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Literature Online (LION)

Core Collection

Literature Online (LION) contains more than 350,000 works of poetry, prose and drama from the 8th century to the present day, in English language. This is a unique assembly of primary works, re-keyed from first editions or scholarly editions, based on recommendations from academic specialists. The method of production ensures 99.995%+ textual accuracy, meaning researchers can be confident that irrelevant matches are not included in result sets. The Literature Online platform offers a clean, simple advanced search page, with key search fields clearly visible at the top, and browse lists easily accessible.

LION’s primary works represent the indispensable collection of thousands of works by the most influential and studied authors as well as the works of lesser known or now forgotten literary figures. This vast corpus is supported by a full library of up-to-date, fully searchable criticism and reference resources, in addition to the best collection of full-text scholarly journals covering all aspects of literary studies.

The full text of current literature journals is made discoverable through two renowned literary indexes - the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL) and the Modern Language Association Index (MLA) for those who subscribe to this resource as well.

  • LION’s journal collection offers access to more than 430 journals and 460,000 full text articles
  • LION’s journal collection has deeper back files than other resources; the average journal has coverage for 15 years
  • 75% of LION’s journal collection is peer reviewed
  • 90% of LION’s journal collection is actively indexed by the MLA

Customers who subscribe to LION AND to MLA International Bibliography can cross search the MLA with ABELL, an index created by the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA), which is exclusively available from ProQuest. When combined, researchers have access to more than 4.2 million index records covering every aspect of literary scholarship. The two bibliographies are highly complementary – ABELL indexes books reviews, for instance, which the MLA actively exclude – and many researchers believe that a full critical survey cannot be conducted without consulting both. For example, in the most recent edition of Prof. James L. Harner’s (Texas A&M University) much respected Literary Research Guide, he notes “any search of MLAIB must be complemented by a search of ABELL, and vice versa, for each […] of these two resources includes scores of works omitted from the other.” (5th Ed. New York, MLA: 2008, p.51)

Literature Online also includes audio and video content through its Poets on Screen recordings of poets reading their own and others' works and the Shakespeare Audio Plays collection.

With the combination of primary works, exclusive or authoritative third-party literary criticism bibliographies, digitized reference volumes from academic presses such as OUP and CUP, specially commissioned author biographies and unique literary audio and video content, LION Premium + MLA International Bibliography is the best and most comprehensive online resource for the study of any aspect of literature and language at all levels.

Literature Online finally provides search tools such as the Variant Spelling and Forms indexing, which open up new possibilities for academic research, teaching and undergraduate learning No other literature resource offers the content and functionality of Literature Online. It gives users immediate access to a specialist library of current scholarship and world-leading reference titles, and, with new material added to each monthly release, is unrivaled for coverage, quality and currency. Literature Online is dynamic, growing regularly as new texts are converted to electronic form. The content of the service is developed with the advice of internationally known scholars, making LION a complete environment  for research, teaching and undergraduate study.

Criticism (ABELL + CUP)

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature 1920- (ABELL)

ABELL, which can be accessed via the ABELL tab on the Search Criticism page, contains more than 900,000 records covering monographs, periodical articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews, collections of essays and doctoral dissertations 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 have been indexed retrospectively.

All aspects and periods of English literature are covered, from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day. British, American and Commonwealth writing are all represented. Coverage is international, including scholarly material in languages other than English.

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 and CD-ROM instalments are published annually, new bibliographic records are added to the monthly updates of Literature Online in advance of their appearance in the annual versions.

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.


New Essays on the American Novel

In addition to the full-text journals collection, Literature Online's Criticism resources include thirty-eight volumes of the Cambridge University Press series New Essays on the American Novel. Users can access these in a number of ways: via links from Author Pages to Criticism resources, by searching in Search Criticism, where the essays are mapped to records from ABELL, or by browsing the contents of each volume using the relevant Criticism browse option.

Criticism (Full Text Journals)

Full Text Journals

Contemporary criticism is available through the full text of over 425 literature journals—75% of which are peer reviewed—with more than 450,000 full-text articles.

Literature Online contains a dynamic electronic library of academic journals from the field of literary and cultural studies. The full contents of each issue are included, and are fully searchable by keyword, phrase, author, subject and other data fields. In order to allow full searchability, including the display of hit markers, we allow users to view the ASCII text version of each article; however, in most cases the page image in PDF format is also available, so that users can view the article exactly as it appears in print form.

The Search Criticism page allows integrated searching of the full-text journals together with bibliographic records from ABELL. Articles and book reviews from journals are mapped to their corresponding ABELL records.

The library of journals grows with every monthly update of Literature Online, as we add current issues of existing journals. We also aim to continue identifying and licensing further titles that would be of interest to our users and adding them to the service. Our editorial policy is to include titles from the full range of literary and cultural studies, including critical theory, interdisciplinary studies, film studies, theatre studies, stylistics and pedagogy in addition to more traditional forms of literary scholarship. The journals collection also includes a number of titles that publish a high proportion of literary works by contemporary authors: in fact, with over 23,000 poems and short stories, it forms one of the most comprehensive collections of contemporary literature available online. To make this content more readily accessible, these literary works can now be accessed from Authors and Texts searches: from your search results, follow the link to Literary Works in Journals to find poems, short stories, essays and lectures by literary authors such as John Ashbery, Billy Collins, Jonathan Franzen, Joy Harjo, Seamus Heaney and Louise Glück.

