Eighteenth-Century Reference and Research


Compiled by Laura L. Runge

University of South Florida


Biographical References:


Austin and Allibone: A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors . . . 3 vols. (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1871), repr. Gale Research, 1965.

Reference Annex Z1224.A4317 1965


Dictionary of British and American Women Writers, 1660-1800. Ed. Janet Todd (Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Allanheld, 1985).

Ref. PR113.D5


Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB), multivolume, multi-editor series, each volume devoted to a thematic organization of authors, e.g. Eighteenth-Century Poets, or British Reform Writers 1789-1832 (vol. 158).  Gale Research.

Reference Annex. PS 221.D5


Dictionary of National Biography (DNB). 22 volumes. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1908, reprinted, 1921-22, 1937-8.  Valuable late nineteenth, early twentieth-century resource.  Now being re-written to include many more women, among others.  See website.

Ref. CT 773.D5


The Oxford Companion to the Theatre. 4th edition. Ed. Phyllis Hartnoll (Oxford UP, 1983).

Ref. PN2035.O93


The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online. The updated DNB.  An illustrated collection of more than 50,000 specially written biographies of the men and women from around the world who shaped all aspects of Britain's past.  Available through USF Library databases.


A Biographical Dictionary of the Living Authors of Great Britain and Ireland.  Comprising literary memoirs and anecdotes of their lives; and a chronological register of their publications. (London, 1816), repr. Gale Research 1966.

Ref. Z2010.B26


Biography and Genealogy Master Index A comprehensive index to more than 11 million biographical sketches in over 3000 volumes and editions of current and retrospective reference books, covering both contemporary and historical figures throughout the world.

- Available through USF Library, databases

Major Indexes and Catalogues


English Short-title Catalogue (ESTC) Descriptions and holdings information for letterpress materials printed in England or its dependencies (in any language) or in English (anywhere in the world) from 1473 to 1800.

-- Available through USF Library databases

See also the website http://www.cbsr.ucr.edu/estcmain.html for valuable information on publications in the eighteenth century.  In particular, see "Statistics on the ESTC and printing in the UK and North America before 1800."


Modern Language Association International Bibliography Provides over one million citations for items from journals and series published worldwide. Indexes books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies. Contains in each record a bibliographic citation for a journal article, book, or other item including information about the libraries that own the library resources.

        Available through USF Library, databases


Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature:  Britain’s version of the MLAIB.  There is some crossover but many works appear here but not in MLAIB.  Also, this includes reviews of works, which will be helpful for annotated bibliographies. 

        Available through USF Library, databases: through LION.


The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. 5 vols. Ed. George Watson (Cambridge UP, 1969-77), index in vol. 5. Ref. PR 83.N48


English literature, 1660-1800; a bibliography of modern studies, compiled for Philological Quarterly by Ronald S. Crane, 6 vols. Princeton UP, 1950

Ref. Z2011.E6


The Eighteenth-Century: A Current Bibliography.  This continues the bibliography from Philological Quarterly (above).  At one time an invaluable resource on the year’s production of critical and editorial work in eighteenth-century studies, including reviews and lists of reviews.  Unfortunately the heavy workload caused the series to fall behind.  Produced by the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies, it is recovering now.  A very useful resource dedicated specifically to this field.  REF Z6204 .E35


The Library of Literary Criticism of English and American Authors. 8 vols. Ed. Charles Wells Moulton.  (Buffalo: Moulton, 1901-1905) repr. NY: P. Smith, 1935. Valuable guide to 18th and 19th century criticism of a work; contains bios., criticism and articles.  Ref. PR83 .M68

Indexes to Early Reviews / Reception


Ward, William S. Literary Reviews in British Periodicals 1789-1797 a bibliography : with a supplementary list of general (non-review) articles on literary subjects (New York: Garland, 1979)

Ref. PR442 .W28 1979


Ward, William S. Literary reviews in British periodicals, 1798-1820; a bibliography with a supplementary list of general (non- review) articles on literary subjects (New York: Garland, 1972)

Ref. Z2013 .W36

Forster, Antonia. Index to Book Reviews in England, 1749-1774 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1990)

Ref. Z1035.A1 F67 1990


Forster, Antonia. Index to Book Reviews in England, 1775-1800 (London: British Library, 1997)

Ref. Z1035.A1 F675 1997


The Critical Heritage series, published by Routledge since the 1970s with a variety of editors.  Each volume is dedicated to a single major author, such as Pope, Swift, Johnson, Congreve, Goldsmith.  Not too many women represented.  This is an excellent resource for critical reception of the author and individual works, with excerpts from actual criticism from the eighteenth century forward.


Authoritative and critical editions of major works are also excellent resources for critical reception, bibliography and basic information on the author and work.  See “Note on Texts” in your classroom editions.  Pay particular attention to why a particular text was selected as authoritative and why.


