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Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature: Home


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The Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL) lists monographs, periodical articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews and collections of essays published anywhere in the world; unpublished doctoral dissertations are covered for the period 1920–1999. The bibliography consists of 80 volumes, beginning in 1920 and issued annually; a number of items published between 1892 and 1919 has been indexed retrospectively.

ABELL is compiled under the auspices of the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA) by an international team of editors, contributors and academic advisors. It has been published in book form since 1920, and ProQuest publish the electronic version in both CD-ROM and web format. While the print volume is published annually, new bibliographic records are added to the web version in advance of their appearance in the annual versions. The CD-ROM edition of the bibliography was also published annually but has now ceased with the publication of the 2007 instalment.

This release of ABELL covers the complete volumes from 1920–2007.

Editorial Policy

Bibliographic experts have long agreed that ABELL is an essential tool for the literary scholar, and have stressed its coverage of unique material that is not included in other bibliographic sources. In comparing ABELL with the MLA International Bibliography, Evan Ira Farber, Librarian Emeritus of Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, concluded that 'every comparative study of the two bibliographies shows that the overlap between them is surprisingly far from complete', and that 'every academic library supporting serious work – and certainly graduate work – in English or American literature should make both ABELL and MLAIB available to users'. This is supported by standard reference works such as Michael Marcuse's Reference Guide for English Studies (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990) and James L. Harner's Literary Research Guide, 2nd edn. (New York: MLA, 1993). Visit the MHRA website for more information on ABELL.

Subject areas covered by ABELL include:

  • English language – including syntax, phonology, lexicology, semantics, stylistics and dialectology
  • English literature – including poetry, prose, fiction, films, biography, travel writing, literary theory and studies of individual authors
  • Bibliography – including manuscript studies, textual studies and the history of publishing
  • Traditional culture of the English-speaking world including custom, belief, narrative, song, dance and material culture

Electronic Version of ABELL

It should be noted that the electronic version of ABELL differs from the printed version in the following ways:

  • Records from forthcoming print volumes are fed into the online service in monthly releases. This newer data includes provisional ABELL reference numbers.
  • Separate entries have been created for reviews, to allow discrete searching.
  • Cross- and back-references have been hyperlinked.
  • The primary sort order for the electronic version of ABELL is by date of publication, scholar name, then title.
  • Duplicate records from within a single volume have been merged, with all relevant subject classifications copied into a single record.
  • Subject classifications have been standardised throughout the database to conform to current practice.
  • Periodical abbreviations have been expanded.
  • The format of references to periodicals has been standardised to conform to current practice.
  • Text in non-Roman alphabets in earlier volumes has been transliterated.