Reference Materials

Helpful companions and reference resources from key publishers such as Routledge,Oxford University Press, and Cambridge University Press help provide context to authors and works.

  • Bibliographies
  • Biographies
  • Reference Works
  • Student Guides

Bibliographies

Literature Online offers detailed bibliographies for over 1,500 major authors. Our editorial policy in compiling these bibliographies has been to record both the literary and non-literary works of Literature Online authors, giving bibliographic details of the first publication of every work. Subsequent republications will not normally be included unless fundamental revisions have been undertaken. In cases where authors were voluminous contributors to newspapers, journals or periodicals, summary records of titles are given. Entries where the author performed the role of contributor, correspondent, editor or annotator are also recorded. Wherever possible, the most authoritative modern edition of the complete or selected works has also been indicated.


Biographies

Literature Online includes biographical entries for over 5,800 authors. The majority of these are unique to ProQuest Literature services, as they have been specially commissioned for either Literature Online or for one of our Literature Collections. These biographies are either written by subject specialists working in the relevant academic field, or by our highly qualified in-house team of researchers, working to strict editorial guidelines, and are intended as a scholarly yet accessible introduction to a writer's life, works, context and critical reception. The service also contains biographies licensed from third-party publishers. Our editorial team are continually working to add to our biography provision by commissioning new biographies and revising or updating existing material.

In 1999-2000, we undertook a major program of biography creation for major authors from the medieval period to the present day. Under the guidance of six editors with responsibility for each literary period, over 300 new biographies were commissioned from experts in the field. These editors were:

  • Medieval Period: Alfred Hiatt BA (Sydney), PhD (Cantab), Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge.
  • Renaissance Period: Hester Jones, Lecturer at University of Liverpool.
  • Restoration/Eighteenth Century: Clark Lawlor, post-doctoral Research Fellow at St. Anne's College and the European Humanities Research Centre, the University of Oxford.
  • Eighteenth Century/Romantic period: David Duff, BA, DPhil (York), Lecturer in English at the University of Aberdeen.
  • Nineteenth Century: Matthew Campbell, Lecturer in English at the University of Sheffield.
  • Twentieth Century: Ian Patterson, critic, poet, translator and Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge.

Revision and additions to Literature Online biographies have been ongoing since this project was completed.


Reference Works

Literature Online contains electronic versions of the following print reference works; these can be searched individually or as a group from the Reference search page, and users can also browse the contents from Complete Contents:

  • The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story (Columbia University Press, 2001)
  • The Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature (Columbia University Press, 1980)
  • Columbia Dictionary of Modern Literary and Cultural Criticism (Columbia University Press, 1995)
  • The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, Third Edition (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • Concise Oxford Dictionary
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (Oxford University Press, 1990)
  • The Dictionary of Critical Theory (OUP, 2010)
  • Encyclopedia of African Literature (Routledge, 2009)
  • Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998)
  • Encyclopedia of Linguistics (Routledge, 2004)
  • Encyclopedia of the Novel (Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998)
  • The Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English (Routledge, 2005)
  • Handbook of African American Literature (University Press of Florida, 2004)
  • International Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature (Routledge, 2004)
  • New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (Princeton University Press, 1993)
  • The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • OUP's A Shakespeare Glossary
  • The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature (Routledge, 2011)
  • The Routledge Companion to Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature (Routledge, 2016)
  • The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (Routledge, 2012)
  • The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature (Routledge, 2013)
  • The Routledge Companion to Literature and Human Rights (Routledge, 2016)
  • The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science (Routledge, 2011)
  • The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction (Routledge, 2009)
  • The Routledge Companion to World Literature (Routledge, 2012)
  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory (Routledge, 2007)
  • Twentieth-Century Latin American and Caribbean Literature, 1900-2003 (Routledge, 2004)

Student Guides

Literature Online includes the KnowledgeNotesTM student guides, a unique collection of critical introductions to major literary works. These high-quality academic resources are tailored to the needs of literature students and serve as a complement to the guidance provided by lecturers and seminar teachers.

