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Reference Tools

Kalman's Books

You may find these resources useful to have on your own bookshelf, for daily and weekly reference:

  • A good dictionary
  • A writer's handbook; the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is the basis for senior essay style in this dept.
  • A manual of style, like the unimpeachable Chicago Manual of Style or the (less expensive) current edition of the MLA Style Manual
  • A good dictionary of literary terms: M. H. Abrams' Glossary of Literary Terms or the Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms , ed. J. A. Cuddon
  • The Old and New Testaments (The King James version, c. 1611, is the translation most widely echoed, renovated, and borrowed from in Anglophone traditions)
  • A thesaurus
  • A decent desk encyclopedia like the New American , 3 rd edition

Additional research tools you should learn to use by senior year:

The Modern Language Association (MLA) Bibliography on line: a good source for articles published in the last two decades or so.

Project Muse , an online collection of flagship journals in the humanities

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism , online

The Oxford English Dictionary online

Special dictionaries pertinent to the period, language and places you are interested in. These might include but not be limited to: The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang, ed. John Simpson; Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to Amen Corner , ed. Geneva Smitherman; The Dictionary of American Regional English; or Shakespeare's Bawdy (sexy double entendres through the Renaissance)

Periodicals in your fields of inquiry: ask your teachers what the most useful ones are

The Cambridge Histories of different periods and genres of literature in English

LEXIS-NEXIS academic universe : an on-line database good for finding recent interviews with living authors, reviews, etc.

TRIPOD caveat: when using subject searches on TRIPOD, don't just use what comes into your head, as it may or may not approximate the subjects headings actually keyed and may often result in falsely negative responses. Go directly to the source employed by the higher powers of the database and use it to select your search terms; that is, the Library of Congress Subject Catalogue, located in Canaday.