Weekly Assignment #7

The assignment this week isn’t due until the week after next, as neither the Tuesday class nor the Thursday class will meet next week due to Fall Break.

By midnight of the day before the next class, please do both of the following:

  • Find a print reference work related to your topic by searching the NCSU Libraries catalog. Include a full citation, and annotate this as usual with a paragraph that both describes the source and evaluates its usefulness for you. Include in your description such key information as whether the work is issued serially (e.g., every five years), how it is arranged, and any special features.
  • Find an electronic reference work (not the MLA Bibliography nor Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts) that contains information relevant to your topic by searching the NCSU Libraries website. In your paragraph of description and evaluation, please try to include such key information as its scope (e.g., what it includes), how many records/entries the work includes, how often it is updated, and how far back it goes (e.g., the online MLA Bibliography now dates back to the 1920s, farther back than the print version). Be sure to get this information from within the database itself, as the database descriptions on the Libraries’ website may be out of date.

To find print reference books in the catalog, remember that you can click on the “Genre” facets on the left-hand side to limit to Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and so on. You can also go to the Advanced Search page and leave only the “Reference Works” box checked. To find electronic reference works, you can start with the Browse Subjects Reference Tools tab, but you may well find untold treasures just by searching the catalog or browsing the alphabetical list of databases. If you like, you may also look for a database available at UNC or Duke but not at NCSU.



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9 responses to “Weekly Assignment #7

  1. Anonymous

    Both the paper and online reference materials have been fruitful?lots of interesting finds that might contribute to my topic, without actually being about my topic. I can?t help but be a little excited about the lack of specific information about food and ?the table? in Flannery O?Connor?s work.
    The library search led me to “A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American South.” I was a little bummed by how few reference books were about the South, but I suppose Chapel Hill is right down the road if I want a wealth of written information about the subject. The ?Companion? was helpful, though, and I found one interesting article about the grotesque in O?Connor?s work. The last sentence in the article is pretty cool, if a bit pessimistic, and sums up what I love about O?Connor?s work:
    The South in Flannery O?Connor is a Bakhtinian Carnival of crazed businessmen, quixotic knights-errant, sinister hairdressers, devout ministers, serial killers, con artists, and mad housewives desperately seeking redemption. In short, it is a reasonably accurate and plausible rendering of Southern reality. (Catillo 49)
    The “Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American South” is one in a series of Blackwell Literature Companions. As a random side note, when I was looking up ?O?Connor? in the index, I ran across a reference for ?O, Susanna? and couldn?t resist a look. Turns out a guy named Stephen Foster wrote it before he even set foot in the South. If you think about the lyrics, it makes for an interesting meditation on the South from a Northern perspective. . .
    Castillo, Susan. “Flannery O’Connor.” A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American South. Ed. Richard Gray and Owen Robinson. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2004.
    The online reference search led me to Project Muse and a treasure trove of articles that I can?t wait to read. There was one titled ?Telos and Existence: Ethics in C.S. Lewis?s Space Trilogy and Flannery O?Connor?s Everything That Rises Must Converge.? O?Connor and Lewis are two of my favorite authors, so it should prove an interesting read. Another article explored the influence of another Christian author, Fyodor Dostoevsky, on literature of the American South, particularly O?Connor, Percy, Faulkner, and McCullers. But the article that I think will be of the most help to me is one that sounds dreadfully dry: ?Flannery O?Connor and the Symbol.? It?s actually not dry, though, and it turns out that the author sheds a lot of light on O?Connor?s treatment of the Eucharist?which is something I?d like to explore when looking at her treatment of food and ?the table.” The author proposes that because O?Connor was Catholic and believed in transubstantiation (that is, that the bread and wine of communion are actually Christ?s body and not just symbols of Christ?s body), her use of symbols in her writing is sort of hyper-literal. Anyway, it gives me lots to think about as I work through her stories. The article was in a quarterly Catholic journal that seems to offer pretty regular scholarship on Catholic authors.
    Desmond, John F. “Flannery O’Connor and the Symbol.” Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture Volume 4, Number 2 (Spring 2002) 143 – 156.

