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ENG 112: College Composition II - Short Stories (Purugganan - AL): Encyclopedias

Reference Books

Why use a reference book for literary criticism?  Use a reference book to find:

  • Author information
  • Plot summaries
  • Character information
  • Main ideas and themes of a particular work

Use the three databases listed to the right to find basic background information on your authors and their works.

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.