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ENGL 2508: Gender and the Gothic

Research guide for students in Cristina Griffin's Fall 2021 ENGL 2508 class.

The resources on this guide will help you research the publication and reception history of your Gothic chapbook and trace its literary and scholarly influence. Find the Project Gothic website for the class at

Researching the publication history of a book

Virgo is UVA Library's catalog. Search Virgo for other editions of your book/chapbook held at the University of Virginia or through one of our database collections, or for other works held at UVA that were written by the author of your book/chapbook, or for books on the Gothic that might discuss or refer to your book/chapbook.

WorldCat is a vast union catalog, containing listings of books, journals, manuscripts, and other materials in thousands of libraries worldwide. Searching WorldCat may help you to find:

  • subsequent (or earlier) editions of your work
  • translations of your work
  • other works by the book/chapbook's author or illustrator
  • archival material related to the author

If you find an item in WorldCat that the UVA library doesn't own, you can request it through interlibrary loan (note that some materials, such as rare books, cannot be loaned).

Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) is a global digitization and publishing program focusing on primary source collections of the long 19th century. Content consists of monographs, newspapers, manuscripts, pamphlets, ephemera, maps, photographs, statistics, etc. in both Western and non-Western languages. (Listed in A-Z databases under 19th Century)

Researching the reception history of a book

19th century periodical and newspaper databases are great sources for finding contemporary reviews of gothic novels, as well as bookseller's advertisements. Stories were also sometimes serialized in periodicals or papers, so you may find your tale printed in a periodical publication as well. Three of the most comprehensive databases of this type are listed below. For a list of other newspaper and periodical collections of  possible interest, see the Primary Sources - Find Historical Newspapers, Periodicals, Diaries, & More tab of the English Language & Literature Guide. 

British Periodicals includes hundreds of periodicals from the late seventeenth century to the early twentieth, reproduced in high-resolution facsimile page images. The periodicals cover literature and the arts, as well as philosophy, history, science, and social science.

19th Century UK Periodicals, Part 1 includes British periodicals on a range of subjects, with a particular focus on women's and children's publications. There is a small amount of overlap with the British Periodicals database.

British Library Newspapers includes newspapers sourced from the extensive holdings of the British Library. It includes over 160 newspaper titles that span the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

Finding information about an author, illustrator, or publisher

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) provides entries on the lives of British persons from the earliest times to the end of the 20th century. IMPORTANT: our access is limited so please click the Sign Out link at the bottom of the page and close the window when you are finished. 

Literature Resource Center (LRC) includes the full text of important literary reference works. Among them are articles from the Dictionary of Literary Biography, which is a terrific source for finding detailed biographies and profiles of authors, illustrators, publishers, and other literary figures. Run a search for a person's name and then choose the Biographies tab, if there are articles available (though other articles - critical or otherwise -- could be useful, too!) 

The World Biographical Information System (WBIS) Online is the most comprehensive biographical database available, providing biographical information on over 6 Million people from the 8th century B.C. to the present. Included are 8.5 Million digital facsimile articles from biographical reference works.

Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles provides entries on authors' lives and writing careers, contextual material, timelines, sets of internal links, and bibliographies. Interacting with these materials creates a dynamic inquiry from any number of perspectives into centuries of women's writing. 

Finding secondary scholarship about your book

The MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB) indexes the broadest range of resources about literature in all languages. If a literary study of your novel exists, you will likely find it here. It is not a full-text resource, meaning that you can only search the description of an article, rather than the text of the article. To get the full text of an article, click on “Find article @ UVa Libraries”, or look up the journal title in VIRGO.

ProQuest One Literature contains 3 million literature citations from thousands of journals, monographs, and dissertations. It also includes more than 500,000 primary works – including rare and obscure texts, multiple versions, and non-traditional sources like comics, theatre performances, and author readings.

JSTOR includes older issues of scholarly journals, from their beginnings to 3-5 years ago, so this may be another good database to look for articles related to your novel or its author. Articles in JSTOR should be full-text, if we subscribe to the journal. 

Google Books contains searchable facsimiles of the books Google has scanned from libraries and publishers. Searching for the title of your novel in Google Books may return a full-text copy of the novel itself, as well as references to the novel in scholarly works, bibliographies, bookseller's cataloges, etc.

HathiTrust includes material scanned by the Google Books partner institutions (including U.Va.) plus other digitized materials from those institutions. Features better bibliographic data and better treatment of multi-volume works than Google Books.

Print Books and Ebooks of Possible Interest