In class we'll be using James Harner's Literary Research Guide and our
library's electronic databases to find answers to the following questions one
might come across in literary research.
As part of your answer, record the process by which you determined your
- Which resources did you use?
- Were those resources described in Harner? If so, what is the item number?
- Which resources worked? Which didn't?
The questions below come largely (sometimes verbatim, sometimes adapted) from
two important bibliographic sources: Richard Altick's The Art of Literary
Research. (No, the answers are not in that book) and the encyclopedic mind
of John T. Shawcross.
- Where is the closest full run of Godey's Ladies Book?
- In the winter of 1849-1850, Margaret Fuller (Ossoli) was working on a
history of the Roman revolution, which had occurred the preceding year. What
happened to it?
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1970, but for
political reasons was unable to receive it. In what year did he take possession
of the prize?
- How many dissertations on Phillis Wheatley (perhaps in conjunction with
other figures) have been accepted at American universities in the past five
- Recently a Heritage Lottery Fund contribution of £17.7 million to the
National Library of Scotland (towards the £31.2 purchase price) will allow the
NLS to acquire the archives of John Murray (purchase price: £31.2 million;
independently valued at £45 million). Who was John Murray, where was he located,
and why is the archive important?
- Who was Martha Moulsworth? What is her most important text?
- How many pre-1700 editions of Bunyan's Grace Abounding are known to
- Where has Sara Sulieri's "Meatless Days" been anthologized?
- Identify important differences between the Oxford English Dictionary
and its electronic counterpart. Is the latter an effective substitute for the
- You are interested in finding out the following information
Identify John Bull, Martin Marprelate & Sylvanus Urban.
What does each of the following words, used by American writers, mean, and
when and where was it apparently first used?
- how influential overall is John T. Shawcross's body of work?
- how frequently other scholars have cited his 1993 John Milton: The Self
and The World?
- how many book reviews of that work have been published?
You are researching Laurence Stern's reading. Identify the full and correct
title of each of these works, included in the sale of his library in 1768.
- Unhandselled (Emerson, 1836)
- Norway mile (Poe, 1841)
- Pungle (Twain, 1884)
- Bose (Thoreau, 1854)
In the following sentence from Disraeli's 1837 novel Venetia, what is
a "tansy" and a "blamango"?
- Fuller's Pisgah-Sight of Palestine, with Cuts. 1662
- Koehoorn's new Method of Fortification, with Cuts. 1705.
"Simple as was the usual diet at Cherbury, the cook was permitted on
Sunday full play to her art, which, in the eighteenth century, indulged in
the production of dishes more numerous and substantial than our refined
tastes could at present tolerate [...dishes including a] Florentine tourte
or tansy, an old English custard, a more refined blamango, and a riband
jelly of many colours"
Of what significance to literature since World War II was the White Horse
Tavern in Greenwich Village? Of the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco?
At what point in its publication history were the marginal glosses added to
Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?
Two British writers died the same day JFK was assassinated. Identify them
and their most significant works.
You have found a hitherto unknown letter by Thoreau that internal evidence
proves was written between 1849 and 1856. It is dated simply, Friday May 5. What
was the year?
Identify the following book owned by the self-taught poet Robert Bloomfield
Poems, by David Hitchcock (the self-taught American poet) sent by
the Author to Mr. Bloomfield
The annotation of literary texts in modern classroom editions is sometimes
defective. Here is a selection of errors (italicised) found in the notes to
various modern editions of Carlyle's Past and Present (1843) and to
anthologized annotations from that book. What is the correct explanation?
"Yes, in the Ugolino Hunger-tower stern things happen:
best-loved Gaddo fallen dead on his Fatherıs knees!" (I.i; the allusion is
to Dante's Inferno, XXXIII)
On May 15 (25) 1696, in a letter preserved among the manuscripts at Longleat,
seat of the marquis of Bath, Sir William Trumbull paid a handsome compliment to
his correspondent, the poet Matthew Prior. What was it? And why is the double
What were the first two texts of Shakspeare published in America?
Where in the Old Testament is the town of Nazareth first mentioned?
What is the Schomberg Collection? What are its holdings? Where is it?
What can you learn about the first publication of Thomas Deloney's Jack
of Newbery? Where did you learn about it?
- Annotator A: "count Ugolino who was with his two sons and two grandsons
was starved in prison"
- Annotator B: "He died, with four sons, in prson, starved to death."
- Annotator C: "He was imprisoned with two sons and two nephews..."
- Annotator D: "...the story of Ugolino and his two sons..."