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Media, Popular Culture, and Communication Rights Research Guide: Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Research strategies and resources on media, popular culture, journalism, copyright, digital society, and related topics.

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

What's Here


For a quick piece of information, nothing is easier to use than a basic encylopedia or dictionary. There are many dictionaries and encylopedias on all aspects of theater studies. Note that there is little difference between dictionaries and encyclopedias -- for example, an "historical dictionary" may be equivalent to an encyclopedia in all respects.


Searching for Dictionaries and Encyclopedias in ORBIS:






Selected Dictionaries and Encyclopedias for Theater


The ABC of theatre jargon. Francis Reid. Royston, Hertfordshire: Entertainment Technology Press, [2002?]

Arts Library, PN2035 .R45 2002 (LC)


The Cambridge guide to African and Caribbean theatre. Ed. by Martin Banham, Errol Hill, George Woodyard; advisory editor for Africa, Olu Obafemi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

SML Reference, PN2860 C35X 1993


The Cambridge guide to American theatre. Don B. Wilmeth and Tice L. Miller. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

SML Reference, PN2221 C35X 1996


The Cambridge guide to Asian theatre. Ed. James R. Brandon; advisory editor, Martin Banham. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

SML Reference, PN2969 C36 1994


A Dictionary of Shakespeare. Stanley Wells with James Shaw. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

SML Reference, PR2892 W45 1998.


Dictionary of the Theatre: terms, concepts, and analysis. Patrice Pavis. Translated from the French by Christine Shantz, preface by Marvin Carlson.

SML Reference, PN2035 P313 1998


Dictionnaire des mystères; ou, Collection générale des mystères, moralités, rites, figures et cérémonies singulières. J. Douhet. Paris: 1854.

Mudd Me71+En3 II.43

Tome 43 of the second series of the Encylopedie Theologique by Jacques-Paul Migne. Serves as a sourcebook for medieval mystery plays. Includes full texts or extracts of some plays. Table of contents in back of volume.

Dictionnaire des oeuvres de tous les temps et de tous les pays: littérature, philosophie, musique, sciences. Par Laffont-Bompiani. 3d ed. 4 vol. and index. Paris: 1958.

LSF, AE25 +D53 (LC)

Lists works by French form of title. Author index volume.

Dictionnaire des personnages litteraires et dramatiques de tous les temps et de tous les pays. Poesie, theatre, roman, musique. Par Laffont-Bompiani. Paris: 1994.

SML Reference, PN41 D53 1994

Companion volume to above. Identifies and describes characters in drama, fiction, poetry, and music. Contains cross-references to works cited in volume above.

Dictionnaire du theatre. 2nd ed. Paris: Encyclopaedia Universais : Albin Michel, c2000.

SML Reference, PN2035 D56 2000.

Dizionario letterario Bompiani delle opere e dei personnagi di tutti i tempe e dei tutte le letterature. 9 vol. Milan: Bompiani, 1947-1950.

SML Reference, PN41 D59 Appendice. 2 vol. Milan: 1964. SML PN41 D59 App

First seven volumes list and describe works of all periods and countries in literature, art and music. Lavishly illustrated. Arranged alphabetically by Italian form of the work's title, followed by original title in brackets. Index, vol. 9, lists titles in original language with Italian equivalents; also has author index. Vol. 8, dictionary of literary characters alphabetized according to Italian form of the name. Excellent finding aid for obscure works and characters in Western drama. There are French and German equivalents, listed below.

Enciclopedia dello spettacolo. 9 vol. Rome: 1954-62.

SML Reference, PN1625 +E52

Treats the world of entertainment, including theater, motion pictures, opera ballet, vaudeville, etc. Signed essays discuss performers, directors, writers, as well as genres, themes, and historical and technical subjects. Many entries conclude with bibliographies. Beautifully and profusely illustrated.

Enciclopedia dello spettacolo. Aggiornamento 1955-1965. Rome: 1966.

SML Reference, PN1625 +E52C

Updates the main set by discussing developments and personalities, 1955-1965.

Enciclopedia dello spettacolo. Indice-repertorio. Rome: 1968

SML Reference, PN1625 +E52A

Index of titles (145,000 in all) of all works (plays, films, opera, ballets, etc.) cited in the main set and the supplements, giving author, genre and year of composition. Greek titles listed separately. All other titles in one alphabet, in the original language. Russian titles are transliterated (Italian transliteration used; e.g., Uncle Vanya is Djadja Vanja). It forms a sort of universal repertory of the performing arts, indexing titles and giving performance history.

Encyclopedia of Latin American theater. Ed. Eladio CorteĢs and Mirta Barrea-Marlys. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003.

SML Reference, PQ7082.D7 E63 2003


The gay & lesbian theatrical legacy: a biographical dictionary of major figures in American stage history in the pre-Stonewall era. Ed. Billy J. Harbin, Kim Marra, and Robert A. Schanke. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, c2005.

SML Stacks, PN2286.5 .G38X 2005


Historical dictionary of African American theater. Anthony D. Hill and Douglas Q. Barnett. Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2009.

SML Reference, PN2270.A35 H53X 2009


Historical dictionary of American theater: modernism. James Fisher, Felicia Hardison Londré.

Bass Stacks, PN2266.3 .F57X 2008


Historical dictionary of Japanese traditional theatre. Samuel L. Leiter. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2006.

