Skokie Public Library's Guide to...
Literature Resources from Gale

Literature Resources from Gale is a complete literature reference database designed for students and the interested casual user.  It contains biographical information on more than 100,000 authors and is an excellent resource for information on literary works from all time periods writing in such genres as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, history, and journalism.

Why Use Literature Resources from Gale?

Literature Resources from Gale is based on several respected and useful series of literary reference books published by the Gale Group.  These series have long been indispensable for libraries serving students and other patrons searching for information about authors and their works.  Literature Resources from Gale compiles an incredible amount of the information published in these series over many years and makes it available in a convenient online format.

Literature Resources from Gale also includes 1.6 million citations from the MLA International Bibliography and over 4,000 full text records from the MLA Directory of Periodicals.

Use Literature Resources from Gale to find biographical information on an author, find literary criticism for a particular literary work, or do research on a particular genre or literary period.

  • I have to write a paper on E.M. Forster.
  • My book group is reading The Opposite of Fate and I need some information on the author, Amy Tan.
  • I have a school assignment to read an author from the Knickerbocker school. I don’t know what that is, let alone which authors are part of it.
  • What is onomatopoeia, anyway?


Literature Resources from Gale provides several different methods of searching.  Basic author and title searches serve most needs, and more advanced and keyword searches are also available.

Basic Searches

The easiest way to search Literature Resources from Gale is by author.  Simply enter the author’s name or pseudonym, or part of the name or pseudonym.  Author Search looks for author names containing any name or names you enter, and will bring back an alphabetical list of author names.  Choose the author you are looking for, and you then have access to biographical information, literary criticism, bibliographies of additional articles, and web resources.  If you are looking for a specific title, choose the Title option, just below the Author Search box.  Title search allows you to search for exact titles or for words in the title if you aren’t sure of exact wording.  You may also narrow your search by entering an author’s name.  A Keyword search is also available.

Advanced Searches

More advanced searches are also available.  Use the Authors by Type search if you need to find an author of some specific national origin or ethnicity, or an author who wrote in a particular genre or belonged to a literary movement or time period.  Authors by Type also allows you to search authors by the year of their birth, or to get a list of authors who tended to write about certain themes.  The Advanced Search allows you to conduct a search using a variety of criteria, including all or part of the author’s name, all or part of the title, critic’s name, or a word or phrase in the full text of articles.  The Advanced Search also allows you to limit by the type of document or by Gale database.

Tips for Effective Searching

  • The asterisk (*) may be added to the end of a word to search for variant spellings, plurals, or multiple forms of a word.  For instance, the search faith* will return results with the word faiths, faithful, faithless, and so on.
  • The question mark (?) may be used to replace any single character, anywhere inside the word.  For example, the search wom?n will return results including the words woman and women.
  • The exclamation point (!) stands for one or no characters.  For example, analog! matches analog or analogs, but not analogous.
  • If you are searching for a phrase that normally contains a hyphen, include the hyphen.

Literature Resources from Gale has very extensive help accessible by clicking the link at the top center of the page or the text link at the bottom of the page.

Special Features

Authors on the Highway provides a link to the Publishers Weekly database listing upcoming author appearances. You can search by author, title, publisher, city, state, or venue.

Literary Historical Timeline targets a specific date range for literary figures, movements, and historical events, and offers a cultural and historical context alongside literary references.  It can also provide a sense of events that took place in an author's life and/or the period in which a work was published.

Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature allows you to search for unfamiliar literary terms, figures, time periods, or genres. 

Gale Literary Index offers citation-only access to the print versions of many Gale publications; this index helps the researcher to find information not included in Literature Resources from Gale.

The Research Guide is designed to walk the novice through the process of researching and writing a literary research paper, from selecting a topic to citing sources.

Handling Results

Individual articles may be printed, downloaded to a disk, or emailed to your account from Literature Resources from Gale.  The "Save As" feature of your browser can be used to download content to a disk.  Alternatively, you may save up to fifty articles that you wish to retrieve by checking the box next to the title in the results list and then clicking on the Update Mark List button; when your list is compiled, you may print or email the entire list.

Other Resources

Skokie Public Library has many literary criticism resources, both in the circulating collection and in the Literature Reference Collection.

  • Twayne Publishers has several series that contain criticism of literary authors and their works, and critical histories of different literary genres.
  • The Norton Critical Editions usually contain the text of a literary work as well as criticism.
  • The Greenwood Press Literature in Context series is written for the student, and contains historical documents and other materials that can help explain a particular literary work.

Please ask at the Readers' Service Desk for help in locating these and other literary research resources. In addition, librarians at Skokie Public Library have selected and compiled the most useful databases and websites for literary criticism in our Research section.