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 a specific genre or period of literature, use the name of the genre etc. with the subdivision History and criticism:
Increasingly, the Ryerson LIbrary acquires 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:
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.
The online Shakespeare Collection includes the Arden Shakespeare complete works.
Literary Sources Online covers contemporary and classical literature, drama and poetry as well as children's literature.
A TPL account is required for log-in. All members of the Ryerson Community are eligible for TPL borrowing privileges.