Shakespeare Research Project
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Some helpful books on this topic are available on reserve in the Uni High Library. You can also find materials by and about Shakespeare in the 822.33 area of our reference collection and our stacks. To use the online catalog to find book-length criticism, do a Subject Heading search on Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, followed by the name of the play. For example: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 Hamlet

Two helpful books are available electronically. Click on the following links to access them (if you link from home, you will be prompted to supply your NetID and password):
Shakespeare's Histories (edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom)
Shakespeare's Romances (edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom)

The Uni High Library has a number of books on life in Shakespeare's time in the 940.2 and 942.05 - 942.055 call number areas. We also have the following reference books, which provide useful background information on Elizabethan England and the European Renaissance:

Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life: 17th and 18th Centuries
R Q.390 G856 v.4
All Things Shakespearean
R 822.33 Go182
European Renaissance and Reformation
R Q.940.21Eu742
The Panorama of the Renaissance
R Q.940.21P194
Handbook to Life in Renaissance Europe
R 940.21 Si37h
Historical Dictionary of the Elizabethan World
R 942.05503 W125h

To find books in all campus libraries, search the UIUC Online Catalog. Be sure to use the Library of Congress subject headings for your topic. The list of subject headings below is a great place to start and will direct you to information on everyday life in Elizabethan England, as well as information about the plagues, medicine, economy, literature and culture, social relations, crime, geography, architecture, politics, religion, drama, education, and prominent figures of the time.

Copy and paste these headings into the search field and choose Subject.

London (England)--Social life and customs--16th century
London (England)--History--16th century
Great Britain--History--Elizabeth, 1558-1603--Sources
England--Social conditions--16th century
Elizabeth I, Queen of England, 1533-1603
English drama--Early modern and Elizabethan, 1500-1600
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616--Contemporaries
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616--Knowledge and learning
Elizabethan architecture--England

If you are searching for information on a very specific topic, try preceding your topic term with the word Elizabethan in an Any Word Anywhere search, e.g., Elizabethan music, Elizabethan education, etc. Other terms to remember: Tudor Society and Renaissance. When you find a useful book, click on other subject headings listed in the book record to find similar books.


ipl2 is the result of a merger of the Internet Public Library (IPL) and the Librarians' Internet Index (LII). This site links to librarian-recommended websites. There are several on life in Elizabethan England.

The Life and Times of Queen Elizabeth I, 1533-1603
This detailed site contains information about the major events of Queen Elizabeth's reign, and the status of women, the church, and the structure of the government.

Shakespeare Life and Times
This annotated guide to scholarly Shakespeare resources on the Internet will lead you to sites on Elizabethan England.

In Search of Shakespeare
Search this PBS site for background information on Shakespeare's time. Click on the For Educators link to learn about what has been done with Shakespeare on film. Use the interactive map in the Locations section to explore places in England that Shakespeare knew.

Journal articles

If you search these databases from home, you will be prompted to supply your NetID and password.

Shakespeare Quarterly
To access articles in this journal from 1950-2001, use JSTOR.
To access articles in this journal from 2001-present, use Project Muse.

The MLA (Modern Language Association) Bibliography indexes literary criticism from 1963 to the present. Note that it is not a full-text resource. Once you find a promising citation, click on the link that will take you to a search in the online catalog or to full text that might be available through another database. You can also try a search for the journal title from the Online Journals & Databases page of the University Library.

JSTOR searches full-text for backfile articles and reviews in over 130 multi-disciplinary journals. See Project Muse (see below) for more recent articles.

Project Muse searches full-text in over 150 journals supplied by 10 university presses. Click on the search button to start your search. Muse works well for more recent periodical issues, while JSTOR (see above) reproduces older volumes.

World Shakespeare Bibliography Online provides annotated entries for research and criticism on Shakespeare produced between 1971 and early 2002. Note that it is not a full-text resource. Once you find a promising citation, you'll have to do a search in the online catalogfor book and journal titles. You can also try a search for the journal title from the Online Journals & Databases page of the University Library.

Early Modern Culture: An Online Seminar
Unfortunately, this online journal is not searchable, but you can browse though the different issues and find articles that are relevant to this project.

Finally, consider the general periodical databases that are linked to from the Library's home page. Your best bets are Ebsco's Academic Search Premier, Infotrac's Academic OneFile and Infotrac's Expanded Academic ASAP.

Reference sources

If you search these resources from home, you will be prompted to supply your NetID and password.

Magill OnLiterature is a definitive online source for editorially reviewed critical analyses. It also includes brief plot summaries of the most studied works in the history of literature.

Literature Criticism Online is a digitized collection of ten Gale series solely comprised of literary criticism. These series include the following topics: contemporary literature, 20th century lit., 19th century lit., Shakespeare, literature from 1400-1800, classical and medieval lit., poetry, short stories, drama, and children's literature. Entries are viewed in a reader embedded in the browser (akin to reading the print version) or can be downloaded as PDF files.

Literature Resource Center identifies biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of authors from every age and literary discipline. Coverage of more than 120,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, and other writers, with in-depth coverage of 2,500 of the most-studied authors. This database only allows 4 simultaneous users.

Gale Virtual Reference Library is a database of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.

The English Library on the third floor of the Main Library has a great variety of reference sources that can help you complete this project. Check their website of online reference sources for additional possibilities.


Create your annotated bibliography using the Advanced MLA format on NoodleBib. Or, do it yourself, consulting our MLA style guide.