Bristol Community College

Bristol Community College

ENG102:  Writing About Literature

Eng 102 : Writing about Literature
Professor Jeanne Grandchamp
Email Address,
Campus Extension : 2350


This Course Guide is designed to assist you with research for the first short essay assignment in Jeanne Grandchamp’s Eng. 102, Writing about Literature course.  If you need assistance using any of the sources or need help finding additional information please contact a reference librarian either by stopping by the LRC, calling 508.678.2811, ext. 2108, or using our Online Reference form.

   Research Project

To read the full description of the project:

An Overview of AND Directions for Researching for the FIRST SHORT ESSAY ASSIGNMENT.

Step II - Rough Draft.

Step II Full Draft Essay.

Step III.

Select an author and his/her work from your text as directed by Professor Grandchamp.

Online Databases

The following databases may provide relevant critical and biographical articles about authors you are studying. These articles appear in a variety of magazines, journals, and even books that have been made available online.  

Databases are accessible from off campus to patrons who have a valid accessBCC card unless otherwise specified. Type the bar code numbers (your library ID) on the back of the card when prompted.

Literature Resource Center

provides biographical and critical material from thousands of major reference books and scholarly journals.

Let’s say that you are interested in Tim O’Brien and his story, “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong.”

Do a simple keyword search by clicking in the search box and type: o’brien and song tra bong

You will see results in the “Literature Criticism” tab,

Scribner Writers Series

This is the online version of a scholarly set of reference books. It provides 15-20 page signed essays by critics, and includes authors (living and dead) from the U.S. and other countries.

This source includes both biographical information and critical opinions. 

Let's say you chose Ernest Hemingway as your author. From the main menu, click on “Writers A-Z.”
Then, at the top of the page, click on the letter H. The results will show his name. Click on it for an extensive discussion of his life and works.

Dictionary of Literary Biography
This is the online version of a scholarly set of reference books, providing essays that cover both biographical and critical material. It includes writers from the U.S. and other countries, spanning a wide time period.

Let’s say you chose Kate Chopin
On the search form, click in the “Author Name” box and type: 

Chopin, Kate If you want to limit your search to results that include her story “The Storm” then return to the search screen, click in the “Title of Work” box, and type in the title of the story.

Academic OneFile

This comprehensive database covers many topics, including literature, and presents articles from both magazines and scholarly journals. You will find some critical articles here.

Let’s say you chose Flannery O’Connor and her story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Type in the entry box: O’Connor and good man

Next, click in the first little box to limit results to “documents with full text.” Click on the “search” button. The first results you see are from the Academic Journals tab. Most but not all are critical essays, and you may find one or more that are useful.

Academic Search Premier
This comprehensive database covers many topics, including literature, and presents articles from both magazines and scholarly journals. You will find some critical articles here.

Let’s say you chose Samuel Beckett and his play, “Krapp’s Last Tape.”
In the “Search” box, type: beckett and krapp’s last tape
Next, click in two little boxes below to “Limit your results” to “Full Text” and to “Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.”
Click on the “update” button. You will get a variety of results from which to choose.

Biography In Context

This database provides information from reference books (including Contemporary Authors) and periodicals about people from many walks of life. You can search here for contemporary authors, as well as major figures from the past. Not only will you find biographical material, but some of the sources provide critical commentary as well.

Let’s say you chose August Wilson. Simply type his name in the entry box and click on the “search” button.

The results that come up will indicate a variety of formats, e.g. Reference, Academic Journals, etc. Some articles include critical commentary about his work.

This database provides reference books on many subjects. To find biographical information from literature books, click on the “find a book” link near the top of the page. 

Next, click on the link to “Literature” books, on the left side of screen. 

Let’s say you are looking up Jamaica Kincaid. Simply type her name in the box, and click on the “search” button. Several results will come up.

Gale Virtual Reference Library
This database provides access to several useful literary reference works.

Let’s say you chose John Updike. Simply type his name in the “find” box, click on the “search” button, and several results will come up.



This database provides full-text copies of printed books online. The collection includes thousands of books on many subjects, including literary ones. Not all the writers you are studying will be covered here, but it is worth taking a look.

Let’s say you chose William Faulkner. Simply type his name in the search box and click on the “search ebrary” button.

The result list that comes up features several books about Faulkner that might be useful for this assignment, discussing both the author and his works.

   Circulating Books

The library has a large collection of books that you can borrow, including biographical and critical works about some of the writers on your syllabus. To find out what is available, check the Online Catalog.

Let’s say you chose Edward Gorey.

In the “search” box, type his name and click on the “keyword or phrase” button.

You can also expand your search to other libraries in the SAILS network. On the main search screen, go to the drop down menu on the right, and scroll up to the top and click on “ALL.” Then click on “Subjects” again.

If you see a book you want, you can order it to be sent here. For help, check How to Place a Hold in the Online Catalog.