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LIT 427: Jane Austen’s Novels: Reference Shelf

research guide for TCNJ affiliates

Selected Reference

The following Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) reveal scholarly criticism, mostly from books and book chapters. Cataloging librarians developed LCSH primarily to describe book content. But tweaking the canned subject searches reveals even more secondary criticism published in journal articles. The key is to retain "criticism" or one of the other sub-divisions as a keyword (or search term). For example, the keywords Austen AND Jane AND criticism if restricted to the Subject field reveal hundreds of peer-reviewed articles published in Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Modern Language Quarterly, Studies in the Novel, and other journals.

Most useful LCSH:Jane Austen (from U. Penn)

Additional LCSH:

Employ LCSH in WorldCat, a "union catalog" of tens of millions of book records, to retrieve additional titles held by other libraries relevant to your Austen research. Request items of interest via our library's interlibrary loan service.

What is a catalog?

A catalog is a "comprehensive list of the books, periodicals, maps, and other materials in a given collection, arranged in systematic order to facilitate retrieval (usually alphabetically by author, title, and/or subject). In most modern libraries, the [paper] card catalog has been converted to machine-readable bibliographic records and is available online. The purpose of a library catalog... is to offer the user a variety of approaches or access points to the information contained in the collection" (ODLIS).

Gitenstein Library's web scale discovery service—an extension of the online catalog—remains the best option for finding books and e-books held by our library. It now incorporates additional media (e.g., journal articles) from licensed databases and scholarly sources on the open web.

The titles listed below provide access to biographical essays on Austen—in one case a book-length biography—and annotated bibliographies of Austen scholarship.

Featured Austen biography:

More Austen biography:



A chronology is a "book... that lists events and their dates in the order of their occurrence. Most chronologies are limited to a specific period (example: Roman Empire), event (World War II), or theme (women's history)," or, as is the case here, a chronology in the life of a literary figure (ODLIS).


A dictionary is a "single-volume or multivolume reference work containing brief explanatory entries for terms and topics related to a specific subject or field of inquiry, usually arranged alphabetically. The entries in a dictionary are usually shorter than those contained in an encyclopedia on the same subject..." (ODLIS).


An encyclopedia is a "book or numbered set of books containing authoritative summary information about a variety of topics in the form of short essays, usually arranged alphabetically by headword or classified in some manner. An entry may be signed or unsigned, with or without illustration or a list of references for further reading" (ODLIS).

A companion is a "handbook intended to be used in connection with the study of a particular subject or field (examples: The Cambridge Companion to Ralph Ellison and The Oxford Companion to Philosophy). This type of reference work is often an edited collection of essays" (ODLIS).

Most recently published:

Published between 2010 and 2015:

Published before 2010:

Top Reference

Featured Article

Flynn, Kathleen A. "Charting Jane Austen's Greatness." New York Times, 16 July 2017.

This article outlines digital humanities techniques used to reveal new insights into Jane Austen.

Featured Podcast

Listen to two self-described feminists discuss the enduring appeal of Jane Austen in Why Jane Austen Still Slaps, The Waves, a Slate podcast (8/25/22).

Humanities Librarian

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David C. Murray
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