LINKS TO ONLINE RESOURCES
In literature, "There is no clock!"
- Peer Review and Use of Secondary Sources: Are you confused
by the idea of a "peer-reviewed journal" or press? If you want to be an
English major, or just an intelligent researcher in this era of "information"
masquerading as knowledge, you must understand how this process has been used to construct
specialized scholarly knowledge.
Do Scholars Use Secondary Sources?: Once you understand what a
peer-reviewed scholarly publication means, you should think about how
scholars use other scholars' publications in their own published work.
Those are the practices we want you to follow in your own papers for the
- Library Research Techniques of the
Professional Scholar: three valuable techniques for getting the
best sources for literary research writing--I strongly recommend that you read this short
- Reading to Write About Medieval
Literature: how to get the most out of what you
read, and what to do when your reading is baffling you--I strongly recommend that you read
this web page if you are reading anything before 1600.
- Goucher College Writing Center
Schedule: see the tutors at least twice while working on your midterm of
final papers, first to brainstorm the focus of the paper, and again to
reorganize and polish the revision. A third visit can help polish your
style and may catch silly errors your mind has been too busy to spot.
- In Defense of Hidden Meanings and
Interpretation--Theory 101: who says there are hidden meanings in texts? Aren't
our first readings the most reliable? Do you mean to tell me authors put things into
texts which aren't meant for the casual reader to find? Are you really telling me
that authors can't always control what their texts will reveal? C'mon!
- Poetic Personae and Literary
"Truth": Americans tend to wear masks only on Halloween, and they have
little conscious knowledge of what they're doing when they put those "vizers"
on. The poet's "persona," from the Greek word for the dramatic actor's
mask, is one of the most important creations in all literature. The synthetic
projection of other personae within the work extends the notion of personae (plural) until
they populate works with all the "people" which we take for granted, and by
which authors manipulate us. Though based on Elizabethan lyric, this short
discussion has real "legs."
- Critical Methods and Literary Terms: how do we analyze literature in the English
major, and what terms do we use? This is a short introduction to a big subject,
intended for incoming majors who have not yet taken English 215, and for non-majors trying
to figure out how to read like a professional.
- In-Class Performance and Interpretation
Hints: Students in English 211, 240, 330 and other Goucher English courses frequently
are asked to perform the literature and to interpret the passage they have performed.
How should this be done, and how can it be done excellently? Here's an
introduction. It also will improve your experience in other courses where
"performance" isn't formally taught or required, but rather it's expected that
you'll do it in the course of study. Some literary scholars also typically refer to any
act of reading and/or interpretation as a "performance."
- Terms for Describing Poetic
"Feet": English literature before the twentieth century paid
attention to the rhythms of stressed and unstressed syllables within the
lines. Like a sentence, which can be parsed or subdivided into noun
phrases and verb phrases, the poetic line can be parsed into "feet" based on
how the unstressed and stressed syllables cluster together in ordinary
pronunciation. These "feet" within a line have names which were given
them by classical Greek poets, and they still are called by those names today.
Describing the feet in a poetic line is the first stage in a scholarly
description of a poem's "prosody" or metrical structure. Prosody is to
poetic analysis what anatomy is to medicine.
- Terms for Describing Poetic
Meter: The numbers of feet in a poetic line are described in Latin
terms which complete the scholar's description of a poem's prosody.
- A Pre-Turn-In Paper Checklist: to help you spot those
omissions and errors that cost needless points.
- UBUWEB Visual, Concrete and Sound Poetry: This
collection of images and sound files provides materials for the study of poetic
representation using unusual combinations of sound, creative page layout, or images and
text. It includes RealAudio files of many contemporary poets reading, and might
provide useful ways to reconsider reading as a "performance" of the work.
Most sources are Twentieth Century works, but the Early Visual Poetry,
1506-1726 link will give you several examples relevant to English 211, including
images of George Herbert's "Easter Wings" in manuscript and first edition.
- On-line Aids to the Study of Literary Theory and
Critical Methods: the study of Modern and Post-Modern theory has extensive
support on the Internet. There also are some useful sources for classical rhetoric.
