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FHS Course I - Paper 5: Literature in English 1760-1830: 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.

Online texts

Drama Online provides access to the searchable full-text of over 1000 plays drawn from the Methuen Drama, Arden Shakespeare and Faber lists, as well as 350 plays from Nick Hern Books, to form a collection of the most studied, performed and critically acclaimed plays from Aeschylus to the present day. Over 100 critical and contextual works are also included, as well as biographical and bibliographical information for each playwright. The collection will be regularly updated with the latest works from new and established writers. 

NB Oxford has access to all content until May 2020

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.



NB all texts in these two resources can also be found via SOLO, but these platforms allow searching of the full text


Women Writers Online
The Brown University Women Writers Project is a long-term research project devoted to early modern women's writing and electronic text encoding. Their goal is to bring texts by pre-Victorian women writers out of the archive and make them accessible. They support research on women's writing, text encoding, and the role of electronic texts in teaching and scholarship

Early printed material: digital facsimile

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (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. 

ECCO includes books, pamphlets, essays, broadsides and more. It is based on the English Short Title Catalogue and contains works published in the UK during the 18th century plus thousands from elsewhere. Although the texts are primarily in English it does also include other languages.

Many of the Bodleian Libraries’ Nineteenth-Century books are digitised, and you can access these via SOLO

Manuscripts: digital facsimiles

British Literary Manuscripts Online: 1660-1900 presents facsimile images of literary manuscripts — including letters and diaries, drafts of poems, plays, novels, essay, journals, and more — from the Restoration through the Victorian era. It encompasses extensive materials related to major British literary figures from the Bronte sisters to Sir Walter Scott to Oscar Wilde.

Digital Bodleian gathers together over 650,000 freely available digital objects under a single user interface which supports fast user-friendly viewing of high resolution images.

Eighteenth Century Drama features the John Larpent Collection from the Huntingdon Library – a unique archive of almost every play submitted for licence between 1737 and 1824. Larpent was the Lord Chamberlain’s ‘Inspector of Plays’ and responsible for executing the Lisensing Act of 1737, which required the Lord Chamberlain’s Office to approve any play before it was staged. Larpent preserved the original submissions, over 2,500 of which are presented in this resource.

Also included are the diaries of Larpent’s wife and professional collaborator Anna, recording her criticism of plays, as well as insights into theatrical culture and English society. Hundreds of further documents including playbills, theatre records and correspondence also feature, including papers and correspondence of David Garrick, Edmund Kean, Sarah Siddons, among others.

The primary source content is supported by two key reference works for theatre history: The London Stage 1660-1800 and A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800.

Romanticism: Life, Literature and Landscape offers access to the single largest collection of working notebooks, verse manuscripts and correspondence of William Wordsworth and his fellow writers, from the Wordsworth Trust's archival collections; comprising William Wordsworth’s original verse manuscripts, working notebooks and some printed, annotated, editions. Additional material includes scrapbooks, autograph books, letters, diaries, travel journals, financial records and receipts, and verse manuscripts by other Romantic writers such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas de Quincey. Supplementing the manuscript collection, this resource also includes digital images of fine art pieces from artists such as J.M.W. Turner, John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.

Shelley-Godwin Archive provides the digitized manuscripts of Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft, aiming to unite online for the first time the widely dispersed handwritten legacy of this uniquely gifted family of writers, and thereby document their works, life, and thought, including the development of many outstanding pieces of English literature and political philosophy.

The result of a partnership between the New York Public Library and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, in cooperation with Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the S-GA also includes key contributions from the Huntington Library, the British Library, the Houghton Library, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. In total, these partner libraries contain over 90% of all known relevant manuscripts.

Jane Austen's Fiction Manuscripts gathers together 100 pages of fiction written in Jane Austen’s own hand. Through digital reunification, it is now possible to access, read, and compare high quality images of original manuscripts whose material forms are scattered around the world in libraries and private collections. Unlike the famous printed novels, all published in a short span between 1811 and 1818, these manuscripts trace Jane Austen’s development as a writer from childhood to the year of her death; that is, from 1787 (aged 11 or 12) to 1817 (aged 41). Not only do they provide a unique visual record of her imagination from her teenage experiments to her last unfinished writings, these pages represent one of the earliest collections of creative writings in the author’s hand to survive for a British novelist.