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English: which resources do I use?: Medieval

Unsure which resources to use for your English module or piece of research? This guide will point you in the right direction.

Bibliographies and reference

A bibliography is an organised list or digital database containing a collection of references to published literature, including books, journal and newspaper articles, conference proceedings, reports, etc.


You may find some of these books useful. See your reading list for the required and recommended reading for your module.

Anglo-Saxon manuscripts

Manuscripts and manuscript fragments from the Anglo-Saxon period. 

Includes the Exeter Manuscripts, Saints' Lives and Homilies, Manuscripts in France, and more.

Click here for the list of volumes available.


To find material from the Medieval literary period (up to c1500), try searching the resources below:

For help using these resources, see the guides on this page.

Archives and Special Collections: Medieval and Early Modern

Visit the Archives and Special Collections libguide to find out more about the Medieval and Early Modern materials at the University, including Syon Abbey manuscripts, rare books and historical maps.

Visit the webpage for University of Exeter's Centre for Medieval Studies to see details of current and past research projects.

EEBO - Early English Books Online

EEBO is an excellent resource for primary research.

It contains full-texts of early printed books from the 16th and 17th centuries.

You can view the material as originally published, in order to appreciate the text in its original form and also examine similarities and differences between variant versions of the texts.

Comprehensive online help is available to help you make the most of the service.


Please note: In order to search the full document text of items in EEBO, you will need to change the drop down box next to the search box from 'Anywhere except full text' to 'Anywhere'

Starting from the EEBO Home Screen select the Advanced Search option and complete the search form.

Please note: In order to search the full document text of items in EEBO, you will need to change the drop down box next to the search box from 'Anywhere except full text' to 'Anywhere'

You can use the Look up Authors option to help you complete the search form.


The illustration below shows you how to Look for and select Shakespeare from the list

Once you have selected the author click Add to search to continue.

You can also enter your own search terms into a box without using the Look up feature.

In this example, add to your search by manually entering  richard third into the Document Title box

Click on Search once you have added all your search concepts.

You do not just have to search by author and/or title.

You could search by themes such as cunning, disguise, despair, intrigue etc. and discover how these themes appear in the literature across the database. You can add these to the keywords search box.

Please note: In order to search the full document text of items in EEBO, you will need to change the drop down box next to the search box from 'Anywhere except full text' to 'Anywhere'

Once you have run your search you will see a list of matching search results.

If you retrieve too many results you can go back and Refine your search

You can also choose the most relevant results, by using the checkboxes and adding them to your Marked List.

You have a two different view display options either Full Text PDF or Image full text.

Not all formats are available for each item - they will vary between items.

You can adjust the image size if you wish to analyse it in greater detail.

For further information on how to use EEBO, please visit the links below:

EEBO libguide

EEBO webinar tutorial (44 mins)

Sample searches - examples of searching by keyword, author, etc.

ProQuest One Literature/Literature Online: search by literary period

When searching Literature Online, you can refine your search by literary period.

Click on Advanced Search and choose Primary Texts on the left side of the page.

Click on Look up Literary Periods.

Either search for Medieval Period or browse alphabetically and select Medieval Period, 1100-1500 and add to search.

You can add additional keywords and author details if you like, or just click Search to see everything under this category in the database.


Discovering Literature: Medieval

Use this guide from the British Library to: "Explore unique collection items and expert articles relating to some of the earliest works of English literature and most influential figures in literary history."

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