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by David Black
Last Updated Apr 19, 2021
19 views this year
Using Reference Resources
Reference books like dictionaries and encyclopedias are great ways to get background information on your topic. Looking up your topic can get you biographical or historical information, general concepts, lists of works, and related terms depending on your topic.
The type of information you gather from reference sources is seldom the kind of critical analysis your professors are looking for in your papers. Use reference sources to become familiar with your topic so that you can search smarter when you look for books and articles. You should generally refrain from using them in your papers. Situations vary, so if you're unsure, check with your instructor.
Image Copyrightfrancoisschnell. Used under the terms of a CC BY 2.0 License.
This guide is designed to help you get started on your research. Use the tabs above to find articles, books, and librarian-approved websites. Feel free to contact me directly (see boxes to right) if you have any questions or want to set up an appointment to meet for more help.
The Feminist Encyclopedia of French Literature by Eva Martin Sartori (Editor-In-Chief)The earliest known literary productions by women living in Europe were probably written by French writers. As early as the 12th century, women troubadours in the south of France were writing poems. French women continued writing through the ages, their number increasing as education became more available to women of all classes. And yet, of the great number of works by women writers who preceded the current feminist movement, very few have survived. A few writers such as Marie de France, George Sand, and Simone de Beauvoir became part of the canon. But critics, mostly male, had judged the works of only a few women writers worthy of recognition. As part of the feminist move to reclaim women writers and to rethink literary history, scholars in French literature began to take a new look at women writers who had been popular during their lifetimes but who had not been admitted into the canon. This reference book provides extensive information about French women writers and the world in which they lived. Included are several hundred alphabetically arranged entries for authors; literary genres, such as the novel, poetry, and the short story; literary movements, such as classicism, realism, and surrealism; life-cycle events particular to women, such as menstruation and menopause; events and institutions which affected women differently than men, such as revolutions, wars, and laws on marriage, divorce, and education. The volume spans French literature from the Middle Ages to the present and covers those writers who lived and worked mainly in France. The entries are written by expert contributors and each includes bibliographical information. The entries focus on each writer's awareness of how her gender shaped her outlook and opportunities, on how categorizations, structures, and terms used to describe literary works have been defined for women, and the ways in which women writers have responded to these definitions. The volume begins with a feminist history of French literature and concludes with a selected, general bibliography and a chronology of women writers.