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SSI2-160: Modernist Literature

Selecting Your Primary Source Material

Primary sources are the "raw materials" of scholarship. Examples vary by discipline. Your selection of primary source materials for your research project will depend on your topic and your approach.

It's a good idea to explore more than one possibility for your primary sources; try to identify several possibilities and then browse through them before making your final choice.

The boxes below provide suggestions for identifying primary source materials; you may wish to explore multiple options. These examples and collections are just a sampling! Ask a librarian for help in identifying additional primary sources.

Consulting Tertiary Sources

Reference resources, such as subject encyclopedias, handbooks, and the like, are designed to be consulted early on in a research project. The entries are written by scholars and typically provide an overview of both the topic and the ways that scholars have interpreted this topic. In some cases, lists or entries for primary source materials are also provided.

Once you identify some choices, you'll need to go to search Primo to find a copy.

Search Primo

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Author-Title Searches

If you have specific authors and/or titles, it's usually best to do an advanced search in Primo.

Searching Primo for a novel or play, or for all the works by a specific author, is pretty straightforward:

Searching Primo for a specific poem or short story by a particular author is a bit trickier. Try to find out the title of the collection in which the poem or short story was published and then search by that title. There are several strategies for finding such titles:

  • Search the lists of publications by author in Literature Resource Center.
  • If the short story or poem is no longer under copyright, try searching Google Books or Project Gutenberg for the full text.
  • If the poem or short story was not published in a book-length collection or anthology, it probably was published in a literary magazine or other magazine that publishes fiction and poetry. To get the original source of the publication, you will need to consult an index. Collins Library has old volumes of the Short Story Index (through 2004) as well as several poetry indexes in the print reference section.

Modernist Journals

The New Age (journal)

Collins Library provides access to many journals from the modernist era and the Modernist Journals Project (linked below) can connect you to the full text of many others. Consider using a resource such as Literary Research and British Modernism to help you identify influential titles and then search for them using Primo's journal search.

Anthologies and Subject Collections

You might also want to keep an eye out for anthologies and collections of modernist literature and other documents:

Art & Music

Digital Collections - Historical Sources

Academic libraries and historical museums often try to digitize primary source collections held in their archives and special collections in order to make them available to the widest possible audience.