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English 200A - Methods & Materials of Literary Research

Primary Sources for Literature Scholars

Primary Sources are original pieces of work.  They differ in content and format depending on the particular discipline you are researching.  Secondary sources are articles, books, essays, and other works written about primary sources. 

For Literature Scholars, primary sources can be

  • The original manuscripts of a creative work, such as a novel or a collection of poetry. 
  • A published work that is both original and creative: such as a published novel or play.
  • Letters or other correspondence, diaries, journals, autobiographies or memoirs of literary authors

Examples of primary sources include:

Multiple Versions Image

  • Roughing it
    Mark Twain 1835-1910
    Published 1972
    Located at the University Library   4 NORTH   PS 1318 .A1 1972a
  • The love letters of Mark Twain
    Mark Twain
    1835-1910 Published 1949
    Located at University Library   4 NORTH   PS 1331 .A3 C6  


Use One Search to find primary texts in our Library .

For an author's search - search by author's last name first, followed by first name.

For a title search - search by title (if you don't know the exact title, do a keyword search for the words in the title you remember).


Search World Cat to find resources held in other Libraries.  Links to InterLibrary Services are embedded in World Cat records.