and the sense of the historic past
Stella Mary Newton.  New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1975
REF 1  GT174 .N48
Renaissance theatre : a historiographical handbook
Ronald W. Vince.  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1984. 
REF 1  PN2171 .V5 1984
Shakespeare's theatre : a dictionary of his stage context
Hugh M. Richmond.  New York: Continuum, 2002.
REF 1  PR3095 .R53 2002 

Bibliographies in the Refence Room

What is a bibliography and how can it help me do my research?

A bibliography is defined as a list of books or other works, such as journal articles, which relate to a particular subject, period, or author.  Annotated bibliographies contain brief summaries of each source and a description of its relevance.  Bibliographies can be very helpful because they give researchers an overview of what has been written about a particular subject and can also offer a starting point in the research process.  Bibliographies of individual plays are located in the general call number group of Z8812

The Essential Shakespeare: an annotated bibliography of major modern studies
Larry S. Champion. New York: G.K. Hall, 1993.
REF 1  Z8811 .C53 1993
Shakespeare : life, language, and linguistics, textual studies, and the canon :
an annotated bibliography of Shakespeare studies, 1623-2000
Michael Warren. Fairview, NC: Pegasus Press, 2003.
REF 1  Z8811 .S54 2003 
Shakespeare, a bibliographical guide
Stanley Wells.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
REF 1  Z8811 .S5 1990
Shakespeare and feminist criticism : an annotated bibliography and commentary
Philip C. Kolin.  New York: Garland, 1991.
REF 1  Z8811 .K76 1991
Shakespeare and the classical tradition : an annotated bibliography, 1961-1991
John Lewis Walker.  New York: Routledge, 2002.
REF 1  PR3037 .S55 2002   
Shakespeare and the medieval tradition: an annotated bibliography
J. Paul McRoberts. New York: Garland, 1985.
REF 1  Z8813 .M34  1985 
Shakespeare and the minorities: an annotated bibliography, 1970-2000
Parvin Kujoory.  Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001.
REF 1  Z8813 .K84 2001