Finding documents in print
Sourcebooks or readers on a time period often include selected representative texts and provide a view of the contemporary debate. Search the Tomlinson Library catalog or other library catalogs on your topic, including the word sources in your search. Example: modernism and sources
Finding documents online
Use the online primary source collections available through the library (listed to the right). The HathiTrust Digital Library provides complete scans of many older books.
University archives, national libraries and historical and cultural societies often have online digital collections with representative cultural texts and other primary sources. Example: The National Library of Ireland includes key documents relating to Home Rule as well as The Gaelic League.
Google can also be an effective tool for tracking down a particular document - Search on the title of the document with the author and the word text (or digital or document) to track down the original text. Example: A Retrospect Ezra Pound text
With documents found through Google, be sure to consider the provenance of the text. What agency has taken responsibility for digitizing or publishing this text online? Do they have guidelines for maintaining the integrity of sources?
Historical Criticism considers a work of literature as a statement, a text engaged in debate with contemporary cultural mores and other texts. This historical context provides "a larger field of meaning in which a text can and should be situated in order to be understood fully." * How do you identify representative texts within a cultural debate or discourse? Some approaches:
*"Historical Criticism" From An Introduction to Criticism: Literature/Film/Culture by Michael Ryan
Sources from Multiple Times and Places
Medieval and Elizabethan Sources
To find texts from a particular time period and/or place, use the catalog below and type in the time and/or place and the word sources. For example: Modernism and sources.
Titles with texts from particular time periods & places are compiled below:
Texts from 19th Century America - Click to see more
Texts from Medieval England - Click to see more
Texts from Elizabethan England - Click to see more
Texts in English Women's History - Click to see more
Texts on Modernism - Click to see more
To find primary source materials for placing a particular work in historical context, search the library catalog below on the title of interest and the word sources. For example: King Lear and sources