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Course II: Paper 4: The History of the English Language to c.1800: Primary Texts Online

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You can search for scholarly e-book editions (eg Oxford Scholarly Editions) via SOLO or by browsing the platform directly

Search for online resources via Databases A-Z:

For access to the majority of resources covered in this guide, go to the English section of the subject list on Databases A-ZYou will also find useful resources in the LinguisticsNewspapers, and History sections.

Early English Books Online (EEBO)

Early English Books Online (EEBO) features page images of almost every work printed in the British Isles and North America, as well as works in English printed elsewhere from 1470-1700. Over 200 libraries worldwide have contributed to EEBO. From the first book printed in English through to the ages of Spenser, Shakespeare and of the English Civil War, EEBO's content draws on authoritative and respected short-title catalogues of the period.

Beginning with the very first book published in English, EEBO draws from four authoritative bibliographical resources – both Pollard & Redgrave’s Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640) and Wing’s Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700) in their revised versions, as well as the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661) and the Early English Books Tract Supplement – to present more than 146,000 titles and over 17 million scanned pages of content.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)

ECCO provides fully searchable full text access to over 180,000 English-language titles and editions published between 1701 and 1800. it is fully text-searchable on over 33 million pages.

Manuscripts Online

Manuscripts Online is a resource which brings to life early printed primary sources of medieval Britain by giving online access to written materials from 1000 to 1500. Search across enormous body of online primary resources such as The National Archives, EEBO TCP, The Taxatio, Late Medieval English Scribes, Middle English Grammar Project, Production and Use of English Manuscripts: 1060-1220, Online Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts and more

Past Masters

Past Masters is a collection of full-text humanities works in scholarly editions. It contains the works and/or correspondence of many major literary authors, philosophers and other intellectuals as well as collections of correspondence by period.

Empire Online


Empire Online is a collection of original documents relating to Colonial Studies, sourced from libraries and archives around the world. The documents are grouped into five sections: Cultural Contacts, 1492-1969; Empire Writing and the Literature of Empire; the Visible Empire; Religion & Empire; Race, Class, Imperialism and Colonialism, 1607-2007.

Literature Online

Literature Online provides access to the full text of more than 350,000 British and American original works (as well as links to useful background material) and critical works such as journal articles and citations.

Defining Gender


Defining Gender explores the study and analysis of gender, leisure and consumer culture with original primary source material from British archives. It features a broad range of thematically organised documents and provides an excellent opportunity for comparative study and research. Manuscripts, printed works and illustrations combine to address the key issues from both masculine and feminine perspectives. They are indexed to provide ready accessibility.


Medieval Travel Writing


Medieval Travel Writing presents manuscripts of some of the most important works of European travel writing from the later medieval period. The chief focus is on journeys to central Asia and the Far East, including accounts of travel to Mongolia, Persia, India, China and South-East Asia. The collection also includes a number of important accounts of travels to or through the Holy Land although in this it makes no claims to full or even broad coverage: a separate collection, covering crusading and pilgrimage narratives, would be required for that. It features a number of medieval maps such as the famous ‘Beatus’ and ‘Psalter’ maps, individual manuscript illuminations, and some modern translations of key travel texts. It should become an indispensable source for scholars of medieval travel, geography, exploration, trade, literature, and the new field of medieval postcolonial studies.