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This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries LibGuides

ENGL 4620: Milton

This guide provides easy access to some of the resources you're most likely to need for your research essay in Dr. Solomon's course on Milton.

Conducting Research for Your Literature Papers

When conducting research for literature papers, your goal is to see what people have already said about the specific work or author you’re focusing on. The purpose is not so much for you to find an expert who agrees with your interpretation or thesis, but rather to develop your awareness of the scholarly conversation(s) that you’re going to be entering into with your own analysis.  It’s a bit like showing up a party and listening to folks around you to see what they’re talking about before you jump into the conversation. Your research should help provide context for your reading or analysis of a work and should help your reader clearly follow you from point A to point B to point C as you support your thesis.

You may need to find research that does some or all of the following:

  • Addresses a specific theme or question you’re looking at in the specific work you’re focusing on
    • If there are any articles already written about how Milton depicts education in Paradise Lost, for instance, you'll want to find those.  Your reading may be similar to other scholars' interpretations, or you may have a different view.  In either case, you want to show that you know these other conversations exist.
  • Addresses a specific theme or question you’re looking at, but in other works by your author
    • Maybe you can't find anything about how Milton portrays crime in Paradise Lost, but if there's criticism out there about how he depicts crime in Samson Agonistes, you'll want to read that.  You may find that Milton uses similar moves in both works. Or you might want to highlight how he shows crime in a different light in the two different works.
  • Provides criticism of the specific work you’re looking at
    • If you find research that isn't about the specific theme you're focusing on, but is about the specific work you're looking at, you can use that to situate your argument.
  • Provides criticism of the specific author you’re focusing on
    • Similar to above, if you find research that is about your author, but not the specific work or theme you want to write about, you may be able to use that information to situate your argument.
  • Provides background context
    • For instance, do you already know everything you need to know about crime or education in 17th Century England? If not, you may want to look for articles or books on these topics.  Historical Abstracts will be a good database for finding articles on history topics; the Libraries' catalog will be useful for finding books on broad topics such as these.
    • Are you looking at personal details of Milton's life? You might want to search the Libraries' catalog for a biography of Milton.

Recommended Databases for Finding Articles and Book Chapters

Search the Catalog

Use the Libraries' catalog to see what books we have on your topic.

Classic Catalog

Keyword Search

Search Discovery

Search the Libraries' catalog and many of our databases simultaneously with Discovery.

     Advanced Search

If we don't have an article or book you need...