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Comparative Literature: Biographies

Biographical resource examples

Writing Lives: Literary Biography (Cambridge Contexts in Literature) [Paperback]

Midge Gillies 

Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (October 31, 2009) 



Dictionary of Literary Biography: Chicano Writers - Hardcover (June 9, 1989) by Francisco A. Lomeli and Carl R. Shirley Gale; illustrated edition edition (June 9, 1989)

General literary biographies

The following are Yale resources in General literary biography, so don't miss them:


Biography index. Bronx, N.Y. : H.W. Wilson, c1997- Print version: SML, Starr Main Reference Room, Z5301 .B5 (LC).



Additional resources in print:


Dictionnaire biographique des auteurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays [par] Laffont-Bompiani. Paris, S.E.D.E. [1957-58]. LSF- PN41 D52


European authors, 1000-1900 : a biographical dictionary of European literature / edited by Stanley J. Kunitz and Vineta Colby. New York : Wilson, 1967. LSF - Ref PN451 K86


European writers / William T.H. Jackson, editor, George Stade, editor in chief. New York: Scribner, [1983-1991]. SML, Starr Main Reference Room (Non-Circulating). PN501 E9 1983+ Oversize.


World authors, 1900-1950 / editors, Martin Seymour-Smith, Andrew Kimmens. New York : H.W. Wilson, 1996. SML, Starr Main Reference Room, PN451 W3 1996


World authors, 1950-1970; a companion volume to Twentieth century authors, edited by John Wakeman. Editorial consultant: Stanley J. Kunitz. New York, Wilson, 1975. LSF-PN451 W3


World authors, 1975-1980 / editor, Vineta Colby. New York : Wilson, 1985. SML, Starr Main Reference Room. PN451 W3 1985


World authors, 1980-1985 / editor, Vineta Colby. New York : H.W. Wilson Co., 1991. SML, Stacks, LC Classification. PN451 W3 1991.


World authors, 1985-1990 / edited by Vineta Colby. New York ; Dublin : H.W. Wilson, c1995. SML, Stacks, LC Classification. PN451 W3 1995

Yale databases for biographies

The Yale Library has several databases where you can find reference resources for literary and general biography.  Look at the following:




Databases for literary biographies


Gale Literary Databases

When you simultaneously search Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select (CLC Select) and Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB), you'll find in-depth information on the lives and writings of nearly 100,000 authors along with critical reaction to their works. This series includes integrated indexes to both the DLB and CLC print series.


Print versions:
Contemporary Authors: SML Reference, Z1224 +C654 (LC); Z1224 +C66 (LC)
Dictionary of Literary Biography: SML Reference, PN451 D534X 1984+ Oversize
Contemporary Literary Criticism: LSF- click "Place Requests" for delivery to any Yale library, PN771 C59+ Oversize


You can also consult the following resources:

Contemporary Authors

Dictionary of Literary Biography

Contemporary Literary Criticism

Literature Online with MLA

Biography Databases



Databases for general biographies


American National Biography

American National Biography offers portraits of more than 17,400 men and women -- from all eras and walks of life. The online edition is updated quarterly, with hundreds of new entries each year and revisions of previously published entries to enhance their accuracy and currency. The ANB Online also features thousands of illustrations, more than 80,000 hyperlinked cross-references and links to select web sites.


Biography in Context

Biography in Context includes nearly a million biographical entries spanning history and geography. It offers media-rich content in context that's updated daily. Includes: 600,000+ biographies covering more than 525,000 individuals; 170 Gale reference titles; 50,000 new or updated bios added annually in addition to daily updates to account for awards and events; integrated reference material, periodical information and multimedia content.


Biography Index: Past and Present (Wilson)

Biography Index: Past and Present is a new version of the Biography Index database, containing retrospective coverage from Biography Index back to when it was first published in 1946, combined with coverage right up to the present. This database offers information about people from all all time periods throughout history and right up to the present in a single, easy to use database.


Biography & Genealogy Master Index

Biography and Genealogy Master Index is a comprehensive index to biographical sketches in more than 2700 volumes and editions of current and retrospective reference books, covering both contemporary and historical figures throughout the world.


Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

The first phase of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography presents persons who died between the years 1000 and 1920 or whose last known date of activity falls within these years. Integrated into the country's largest archival repository, the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online paves the way to extensive research and provides access to the fourteen volumes already in print. The biographies are fully searchable by keyword and volumes 2, 4-8, and 11-14 are accessible by identity/profession and volumes 2, 5-8, and 11-14 are accessible by geographic region.
The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online will be continually expanded and enhanced.


World Biographical Information System (WBIS) Online is the most comprehensive biographical database available, providing short biographical information on over 6 Million people from the 8th century B.C. to the present. Included are 8.4 Million digital facsimile articles from biographical reference works. Access to digitized articles is subscription based.

Find more...

To find specialized biographies in foreign languages and literatures, consult the following LibGuides (developed by me):