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English Literatures

What are primary sources?

Primary Sources

Primary sources can be:
- direct records of events
- works of art of fiction
Examples of primary sources in literary studies include:
- novels, plays, poems, and other literary works
- the manuscripts and notes, first editions, contemporary editions, or specific editions of a literary work you are researching
- newspapers, journals and diaries, correspondence, ephemera, art, and other material that is contemporary to a literary work you are researching

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are works that analyze, interpret, and contextualize primary works. They were usually written or created after the primary material they are analyzing.

Oxford English Dictionary

To discover the historical usage and etymology of English words, look them up in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Because meanings shift over time, it is often important to understand how a specific word was used when the primary work you are studying was created.

Don't forget to include proper citations when referring to the OED. (Click here and scroll down for citing dictionary entries in MLA style.)

Primary literary texts

The databases listed in this column either include a significant number of primary texts, or are dedicated to primary texts.  You can also find primary materials through the University of Regina Archives and Special Collections. For a guide to finding periodicals (newspapers, magazines, journals) from history, please see the Historical and Contemporary Periodicals page.

Click to jump to:
General Literary Primary Material
By Period/Century
Other Primary Literature Sources (including ethnic groups, LGTBQ+, gov't sources, and more)

General Literary Primary Material

By Period/Century



Other Primary Literature Resources


These resources (print and microform) catalogue many English literary manuscripts, with information on their contents, provenance, and location. (Not directly available during campus closures. Some material may still be accessible; click here for more information.)

Primary Materials Outside the UofR Library

Primary materials can be found in library collections, archives, museums, and private collections around the world. Some institutions make materials available digitally. See the list below for some examples. Contact your research supervisor or your subject librarian for help finding more primary resources outside our collection.