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British Literature - Research Topics   Tags: british literature, citation, databases, history, research  

Use this guide to discover just how interesting investigating British literature can be!
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Here are some websites that may give you some information on British Literature and Authors.

  • Internet Public Library
    Offers a complete Literary Criticism Collection which contains critical and biographical web sites about authors and their works. You can browse by title, literary period (American Literature, British Literature, Latin American Literature, etc.), nationality or by the author's last name. Visit the online literary criticism guide link or the literary criticism pathfinder for further information.
  • Anthology of Middle English Literature
    This web site offers a comprehensive anthology of Middle English literature. View works by authors like Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland. This site offers essays and critical articles regarding many of the literary pieces. Obtain lyrics from popular music and plays from this time period as well as links to additional resources.

British Literature and General Websites

  • King Arthur, Once and Future King
    Do you know if King Arthur is based on fact or fiction? Was the legendary hero real? Step back in time to the ancient days of Britain where you will find out about Sir Thomas Malory. Discover how this knight spent time in prison writing down King Arthur stories. The original creator of King Arthur is introduced. See if there are truly any historical links to the Arthur of the famous stories and learn why the stories are so enduring.
  • British Literature Interactive
    The Longman Anthology of British Literature has an online companion for students. These resources cover the six major periods of British Literature from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. Within each period, you will find an overview of the times, perspectives about important literary or social issues, a list of authors, an interactive timeline, and links to additional related web sites. Author information includes a biography and a list of works. Another helpful feature is an online, interactive research guide.
  • Bartleby
    Find full-text resources on numerous British literature topics at this site.
  • Sixteenth Century Renaissance English Literature
    This web site houses a collection of information about English authors. For each author, the following information is provided: the life of the author, works by the author, essays and articles, additional sources, and book buying information. Links are provided throughout the site for readers to explore additional information if they wish. Texts of many of the works are available right on the site.
  • Anthology of Middle English Literature
    This web site offers a comprehensive anthology of Middle English literature. View works by authors like Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland. This site offers essays and critical articles regarding many of the literary pieces. Obtain lyrics from popular music and plays from this time period as well as links to additional resources.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
    If you want to find information related to Geoffrey Chaucer without having to search through page after page of text, look here for a well-organized collection of Chaucer information. Fifteen topic links are listed on the homepage for easy to find information. The life of Geoffrey Chaucer and can be found in an article and a timeline. Related topics are found in categories such as The Canterbury Tales, teaching yourself to read Chaucer's work, translations, Chaucer's vocabulary and pronunciation, other authors and literary subjects, historical events, and medieval science.
  • The Tolkien Society
    The Tolkien Society, an international organization and educational charity, promotes interest in the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
  • The Cathedrals of England
    Dating back as far as a thousand years and representing a variety of architectural styles, the churches and cathedrals of England provide great history lessons that not only explain how people worshipped, but how these buildings were important to British society. This excellent BBC History site takes you on an extensive tour of cathedrals across the country, paying attention to the floor plans and the different forms of architecture. There are also links to more information about the important architects of the time, articles about other church buildings and a thorough timeline.
  • The Tudors
    The Tudor era included was filled with great change. This resource on this period in time discusses Henry VIII and the Reformation, Elizabeth I and the Elizabethan era, and William Shakespeare. You will even find fascinating information on life in Tudor England that includes a virtual tour and information on explorations, examples of Tudor architecture, and a virtual tour of the Mary Rose flagship. Each one of these sections can be expanded with a drop down tool bar to reveal more detailed information.
  • Shakespeare's Globe Theater
    If you are a fan of the legendary playwright William Shakespeare, then chances are you are already familiar with the Globe Theatre. On this web site you can learn all about this historical place and its connections to the playwright who is often known as The Bard. Here you will be able to discover how the building was constructed, what happened in the years it stood, and how it burned down. There are a few links here for you to follow as well.

Why Websites?

Although not often as reliable as database sources, there are websites (aside from Wikipedia!) that can provide valid, thorough information that you can use for your assignment.  Just be sure that when using a website, you carefully evaluate it using the following information (table provided by Cornell University Library -

Evaluation of Web documentsHow to interpret the basics
1. Accuracy of Web Documents

  • Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her?
  • What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced?
  • Is this person qualified to write this document?

  • Make sure author provides e-mail or a contact address/phone number.
  • Know the distinction between author and Webmaster.
2. Authority of Web Documents

  • Who published the document and is it separate from the "Webmaster?"
  • Check the domain of the document, what institution publishes this document?
  • Does the publisher list his or her qualifications?

  • What credentials are listed for the authors)?
  • Where is the document published? Check URL domain.
3. Objectivity of Web Documents

  • What goals/objectives does this page meet?
  • How detailed is the information?
  • What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?

  • Determine if page is a mask for advertising; if so information might be biased.
  • View any Web page as you would an infommercial on television. Ask yourself: why was this written and for whom?
4. Currency of Web Documents

  • When was it produced?
  • When was it updated?
  • How up-to-date are the links (if any)?

  • How many dead links are on the page?
  • Are the links current or updated regularly?
  • Is the information on the page outdated?
5. Coverage of the Web Documents

  • Are the links (if any) evaluated and do they complement the documents' themes?
  • Is it all images or a balance of text and images?
  • Is the information presented cited correctly?

  • If page requires special software to view the information, how much are you missing if you don't have the software?
  • Is it free or is there a fee to obtain the information?
  • Is there an option for text only, or frames, or a suggested browser for better viewing?
Putting it all together

  • Accuracy. If your page lists the author and institution that published the page and provides a way of contacting him/her and . . .
  • Authority. If your page lists the author credentials and its domain is preferred (.edu, .gov, .org, or .net), and, . .
  • Objectivity. If your page provides accurate information with limited advertising and it is objective in presenting the information, and . . .
  • Currency. If your page is current and updated regularly (as stated on the page) and the links (if any) are also up-to-date, and . . .
  • Coverage. If you can view the information properly--not limited to fees, browser technology, or software requirement, then . . .

    You may have a Web page that could be of value to your research!

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature.


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