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ENG 125: Literature Criticism (AL): Encyclopedias

Guide by Katie Hoskins. Please direct any comments to

Reference Books Online

MagillOnLiterature Plus contains editorially reviewed critical essays, brief plot summaries, extended character profiles, and detailed setting discussions covering works by more than 8,500 long and short fiction writers, poets, dramatists, essayists, and philosophers.

Salem Literature consists of critical surveys for works of 700+ authors.  Salem Literature also includes Masterplots, a collection of short plot summaries and critical evaluations of major works of literature.

Gale Biography in Context includes 600,000+ biographies covering more than 525,000 individuals. Search for famous writers like Langston Hughes, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and more.

Search Tips

Use broad terms, as encyclopedias usually provide general overviews of topics.


Use quotation marks ( "  " ) around phrases (two or more words); this tells the database to look for the words in a specific order.

"King Duncan"