English - Drama Literature

This guide focuses on searching for information about playwrights, drama literature, and drama collections. Depending on your research assignment's requirements, you may wish to include a variety of resources, such as books, eBooks, periodicals, and websites to support your chosen topic. Please note: for remote access to search databases, you may be prompted for your NSU userID and password.

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Library of Congress (LC-call numbers on how materials are organized)
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NSU Libraries Homepage Overview (Introduction to the library web site and commonly used features)
Search Terms - Boolean Operators (How to refine your searches)
Searching Multiple Databases (locate scholarly information)
Evaluating Websites (YouTube video from Pollak Library, California State University - Fullerton)
Peer Review Journals (Finding scholarly or peer reviewed articles - YouTube video)
Plagiarism: How to avoid it (YouTube video from Bainbridge State College)
EBSCOhost (Finding information using EBSCOhost databases - Vendor tutorial)

Library Books:

Use the Library Discovery system to search for books that provide biographical information, criticisms, collections of dramas, playscripts, and terminology. Many items include information about theatrical performances of dramas, offer biographical and historical content, and criticisms. Use the Library Discovery, select the subject search. (Example: theater history or drama -- history and criticism or drama -- dictionaries) When searching the Library Catalog for one-act plays, choose the subject search option and enter one act plays or one act plays American or use the keyword search or publisher search options and enter dramatists play service for many items or plays in the library's collection.

Biographical information:
Print books and eBooks are available that provide a brief biographical overview of a dramatist/playwright. Full-length biographies may be found through the Library Discovery by doing a subject search on the person's last name or search in the EBSCOhost eBook Collection. An index to biographical sources is the Biography and Genealogy Master Index, which will list sources providing biographical information about writers. Use the database WorldCat (OCLC) to search for books in other libraries in addition to NSU libraries.

Many print and online sources contain biographies and criticisms. Examples of sources are listed below:
The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama (Ref. PN1861.C65)
International Dictionary of Theatre: Plays (Ref. PN2035.I49) vol 1
International Dictionary of Theatre: Playwrights (Ref. PN2035.I49) vol. 2
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama: An International Reference Work in Five Volumes (Ref. PN1625.M3)
Notable Playwrights (eBook, search by title in the EBSCOhost eBook Collection)
The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (Ref. PN1625.P38)
Aspects of the Drama: A Handbook (PN1621.B3) dramatic terms, essays
The Drama Dictionary (Ref. PN1625.H64) terminology, drama forms, movements, styles, stage and acting terms
Reader's Encyclopedia of World Drama (Ref. PN1625.G3) literary periods, playwrights, plays, genres

Example author:
Arthur Miller: A Playwright's Life and Works (PS3525.I5156 Z547) biographical
Anton Chekhov (eBook in Bloom's Major Dramatists in the EBSCOhost eBook Collection)
Eugene O'Neill: A Life in Four Acts (PS3529.N5 Z6284) biographical
Susan Glaspell: Her Life and Times (PS3513.L35 Z595) for the eBook - search by title in the EBSCOhost eBook Collection
The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (Ref. PR2892.O94) biographical
A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman (PS3515.E343 Z74) biographical

Online reference sources:
Online reference books that contain biographies are available online through several databases, such as Literature Resource Center or EBSCOhost eBook Collection or try the online version of Biography and Genealogy Master Index (Ref. CT 214.B57) for a listing/index of sources. Many of the selected databases under the "Articles and Databases" section on this guide offer biographical content.

Drama literature - history and criticism:
In addition to the print titles listed below, search in the NSU databases for articles about a playwright or drama or literary period or drama forms. For example, try searching for "drama history and criticism" like the general database Academic Search Premier. For information about a particular drama, search by the playwright's name and title of the drama. Example search: Glaspell, Susan and Trifles, using the database Literature Resource Center, the advanced search option, choose Person-By or About and enter the writer's name, and in the box for the Name of Work, enter the name of the drama/play.

