Late Shakespeare: Visions and Revisions

King Lear, Central Park. [1973]. (photograph). via NYPL Digital Collections.

Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research for the English Senior Seminar: Late Shakepeare: Visions and Revisions.


If you need assistance identifying additional resources, coming up with search terms, developing other research strategies, or locating sources, please schedule a research consultation with me, your personal librarian!

Vani Natarajan
Lefrak 106




Finding Books and Media Materials

CLIO includes the online catalog of Columbia University Libraries, Barnard Library, and Union theological Seminary (Law Library and Teachers College Library have separate catalogs). To search within the CLIO catalog, select "Catalog" from the left-hand menu. CLIO also includes records of CUL materials held offsite, which you can use CLIO to request.

Some CLIO Search Tips:

  • It can often be helpful to start with a more expansive search (i.e. fewer terms entered into the search box), and then use facets and sorting to narrow down your results.
  • Use the asterisk (*) as a wild card. writ* searches for writing, writings, written, write, writ, etc.
  • Surround words with quotes to search them together as a phrase, i.e. "first edition."
  • When using CLIO to find secondary sources:
    • If you're searching for literary criticism on a specific Shakespeare text, you may wish to search the title as a subject heading. For instance "King Lear" with subject selected from the drop down search menu.
    • If you're searching for literary criticism around a specific theme or topic, you might also retry the above search with All Fields selected in the drop-down menu and a combination of search terms, for instance: "King Lear" AND patriarch*
    • You may wish to use the Subject (Genre) facets to narrow down your results even further. Some subject headings and subheadings to look for include: Criticism and interpretation, History and criticism, Characters, and more. 
  • When using CLIO to find primary sources:
    • Include relevant terms in the search box (with "keyword" selected): i.e. correspondence, lettters, etc.
    • You may wish to use the Subject (Genre) facets to narrow down to the kind of source you are looking for, such as correspondence, essays, diaries, interviews, personal narratives.
    • If you wish, give yourself a date range using the "Publication Date" facet.


Beyond Barnard and Columbia

BorrowDirect allows you to borrow books directly from the libraries of Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, the University of Chicago, and Yale, in addition to select libraries of Harvard and MIT. Items requested through BorrowDirect typically deliver in 3 to 4 business days, with a 6-week loan period + one 6-week renewal.

Interlibrary Loan lets you borrow books, music scores, and selected audiovisual items (i.e. maps or films) that are not currently available at Columbia University Libraries. You can use ILL to request PDF scans of journal articles, as well. ILL has a larger scope of participating institutions than Borrow Direct.

New York Public Library offers a variety of ways to search and explore their collections:

  • Classic Catalog searches materials across all branches and divisions of the library.
  • Digital Collections offers access to a limited, yet extensive, selection of digitized images, text, sound, and video from the library's collections.
  • Find Archival Materials searches archival collections across the library's research divisions, in most cases offering full text access to finding aids and further directions for planning visits.


Finding Articles: Broad and Specialized Databases

To search across a broad range of databases at once, start at the CLIO Articles tab. Use search facets to limit results, or select from the databases below.

Historical Abstracts provides selective indexing of articles on world history (outside of North America) from more than 1,800 journals in over 40 languages back to 1955 as well as the full text of more than 300 journals and over 130 books.

Humanities Full Text provides abstracts and citations, as well as selected full text, of "noted scholarly sources in the humanities, as well as lesser known specialized magazines."

International Bibliography of Humanism and the Renaissance indexes academic publications from around the world, published from 1965-2015, on the Renaissance and early modern period. Tip: follow e-links to check for access to full text through Columbia. 

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance indexes citations and abstracts for sources reltaed to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (defined here as between 400-1700).

JSTOR provides full text access to articles from back issues of "core scholarly journals" in the humanities and social sciences. Coverage normally encompasses from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. New content is added on an ongoing basis. Tip: Under the advanced search feature, try searching for articles within a specific discipline or set of disciplines to focus your search.

Literature Criticism Online makes searchable articles from a selection of encyclopedias of literary criticism, among them Shakespearean Criticism and Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800

MLA International Bibliography indexes citations to "critical materials on literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore." Updated annually, the database covers work published from 1923 to the present. Tip

Project Muse offers full text of articles from peer reviewed scholarly journals, as well as a large collection of ebooks, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences. 

Proquest includes citations and full text articles in a wide range of academic and professional disciplines, with the option of searching multiple databases simultaneously or individually.

Shakespeare Collection brings together a range of full-text scholarly periodicals relevant to the study of Shakespeare, as well as reference texts, reprinted criticism, and primary source material (including historical editions and adaptations, as well as other works from Shakespeare's time).

World Shakespeare Bibliography Online provides annotated entried for over 117,000 different "books, articles, book reviews, dissertations, theatrical productions, reviews of productions, audiovisual materials, electronic media, and other scholarly and popular materials related to Shakespeare and published or produced between 1960 and 2016." Entries are both searchable and browseable by such areas as productions, and language, linguistics, and philology. Tip: click on the Find Text link to check for full text access of sources via the Columbia libraries.


Finding Primary Sources

Complete Works of William Shakespeare, operated by MIT's newspaper The Tech, offers the complete text of Shakespeare's comedies, histories, tragedies, and poetry. Tip: with digital access to full text, take advantage of the Ctrl+F function to locate specific words or phrases as they appear in texts.

Editions and Adaptations of Shakespeare contains eleven major editions from the First Folio of 1623 to the Cambridge edition of 1863–66, twenty-eight separate contemporary printings of individual plays and poems, selected apocrypha and related works. In addition it contains more than one hundred adaptations, sequels and burlesques from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the whole of Bell's Acting Edition of Shakespeare's Plays (1774).

Shakespeare in Performance: Prompt Books from the Folger Shakespeare Library offers access to scanned, full color copies of prompt books for performances of Shakespeare's plays between the 17th and 20th centuries, as well as supporting material for 17 selected plays. The collection also includes scanned versions of ephemera, photographs, music scores, correspondence, and illustrations. 


Finding and Using Reference Sources

OED Online provides an extensive historical record of the English language, with over 615,000 word forms with 139,900 pronunciations, 219,000 etymologies, and 2,436,600 quotations, along with timelines and a historical thesaurus. Use the thesaurus, in particular, to search for terms relevant to the time period you are researching.

Open Source Shakespeare includes the 1864 Globe Edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works, as well as a concordance of Shakespeare's complete works. 

The New Oxford Shakespeare offers digital access to critical, annotated editions of Shakespeare's works, with the option to read versions of the text with old spellings. It also includes an authorship companion, with essays on "questions of authorship and chronology across the Shakespearean canon. "

Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2015) contains over 3000 entries on Shakespeare's life, works, reception, influence, and historical context. Written by a team of over 100 scholars. Entries can be searched or browsed alphabetically. 

Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (Fourth Edition, 2012) features entries on history, movements, genres, rhetorical devices, critical terms, and other aspects of poetry and poetics. Includes bibliographies and cross-references, as well.

Shakespeare's Words contains glosses and quotes for over 14,00 words in Shakespeare's work.

Shakespearean Criticism provides comprehensive coverage of critical interpretations of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare. Until Volume 48, Shakespearean Criticism compiled an annual volume of the most noteworthy essays published by Shakespeare during the previous year.


Citing Your Sources

The Craft of Research (electronic book) offers advice on all aspects and stages of the research process.

OWL: Purdue University Online Writing Lab provides general and subject specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

Zotero is a free and open-source citation management program that enables users to gather, organize, format, and share bibliographic citations with ease, from a variety of sources.