For background information, look in:
- Scribner Writers - For essays on authors and literary genres; can be searched for a particular word or phrase or by category, including gender, genre, language, time period, nationality, and ethnicity.
- Credo Reference - For general historical, geographical, etc., information
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - For biographical essays on prominent Britons in every field, who have completed their lives.
- Oxford English Dictionary - For early uses of words and their various senses
- Encyclopedia of Literature and Criticism - a searchable ebook for reference
- Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism - presents a comprehensive historical survey of the field's most important figures, schools, and movements, with entries on critics and theorists, critical schools and movements, and the critical and theoretical innovations of specific countries and historical periods
- New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
- Oxford English Dictionary
Think about what sorts of publications the information you need might be published in.
- Biographical? Try Scribner Writers or book-biographies.
- Primary documents? Look for correspondence and diaries.
- Contemporary reactions? Search British Periodicals or ECCO.
- Literary analyses of an author? Search in MLA.