As well as providing at-a-glance information, KnowledgeNotes guides also challenge students to be self-motivated and to read critically. Each guide has been written by a scholar with graduate-level expertise in the relevant area, working closely with the KnowledgeNotes team of specialist editors:

  • Managing Editor: Sarah Shute BA with Honors in Literature and Society (Brown), MFA in Fiction Writing (Brooklyn College)
  • Editor: Andrew Durkin BA with special honors in English (Drew), MA in English (Southern California), PhD candidate in English (Southern California)
  • Editor: Elizabeth M. Durst BA in Russian Languages and Literature and German (Northwestern), MA in Russian Literature (Southern California), PhD in Russian Literature and Culture (Southern California)
  • Editor: Carrie Pickett BA in Philosophy (Smith), MFA in English and Creative Writing (Mills), director of Manifest Press
  • Editor: Mary Beth Tegan BS (California State University at Chico), MA in English, Rhetoric and Composition (California State University at Northridge), PhD in English (Southern California)

Drawing on contemporary critical and theoretical approaches, the author provokes active engagement with the text by highlighting salient themes and suggesting areas for further enquiry. The specialist knowledge of our authors and editors means that students are guided through the text by a process that models the interpretive processes and explanatory methods of an experienced critical reader.

Each guide combines detailed analysis of a literary text with introductory and contextual material and suggestions for further reading. The range of texts covered reflects the full range of British, European and American literature studied as part of contemporary undergraduate courses, including the plays of Aeschylus, Shakespeare and Tony Kushner, the poems of Chaucer, Poe and Eliot, the novels of Jane Austen, Franz Kafka and Virginia Woolf, and the short stories of James Joyce, Flannery O'Connor and Sandra Cisneros.

Every KnowledgeNotes guide begins with an Overview, which places the text and author in context, lists the author's principal works and gives a breakdown of all the characters who appear in the text. This is followed by a Summary, which gives a synopsis of the Plot, a brief introduction to the text's Style and introduces the main Themes and Motifs. The Highlights section gives a detailed reading of the text, broken down into chapters, scenes or sections where applicable. Four learning devices are used to draw the reader's attention to significant points in the text: Take Home Points, which signal key elements in a passage, Exploration Points, which direct students towards areas of possible further study and research, Theme Alerts which identify passages relevant to the themes outlined in the Summary, and Quotables, which locate and interpret frequently-quoted passages. The guide ends with a selection of Works Consulted, which points users towards further reading and also serves as an example of correct scholarly citation.

Video and Audio Resources

  • Poets On Screen [879 clips]
  • Shakespeare Audio Plays [38 plays]
  • Poetry Archive Audio [921 poems]

Poets on Screen

Poets on Screen is a groundbreaking video collection specially commissioned for inclusion in Literature Online and produced in collaboration with some of the foremost poets living and working in the English-speaking world today.

The collection contains nearly 900 filmed readings by contemporary poets of both contemporary and classic poems, and provides a unique opportunity to hear and see major authors interpreting their own works and the works of their contemporaries and predecessors. The recordings have been made at a variety of public readings or directly to camera; together they capture and preserve the full diversity of the contemporary poetic scene. Many readings are accompanied by introductory passages in which the poet discusses his or her own work or the work of an admired predecessor.

Highlights of the Poets on Screen library include Jayne Cortez's performance of 'I See Chano Pozo', Blake Morrison discussing his poem 'Pendle Witches', Imtiaz Dharker reading Browning's 'My Last Duchess', Jerome Rothenberg reading and discussing eleven of his own poems, including 'At Tsukiji Market, Tokyo', and Fleur Adcock reading from her own verse and from a selection of works by Donne, Marvell, Coleridge and Edward Thomas.


Shakespeare Audio Plays

The complete Arkangel Shakespeare contains fully dramatized unabridged recordings of all of Shakespeare’s 38 plays. Each play is recorded by noted actors, many of whom were trained at the Royal Shakespeare Company, such as Simon Russell Beale, Joseph Fiennes, David Tennant, Niamh Cusack and Sir John Gielgud and includes sound effects and music to bring the plays further to life.

From the William Shakespeare Author's page the audio plays can be easily reached from the related special section Related Audio.

From the Publications section you can select the Audio and Video Works under the Source Type narrow Filter on the left, then you select the third type, Shakespeare Audio. Under the 2003 issue year you'll obtain the alphabetical list by title.

Clicking on the title of a play will bring you to the individual audio play’s page from which you will be able to view and select individual scenes to access. Though the audio recordings were not created using any of the editions available in Full Text, the 19th Century Cambridge University Press edition is the closest textually to the modern edition used.

View complete cast and production details for all recordings.


Poetry Archive Audio

The Poetry Archive is an independent organization founded by the former British poet laureate, Andrew Motion, who was concerned that high quality audio recordings of contemporary poets reading their own works were not being produced and that consequently an important resource was being lost for posterity. The Poetry Archive was thus established to create recordings of important contemporary poets based on the belief that such readings are a powerful source of insight, understanding and enjoyment. As well as creating brand new recordings, the Archive also gathers together and preserves historic and hard to find recordings of long dead poets. So, The Poetry Archive enables listeners to hear the works of contemporary poets such as Billy Collins, Carol Ann Duffy and Michael Longley alongside historic recordings of Edmund Blunden, E.E. Cummings, Sylvia Plath and many more.

We have added over 920 links to Poetry Archive recordings with links for featured poets appearing on their Author Page as well as under the Audio and Video Works Source Type in the Publications section. Clips are listed alphabetically, by author, and will open in a new browser tab or window.