Guide to Libraries and Archives: created by
Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa and
Jennifer Heise for students of
medieval and renaissance culture, this overview provides an excellent
introduction to the way information is stored and retrieved libraries large
and small. If you are interested in studying library science, start
- How do I read Literature and Why?: this
autobiographical meditation grew out of an English 222 public folder exchange (Fall 2000)
about gendered reading and Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own." It's as
good an introduction to my background as a reader/writer and student/teacher as anything
I've written so far.
- Do "assigned work"
for free/thee?: authority, control, and assignments:
this is a sequel to the "How do I read Literature and
Why?" essay, and was also produced in response to two students' public folder
postings in English 222 (Fall 2000). It's the "writing" component that
corresponds to "How"'s description of the development of the "reader"
- Literary Theory and
Interpretive Strategies: this is a series of short
descriptions of recent schools of literary theory, illustrated with samples of what can be
done with them. It's no substitute for English 215 and a good background in
philosophy, but it's a start. It's also still under construction, but the module on Aristotle's "Poetics" is especially
worth a look if you have just come to the English major and don't know where we got our
basic terms for analyzing narrative and drama. It's the only intact
"example" for the first section, Early Formalism, Prescriptive and
- Manuscript Tradition and the Printed Book: some
early notes on the way literature was preserved and distributed before moveable type
printing was introduced (c. 1450-1500), and on the enormous changes in books and
book-reading cultures after that change.
- Brown University Women Writers Project:
(Goucher College users only--subscription account.) This site
offers scholarly editions of previously unpublished works by women who
wrote during the Renaissance, Restoration, and 18th century. You can
find additional works by early women writers at the Emory Women Writers Resource
Project at Emory University's Lewis H. Beck Center. The Brown site has an
exceptionally large text base of edited Renaissance women writers, and the Emory site's
strength is its unedited (as in previously unpublished) texts.
Ancient Manuscripts: Timothy W. Seid's undergraduate, online course will
teach you to understand how manuscripts were made and how scholars interpret
them. Though his sample texts are from the Christian New Testament, the
methods would apply to manuscripts of secular works, and to book production
even into the modern era. Anyone interested in working with authors'
original manuscripts as evidence of their creative processes should take a
stroll through this site.
English Dictionary--the pre-eminent source of
year-specific definitions of Middle English words is now available for free
from the University of Michigan. Don't bother with the OED when
reading Middle English. This is a far more complete set of definitions
with far more Medieval examples because of the dictionary's focus.
- Goucher College Library
AREA LIBRARY ON-LINE CATALOGUES
- University of Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue:
a research tool especially good for searching
collections of early books and manuscripts, especially strong in collections
located in Germany and the rest of Eastern and Western Europe. Includes
searches of the European branches of ABEBooks.
Short Title Catalog: a specialized online catalog recording information on
books printed in the U.K. between 1450 and 1800, covering about 460,000
individual volumes. This catalog will tell you the publication history of
all printed editions of assignments for English 211, English 240, and
English 330. Manuscript versions of the earliest Old and Middle
English literature have to be searched separately.
- Bodleian Library (Oxford University):
images selection. Based on the collection of Duke Humphrey, duke
of Gloucester, with additions from other early book collections and from being
named a "legal deposit library" for newly printed books in the United Kingdom
(corresponding to our Library of Congress). Named for Sir Thomas Bodley,
the Elizabethan era curator of its book and MS collections who renovated the
original 1440 library building ca. 1600-2.
Oxford Corpus Christi College MS 128 of Chaucer's Canterbury tales--a
digital facsimile of this important early 15th-century witness to the Tales,
beginning in the midst of the General Prologue description of the Knight's
son, the Squire, who "karf beforn his fader atte table," and ending in the
midst of Parson's Tale. The manuscript's missing initial and final
leaves are the typical result of hard use over several hundred years.
British Library Manuscript Collections: The largest single collection
of English language MSS in the world, the British Library MS Collections offer
some nice digitization projects as well as a robust search engine linked to a
superb descriptive catalog.
