E-Resource Trials for LGBT+ History Month

Archives of Sexuality and Gender: Gale Cengage.  Until 04/03/2020

This resource spans the sixteenth to twentieth centuries and is the largest digital collection of historical primary source publications relating to the history and study of sex, sexuality, and gender research and gender studies research. Documentation covering disciplines such as social, political, health, and legal issues impacting LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) communities around the world are included, as well as rare and unique books on sex and sexuality from the sciences to the humanities to support research and education.

LGBT Magazine Archive: Proquest.  Until 02/03/2020

The resource archives of 26 leading but previously hard-to-find magazines are included in LGBT Magazine Archive, including many of the longest-running, most influential publications of this type.  The complete backfile of The Advocate is made available digitally for the first time.  As one of the very few LGBT titles to pre-date the 1969 Stonewall riots, it spans the history of the gay rights movement. LGBT Magazine Archive also includes the principal UK titles, notably Gay News and its successor publication Gay Times.

LGBT Life Full Text EBSCO.  Until 28/02/2020

LGBT Life with Full Text is a specialised database for LGBT studies. It provides scholarly and popular LGBT publications in full text, plus historically important primary sources, including monographs, magazines and newspapers. It also includes a specialized LGBT thesaurus containing thousands of terms.  Content includes more than 140 full-text journals and nearly 160 full-text books and reference materials.  In addition, more than 260 abstracted and indexed journals and more than 350 abstracted and indexed books and reference works.

Please send all feedback on these trial resources to: 

Helen Worrell, Archaeology and Tylor Anthropology Librarian, helen.worrell@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

LGBT History Month 2020: Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry
May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965

For LGBT+ History Month 2020 the EFL is honouring Lorraine Hansberry. Although she died at the age of 35, she achieved a great deal in her short life: writing five plays, over 60 articles, and many poems. She was the first black woman to have her play produced on Broadway and the first black winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. As a black writer in 1950s America, the expectation was that she would write solely about the black experience, but she sought to push away those expectations and embrace a universality in her work:

“One of the most sound ideas in dramatic writing is that in order to create the universal, you must pay great attention to the specific. Universality, I think, emerges from truthful identity of what is…in other words, I think people, to the extent we accept them and believe them as who they’re supposed to be, to that extent they can become everybody”[1].

Lorraine Hansberry also refused to separate the link between society and art, she said “the writer is deceived who thinks he has some other choice. The question is not whether one will make a social statement in one’s work – but only what the statement will say”[2].

Born in Chicago, in 1930, Lorraine’s middle class upbringing did not afford itself the luxuries it may have, had she been white. She saw first-hand the deeply divided lines caused by segregation, and this was formative to her political and social development[3].

Lorraine briefly attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a majority white university in which the members of the women’s dormitory to which she was assigned (Langdon Manor) had a meeting to discuss if the “coeds would be amenable to the presence of a Black girl”[4]. In her 2018 biography of Hansberry, Imani Perry feels that the experience of being “in a predominantly white university, while in some ways isolating, also somewhat surprisingly provided a space for her to find and exercise a political voice beyond the circumscribed set of issues…to which women of her race and class were often confined”.

Lorraine left Madison and moved to New York in 1950, taking a job writing and editing the newspaper Freedom which provided articles about “global anticolonialist struggles and domestic activism against Jim Crow”[5]. It was during this time she openly declared her allegiance to Communism, and the FBI started to actively follow her[*].

In 1953 she married Robert Nemiroff, and they mostly lived together in New York, though Lorraine frequently spent large amounts of time back in Chicago with her family. Her diaries and letters of this time are filled with confusion and echoes of her depression. During the 1950s Lorraine was finding her place in the world, and beginning to challenge all conventions of marriage, children, and sexuality.[6] Although they separated in the late 1950s, Robert continued to be one of Lorraine’s most ardent supporters, and the pair worked together frequently.

Her early published writing was under the name of Emily Jones, in which she wrote often about the tension between commitment to family, the expectations placed on her due to her gender, and the insidiousness of homophobia within relationships.[7] Lorraine’s relationships with women was well known amongst her circle of friends, but on her death Robert Nemiroff donated all of Lorraine’s private documents (diaries, letters, unpublished manuscripts) to the New York Public Library, where it was under restricted access until 2013.[8] The result of this was that an important aspect of her life was unknown for many years. Since her papers have become available to researchers we have gained a greater understanding of Lorraine’s own thoughts about her sexuality, and how she saw herself.

