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SSI2-169: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

Why use subject encyclopedias?

Starting your research with subject encyclopedias will save you hours of research time later on by helping you define and refine the parameters of your research question.

  • Entries are written by scholars and reviewed by other scholars prior to publication, ensuring that the information is authoritative.
  • Essays in subject encyclopedias provide more than the facts; they also review how scholars have been interpreting and debating these facts.
  • Most entries include bibliographies or suggestions for further reading; typically, these bibliographies point to just a few key sources, rather than overwhelming you with a comprehensive list. Sometimes the bibliographies are annotated.
  • Entries may provide cross-references ("see also" suggestions), which will help you discover related ideas and concepts.
  • Entries provide specific terms and language to use when you later search databases for other scholarly material.

Selected Reference Resources for Shakespeare

Start with these subject encyclopedias and branch out as needed. 

Print encyclopedias and dictionaries are located on the first floor of Collins Library.

Cambridge Companions

Cambridge Companions are a series of authoritative essay collections that synthesize the most important aspects of a topic. Each volume is edited by a leading scholar in the field and offers essays written by experts. Look for Companions on specific authors, genres, themes or movements, and time periods. Below are some representative examples relevant to Shakespeare. 

Resources for Historical Context

Online Reference Collections

Not sure where to look? Each of these online collections will introduce you to a wealth of dictionaries and encyclopedias.