Conducting Bibliographic Research on 19 icon

Conducting Bibliographic Research on 19

Dabney Bankert

English 299/Fall 2006

English 299: Writing about Literature

Conducting Bibliographic Research on 19th Century British Poetry

Objective and Assignment:

This assignment asks you to locate and learn how to use major bibliographic reference sources for nineteenth-century British poetry. You have been assigned two bibliographic reference sources that will assist you to read, understand, and interpret 19th century British poetry. Your goal is to understand how each reference source is organized, what it contains, and how to select appropriate items from each source. Locate and learn how to use these two sources. Produce a written product as indicated below, and provide copies of your work to the other students in the class (total = 18 copies).

  1. First, provide a complete citation (plus Carrier Library call number and location), for the reference source. Write a “how-to” guide for using it. This should be very clear and detailed enough to guide a student in the source’s peculiar organization, content, abbreviations, etc. You may model your descriptions, to some extent, on those in James L. Harner’s Literary Research Guide (copy located in Carrier Reference). This should be followed by the bibliography of resources culled from it (see #2 below). Then do the same for the second source.

  1. Cull and prepare an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources from the two bibliographic reference sources assigned. Note that some reference sources will contain both primary and secondary materials and some will contain only primary or only secondary. Determine that we do own each of the sources you provide. If the source looks particularly good, but we don’t have it, make sure UVA has it before including it. Provide Carrier Library call numbers or access information (if it is an electronic text), and information for the UVA copy if it is only available there. Prepare the bibiliography in MLA format and include brief annotations which explain where to find the item and why it might be useful.

  1. Each student will give a 5-8 minute presentation during which he or she will explain how each source is organized, what it contains, and how to use it. Students must also submit their bibliographies electronically to be loaded on Blackboard.


Did students accurately summarize how each reference source is organized, what it contains, and how to use it? Did students identify relevant primary and secondary materials according to the specific search criteria established? Did students organize these materials and cite them according to proper MLA format? Did students compose clear directions for use of the reference source? Did the students present their findings as indicated in #3 above, clearly and succinctly and were they able to answer any questions that arose during the presentation?


^ Models and Handbooks to Use with the Assignment:

Harmon, William and C. Hugh Holman. A Handbook to Literature. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996.

Harner, James L. Literary Research Guide : An Annotated Listing of Reference Sources in English Literary Studies. 4th ed. New York: MLA, 2002.

Bibliography Proper:

Adams, James Eli, Tom Pendergast, and Sara Pendergast, eds. Encyclopedia of the Victorian Era. Danbury, CT.: Grolier, 2003.

Besterman, Theodore. A World Bibliography of Bibliographies and of Bibliographical Catalogues, Calendars, Abstracts, Digests, Indexes, and the Like. 4th ed. Totowa, N J: Rowman and Littlefield, 1965.

Bibliographic Index. New York: Wilson, 1937-2006. [Bibliographic Index Plus, online]

Cevasco, G. A., ed. The 1890s : An Encyclopedia of British Literature, Art, and Culture. New York: Garland, 1993.

Conner, Lester I. A Yeats Dictionary : Persons and Places in the Poetry of William Butler Yeats. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1998.

Cross, K. G. W., and R. T. Dunlop. A Bibliography of Yeats Criticism, 1887-1965. New York: Macmillan, 1971.

Davis, Arthur Kyle, ed. Matthew Arnold’s Letters: A Descriptive Checklist. Charlottesville, VA: UP of Virginia, 1968.

Dawson, Carl, comp. Matthew Arnold, The Poetry: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge, 1973

Ehrsam, Theodore George. Bibliographies of Twelve Victorian Authors. New York: Wilson, 1936.

English Association, et al. The Year's Work in English Studies: Annual, 1986.

Essay and General Literature Index. New York: Wilson, 1900-2006.

Faverty, Frederic Everett, ed. The Victorian Poets: A Guide to Research. 2d ed. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1968.

Forman, Maurice Buxton. A Bibliography of the Writings in Prose and Verse of George Meredith. New York: Haskell, 1971.

Freeman, Ronald Edward, ed. Bibliographies of Studies in Victorian Literature for the Ten Years 1965-1974. New York, NY: AMS P, 1981.

Hanham, H. J., ed. Bibliography of British History, 1851-1914. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1976.

Hartley, Robert A., ed. Keats, Shelley, Byron, Hunt, and Their Circles: A Bibliography. July 1, 1962-December 31, 1974. Lincoln, NB: U of Nebraska P, 1978.

Howard-Hill, T. H. Bibliography of British Literary Bibliographies. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1987.

Kirkpatrick, D. L. Reference Guide to English Literature. 2nd ed Chicago: 1991.

Luce, Morton. A Handbook to the Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. New York: Franklin, 1970.

MacGillvray, James Robertson. Keats: A Bibliography and Reference Guide. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1949.

Marcuse, Michael J. A Reference Guide for English Studies. Berkeley: U of California P, 1990.

Matthews, G.M., ed. Keats: The Critical Heritage. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1971.

Mitchell, Sally, ed. Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1988.

MLA International Bibliography. New York: Thomson/Gale. [online database]: for Matthew Arnold; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; W.B. Yeats; George Meredith; John Keats

O'Neill, Michael, ed. Literature of the Romantic Period: A Bibliographical Guide. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1998.

Reilly, Catherine W. Late Victorian Poetry, 1880-1899: An Annotated Biobibliography. London: Mansell, 1994.

Shaw, Marion. An Annotated Critical Bibliography of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989.

Slack, Robert C. Bibliographies of Studies in Victorian Literature for the Ten Years 1955-1964. Urbana, IL: U of Illinois P, 1967.

Smart, Thomas Burnett, ed. The Bibliography of Matthew Arnold. London: Davey, 1892

Watson, George, and Frederick Wilse Bateson. The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1969.

Wolfson, Susan J. The Cambridge Companion to Keats. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001

Zillman, Lawrence John. John Keats and the Sonnet Tradition: A Critical and Comparative Study. New York: Octagon, 1966.

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