In her diary Lorraine writes:

“As for this homosexuality thing (how long since I have thought or written of it in that way— as some kind of entity!) am committed to it. But its childhood is over. From now on— I actively look for women of accomplishment— no matter what they looked like. How free I feel today. I will create my life— not just accept it.”[9]

On 11th March 1959, Lorraine’s first play A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway. The New York Times reported a day later that Lorraine received a standing ovation at the end of the first performance, and described it as “a play about human beings who want, on the one hand, to preserve their family pride and, on the other hand, to break out of the poverty that seems to be their fate.”[10] It would play on Broadway for twenty-seven months, and win Lorraine the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.

Lorraine continued to write – producing screenplays for A Raising in the Sun that were all ultimately rejected by movie studios, as well as writing articles – and a second play was released during her lifetime, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. Her main focus from 1960 onwards was political activism, her focus being “the liberation of Black people from colonialism abroad and Jim Crow at home.”[11]

In the last years of her life, Lorraine continued to work tirelessly, determined to make a change in the world regardless of the pain her illness was inflicting on her. After her death, Robert Nemiroff adapted some of her unpublished work into the play, To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, later also reproduced as a biography of Lorraine.

The legacy of Lorraine Hansberry is clear from the plays produced, and articles written, both during her lifetime and posthumously, but only in recent years are we finding out more about the Lorraine behind the words. Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, has compiled a thorough life in Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, that is both biography and tribute to a remarkable woman.


[*] Her FBI files can be seen online at http://omeka.wustl.edu/omeka/exhibits/show/fbeyes/hansberry

[1] Wilkerson 1983: 9 / [2] Wilkerson 1983: 9 / [3] Wilkerson 2005 / [4] Perry 2018: 27-28 / [5] Perry 2018: 47 / [6] Perry 2018: 81 / [7] Perry 2018: 87 / [8] Mumford 2016: 19
[9] Mumford 2016: 19 / [10] New York Times, Thursday March 12 1959 / [11] Perry 2018: 150


Mumford, Kevin J. 2016. Not straight, not white : black gay men from the March on Washington to the AIDS crisis. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.

Mumford, Kevin. n.d. Opening the Restricted Box: Lorraine Hansberry’s Lesbian Writing. http://outhistory.org/exhibits/show/lorraine-hansberry/lesbian-writing.

Perry, Imani. 2018. Looking for Lorraine. The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry. Boston: Beacon Press.

Wilkerson, Margaret B. 2005. “Lorraine Hansberry.” In Black Women in America, edited by Darlene Clark Hine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://blog.oup.com/2006/09/women_and_liter-3/.

Wilkerson, Margaret B. 1983. “The Sighted Eyes and Feeling Heart of Lorrain Hansberry.” Black American Literature Forum 17 (1): 8-13.


This exhibition has been curated by Jen Gallagher – EFL Reader Services Librarian

EFL New Books January: Film Studies & Hollywood

This post will highlight some of the recent books the EFL has received with a focus on film studies.

New to the EFL are two books by Patrick Keating which focus on the technical elements of film and how they shape Hollywood film. Hollywood Lighting (2014) explores the role of lighting in Hollywood films from the silent period to film noir and how it performs essential functions within the films. It also considers how lighting was used when handling challenges in relation to specific films such as Girl Shy (1924) and Anna Karenina (1935).  The Dynamic Frame (2019) examines the history of camera movement and how it was used to enrich stories and shape the Hollywood style. Keating also explores technological advancements and how this created new possibilities for cinematography, as well as the changing cultural contexts which provided new inspiration for filmmakers.

Another new book focusing on Hollywood film is Stanley Cavell and the Magic of Hollywood Films by Daniel Shaw (2019). The book examines the American philosophical foundations of Hollywood film through the work of the American philosopher Cavell. Shaw considers the work of Cavell and how the philosophical influences of Emerson and Thoreau shaped his thoughts concerning film and his belief that the greatest Hollywood films depict the struggle to become who we really are. Shaw applies these theories to interpret a range of films.

Also new to the EFL is an interdisciplinary approach to African American Film, African America Cinema Through Black Lives Consciousness (2019). The authors of the chapters in this anthology of essays use critical race theory to discuss contemporary issues in relation to American film, with a focus on race, sexuality, class and gender. The book embraces a range of social experiences to provide a varied approach to African American film.


