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English: Contexts

Critical reception and publication history

Dictionary of Literary Biography Often provides an overview of the reception of a work. Search for your author or title in Gale's Literary Index to identify the appropriate volumes. Biographies Look for biographies of your author (subject term: biography), then check the table of contents and index for mentions of your work Cambridge University Press Look for an edition of your work by this press; these often include publication history News archives online late 18th century to early 21st Search for reviews from the time your work was published Book reviews Use these tools for books published since 1900

Historical and social contexts

When studying a literary work, you may want to learn about the context:

  • historical events from the time period
  • social or psychological issues affecting the characters

To find information, you may need to expand beyond the specific resources for literature. Examples:

Sample keywords

Here are some terms and phrases to add to your Primo catalogue searches. Once you find a good source, click on "details" and then on the subject heading that best matches your search.

  • "context" Search along with the author's name
    • context Austen
  • "social conditions" Sample subject heading:
    • England social conditions 16th century
  • "social life and customs" Sample subject heading:
    • Canada social life and customs 19th century
  • "political and social views" Sample subject heading:
    • Shakespeare William political and social views
  • "history" Sample subject heading:
    • Great Britain history 1660-1714
  • "intellectual life" Sample subject heading:
    • New York intellectual life 20th century

Selected sources

America: History and Life Identify articles, books and book chapters for Canadian and American history. Historical Abstracts Identify articles, books and book chapters for English and world history back to 1450. Cambridge Histories Online 250 volumes covering English and American history and related topics. Social History of England, by Asa Briggs New York, Viking Press, 1984. Print location: HN398 .E5B74 1984 Short history of early modern England: British literature in context, by Peter C. Herman Chicester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011 Culture of the English People: Iron age to the industrial revolution, by Norman Pounds Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Print location: DA110 .P683 Origins of modern English society, by Harold James Perkin London: Routledge, 2002 History of Canada, by Scott See Amenia: Greyhouse Publishing, 2010 America: a concise history, by James Henretta Boston, Bedford, 2012. Print location: E178.1 .H5 2010

Page Owner: Meredith Fischer

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Last Updated: November 16, 2022 3:27pm