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English Language & Literature *: Overview of Collections

This guide points researchers to a few key USC Libraries resources that might be helpful to start research projects in the area of literary studies.

Collections in Doheny Memorial Library and in the Special Collections


The English and American Literature collection is located primarily in Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library. The collection in Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library supports teaching and research through the doctoral level and beyond. In addition, the Leavey Library collects literature in the area of English that supports undergraduate education, with special emphasis on the general education program and USC College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. Both Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library and Leavey Library collections include fiction, poetry, and drama, as well as literary and cultural criticism. Overall, the collection supports learning, teaching, and research in the following areas:

  • American Literature
  • Literatures of Great Britain and the countries of the Commonwealth
  • Irish Literature
  • South African Literature
  • Literary Criticism

The Special Collections (located in Doheny Memorial Library on the second floor) is a non-circulating resource that fulfills the additional role of preserving original and significant editions of works by selected authors (Thoreau, Melville, Emerson, Whitman, and many of the moderns). Virtually complete collections of the published work of poets as dissimilar as Richard Wilbur and Charles Bukowski and much small press poetry from the west coast bring the holdings down to the present. Despite the emphasis on American writers, Special Collections hold many items of interest for those pursuing English studies. Important highlights of the Special Collections include:

  • Early science fiction magazines
  • The papers of realist writer Hamlin Garland
  • Texts and theater ephemera from the Golden Age of Broadway
  • Scholarly facsimiles of the Domesday Book, the Ellesmere Chaucer, Holinshed’s Chronicles, the Gentleman’s Magazine
  • Early editions of Johnson, Locke, Darwin, Dickens, and Joyce
  • Strong holdings of Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, and D.H. Lawrence

Subject Guide

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Sophie Lesinska