Resources for the Study of Eighteenth-Century British Literature at Salem State University


  Eighteenth-Century Primary Sources

Eighteenth-Century Collections Online 

This is an electronic database including facsimile images of pages from 138,000 English-language titles and editions published between 1701 and 1800, and it is fully searchable.  A Salem State College email user name and password are required.

The Old Bailey Online 1674-1913 

"A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court.  Included  as well are descriptions of basic criminal proceedings as well as common punishments." This is a particularly useful resource for reading Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders (1722)--see the topic "Gender in the Proceedings" in the "Historical Background" section.

 Daniel Defoe's Review 1704-1713

An online, searchable edition of Defoe's periodical publication, providing both a window into eighteenth-century British culture and a sense of the opinions of the soon-to-be influential author. 

Internet Library of Early Journals

 This site has digitized pages of a few eighteenth-century periodicals, including: Gentleman's Magazine (1731-1830); Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (1757-77); and Annual Register (1758-78). Until Salem State College purchases access to the British Library's Burney Collection  of 17th-18th century newspapers, this is the best online source for information from eighteenth-century periodicals.

 Eighteenth-Century Secondary Sources

Jack Lynch's Eighteenth-Century Resources

 An incredibly useful collection of online resources from across the Internet related to a number of different disciplines. Need to know what an income of 15 pounds a year translates to in modern currency? Need a checklist of great scholarship on eighteenth-century women writers? This is a great site to start looking.

Digital Defoe

 "Digital Defoe is envisioned as a hybrid mediator, as an extension of, or a critical supplement to, print and not as a substitution for any of the academic journals or newsletters that helpfully push our field to new levels of understanding. It is committed to making the best use of new and continually evolving digital technologies in addressing the life and works of Defoe and his contemporaries. Unlike the pricey databases accessible only to those working in universities with big budgets, Digital Defoe is a publicly accessible, subscription-free peer-reviewed journal and online forum which all those working in higher and secondary education, as well as those outside of academia, are welcome to join."

Voice of the Shuttle

Like Jack Lynch's pages, an important collection of online resources on a number of topics.

 The British Literature Wiki

This online, collaboratively constructed resource on the literature of the Restoration period and the eighteenth century in Britain is only in a fledgeling state. I would like us to contribute entries and help shape future content of the site.

 Great Student Pages on Eighteenth-Century Literature at the University of Michigan

 First begun in 1999 by Professor David Porter and his students, this website now showcases the efforts of 143 students collaborating on 51 projects, with subject matter ranging from secret societies of English gentlewomen to a literary tour of the streets of London.

 Resources for Doing Research in English

Modern Language Association Bibliography

 Not to be confused with the MLA Directory of Periodicals, this is the primary database for finding books and articles in the discipline of English. For suggestions about how to use this database effectively, see this link.

Salem State Library Catalog and NOBLEnet

 Use this to find books contained in our library and to request them. You may also find books held at other NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange) libraries, and you may request these as well. If the book you need is not held in the NOBLEnet system, you need to interlibrary loan it.


WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services. If you are looking for a book, this will tell you where it is--anywhere. Enter your zip code and it will tell you which libraries have the works you need and how close they are.


JSTOR is short for Journal Storage, and this a database of scholarly articles in .pdf format. Unlike the MLA database, anything you find here you can download to your computer. However, much of it is old. While fast, it is often better to get contemporary scholarship and criticism in hard copy. A Salem State College email user name and password are required.

Literature Criticism Online

A collection of literary criticism originally compiled in print and then scanned. When using this, be sure to choose the "series" entitled "Literature Criticism from 1400-1800." This collection is clunky to use, but can contain excellent criticism. A Salem State College email user name and password are required.

Yes, It takes most libraries a year or more to purchase new scholarship and criticism, so searching library catalogs can often prevent you from discovering the best new work available. Search for the topics, authors, and works that interest you, and then interlibrary loan them (or buy them, if you have the funds).


A free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources.  When collecting sources from the MLA database, Worldcat, or even, this software will help you organize your materials and even properly format in your works cited page.