Arab American Drama, Film, and Performance: A Critical Study, 1908 to the Present
(PS153.A73 N35)
British Drama Before 1660: A Critical History (PR651.G66) early modern to Elizabethan, drama - 17th Century
The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Tragedy (PR658.T7 C36) early modern to Elizabethan, drama - 17th Century
The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Contemporary Dramatists (PR653.C27)
The Comic Mode in English Literature: From the Middle Ages to Today
(PR147.C65 R67) Literary history and criticism
Drama Criticism (Ref. PN 1721.C65)
Drama Criticism Index (Ref. PN 11861.B8)
Drama for Students (Ref. PN1601.D595) vols. 1-5. online version is listed in database, Literary Resource Center
English Drama, 1485-1585 (PR641.W58) history and criticism
English Drama 1586-1642: The Age of Shakespeare (PR421.H86) history and criticism
European Drama Criticism (Ref. PN1721.P2)
Guide to American Drama Explication (PS332.O84) history and criticism
Reading Modern Drama (PN1851.R43) drama - 19th Century and 20th Century history and cricitism
Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Comedy (PR1248.M3) comedy, history and criticism
Women Playwrights in England, 1363-1750 (PR635.W62 C6) English drama 17th and 18th Century - women dramatists

Drama Collections:
Anton Chekhov's Plays (PG3456.A19 B7)
The Best One-Act Plays (PN6111.B47)
The Collected Works of John Ford (PR2521.M66)
Drama on Stage (PN6112.G64)
Female Playwrights of the Restoration: Five Comedies (PR1266.F39)
The Meridian Anthology of Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Plays by Women (PR1266.M47)
Ottemiller's Index to Plays in Collections: An Author and Title Index to Plays Appearing in Collections Published Since 1900 (Ref. PN1655.O8)
The Play Index (Ref. PN2000.P53) an index to plays in anthologies
Restoration Plays (PR1266.R47)


Search by publication title in listed databases.
American Drama and Theatre (JADT) (online access at website:
American Theatre (online access through NSU databases such as Academic Search Premier, OmniFile Full Text Mega)
The Best American Short Plays (PN6111.B47) Main Collection - John Vaughan Library
Comparative Drama (online access, select from listed databases in record such as OmniFile Full Text Mega)
Didaskalia: The Journal for Ancient Performance (online access)
The Drama Review (online access, select from listed databases in record such as OmniFile Full Text Mega)
Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism (open access journal)
Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England (online access through Academic Search Premier)
Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 (online access through Literature Resource Center)

Articles and Databases:

For remote access to search databases, you may be prompted for your NSU userID and password. From the NSU Libraries' home page underneath the Research section located on the left side of the page click on the link "Articles and Databases." This displays a listing of databases from general to those listed by subject field or discipline. Or try the Database A-Z, which lists them in alphabetical order. If uncertain about which database to use, begin by choosing a general database like Academic Search Premier or Ask a Librarian for assistance. Review some of the Library Tutorials listed at the beginning of this page for searching tips. For additional assistance after selecting a database, review the database Help screens for suggestions in using the database effectively. To locate only full-text articles, look for the full-text limiter and check the box. For articles that are not available in full-text format in our print collections or online through our databases, use the InterLibrary Loan service.

For descriptions of the EBSCO databases, see EBSCOhost. You may also select and search multiple EBSCO databases simultaneously. Some journals contain biographical content and criticism articles. For biographical information, search by writer's name (ex: O'Neill, Eugene and biography); search by writer's name and title of story for articles. If the title is phrasal, such as Before Breakfast by Eugene O'Neill, place the title inside quotation marks. In the database search box, type: O'Neill and "Before Breakfast" to locate information about this work.

When using the database Literature Resource Center, choose the option Person-By or About and enter the writer's name and limit the content type to biographies. For the information about a particular work or title, choose the option Name of Work and enter the name of the drama/play.

Example databases include the following:
Academic Search Premier (general database, articles, books, and reviews)
EBSCOhost eBook Collection (ebooks)
Humanities Full Text (journals for humanities)
Literature Resource Center (biographical, reviews, criticisms)
MLA International Bibliography (indexes journal articles, book chapters, and dissertations in literature and languages)
OmniFile Full Text Mega (general database)
Salem Press Titles (selected literature)
Understanding Shakespeare (open access - Collaboration between JSTOR and Folger Shakespeare Library)
WorldCat (OCLC) (materials available in libraries worldwide)

MLA image  APA image

MLA (8th) Citation Style; APA Citation Style:

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 6th edition print version is located on the 1st floor in the Reference section, call number BF 76.7.P83. Or search by title in Library Discovery system for additional locations of these style manuals. For assistance with writing and how to cite sources, the John Vaughan Library offers personal assistance at the Citation Station (Spring and Fall semesters). Contact the Information Desk at 918-444-3235 for dates and times. Also, contact the Writing Center for writing and citation help.


Contact the Subject Librarian for Languages and Literature:
NSU-John Vaughan Library
College of Liberal Arts
Department of Languages and Literature

Page maintained by: Sophia
Update: 7/2018