Turning to British films, British Art Cinema (2019) focuses on British films and cultural history from the 20th century onwards, arguing that Britain has a long history of experiment and artistry beyond the mainstream films. Newland and Hoyle argue that whilst there is a long standing tradition within British art cinema, it is also a fluid concept with broader concerns in relation to the changing society and cultures.


Screening the Royal Shakespeare Company (2019) explores the history of Shakespeare’s adaptions and the involvement of the RSC in these adaptions, from on the screen from television adaptions to live cinema screenings. Wyver investigates questions of adaptation and how this influences those involved in the process. Wyver is a broadcasting historian, the television producer of Hamlet and of RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon. Therefore, through drawing on his experiences he so offers a vivid account.


These books can be found on the New Books Display for a short time, and are available to borrow. Please click on the images above to go to direct to the book on SOLO.

Find more new books related to film studies and Hollywood on the EFL LibraryThing with books tagged with film studies.

The Roaring Twenties

To celebrate the New Year 2020 and the beginning of the decade, on display in the EFL are books from the Roaring Twenties paired with classic cocktails which either feature in the literary works of the authors, or have been inspired by the author and their characters in modern cocktail collections.

On display are two cocktail books written in the era. Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails (1925) and from the end of the period, The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930). The books were written as guides for barmen and staff. Within the books are a range of cocktails which would have been drank at the time, and can be found within novels from the twenties. For example, in Ernest Hemingway’s the Sun Also Rises (1926) at the beginning of chapter 6 the narrator can be found sipping a Jack Rose at the hotel bar. A recipe for the Jack Rose can be found within Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails.

Fitzgerald first novel This Side of Paradise, was published in 1920. His work captures the themes of the decade in America, such as the advances in modernity and technology, but also the depleting morality. The Great Gatsby (1925) has been considered one of the Great American Novels. On display is a graphic version of the novel by Greenberg (2009) which imagine the characters as strange creatures. Pairing with Fitzgerald’s work is the Gin Rickey, which features in chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby. The cocktails appearance is pivotal to Tom’s realisation of the affair between Daisy and Gatsby.

The Golden Age of Detective novels is considered to be from the 1920s to the end of the 30s. Writing these novels was Agatha Christie, and her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published in 1920 in America. The novel also saw the debut of Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective. To accompany the novel is the recipe for a Black Russian, fittingly the drink is considered to have been first made by a Belgian barman.

Virginia Woolf’s Room of One’s Own (1929), inspired the title for the 2016 cocktail book A Drink of One’s Own by Becherer and Marlatt. The collection has recipes for a range of literary ladies from Sappho to Toni Morrison, and of course Woolf. The collection was mainly inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald (née Sayre).

Evelyn Waugh’s first published novel, Decline and Fall (1928), satirised 1920s Britain through the misadventures of Paul Pennyfeather. The novel has been paired with Decline and Fall Down, an original recipe from the cocktail book Tequila Mockingbird (2013) by Tim Federle which matches works of literature with fitting drinks.

This exhibition has been curated by Emma Jambor – EFL Graduate Trainee 2019-20

Humanities Research Fair for Postgraduates

The Humanities Research Fair for Postgraduates is now open for booking. On Monday 27th January 2020, in the Examination Schools, you can discover the wealth and riches of research and library resources available in Oxford, as well as exploring new materials at your own pace. The fair will give postgraduates the opportunity to network, and make connections with experts and peers.

There will also be opportunities to learn about creative use of sources in Digital Humanities.

More details on the fair can be found at https://libguides.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/humanities/HumanitiesResearchFair

Online booking is now available at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/humanities-research-fair-registration-84117187773 

Flèche by Mary Jean Chan

This is a guest review by Natalie Perman

Mary Jean Chan’s 2019 poetry collection Flèche is a cross-linguistic love poem to the queer body. A “book of love poems”, as declared in ‘Prologue’, Chan’s collection is defined by sparkling, crystallised images, often pulled from memory; such as how her mother, coming to see her fencing match, “gripped the railing until her marriage ring was folded into flesh”.

The focus on the physical is titular- ‘Fléche’ alludes phonetically to ‘flesh’ as well as denoting the technical offensive fencing move from the French word for ‘arrow’. As body and mind spar, the physical and metaphysical join unexpectedly; in ‘Flèche’ amidst the poem’s episodic jousting a blur of “entangled blades” focuses into “gleaming, smiling lips”. Within the physical fight rendered in the poem, and the physical and tactile in the collection, the potency of sexual desire brims beneath the surface.

