Kingwood College Library

Survey of British Literature I

Assignment Guide | English 2322 | Professor Joan Samuelson

Discretion, Piety, Charity, and Prudence
instruct Christian at the Palace Beautiful.
(from Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, With Over One Hundred Illustrations
Designed by Frederick Barnard and Others, Engraved by Dalziel Brothers
(Philadelphia: John C. Winston Company, 1894).

The best library assignments are ones that use a variety of resources including books, newspaper and journal articles, internet sites, and even videos or audiocassettes. We encourage you to use all of these sources for your paper. Books should provide some of the best information for literary and historic topics. You may apply for a library card and request materials online. We hope you will take full advantage of the many resources our libraries offer.

Please contact or Professor Samuelson with any questions you may have during your research.




From the title page of Doctor Faustus (1616 edition)A critical biography of Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, John Donne, Alexander Pope, Henry Fielding, or Samuel Johnson. Remember that the emphasis is on critical. Don't simply write a life, but an interpretation of that life from a literary perspective. You must read at least one other work by this author not covered in class and critique it.

Background or historical papers: A critical study of the English church and its development from the medieval period through the eighteenth century; medieval or renaissance music; medieval art or architecture; castles or cathedrals; armor; medicine or science from the medieval period through the age of enlightenment; the crusades; plagues; executions and other interesting disasters; the Arthurian materials; the rise of the sonnet, satire, periodical essay, or English novel; William Wallace (Braveheart); The Plantagenets; The Black Prince; Henry VIII, Elizabeth I; Mary Queen of Scotts; Oliver Cromwell; any interesting idea you may have as long as you clear it with me. Remember these topics must focus on ENGLAND and must also be relevant to the study of literature. Also remember that any borrowed historical, biographical, or other background material, both quotation and paraphrase, must be documented.  See me for assistance if you need it.

You may also write critical analysis of one of the following works: Dr. Faustus, Volpone, Pilgrim's Progress, Clarissa Harlowe, Tristram Shandy, Joseph Andrews.

Librarian talk . . . About Getting Started!

As you begin, narrow your topic to a size that you can manage.  Consider keywords that will help you find the information you need. These can be names of people, literary works, events, or broader identifying terms.  Use these keywords for locating information in the library catalog, electronic databases, and on the internet.

Sample Keywords:
Medieval Art; Crusades; Black Death - England; Medieval history - Great Britain; Medieval Architecture; Renaissance - England; Alexander Pope; Samuel Johnson; Renaissance Literature; Music - 16th Century; Mary, Queen of Scots; Pilgrim's Progress - criticism; Church of England - History.



Librarian Talk . . . About Books!

  • Apply online for a library card.   Use your card to 1) Place a Hold on a book and have it sent to the library closest to you  2) Access journal and reference databases from home, and 3) Access Online Book Database (NetLibrary).
  • The catalog is online at
  • Online books (database paid for by our libraries) are available at  Use your library card to log in.  "Check out" online books for 24 hours.

Books will be among your greatest resource for this project.  Here are a few suggested reference books.



Librarian Talk . . .About Finding Journal and Newspaper Articles!   Electronic databases are purchased by the libraries for your research use. To find articles in newspapers and journals, letters, reference books, illustrations, photographs and more, use your updated library card to login to the following databases. If you find an interesting article that is not full-text, please give the correct bibliographic information to our and they will see that you get the article. They will need full bibliographic information - and your name and address. Send your phone number as well, so they can contact you if they need to. There is some overlap of articles in the following databases. However, we encourage you to use more than one. All are excellent sources for this topic.  HINT:For a full list of article databases, go to and use your library card for login.

Literature Resource Center | Includes most of the information in Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 and Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism.  It also has links to scholarly journal articles and appropriate Internet sites.

History Resource Center: Modern World | Contains journal articles, primary sources & reference books.

Biographies Plus | 45,000 biographies of people from antiquity to the present.

Academic Search Premier | Collection of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles. Many scholarly.

Proquest | Collection of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles. Many scholarly.



Librarian Talk . . . About the Internet!

The Internet will be a wonderful source of original documents. Browse the sites we have suggested below. Remember, you do want to find reputable sites. Look at: 

  1. Accuracy - The information should be researched and show proof that it has been.
  2. Source - Who wrote the information? Look at the domain.  .edu .gov. org .net are valid research sources.
  3. Authority - What are the author's credentials?  (Don't quote from another college freshman's paper.)
  4. Coverage - Does the page have the information you need for your research?
  5. Objectivity - If a work is bias, use it - just make sure your professor knows YOU know. And offer both sides of issues, where applicable.

UNACCEPTABLE SOURCE EXAMPLE: -  This appears to be part of a book, the information is probably excellent. But there is nothing we can see that tells you title, author, dates, publisher or any of the other needed information.  As it stands, it can not be used in an academic research paper.

The execution of Mary, Queen of Scotts, February 8, 1587

Suggested Web Sites

Medieval History  |  history, literature, links to primary sources from Georgetown University (not updated since 1999, but still some good resources)
Internet Medieval Sourcebook: England  |  scholarly, peer-reviewed articles -- from Fordham University
Renaissance - - Elizabethan England, 1558-1603  |  links to religion, history, literature, music
Tudor England1486-1603  |  wonderful, historically accurate site; includes many primary sources
Tudor  |  biographical information, calendars, glossaries, maps, daily life, architecture, and primary sources
Cambridge History of English & American Literature  |  searchable, 18-volumes.  Good background for most topics
Academic Info : English Literature  |  links to literature of old English, Medieval, Renaissance, and other periods


Citing Sources Using the Library MLA Style Guide  | Kingwood College library guide. Examples of both paper and electronic citations.

Misuse of Sources  | Harvard University excellent brief essay on how to avoid plagiarism. Excellent list of 'how to' and 'how to avoid'.

Online Tutoring  | Kingwood College faculty offer free tutoring via email.  They will email or call with answers to your questions.

Academic Support Center  |  Check our ASC hours for in-house tutoring.

Attach your paper to and email to , Assistant Dean. Dr. Terry or one of the writing tutors will read through your paper and make brief comments on your paper and return it to you.

REMEMBER, the expert on this paper is Dr. Samuelson.

Talk to a librarian live during library hours. Leave an email during off
hours and the library will email you back, ASAP.

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August 1, 2002 updated August 21, 2002