  2. Susanna Branyon

    Sorry…that last post was mine.

  3. Jill Taylor

    Print Reference
    Gillespie, Stuart. Shakespeare?s Books: A Dictionary of Shakespeare?s Sources. London: Athlone, 2001.
    This reference publication features nearly 200 entries on 80 sources that Shakespeare used as inspiration or a reference for his plays. Entries include authors, works, and genres; each entry is arranged alphabetically. Longer entries are divided into four sections, including a biographical or historical description, the reputation of the work in Renaissance England, how Shakespeare used the work, and a bibliography of sources that discuss Shakespeare?s use of the text. The book has only been printed in a hardback and paperback edition, without updates. For my research on Henry V, the resource would be useful for investigating the how Shakespeare decided to present his view of Henry V?s reign compared to the source material.
    Electronic Reference
    McConnell, Louise. Dictionary of Shakespeare. Teddington, Middlesex: Peter Collin, 2000.
    This dictionary is an electronic version of a printed text that is accessible online through the NCSU libraries website and xrefer plus. Since it is an electronic version of a printed text, it appears to be a rather static resource without information updates. I could not find any information about how many entries are included. The site features an alphabetical letter bar or a search field for finding relevant entries. In addition to covering Shakespearean texts, the resource addresses Elizabethan historical and theatrical contexts. The resource would be useful as a quick reference for information about Elizabethan theatre that could be compared to the Globe reconstruction.

  4. Liz Jenkins

    Fargnoli, A. Nicholas. James Joyce A to Z : the essential reference to the life and work. New York : Facts on File, c1995.
    I found this source listed as one of two encyclopedias (according to the genre listings) on James Joyce. The work is a single volume of about 300 pages. I was actually surprised to find an encyclopedia just on Joyce himself. I thought I was going to have to do a broader search, either to Irish Literature or to Modernist Literature, so I was excited to find this book. I also checked out the dictionaries on Joyce, as 12 were listed. Only about 4 seemed to actually be relevant to my topic, but I was just amazed that there were so many reference works on such a specific topic, on just Joyce alone. I imagine that had I expanded my search to Irish Literature, I would have found dozens of books that could be useful to me.
    For my electronic reference, I found, through searching the catalogue and then narrowing my results to ?electronic? sources, a link to an ebook by Harold Bloom. The book is entitled: James Joyce?s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Bloom?s Notes.
    This source was really interesting because it had a table of contents that lead you through section by section of the book, beginning with an introduction and then going through everything from a list of characters, author?s bio, other works by Joyce, other works of criticism, themes, structure, common critical approaches. It really had a section for anything you could think of it was so easy to use. It even had a really neat feature that listed key themes and characters and then gave specific page numbers in the text that related to that theme or character. It also contained a dictionary feature and a neat search feature. If you didn?t want to walk through with the table of contents you could use the search to jump straight into a specific word or topic. This was a very cool and useful source!