These unique love poems- love poems to queerness, sexual and platonic love, family- are above all love poems to those who inhabit conflicting identities. Chan’s debut collection is defined by this intersection of contradictions: the sharp divide between her “mother’s Cantonese rage” versus “your soothing English”, the claim that to be queer “would be ‘ci sin’” and her own “blooms of ache”. The acceptance of the non-white queer body is a constant conflict, as Chan writes “a genuine acceptance of the self/continues to elude me”. However, the search for a space to home conflicting identities forges a beautiful exploration of past and present with the “mothers of history and/mothers of our present”. In this search for union in contradiction, Chan interweaves Confucian tales in “versions from the twenty-four filial exemplars”, her mother’s trauma and memories of political turmoil in poems such as “what my mother (a poet) might say” and the status of women, such as the ‘comfort women’ honoured in her poem “Dragon Hill Spa”.

Flèche’s power lies in its deceptive simplicity- the reader is effortlessly moved across linguistic and cultural boundaries towards the collection’s climactic act of self-awareness. This reaches its zenith in the “roots” and “blood song of your bones” which signal the realisation that “I’ve been looking everywhere / for forgiveness”. Each poem is exacting, its images unforgiving; in “an ode to boundaries” each line contains no more than 5 words, in another poem Chan recalls how “Once, during a bedtime storytelling, she sobbed until I cried for help, but father was asleep”. Only a few of Flèche’s poems seem to not realise their own emotional profundity as their language slips into the recognisable jargon of the love poem with its amorous tropes, such as of heartache, as one poem ends “that ache right there”. Despite this, these poems are still striking in their careful, precise verse.

This debut collection is striking, and Chen’s poems are urgent, armed and bared at the same time, and demand to be heard. Flèche is the highlight of what Mary Jean Chan can deftly achieve: to slip in and out of different tongues, confuse and enrich language, bare the vulnerable whilst charging it to be en garde.

Natalie Perman is an undergraduate at St John’s studying English and German. She is a Foyle Young Poet of the Year 2017, commended in 2018, and winner of the Forward Student Critics’ Competition in 2017. Contact her on Twitter with any burning poetry questions, passions or inquiries.

Toni Morrison: Radical Genius

Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019), author of eleven acclaimed novels (including The Bluest Eye (1970), Song of Solomon (1977), Beloved (1987) and Jazz (1992)), and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, was among many other things an honorary fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford. She received an honorary D. Litt from this university in 2005.

In celebration of her life, the English Faculty Library is now hosting an exhibition, curated by Tessa Roynon. This exhibition pays tribute to her radical genius in two ways. First, it focuses on the materials that shaped and inspired her fiction, on the sources that she transformed into art.

Second, this exhibition illuminates the very many genres through which – in works much less well-known than her novels – Morrison expressed her revolutionary perspectives on the past, the present and the future.

Throughout her life, Morrison was both a voracious reader and an astute cultural curator. She spoke often, when describing her creative process, of encountering a crucial ‘seed’ or ‘spark’ which, with great labour and over considerable lengths of time, she nurtured and shaped, and interwove with her own and her family’s personal experiences,  until each of her novels was finished.

Book cover - Contemporary African LiteratureFor The Bluest Eye, a crucial catalyst was the ‘doll tests’ carried out by Kenneth and Mamie Clark in 1947.  Sula testifies to the influence of the African cultures and literatures that the author became familiar with while working (at Random House, in the early 1970s) as project editor on the ground-breaking anthology Contemporary African Literature.

Song of Solomon was the first of Morrison’s novels to bear clear witness to the modernist writers such as Woolf and Faulkner whom she encountered and wrestled with as a student.

Both Beloved and Paradise were inspired by newspaper clippings that the author encountered in compiling material for The Black Book.

Newspaper article that inspired Toni Morrison

And in Jazz, Morrison’s starting point was a photo by renowned Harlem Renaissance photographer James Van der Zee: a picture of a young woman ‘shot by her sweetheart at a party …’.

Besides writing the novels for which she is justifiably best known, Morrison was also a brilliant essayist, an unparalleled cultural critic and a public intellectual of extraordinary prescience and integrity. While working as an editor for Random House in the 1970s she not only ensured that the work of numerous African American novelists saw publication. 

