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21L.000: Writing in Margins [Writing about Literature]: Home

Learning More about a Reference

For today's class, we'll be using Shelley's reference to Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (lines 446-51) in Volume 1, Ch 4 of Frankenstein:

Like one who, on a lonely road,
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And, having once turn'd round, walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread. 

If this were the reference you were given, how would you go about learning more about the poem?

Finding Shelley's Sources

When you know the name of the source in question, there are a variety of ways to track down a copy of the original. Since all will be in the public domain, it may be possible to locate copies online - however, do make sure you can verify the accuracy of the edition.

Locating Summaries

Whether you can find a summary of the reference depends very much on the source material itself - some will be easier to locate than others.

Learning More about the Author

Finding Critical Overviews

In general, the resources listed above for locating summaries will also work for finding critical overviews, although it will depend on the work. You may find that the Gale Literature Resource Center and LION (LIterature ONline) contain a mixture of the 2 - some results will just summarize what the work is about, whereas others will also summarize the critical reaction to the work. A keyword search for the title in Barton might also yield some useful results.

Finding Criticism about Shelley's Use of the Work

Manage Your References

Any of the these tools listed below can help you organize and cite your references. The Overview at the top of the list explains the strengths and weaknesses for each.

Literature, Global Studies and Languages, Philosophy, and Theater Arts Librarian

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Research Guides by Subject

The links below list research tools by subjects that may be relevant to your assignment.  For subjects not listed below, see the complete list of subject guides.