Statistical Profiles and Checklists


Adburgham, Alison. Women in Print: Writing Women and Women's Magazines from the Restoration to the Accession of Victoria (London: Allen and Unwin, 1972)



Crawford, Patricia. "Women's Published Writings 1600-1700," M. Prior, ed. Women in English Society 1500-1800 (London: Methuen, 1985) 211-282.

HQ1599.E5 W64 1985


Stanton, Judith. "Statistical Profile of Women Writing in English from 1660-1800." Eighteenth-century Women and the Arts. Ed. Frederick Keener and Susan Lorsch (New York: Greenwood, 1988).

NX452 .E56 1988


Raven, James. British Fiction 1750-1770: A Chronological Check-list of prose fiction printed in Britain and Ireland (Newark, DE: U of Delaware P, 1987).

PR851 .R38 1987


The English novel, 1770-1829 : a bibliographical survey of prose fiction published in the British Isles. Eds. Raven, James, Peter Garside and Rainer Schowerling, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000).

PR851 .E64 2000


Orr, Leonard. A catalogue checklist of English prose fiction, 1750-1800 (Troy, NY: Whitson, 1979). An older list with many errors; corrected and supplemented by the work of James Raven, see above.

Ref. PR851 .O77


Also, see "Statistics on the ESTC and printing in the UK and North America before 1800," cited above.


Secondary Bibliographies


Search for authoritative and annotated bibliographies on major figures; e.g.

Mary Ann O'Donnell. Aphra Behn: an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources 2nd edition (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004).

(circulating) Z8086.75. O36 2004 


There are also some good bibliographies on websites; e.g.

Frances Burney http://is.dal.ca/~bdarby/burney.html

The Gothic Novel http://members.aol.com/iamudolpho/basic.html



Resources for Publishing History


National Union Catalogue – Reserve Annex


Nineteenth century short-title catalogue "Extracted from the catalogues of the Bodleian Library, the British Library, the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, The National Library of Scotland, and the University Libraries of Cambridge and Newcastle."

Ref. Z2001 .N65 1984


British Library Catalogue, available on 5 CDs, see Reference Desk Librarian.


See also ESTC, RLIN and WorldCat databases, available through USF Library databases.


General Resources


Harner, James L.  Literary Research Guide:  An Annotated Listing of Reference Sources in English Literary Studies 5th edition (New York:  MLA, 2008).  This annotated bibliography surveys the whole field of literary research.  It will be especially helpful for the section on eighteenth-century British literature, but it includes much valuable general reference information as well.



Special Databases


Early English Books Online (EEBO). A collection that includes works printed in the United Kingdom and British North America from 1473-1700. Key figures include the Earl of Rochester, John Dryden, Aphra Behn, John Milton, Andrew Marvell, and William Congreve, among others writing during the Civil War, Interregnum, and Restoration. A Chadwyck-Healy database. Available through USF Library databases.


Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO) A comprehensive digital edition of The Eighteenth Century, the world’s largest library of the printed book on microfilm, available through its imprint Primary Source Microfilm™. In the most ambitious single digitization project ever undertaken, nearly 180,000 English-language titles and editions published between 1701 and 1800 are available. ECCO allows full-text searching of more than 33 million pages of material, in essence, every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom, along with thousands of important works from the Americas.  Includes books, pamphlets, essays, and more. Chadwyck-Healy database.  Available through USF Library databases.


English Drama. A collection of more than 3,900 plays in verse and prose tracing the development of drama in English. Includes Restoration and eighteenth-century dramatists, such as Joseph Addison, John Dryden, Aphra Behn, Hannah Cowley, Colley Cibber, Susanna Centlivre, and Elizabeth Inchbald. Chadwyck-Healy database. Available through USF Library databases.


English Poetry. A collection that covers English poetry from the 8th century to the early 20th century, featuring virtually the entire canon of English poetry. Over 160,000 poems by more than 1,250 poets can be accessed, including a large number of Restoration and eighteenth-century poets. Chadwyck-Healy database. Available through USF Library databases.


English Poetry, Second Edition. An updated version of the original English Poetry collection that adds 20,000 poems to the original version’s archive (Note: It is a separate database from the original English Poetry. Considered the most comprehensive archive of English poetry available, the second edition includes a wider variety of authors from former English colonial countries, as well as authors who have been recovered during the last thirty years. Chadwyck-Healy database. Available through USF Library databases.


17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers. The largest and most comprehensive collection of early English news media, the Burney collection is comprised of the newspapers, pamphlets, and books gathered by Rev. Charles Burney. The collection contains almost one million pages and 1,270 titles. The database can be searched by title, key word, or location. The Topic Guide includes brief essays on the development of the periodical culture in seventeenth and eighteenth-century England, as well as a bibliography on the Burney Collection. Gale-Cengage database. Available through USF Library databases.





Rev. August 29, 2011 (with help from Jessica Cook)