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ENGL 3181: Survey of American Literature, 1871-1945

This guide provides resources to support the research essay assignment for Survey of American Literature, 1871-1945.

Online Encyclopedias

Highlighted Encyclopedias for ENGL 3181

These sources were picked as especially relevant for the themes of this course by Prof. Kassanoff. More general encyclopedias and methods for searching across digital encyclopedias are listed below. 

General Reference Sources

OED Historical Thesaurus

The Oxford English Dictionary's historical thesaurus is a useful resource for finding keywords contemporaneous with your source text (which is particularly helpful for full-text searching on primary resources such as historical newspapers).

  • Go to the OED, find a known word, then click on "Thesaurus" to view the historical thesaurus. (If you do not see the link for thesaurus, you may need to view the root of the word (under etymology) or a cross-referenced alternate spelling. You can also directly search the historical thesaurus here

  • Scroll down if necessary and click on "Go to Historical Thesaurus." Words that were roughly synonymous with the original word at different times are shown, chronologically. For example, this entry for grifter (or grafter) tells you that in the mid-nineteenth century, scammers or swindlers might have also been called pigeoners, macemen, fiddlers, besters, bunco-steerers, or flim-flammers. 

Screenshot of OED historical thesaurus showing areas to click

  • Use these terms to search in full-text primary sources, such as historical newspapers. 
  • You can also find terms in your literary text to use in full-text primary source searches.