She also edited the autobiographies of civil rights activists such as Angela Davis, Huey Newton and Muhamad Ali.






Over the course of her life, Morrison edited essay collections on the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas controversy and on the O.J. Simpson case; wrote song lyrics, a libretto for the opera

Margaret Garner, and the text for a collaborative performance piece based on Othello, entitled Desdemona. She created numerous books for children (see 5 and 6), changed the field of American literary studies with her own work of criticism, Playing in the Dark (1992), and served as Guest Curator at the Musée du Louvre in 2006-07.

If you read (or listen to!) one new thing by Morrison after seeing this exhibition, let it be the lecture she delivered, in 1993, on accepting her Nobel Prize. Its emphasis on our responsibilities as readers – told through the age-old parable of the bird that is in our hands – is not easily forgotten.

The full implications of Morrison’s intellectual legacy – her insistence that the transatlantic slave trade was the critical factor in the transition to modernity, for example, and hence that modernism derives primarily from the black experience – have yet fully to be reckoned with.


Toni Morrison: Radical Genius is an exhibition at the English Faculty Library, curated by Tessa Roynon.

The exhibition can be viewed in the library, during opening hours, from 1st October to 20th December 2019. For members of the public without a university card, please email in advance to arrange a visit: efl-enquiries@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

Read More:

Toni Morrison: American literary giant made it her life’s work to ensure that black lives (and voices) matter

In search of home: How Toni Morrison transformed American literature

Banned and Challenged Books

“The thought that leads me to contemplate with dread the erasure of other voices, of unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being overheard by the wrong people, outlawed languages flourishing underground, essayists’ questions challenging authority never being posed, unstaged plays, cancelled films – that thought is a nightmare. As though a whole universe is being described in invisible ink,“ – Toni Morrison. Burn This Book (2009)

To celebrate Banned Books Week you can now view an exhibition in the EFL of novels which have been frequently challenged and banned by governments, schools and libraries. The books on display have been banned for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to); sex, racism, explicit content, vulgar language, violence, the occult, LGBTQ+ themes and ‘troubling’ ideas.

The American Library Association (ALA) began Banned Books Week in 1982 due to increasing recorded challenges to books in public spaces. The aim of the event is to celebrate the freedom to read, and to promote silenced voices. The importance of Banned Books Week is constantly being demonstrated. Early in September 2019 a pastor at St Edward junior school in Nashville banned J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series (1997-2007) from the new library, he justified this by writing:

The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.

Harry Potter

 The novels have been frequently challenged for the depiction of the occult, magic and death. Harry Potter has topped ALA’s most banned and challenged books in America from 2000-2009, and still continues to be challenged across the world, including being burned by priests in Poland on account of the evil subject matter. Read at your own risk.

Novels which are now frequently considered classics such as Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) and Nabokov’s Lolita (1955) were deemed obscene on account of explicit content, and were banned in the United Kingdom. In addition to Joyce’s original novel being banned, Strick’s film adaptation of Ulysses was also banned in Ireland from its release in 1967 until 2000. Often deemed the Great American Novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) has frequently disturbed readers for the use of racial slurs and racial stereotypes. In 1885 Twain’s novel was banned from Concord Public Library where it was described as trash. It remains essential reading however for exploring depictions of race in the nineteenth century.

Also on display is Walker’s The Color Purple (1982), which placed seventeenth on ALA’s list of most challenged books from 1990-2009. The narrative explores the life of black American women in the south, and has frequently ‘troubled’ readers with its ideas. The novel depicts violence and uses explicit language which has often led to it being taken off school reading lists. The silencing of BAME voices and experiences remains a key issue which Banned Books Week hopes to highlight and challenge.

The ALA has also recognised that books with LGBTQ+ narratives are more frequently being challenged within public spaces. Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness (1928) and Alex Gino’s George (2015), both have been banned on account of their engagement with LGBTQ+ narratives. Hall’s novel is a landmark in lesbian fiction but at its release James Douglas editor of the Sunday Express deemed it not fit ‘to be borrowed from any library’. The novel was banned from 1928-1958 in England following an obscenity trial which saw various authors support Hall including Wells, Woolf and Eliot. It would not be until after Hall’s death that the ban would be lifted on the novel.