Library of Congress Digitized Materials from the Rare Books and Special
Collections Division: The crown jewel of the LC collections is the
Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection of manuscripts and rare books. Other
collections of Americana are important to the study of colonial and early
- English 211:
Beowulf to Dryden--Goucher course
215: Critical Methods--Goucher course syllabus
- English 221:
Theories of Composing, Teaching and Tutoring--Goucher
- English 222: Women and
Literature--"Women and Inspiration"--Goucher course syllabus
- ENGLISH 240: Medieval Literature--Goucher
330: Chaucer Seminar--Goucher course syllabus
Chaucer Metapage: an inspired and
inspiring collection of resources for studying all medieval literature, but focused
primarily on Chaucer and on his Canterbury Tales. Please note that the
"MetaMentors" do not answer individual questions from
students. Think about the logistics! Ask me!
Essential Chaucer: " Mark Allen and John H. Fisher, Web production by Shannon O.
Cotrell, Steve R. Levitt, and Rachael Hill. The Essential Chaucer is a
selective, annotated bibliography of Chaucer studies from 1900-1984. It was first
published in 1987 by G. K. Hall and Mansell Publishers Limited. The bibliography is
divided into almost 90 topics, including themes, techniques, and individual works by
Chaucer." The notes are short, but will point you in the right direction.
It was published in conjunction with the appearance of the Riverside Chaucer
in 1987, and by now both resources are showing their age. User beware.
Medieval Review: formerly the Bryn Mawr Medieval Review, this is the first and only
online journal devoted to scholarly reviews of recent scholarship in medieval studies.
The reviewers are experts in the specializations required for the works reviewed,
which you can and should verify by doing an author search on the reviewer's name in
the MLA Bibliography.
H-Net Reviews in the Social Sciences and
Humanities: Though it only has been active as a scholarly reviewing site since 1998
(i.e., roughly, books published since 1996), this active site covers modern to early
modern social, historical, economic, and (some) literary research. H-Net was set up
to catalogue and supervise the activities of many long-lived "discussion lists"
that first thrived before the WorldWideWeb came into existence. The review site is
an outgrowth of the site's sponsorship of scholarly discourse on that wide range of
subjects. It is hosted by Michigan State University.
Middle English vowel and
consonant pronunciation examples: the
Harvard U. Chaucer Seminar support site also contains other useful materials for the study
of Middle English.
Decameron: a contemporary of Chaucer, Giovanni Boccaccio's one hundred tales set in a
frame narrative bears striking similarities to and differences from Canterbury
Tales. This site contains information valuable to the study of medieval European
culture, in general, and of framed narratives in particular. (Brown University's
Italian Department hosts the site, which is maintained by a consortium of editors from
- THE VICTORIAN WEB--George Landow's site for study of Victorian literature, art, philosophy,
and what have you, obviously useful to students in English 212, 259, and 260.
You also might want to check out "Cyberspace,
Hypertext, and Critical Theory," which explores some issues relating to the
medium we're using here.
- THE CONTEMPORARY
POSTCOLONIAL AND POST IMPERIAL LITERATURE IN ENGLISH SITE--another
of George Landow's sites, useful for students in English 285.
- GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY'S "LABYRINTH" SITE--a wealth of
materials for the study of medieval literature, including access to whole texts of
Chaucer's works, critical articles, historical context, etc. Note that a new Labyrinth site is being unveiled, but it is not yet
complete and the old one remains the only one that is intact.
site containing information, including whole texts of critical articles, on medieval,
renaissance, and seventeenth-century authors.
THE YALE LAW SCHOOL
AVALON PROJECT: online access to primary source documents in
Anglo-American law, including Blackstone's commentaries, the laws of William
the Conqueror and other kings, and countless other "foundation" documents for
English culture. You can even find the charter for the Maryland colony
(in "Pre-18th Century Documents").
- THE ON-LINE
BOOKS PAGE--10,000+ editions of literary works in several languages linked to a search
engine at the U.Penn server. The quality of individual editions still must be
verified by the student (look for the "About this text" or similar hyperlink on
the first page), but generally these are acceptable for 200-level undergraduate work and
some seminar work. Because the texts are digitized, you can use "Ctl F" to
search them for words & phrases.
Chawton House (Jane Austen) Online Novel Collection: operating
from the ancestral home of Jane Austen, this historical society and research
foundation maintains a significant and growing database of early (C18-19)
English novels, some out of print since their earliest editions. Each
entry features a paragraph summary of the plot and its attractions.
