Use the online primary source collections available through the library (listed to the left). 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: Biblioteca Virtual Migues De Certantes
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: malinche AND 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?
Sourcebooks or readers on a time period often include selected representative texts and provide a view of the contemporary debate. Search library catalogs on your topic, including the word sources in your search. Example: modernism and 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