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English Language and Literature: Books


The majority of books held by the Bodleian Libraries, in both physical and electronic formats, can be searched via SOLO. On this page you will find recommended libraries and ebook collections containing relevant books.

Physical books

Use the tabs above to explore the main libraries for students of English Language and Literature. Access to collections and borrowing privileges are subject to conditions; please check individual library websites for further information.

Oxford's collections in English Language and Literature are rich and diverse. The Bodleian Library's extensive research collections of printed works, manuscripts and archives are complemented and supplemented by the lending collection held at the English Faculty Library, as well as related collections in other libraries, including, for example, the Taylor Institution Library (linguistics, Germanic philology), Area Studies libraries such as the Vere Harmsworth Library (American Studies), and related collections such as the History Faculty Library and the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library.

The Radcliffe Camera (library-use) and the EFL (lending) hold general working collections focused primarily on supporting the teaching of English at Oxford, including material on English Faculty reading lists.

Help with books

For those wishing to learn more about searching for physical collections in Oxford, we recommend the following:

Electronic books (ebooks)

Ebooks are digital versions of written works. Broadly speaking they come in two forms: they are either 'born digital' or are digital reproductions of printed books. The Bodleian Libraries has 1.4 million ebooks across all subjects. See the tabs above for details of different ebook resources relevant to those studying English Language and Literature.


Many ebooks have enhanced functionality, such as connectivity with reference management software, the ability to annotate and accessibility features.


Members of Oxford University can use ebooks that the Bodleian Libraries have purchased for free. Search for them on SOLO. They can be read on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, e-reader or mobile phone; you just need your Oxford Single Sign On to access them. Individually purchased ebooks are all searchable on SOLO, but not all purchased ebook collections are, so it is important to visit the websites of ebook collections too. 

Note, some ebooks have restrictive access and usage terms, for example they can only be read by one person at a time.

Some books are acquired via 'electronic Legal Deposit'. These must be read on a library desktop computer in one of the Bodleian Libraries. Further information on how to identify and access electronic Legal Deposit items on SOLO is at the link below.

Help with ebooks

The links below are provided for those wishing to learn more about ebooks.

The following is a selection of ebook collections which include literary works in English. It's possible to browse and search these platforms, but the individual ebooks in these collections are also discoverable via SOLO.

The following is a selection of ebook collections which include material relevant to English Language and Literature. It's possible to browse and search these platforms, but the individual ebooks in these collections are also discoverable via SOLO.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias to support the study of English Language and Literature.

You will find study skills resources compiled by Bodleian Libraries staff available on Oxford Reading List Online (ORLO).


You will need your Oxford Single Sign On credentials to access the list.

English Faculty Library: New Acquisitions

New acquisitions are added regularly to the English Faculty Library LibraryThing page (see below). For full-text access to the titles, search for them in SOLO or click on the permalinks in the comments section of our LibraryThing catalogue. You will need to sign in to your MySOLO account using your Single-Sign On.

There is a physical display of new books in the English Faculty Library, next to the issue desk. If an EFL item you're looking for on SOLO says 'New Book Display' then this is where you will find it. You are still able to borrow these items.

There is also a display of new English Language and Literature-related titles that have recently been added to the Bodleian Library's collections: this can be found in the Upper Reading Room in the Bodleian Old Library.

Recommend a book

If the Bodleian Libraries don't have the print or ebook you are looking for, you can make a recommendation by completing the form below (Oxford Single-Sign On required).

Inter-library loans

If the Bodleian Libraries don't have the book you are looking for, we may be able to source it through Oxford's inter-library request service.

Why are some books not available electronically?

There are a number of reasons why the Bodleian Libraries may be unable to provide electronic access to a resource. The Social Science Library have produced a brief, digestible blog post explaining some of these reasons:

English Language & Literature Collection Development Policy

The Bodleian Libraries continues to collect primary and secondary source material for English Language and Literature as broadly as possible in all periods. Please see below for a downloadable copy of the Collection Development Policy. If you have any further collections queries you can contact the subject specialist (see Home page).