- THE WORLD WIDE STUDY BIBLE--now
hosted on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library site, this is an accurate, searchable
text base containing all the books of the Christian bible, including
apocrypha. For medieval authors, the Douay-Rheims translation is closest to the
Vulgate Latin text they would have known--see below for a better text of
Douay-Rheims. For renaissance and seventeen-century
authors, the King James Version usually will be appropriate.
THE DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE--after Protestant translators began flooding Europe
with contending vernacular translations (i.e., English, French, German, etc.
vs. the Vulgate Latin), the Catholic Church fought back by producing what they
claimed (and most modern scholars believe) was a more accurate, less
thesis-motivated translation of the Vulgate. All medieval scholars
typically quote the Douay-Rheims, as do renaissance scholars until 1604, when
the newly crowned successor to Elizabeth, James I, ordered a new translation
of the bible which bears his name.
VULGATE LATIN BIBLE--this was the text which would have been known to
Christians in Chaucer's time, with the exception of the "Lollard"
followers of GC's contemporary John Wycliff, who translated portions of it
into Middle English despite the threat of execution for this heretical
act. The Internet Sacred Texts Archive, which maintains this site, is
a non-profit group promoting understanding of many religious traditions, and
they offer reading texts from Eastern, Western, traditional and esoteric
religions. The text of the Latin Vulgate runs in the far right column,
and the King James (1604) edition runs in the far left column. For those
of you with Greek and/or Hebrew, the middle left column contains the parallel
text in the Septuagint Greek edition, and the middle right contains the Hebrew
Tanach edition. To see a more accurate English translation than the King
James (1604), which was made with frankly Protestant interpretive practices,
see the Douay-Rheims Bible (above).
- THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA--an
indispensable introduction for the undergraduate to the Church's view of its own beliefs,
major figures, and most important events. It is not "scholarly" in the
sense of being produced by scholars who are independent of papal authority, but it is a carefully checked,
"doctrinally correct," vision of history. As a starting place, it's great.
DICTIONARY--a searchable text base which will enable you to translate Latin words and
phrases into English, especially useful in the medieval and early renaissance periods.
University Victorian Studies Archive Concordance Site: Don't be
misled. Mitsuharu Matsuoka and Masahiro Komatsu have established a
very nice contextual "library" of authors and works that Victorian authors
would have read. They limit their Medieval authors to Chaucer, which
is probably accurate for Victorians who were not members of the Early
English Text Society, but from Elizabethan authors to the early C20, they
cover a surprising range. You must select your author, and your "book"
or search the whole database for the author. Their digitized
works are limited, but often cover works included in Goucher's English
Department survey courses (e.g., for Aphra Behn, one play [The Rover]
TO SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS--
CONCORDANCE TO CHAUCER'S WORKS--Gerard NeCastro's (University of Maine,
Machias) searchable word-usage list for "Canterbury Tales," "Troilus," and
other works. If you "Google" the word, "concordance," you can access a
wide range of concordances to the Bible in various editions, as well as some
individual English authors like William Blake and Thomas Gray. Coverage
depends upon the enthusiasms of the creators, and (except for NeCastro's
Chaucer site) I have not investigated the scholarly reliability of any other
primary source texts. User beware! You also can use printed paper
concordances which you can find using OLLI and a keyword search on
"concordance." I own and would be happy to share with my students and
colleagues the scholarly concordances to the works of Malory and Marlowe.
you may have to go to the library to use these, but they're easier to use.
For the rationale explaining why scholars care about authors' peculiar usage
patterns, see E. D. Hirsch on the "author's horizon of meaning" from
Validity in Interpretation.
University maintains this searchable text base of all Classical Greek works of
literature. You choose to read either Greek or English translations of the
work, and can switch between the two versions.
- Online Modern Language
Translation Site: Good for a laugh. Don't trust it until it can get jokes and
recognize ambiguity, irony, and paradox.
online translators for Modern Languages Department coursework specifically violates
Goucher's Honor Code, and using them produces predictable and easily detectable types of
errors, so don't even think about it.
It's probably most useful to check single words quickly, but its vocabulary is somewhat
small and limited largely to business-related terms.
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