  5. Aaron Turney

    I did some searches and it looks like the 9th floor(oversized) is the place to be. I found:
    Author: Frank, Frederick S.
    Title: The first Gothics : a critical guide to the English Gothic novel / Frederick S. Frank.
    One of the advantages is that this book is a guide to the authors, their works plus an extensive guide to works of criticism on each. It’s sort of a one-stop springboard for lots of cool (and more obscure) stuff. To its discredit, though, it doesn’t go into American Gothic stuff, thus leaving out a whole world of stuff. This is issued serially by the Garland University Press.
    I also found:
    Title: Literature of the romantic period : a bibliographical guide /
    edited by Michael O’Neill.
    Published: Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press,
    This is a great resource, but covers romantics in general leaving me to search out the supernatural/mystical stuff. Unlike the McNutt where I have it laid out going in, with the O’Neill, I’ll either have to search about or know what I’m looking for before I look (which is a defininte disadvantage).
    For starters (in e-references) there are some all-encompassing reference works such as the Cambridge Guide to Literature in English or Bloomsbury’s dictionary of Lit…These are pretty comprehensive but may mean a lot of searching around.
    I ran out of luck on the NCSU library searches so I did a google search for “romantic references online.”
    I found an online reference site at the University of Md called Romantic Circles Scholarly Resources collection. It’s a set of online research tools that has to pass the “scholarly” test, intended for the study of the Romantics, their contemporaries, and their cultural contexts. It is organized sometimes by author and sometimes by genre, but the links (e.g. Gothic Works) take you to a format that gives a reference-style abstract and background plus links to criticism and related works, etc. It looks very useful and is constanlty growing.

  6. Summerlin Page

    As an electronic source, I’m using docsouth.unc.edu quite a bit. It has numerous primary sources, and includes biographical information about the writers. It’s a really wonderful, well-indexed site.
    Flora, Joseph M., and Lucinda H. MacKethan, eds. The Companion to Southern Literature. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 2002.
    This is a large encyclopedia, fairly recent and very extensive. As I’m still pretty vague in my topic, that’s what I’m looking for.

  7. Kimberly Bowers

    Bloom, Harold ed. Lesbian and bisexual fiction writers. Chelsea House, Philadelphia. 1997.
    This is a dictionary including biographical information on many lesbian and bisexual female authors. Since Virginia Woolf is often considered a bisexual, or at least someone who questioned her sexual orientation, this resource has information on her life, work and sexuality. This resource could also be especially helpful given the time period I am interested in. In the Modernist era there was a comparatively large number of femal authors who were lesbians or bisexuals, such as Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes. This resource offers information on these authors and other authors I may not have heard much about. The resource was edited by Harold Bloom, who wrote an introduction on the analysis of women writers. It would be interesting to read what an older white man has to say about sexually progressive female authors. But I won’t judge until I read it.
    My online resource is:
    Plain, Gill. Women’s Fiction of the Second World War: Gender, Power and Resistance. Edinburgh University Press, Edinbugh. 1996.
    WWII was a pivotal event for Virginia Woolf and so many authors of her time. Whereas my print resource discussed Woolf amongst other female authors of similar sexual orientations, the online resource compares her to other authors of similar time period and social condition. The war affected Woolf’s writings, private life and mental health. It would be interesting to see in the war had a similar effect on other authors.

  8. Sowmya Bharadwaj

    I was very disappointed to see very few reference works on my topic. I finally found only one resource – a print journal which was also available online. The online version had issues dating back to 1986 while the print version started with 1997.
    Print and Online Reference:
    English for Specific Purposes, An International Journal. New York : Pergamon, (1986 -)
    Browsing through the issues of this journal, I did find some very relevant information. It was also an important find, as the editorial and articles in each issue reflected the evolving theories, research and challenges in the area of English for Specific Purposes. The editorials also gave a sense of direction to the field, and where research was headed. Especially valuable was a special issue in 1998, dedicated to John M Swales who is considered the key scholar in the field. The volume, through articles and interviews gives an idea of the enormous amount of work he has been involved in, which would be useful in my project.
    I also came across one or two articles in other journals that were related to my topic but in a very indirect way, and couldn’t be considered as a reference volume for my topic.

  9. Scott Dill

    My topic has changed over the course of the semester, and thus, my research interest. The print reference work that was helpful to consult for getting my bearings in the new topic was the “Hutchinson Shakespeare Dictionary,” London: Penguin, 1999. This was helpful to get the lay of the land on Shakespeare’s theological landscape. The online work, which exists in print too, but is easier online, is the Oxford English Dictionary. I needed a history of the usage of the word “grace,” not only in Shakespeare, but in English. It has been extremely helpful for determining the variety of meanings the word encompasses.