SML Stacks, PN2921 .L45X 2006


International dictionary of theatre. Mark Hawkins-Dady. London: St. James Press, 1992-1994.

SML Reference, Z5781 +I57X 1992 (LC)

Contains concise essays on plays and playwrights; includes good brief bibliographies. Set currently consists of two volumes: v. 1. Plays -- v. 2. Playwrights.

Key concepts in drama and performance. Kenneth Pickering. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

SML Stacks, PN1579 .P53 2005


Kindlers Literatur Lexikon. 7 vol. Zurich: 1965-1972.

SML Reference, PN41 K55

Modeled on Bompiani, above. Arranged by title of literary work (usually in language of the original). Most articles include brief history of the work, precis, and bibliography listing editions, critical works, adaptations, translations. Includes Eastern as well as Western literature.

The language of theatre. Martin Harrison. Manchester: Carcanet, 1998.

SML Reference, PN2035 H357 1998


The new Penguin dictionary of the theatre. London : Penguin, 2001.

SML Reference, PN2035 N49 2001


The Oxford Companion to the Theatre. Phyllis Hartnoll. London: Oxford University Press, 1983.

Arts Reference and SML Reference, PN2035 H37 1983


The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance. Dennis Kennedy, ed. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

SML Reference, PN2035 .O94X 2003+

This encyclopedia provides authoritative and up-to-date information about theatre and performance from ancient Greek theatre to the latest developments around the globe. It covers theatre, dance, opera, radio, film, television, and popular performance. Entries range from short definitions of terms to lengthy considerations of genres, movements and critical approaches. Entries on cities and regions place performance in its local social and political context.

The Reader's Encyclopedia of World Drama. John Gassner and Edward Quinn, eds. New York: Crowell, 1969.

Bass Reference, PN1625 G37

Treats drama as literature, not as theater, therefore excludes actors, scenery, playhouses. Gives biographical data and critical material on playwrights; precis of major plays; historical surveys of national dramas. Most entries include brief bibliography.

Twentieth-century Literary Movements Dictionary. Helene Henderson and Jay P. Pederson, ed.

SML Reference, PN597 T94X 2000.

A compendium to more than 500 literary, critical, and theatrical movements, schools, and groups from more than 80 nations, covering the novelists, poets, short-story writers, dramatists, essayists, theorists, and works, genres, techniques, and terms associated with each movement.

The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre. Don Rubin, ed. 6 vols. London; New York: Routledge, 1994-2000.

Arts & SML Reference, PN2189 W67 1994 

What's Here

What's Here


Dictionaries and encyclopedias provide general information on the history of media, the meaning of terms, significant individuals, etc.


See also resources for:


Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Selected Dictionaries and Encyclopedia

21st century communication : a reference handbook. Ed. William F. Eadie. Los Angeles: Sage, 2009.

SML Stacks, P90 .A14X 2009 (LC) Oversize

A/V A to Z: an encyclopedic dictionary of media, entertainment and other audiovisual terms. Richard W. Kroon. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2010.

SML Stacks, P87.5 .K76X 2010 (LC) Oversize

A dictionary of media and communication. Daniel Chandler, Rod Munday. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

SML Stacks, P87.5 .C43X 2011 (LC)

A dictionary of media and communication studies. James Watson and Anne Hill. 8th ed. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012.

SML Reference, P90 W38 2012

Dictionary of media studies. London: A & C Black, 2006.

SML Stacks, P87.5 D53 2006

Dictionary of multimedia. S.M.H. Collin. 3rd ed. London: Peter Collin Publishing Ltd., 2002 (Norwood, Mass.:

Encyclopaedia of mass communication. Edited by B.D. Usmani. Mumbai: Himalaya Books Pvt. Ltd., 2008.

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

Volume IV

Encyclopaedia of mass media. Ed. M.A. Khan. Mumbai: Himalaya Books Pvt. Ltd., 2010.

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

Encyclopedia of communication and information. Edited by Jorge Reina Schement. 3 vols. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2001

SML, Reference P87.5 E53 2001

Encyclopedia of communication theory. Stephen W. Littlejohn, Karen A. Foss, editors. Los Angeles: SAGE, c2009.

SML, Reference P87.5 .E496X 2009

Encyclopedia of international media and communications. Editor-in-chief, Donald H. Johnston. 4 vols. Amsterdam; Boston: Academic Press, 2003.

Print copy: SML Reference, P87.5 .E539 2003 (LC)+ Oversize

Encyclopedia of politics, the media, and popular culture. Brian Cogan and Tony Kelso. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood Press, 2009.

SML Reference, P95.82.U6 C62X 2009

Encyclopedic dictionary of semiotics, media, and communications. Marcel Danesi. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.

SML, Reference P87.5 D36X 2000

History of the mass media in the United States: an encyclopedia. Edited by Margaret A. Blanchard. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998.

SML, Reference P92 U5 +H55X 1998

The international encyclopedia of communication. Edited by Wolfgang Donsbach. Malden, MA: Wiley/Blackwell, 2008.

The media and communication dictionary: a guide for students, educators, and professionals. Sharon Kleinman. New York: Peter Lang, 2011.

SML Stacks, P87.5 .K64X 2011 (LC)

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