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The World of the Eighteenth Century (for English Majors): Literature

English majors, and all others, are welcome to use this guide to understand the cultural & historical context in which the literature being read was created.

Alexander Pope, poet

Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope [1688-1744] by Jonathan Richardson (British painter, 1665-1745)

Image from Art Museum Image Gallery.

Reference Universe

Reference Universe searches the table of contents & indexes of recent print and electronic encyclopedias in the CSS Reference Collection.

Literature in the 18th Century

Dictionaries, Slang, and Word Histories

As a general rule, browse the  PE section of the reference collection for the history of the English language.

Occasionally slang books and subject specific dictionaries may be shelved by their area of interest, i.e. agricultural dictionaries in the S section, terms used in Patrick O'Brian's sea novels in the literature section.

The definitive dictionary for the history of the English language is the Oxford English Dictionary.