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.
Cambridge Collections Online offers subject or theme based collections of content within a richly functional, fully cross-searchable online environment. All of the fabulous resources of the numerous Cambridge Companions are available to you through this resource. The Companions feature authors and theorists including: Shakespeare, Nabokov, Hemingway, Adorno, Benjamin, Marlowe, just to name a few. You can view individual volumes, individual essays, and the rich bibliographies that are included within each publication. Each collection is updated with new Companions on publication.
This is just a brief selection of the many general and specialized encyclopedias and bibliographies related to American Literature available in the Reference center.
The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism is an indispensable resource for scholars and students of literary theory and discourse. Presents a comprehensive historical survey of the field's most important figures, schools, and movements. It includes more than 240 alphabetically arranged entries on critics and theorists, critical schools and movements, and the critical and theoretical innovations of specific countries and historical period.