Features and Functions

Since The Literary Encyclopedia was digitally conceived, much thought has been devoted to maximising the scholarly and pedagogic benefits of electronic delivery.

Article Information Panel

In the left panel of any article there are a number of contextual, bibliographic and cross-linking facilities. Users can

  • View a list of an author’s works (if such a list if available; we have more than 32,000 works listed, but occasionally there may be an author for whom we are missing a list of works altogether, or the list is incomplete or outdated. If this is the case, please contact us to let us know and we will do our best to remedy the problem as soon as possible)
  • View all major contemporary authors
  • View any recommended critical readings for the topic provided by our contributors (if available)
  • View any recommended web resources (if available)
  • View a detailed author life-chronology where such a chronology exists
  • Add the viewed article to a private “bookshelf”. A user's bookshelves can be viewed in one's personal account, after logging in
  • View cross-linking options added by editors or contributors (related articles; related/ thematic groups)

Please note that some of the features above are in constant development and are not yet complete for all articles.

Research Features

In addition to its teaching use and learner-oriented facilities, The Literary Encyclopedia is also a research project, notably in its work describing long-neglected and marginalised texts, in establishing day-by-day calendars of writers’ lives, and in correlating life events and literary events to detailed calendars of political and cultural history. It includes the following resources:

  • highly sophisticated Advanced Searches, which can be saved and subsequently retrieved. They can also be customized by removing or adding articles.
  • visual horizontal Timelines that can be generated in a few minutes for any set of criteria (authors, works, historical events) and then forwarded to groups of students to enhance teaching and learning (see, for instance, this timeline of English Renaissance Theatre or of Defoe, Swift and Pope and British Politics 1670-1750).
  • detailed Author Chronologies for selected writers which reveal the cultural milieu of each author and allow one writer's life to be compared with up to two others. Each chronology comprises 200-400 biographical events, day-by-day, month-by-month. These are shown within the context of historical events happening in the same period of time as that of the author's life.
  • guidance on the most important Secondary Reading. We currently list over titles of recommended critical bibliography, which can be found (where available) at the foot of the article as well as in the left information panel.
  • Reference Groups and Related Articles, which provide wiki-style clusters useful for particular courses (for instance, “African American Drama”; “Children's Literature”; “Dystopian and Apocalyptic Fiction”), or simply join together articles which are related in theme, content and subject-matter.

Other Resources

  • a much-consulted Stylebook which offers guidance on how to write well-argued, well-referenced, correctly-formatted and stylistically sound academic essays. It also tackles grammatical and other errors often found in student writing
  • direct linking from journal articles listed under recommended readings to JSTOR and Project Muse (access to the articles will depend on a separate institutional subscription to these databases)