These bibliographies do not attempt to cover Medieval Studies comprehensively. They are largely limited to coverage of Western Europe, except that in the bibliography on Medieval History and Historical Sources some basic references on Byzantium and other global geographical regions are provided. The focus throughout is on medieval Latin primary sources: how to access them (in manuscript, in print, and online) and how to locate secondary scholarship about medieval Latin primary sources. Even within that orientation they are not comprehensive, but cover only selected major topics, primarily those important for literary studies.
Their primary purpose is to enable medievalist students and scholars who are not already specialists in the fields covered to quickly orient themselves in any of them to facilitate conducting independent research. As such they are conceived essentially as reference bibliographies rather than as comprehensive bibliographies of the primary texts and secondary literature in any field or topic. They therefore prioritize reference works that enable access to the relevant texts and scholarship: bibliographies and bibliographical surveys of primary and secondary sources; databases, repertories, and guides to or collections of primary source materials. In addition, however, the bibliographies selectively list classic and influential secondary scholarship as well as important recent work, with an emphasis on books and essays that provide rich bibliographical coverage or that survey the field or subfield in question. In each field or sub-field the bibliographies attempt to identify the most essential reference materials, corpora, databases, and literature (both print and online) with which one must be familiar in order to control the scholarship and pursue independent research. Generally speaking, the more narrow the topic of the bibliography, the fuller the listings of secondary scholarship will be. Sometimes only representative examples of sources or scholarship are provided. As a rule, listings are organized not alphabetically by names of authors or editors but byad hocsubstantive considerations. Usually the most essential, recent, and/or comprehensive items are listed first, and items that are related in some way (for example, in their period or geographical or topical focus) are usually grouped together. The bibliographies are selectively annotated, not to summarize the contents of particular items but to provide guidance to accessing and using them and/or to indicate their value or limitations as resources.
Links to proprietary databases or online books or journals requiring subscription are as a rule to the database front pages. For those whose libraries have subscriptions, connecting to the front page may or may not automatically invoke your library’s subscription. In some cases links are given to the publishers’ descriptions of reference works or series even when there are no electronic versions, especially when the site provides a Table of Contents. Links to Google Books are given only when the entire book (“full view”) is available. Links to pdf files of articles on individual scholars’ academia.edu are sometimes provided, but not systematically. Note that links to books on Haithi Trust are not accessible outside North America.
These bibliographies were originally designed for a graduate seminar on Bibliography and Methods of Medieval Studies that I taught at the University of Illinois from mid-1990s to 2014. For many years they were on a server at the University of Illinois; after that server was retired, they were transferred to the website of the UI Program in Medieval Studies. Thanks to Simon Forde of Arc Humanities Press, they now have a permanent home on the Press’s website. I am grateful to Caleb Molstad, IT and Digital Humanities Developer for the Press, for transferring these bibliographies to the website and supplying the WorldCat links.
Corrections and additions of major overlooked reference works and online resources will be gratefully received: email@example.com.
Charles D. Wright
Professor Emeritus of English and Medieval Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign