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ENGL 2508: Virginia Woolf

Research guide for students in Steve Arata's spring 2022 ENGL 2508 class on Virginia Woolf.

Researching Virginia Woolf and her works

The resources on this guide will help you as you undertake research related to Virginia Woolf this semester. This page includes information for finding Woolf-related critical scholarship and biographical information. Use the other tabs in this guide to find resources for researching the reception history and publication history of Woolf's works, as well as guidance on citing works you have used in your research papers and tools for making off-Grounds access to our resources easier.

Finding Woolf-related critical scholarship - Library databases

The MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB) indexes the broadest range of resources about literature in all languages. If a literary study of your novel or work exists, you will likely find it here. Not everything in the MLA Bibliography is full-text, meaning that you may only see a description of an article, rather than the text of the article. To get full text of an article, click on “Find article @ UVa Libraries”, or look up the journal title in Virgo, the library catalog. If the citation is for a book or an essay/chapter in a book, look for the book 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 work. Articles in JSTOR should be full-text, if we subscribe to the journal. 

Project MUSE includes searchable full text of nearly 600 scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and more, mostly from North American university presses. 

Finding print and ebooks - critical scholarship

Virgo is UVA Library's catalog. Search Virgo for scholarship about Woolf and her works. Use subject headings to help you find resources that meet your research needs. You can use a general subject to get started, like: Woolf, Virginia -- 1882-1941 -- Criticism and interpretation or Woolf, Virginia -- 1882-1941 -- To the lighthouse  (substitute titles of other works to look for criticism on those).

You can also run an advanced search and pair a search for Woolf with a search for subjects that relate to themes/topics of interest. For example, you might search for a keyword of Woolf and a subject of: Subconsciousness in literature or Realism in literature or World War (1914-1918)

Once you find a book that includes a subject heading that relates to your topic of interest, click on the subject heading in the item record to find other items marked with that subject. 

Below are a few examples of print books and ebooks that critically examine Woolf and her works. 

Finding biographical information about Woolf, another author, an 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. 

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. 

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!) 

There are also many book-length works on Woolf and her friends, family, and associates. Find them using a Virgo catalog search. A few examples: