Comparative Literature Research Guide
Here are some of the resources available for the study of comparative literature at Queens College. Since Comparative Literature is such an interdisiplinary subject, you may also want to see some of our other guides, especially the English literature guide.
This lists all of our books, journals, and other resources. Please note that you must search for books or journals, NOT for individual chapters or articles within them.
Use a Subject begins with… search to find books if you already know how they are described in the catalog. Here are some tips for choosing good subject headings:
- Authors' names, entered last names first (for example: Derrida, Jacques). In many cases, you will see subheadings further describing the works we have on that author.
- National literatures and literary movements such as German poetry or Modernism.
- Types of works, for instance, dictionaries or encyclopedias. Please use a Keyword in Subject search for these searches.
- Names of countries or religions and philosophies, like China, Taoism or existentialism. These can be very useful if you want information that gives you more context.
- See our English Literature Guide for more information on types of resources that are often useful in literature research.
You can also look for books near others on the shelf. Try Floor 3 for reference materials and Floor 5 for other books.
Here are some call numbers you might try:
- GR 1-999 Folklore, Folk Literature.
- PN 1-99 General works on literature, literary theory, and literary criticism.
- PN 1010-1529 Poetry.
- PN 1600-3307 Drama.
- PN 3311-3303 Prose.
You may also wish to browse works on the literature of particular geographic areas. This list (PDF) from the Library of Congress can help you find them.
If you don't have experience reading call numbers, this tutorial can help.
- MLA International Bibliography
- MLA's database is a standard of literary research. Includes access to over 4,000 journals, with many links to full-text. It is searchable by classification headings, document authors, subject-index terms, language of the book or article, journal name, and other elements.
- If you are searching for articles on a particular work, use the title as it appears in its original language, that is: En la ardiente oscuridad, not In the Burning Darkness. If the title has multiple spellings, such as Dao de jing, Daode jing and Tao Te Ching, use the Browse link to look up the preferred spelling.
- JSTOR and Project Muse
- Both these databases provide full text access to journals in a wide variety of subjects, including language and literature. There is substantial overlap with MLA, but since the search strategies are different, you may find different articles.
- Humanities Full Text
- Citations to articles in many specialized periodicals from across the humanities. Humanities Full Text is particularly strong in book reviews, which may help you identify books on a topic, but there are also many citations to articles not covered in MLA.
- Language-specific databases
- Databases such as L'Annee Philologique (Latin), ARTFL (French), and HAPI (Spanish) can aid your research on works in those languages. For more, please see the database list and sort by Comparative Literature.
- Oxford English Dictionary
- The OED is the authoritative dictionary of the English language and provides both current and historical definitions of over 500,000 words. Includes etymological notes and extensive quotations documenting the usage of words over time.
All these databases and more can be found on the Queens College Databases page. You can use the drop-down menu to sort for only comparative literature-related databases.
Sometimes a database will not have the full text of an article. However, there is still a good chance we own the article.
- Click on the orange FindIt button.
- If you see a link that says Full Text, click on it for full text.
- If you see a message that says CUNY has a copy, click to see library holdings. Make sure to check the date to see if we have that issue!
- If we do not have a copy, click on Interlibrary Loan. The first time you do this, you need to make an account. We will get the article for you.
Some databases are not compatible with FindIt, or you may have a citation from elsewhere.
Search CUNY+ for the journal title, NOT the article title. Then click on Queens to see which volumes and issues the library holds.
Web Resources & Associations
- Harvard College Comparative Literature Research Guide
- An excellent, comprehensive guide that recommends good sources, gives useful search strategies for books, in databases and for other materials, and suggests some more places you may wish to consider searching. Their catalog is very similar to ours, so their search tips will also work in CUNY+.
- Literary Theory Page from Brock University
- A collection of concise explanations of important theoretical concepts.
Comparative Literature Associations
- American Comparative Literature Association
- The principal comparative literature association in the United States. ACLA includes an active graduate student membership. There is a list of calls for papers available on their website.
- International Comparative Literature Association
- Brings together various national comparative literature organzations. ICLA publishes several journals and holds a conference every three to four years. Their next conference will be in Paris, France in 2013.
- Modern Language Association
- The MLA does more than lay out rules for formatting bibliographies. Their website includes reports on issues of interest to literature scholars, a job information list, information about their annual convention, and more. Please note that some of this content is available for MLA members only.