George explores the challenges of coming out as transgender through centring on Melissa and her gaining acceptance from friends and family. Out of the 483 recorded challenges by the ALA, it was the most banned and challenged book of 2018. It also placed on the top ten list in 2016 and 2017. Gino wrote the novel as it was what they wanted to read growing up. The novel has been criticised for ‘creating gender confusion’, as well as mentioning dirty magazines and male anatomy. In 2016 the novel won the Stonewall Book Award.

Toni Morrison described the thought of censorship as a ‘nightmare’ in her edition of Burn This Book (2009). This idea has also inspired writers, such Bradbury whose Fahrenheit 451 (1953) depicts a world were books are banned and burned.

Banned Books Poster
Banned Books Week
is an important event which encourages readers to challenge attempts to censor literature and unheard voices with the support of librarians, bookshops and schools. The event takes place annually, and this year the week will be held from the 22-28th of September. Please visit bannedbooksweek.org.uk for more information about events taking place and further lists of books which have been banned which can be inspiration for your next book to read.


This exhibition has been curated by Emma Jambor – EFL Graduate Trainee 2019-20

Further Reading:

Ladenson, E. 2007. Dirt for art’s sake: books on trial from Madame Bovary to Lolita, Ithaca; London.

Morrison, T. 2009. Burn this book: PEN writers speak out on the power of the word (1st ed.). New York, NY.

New E-resources: Eighteenth Century Drama and Shakespeare in Performance

Bodleian Libraries has recently made a significant purchase of e-resources.

The Libraries have committed substantial external funding to a one-off set of purchases of electronic research resources deemed to be important to researchers in the University.  This follows a project to identify desiderata across all subjects and to list suggestions from readers. The recent purchase was a group of resources from Adam Matthew Digital, including Eighteenth Century Drama and Shakespeare in Performance, among others.

Eighteenth-Century Drama

18th Century Drama

Eighteenth Century Drama features the John Larpent Collection from the Huntingdon Library – a unique archive of almost every play submitted for licence between 1737 and 1824. Larpent was the Lord Chamberlain’s ‘Inspector of Plays’ and responsible for executing the Lisensing Act of 1737, which required the Lord Chamberlain’s Office to approve any play before it was staged. Larpent preserved the original submissions, over 2,500 of which are presented in this resource.

Also included are the diaries of Larpent’s wife and professional collaborator Anna, recording her criticism of plays, as well as insights into theatrical culture and English society. Hundreds of further documents including playbills, theatre records and correspondence also feature, including papers and correspondence of David Garrick, Edmund Kean, Sarah Siddons, among others.

The primary source content is supported by two key reference works for theatre history: The London Stage 1660-1800 and A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800.


 Shakespeare in Performance

Shakespeare in PerformanceThis resource features the world-famous prompt book collection at the Folger Shakespeare Library, with prompt books for over 90% of Shakespeare’s plays, covering the period from the 1670s to 1970s (the majority are nineteenth century). These include editions owned by notable actors and directors such as Charles and John Philip Kemble, Henry Irving, Ellen Terry and Laurence Olivier. Performances of particular cultural importance have been selected as case studies, including David Garrick’s revised 1772 production of Hamlet, Henry Irving’s famous 1879 production of The Merchant of Venice, and Laurence Olivier’s Academy Award-winning cinema release of Hamlet in 1948.

Features of the resources include:

  • Ability to compare prompt books alongside each other;
    • Documents are indexed by play, country of performance, theatre, associated names, and other key search terms;
    • Full-text searchability.


In addition, the following resources were also purchased:

East India Company archives, modules 1-3;

Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980;

Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-81;

Women in the National Archives – an online finding aid for women’s studies resources in The National Archives, Kew, covering 1559-1995. It also gives access to early 20th century original documents on the Suffrage Question in Britain, the Empire and Colonial Territories.

You can find all of these resources via SOLO and the Databases A-Z platform, as well via the direct links above.


Shakespeare has a new home

The EFL’s reclassification project began in 2009, and since then all new books in the library have been added to the LCC sequence. We are reclassifying existing library collections and, as a result, approximately 63% of the EFL’s collections are now in the LCC sequence.

During the Easter vacation the project continued and you will now be able to find all Shakespeare books in one place rather than having to look in two locations.

Shakespeare can be found from PR2750 to PR3195 in the corner of the main library by the Computer Room.


The Shakespeare DVD Collection can still be found on the shelves underneath the new journals display by the Quick Search machines.