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African American Studies: Literature

Primary and selected secondary sources for research in African American Studies at Princeton University.

Articles and literary works

African American Poetry Database  (1750-1900)  

Contains nearly 3,000 poems by African-American poets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

African-American Poetry, Twentieth Century    

Full-text access to about 10,000 poems from around 70 20th century African American poets.

Black Drama Second Edition  (1850+)  

Full text of plays written by dramatists from Africa, the Caribbean, and North America, and detailed information about productions, theaters, production companies, and other ephemera related to the plays.

Black Short Fiction    

Full text of 760 stories and folktales by African, African American, and Caribbean authors.

Black Thought and Culture    

Full-text collection of published non-fiction works is included, as well as interviews, journal articles, letters, and other materials of leading African-Americans. Biographical essays by leading scholars and an annotated bibliography of the sources in the database are also featured.

Black Women Writers  

Note: You must install Flash version 8 or higher to use.

Works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry by women from North America, Africa and the Caribbean.

Contemporary Authors (Literature Resource Center)    

Provides full text of biographies, bibliographies, literary criticism, and other resources on authors of all categories and eras.

Contemporary Literary Criticism (Literature Resource Center)    

Provides full text of biographies, bibliographies, literary criticism, and other resources on authors of all categories and eras.

Dictionary of Literary Biography (Literature Resource Center)  

Provides full text of biographies, bibliographies, literary criticism, and other resources on authors of all categories and eras.

Essay and General Literature Index  (1900+)  

Access to essays and articles published in collections, with emphasis on works in the humanities and social sciences.

LION: Literature Online    

Full text of more than 350,000 works of English and American literature and poetry, fiction, drama, from the seventeenth century to the present, as well as works of literary theory from Plato to the present.

Literature Criticism Online    

Covers authors and their works across regions, eras, and genres. Includes biographical and critical overviews, and many interviews of authors. Contains the full text of volumes in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Literature Criticism 1400-1800, Shakespeare Criticism, Classical & Medieval Literature Criticism, and Drama Criticism.

Literature Compass  (2004+)  

Peer reviewed survey articles in literature.

Literature Resource Center    

Provides full text of biographies, bibliographies, literary criticism, and other resources on authors of all categories and eras.

Literary Reference Center  (Antiquity+)

Broad spectrum of reference information. Full-text database that combines information from over 1,000 books and monographs, major literary encyclopedias and reference works, hundreds of literary journals, and unique sources not available anywhere else. Contains detailed information on the most studied authors and their works.

MLA International Bibliography  (1926+)

Provides citations to articles, books, book chapters, and dissertations on all aspects of modern literature, language, and linguistics.

Black Literature, 1827-1940

Black Literature, 1827-1940.  Microfiche 1648.  Location: Microforms Services on A-floor in Firestone Library.  Location has: Units 1-15 (2800-2997)

Contains fiction, poetry, book reviews, and literary notices originally published in 900 black periodicals and newspapers.

Encyclopedias and dictionaries

African American Authors, 1745-1945: Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook.  Edited by Emmanuel S. Nelson.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000.  Also in print (F) PS153.N5 A32 2000

African American Writers.  Valerie Smith, editor-in-chief.  2nd ed.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, c2001.  (F) PS153.N5 A344 2001

The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature.  Edited by, William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.  Also available in print: (F) PS153.N5 C59 2001

Contemporary African American Novelists: A Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook.  Edited by Emmanuel S. Nelson.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999.  Also available in print: (F) PS374.N4 C658 1999

Encyclopedia of African-American Literature.  Edited by Wilfred Samuels.  New York, NY: Facts On File, c2007.  (DR) PS153.N5 E48 2007

Encyclopedia of African American Women Writers.  Edited by Yolanda Williams Page.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2007.  (F) PS153.N5 E49 2007

Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Literature.  Edited by Tarshia L. Stanley.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2009.  (F) PS153.N5 E53 2009

Encyclopedia of the Harlem literary renaissance, by Lois Brown.  New York NY: Facts On File, Inc., c2006.  (F) PS153.N5 B675 2006

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature.  Edited by Hans Ostrom and J. David Macey, Jr.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2005.  (F) PS153.N5 G73 2005

Masterpieces of African-American Literature.  Edited by Frank N. Magill.  1st ed.  New York, NY: HarperCollins, c1992.  (F) PS153.N5 M264 1992

Selected works on the Harlem Renaissance

Black American Poets and Dramatists of the Harlem Renaissance.  Edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom.  New York: Chelsea House Publishers, c1995.  (F) PS153.N5 B5335 1995

The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance.  Edited by George Hutchinson.  New York:Cambridge University Press, 2007.  (F) PS153.N5 C345 2007

The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature.  Editors, William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, Trudier Harris.  Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.  (F) PS153.N5 C59 2001 

Encyclopedia of African-American Literature.  New York, NY: Facts On File, c2007.  (DR) PS153.N5 E48 2007

The Harlem Renaissance: A Gale Critical Companion.  Foreword by Trudier Harris-Lopez; Janet Witalec, project editor.  Detroit: Gale, c2003.  3 vols. (F) PS153.N5 H245 2003

The Harlem Renaissance: An Annotated Bibliography and Commentary, by Margaret Perry.  New York: Garland Pub., 1982.  (DR) Z5956.A47 P47

The Harlem Renaissance: An Annotated Reference Guide for Student Research, by Marie E. Rodgers. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1998.  (F) Z5956.A47 R64 1998

Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present.  Edited by Angelyn Mitchell.  Durham [N.C.]: Duke University Press, 1994. (F) PS153.N5 W58 1994

Primary sources

The Papers of Amiri Baraka, Poet Laureate of the Black Power Movement

This collection of Amiri Baraka materials was made available by Dr. Komozi Woodard. Dr. Woodard collected these documents during his career as an activist in Newark, New Jersey.The collection consists of rare works of poetry, organizational records, print publications, over one hundred articles, poems, plays, and speeches by Baraka, a small amount of personal correspondence, and oral histories. The collection has been arranged into eighteen series. These series are: (1) Black Arts Movement; (2) Black Nationalism; (3) Correspondence; (4) Newark (New Jersey); (5) Congress of African People; (6) National Black Conferences and National Black Assembly; (7) Black Women’s United Front; (8) Student Organization for Black Unity; (9) African Liberation Support Committee; (10) Revolutionary Communist League; (11) African Socialism; (12) Black Marxists; (13) National Black United Front; (14) Miscellaneous Materials, 1978-1988; (15) Serial Publications; (16) Oral Histories; (17) Woodard’s Office Files.

 Zora Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress

"This collection present ten plays written by Hurston (1891-1960), author, anthropologist, and folklorist. Deposited as unpublished typescripts in the United States Copyright Office between 1925 and 1944, most of the plays remained unpublished and unproduced until a manuscript curator rediscovered them in the Copyright Deposit Drama Collection in 1997. The plays reflect Hurston's life experience, travels, and research, especially her knowledge of folklore in the African-American South. Totaling 1,068 images, most of the scripts are housed in the Library's Manuscript Division with one each in the Music and in the Rare Book and Special Collections Divisions. There are four sketches and six full length plays in this group. Previously known mainly for her fiction and autobiography, Hurston here reveals her high ambitions as a dramatist."

Librarian for History and African American Studies