Keyword searching can be very fruitful.
Browsing the Library of Congress subject headings index in the catalogue can be effective.
For critical works about specific authors, search by subject by the name in inverted order (last name first) with a subdivision such as Criticism and interpretation:
For critical works about comics and comic books, use the root subject heading Comic books, strips, etc. in conjunction with a subdivision such as History and criticism:
For works about WWII and Canada, browse the subject index beginning with World War, 1939-1945--Canada. Some headings of interest may include:
Increasingly, the Ryerson LIbrary and Archives is acquiring books in electronic only formats. These can be found in the main library catalogue and when using the Search Everything box. Many of the e-books have virtual call numbers so you can link on the call number field and see both print and electronic books. This will give you a more accurate understanding of our collection than just browsing the printed books in the library stacks.
Many of the e-books that we have access to can also be found in Scholars Portal Books, along with large numbers of books published prior to 1923 that are presumed to be out of copyright, and other works created using a Creative Commons License that allows free access.
The Internet Archive has many more freely accessible books, videos and sound recordings. It is especially good valuable for works printed in English prior to 1923. The Hathi Trust Digital Library is another large digitization initiative with a lot of books and magazines that are no longer protected by copyright.
Use to find brief background information.
Oxford English Dictionary (Online)
The definitive record of the English language
Encyclopedias and dictionaries remain valuable sources of bio-bibliographical information and concise critical commentary on authors and types of literature. Consider keyword searches such as:
Similarly, for reference works on WWII, consider keyword searches such as:
Since the creators of the Canadian "Whites" are often little known Canadians, there is not an abundance of biographical material available. Standard biographical resources such as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004- UK), the American National Biography (1999- USA) and the incomplete Dictionary of Canadian Biography (most entrants died prior to 1950) will not be of much use.
Biographical content in the edited anthologies of Nelvana of the Northern Lights, and, Johnny Canuck.
All of John Bell's publications.
You may find useful information including obituaries using historical newspapers.
Googling will turn up some results. Search for variant names and use the advanced search features including "name one" OR "name two" etcetera.
The Toronto Public Library has an excellent collection that supports the study of English literature. Many scholarly works are only available at the Toronto Reference Library located on Yonge Street one block north of Bloor Street. These items generally must be used in the library. Some material is part of the vast circulating collection. Online databases and books are becoming more common.
Literature Criticism Online covers contemporary and classical literature, drama and poetry as well as children's literature.
Literature Resource Center is a database that is also available through Ryerson.
A TPL account is required for log-in. All members of the Ryerson Community are eligible for TPL borrowing privileges.