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ENGL 1310A: Firing the Canon: Early Modern Women's Writing

Resources for researching early modern women and their writing, for Melinda Rabb's spring 2021 course.

Welcome your library guide for ENGL1310A: Firing the Canon.

Here you'll find a variety of library resources to help you in your research, including primary and secondary sources.

For more detailed advice on beginning your research, evaluating sources, and more, check out our Research Help DIY Guide.


Detail from the frontispiece to The Female Spectator, London: 1746, by Eliza Fowler Haywood (1693?-1756). *EC7.H3362.746f, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Beginning your search

You can use Brown's Library Search Tool to search the library catalog for materials held physically and digitally at Brown.  If you wish, you can use Boolean search terms (AND, OR, NOT) to focus your search but be sure to capitalize them.

A keyword search will turn up two results screens. On the left side are books, ebooks, and archival material, and on the right side are a variety of subscription holdings, including journal articles. To focus your search, click on the Filter button on either side and choose how you'd like to narrow down your list of results or click on one of the suggested subject headings that appear at the top of the page.

Are you new to humanities research? Take a look at our Humanities Research Guide, which will help you through the process of beginning your search to writing the paper.

Searching by Subject Heading

One way to find material using library catalogs is to do a "subject" search.  This search looks for terminology found in the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) assigned by cataloguing staff to each book as subject identifiers for the volume. But you do not need to do a "subject" search to reap the benefits of LCSH terms --  the terms are cross-linked, so that you can follow the subject heading links from one book to find other works on the same subject. You can also combine search terms for more focused searching. Below are a few examples of subject searches pertinent to this course:

Women authors, English

English literature > Women authors > History and criticism.

Women and literature > Great Britain > History > 18th century.

Women and literature > Great Britain > History > 17th century

Authorship > Economic aspects > Great Britain > History > 18th century.

Feminism > Great Britain > History > 18th century

Women > Great Britain > History > 18th century

...this list is not exhaustive! Email Heather for help with more detailed searches.