This guide will help you research William Shakespeare and his work.

Shakespeare Literature Criticism

Step 1: Start with literary criticism overviews. Use Gale Literary Sources.

  • Type in the book title at Name of Work.

Select topic and work overviews to find general literary criticism of Shakespeare's works to help you get started.

Topic & Work Overviews in Gale Lit Sources


History Databases

Search the Library Database World History in Context for Reference articles on Shakespearean England.

Step 1: Select Browse Topics at the top and then, Shakespeare's England.

Get Started with Reference


Use Holman Library Reference resources to find background information on Shakespeare's works and times. 

Background information provides you with key historical, biographical and literary contexts and concepts on a subject.

Library reference sources are more reliable than Wikipedia, the free Web alternative. 

Fig 2. Artist Unknown. "The Flower portrait of William Shakespeare." Dated 1609. c. 1820-40. Recently proven to have been painted in the 19th century. This painting is over 100 years old and is in the public domain. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 3 May 2014.

BOOK: Shakespeare for Students

Shakespeare for Students is a reference book for Shakespeare studies. You can start here for ideas and background information on Shakespeare's plays and poetry. Each entry includes:

  • an introduction which provides basic background information about the play or poem
  • a plot synopsis
  • a character list
  • a discussion of the work's principal themes
  • information about the style and literary devices used within the play or poem
  • a conversation about the work's historical context and
  • a critical overview and analysis