Web sites for English Literature

  • Information for English Literature, Drama and Creative Writing

    Choosing Web sources

    There’s so much information freely available on the Internet, but how do you judge what's appropriate for academic work? Take a look at our guide to Evaluating Web sources

    Referencing Web sources

    Record the details of the Web sources you use when you use them, including the date viewed. Check the guidance on how to reference Web sites in the MHRA style.

  • Books and reading lists has links to collections of e-books which the Library subscribes to.

    Good places for older online texts:

    • Internet Archive E-book and Text Archive over 15,000,000 freely downloadable books and texts. There is also a collection of 550,000 modern eBooks that may be borrowed by anyone with a free archive.org account.
    • Internet Archive Open Library: Open Library's goal is "to list every book -- whether in-print or out-of-print, available at a bookstore or a library, scanned or typed in as text". It includes information about various editions of books and links to the full-text of older works such as Shakespeare's plays.
    • The JSTOR Understanding series - this developing project currently gives free access to 10 key works of British literature, the King James Bible, and all Shakespeare plays and sonnets.
    • Project Gutenberg is the Internet's oldest producer of free e-books, with a strong emphasis on older literary works. The collection provides access to more than 38,000 from the beginning of the 20th century and earlier. All may be freely downloaded and read, and redistributed for non-commercial use.

    Other free sites:

    • The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre is based within the Department of English and Modern Languages at Brookes. It actively promotes poetry through its Weekly Poem initiative which showcases the work of independent presses and their poets. It also offers podcasts featuring local poets and hosts an annual programme of events including conferences, research seminars, workshops, exhibitions, readings, and community projects. In February 2016 the Poetry Centre celebrated its inaugural International Poetry Competition with an event at Oxford Brookes. Check their website for links to a wealth of poetry-related links such as publishers, poetry societies and organizations, online texts and recordings, and resources for poets.
      The Library holds the Oxford Brookes Poetry Collection showcasing contemporary poetry from the UK and beyond.
    • The John Clare Page provides complete online editions of Clare's poems, many of which have been annotated. The site includes a chronology of Clare's life and writing, a selection of portraits and engravings of the author, a detailed bibliography of Clare criticism and links to online articles and essays.
    • The Poetry Archive is an online collection which features recordings of poets reading their work. This free archive has been created by UK Poet Laureate Andrew Motion and recording producer Richard Carrington and currently contains almost 100 voices. Historic recordings of poets such as Tennyson, Yeats, Kipling, Betjeman and Sassoon are included, as well as contemporary poets. The text of each poem featured is also included on the site.
    • The Poetry Book Society website offers features and commentary on contemporary poetry.
    • Poetry Foundation - independent organization which "exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience."
    • The Poetry Kit - a site providing information about poetry-related events, listings, magazines, articles and interviews.
    • The Poetry Society includes details of events.
    • Reveal Digital’s Independent Voices is an open access digital collection of alternative press newspapers, magazines and journals, drawn from the special collections of participating libraries. The collection includes rare literary magazines from the 60s, 70s, and 80s and is free to use. You can search by author, title, etc. or browse around some of the titles in the collection.


    • Internet Shakespeare Edition is an online full-text database containing scholarly, fully annotated texts of Shakespeare's plays and poems, as well as background information. The site also includes the Shakespeare in Performance database which provides performance materials from over 1000 film and stage productions related to Shakespeare's works.
    • JSTOR's Understanding Shakespeare lets you look up quotations from a Shakespeare play and find JSTOR articles that reference them
    • Reviewing Shakespeare - website devoted to scholarly reviews of and writing about worldwide Shakespearian performance (theatre, film, TV) for a general audience.
    • Royal Shakespeare Company: About Shakespeare is an excellent resource for anyone interested in Shakespeare performance. It includes images, clips from performances, interviews with directors, as well as background information on the writing and staging of Shakespeare's plays.
    • Shakespeare's Globe - discovery space

    Modern drama

    Other drama sites

    • The Society for Theatre Research (STR) is a UK organisation interested in the history and techniques of the British theatre. The website provides information about all aspects of the society's activities.
    • Stage The Guardian Online's section on theatre including reviews, articles and discussions.
    • The Victorian Plays Project provides a digital archive of selected plays from T.H. Lacy's 'Acting Edition of Victorian Plays (1848-1873)'.


    Creative writing and literary prizes