Thousands of foundational texts of poetry, prose and plays by the most influential and studied authors—essential for any literary studies program

Discover resources that are foundational for literature students and scholars. ProQuest provides extensive digital access to commonly assigned, as well as many forgotten, works from the traditional literary canon. ProQuest’s Canonical Literature Collections span more than 350,000 primary works of poetry, prose and drama from 8th century to the present day, featuring authors and their works from North America and the United Kingdom. Researchers and students can study such authors, poets and dramatists as Mark Twain, Daniel Defoe, Oscar Wilde, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Bliss Carman, Rita Dove, Gertrude Stein, and beyond.

Texts are re-keyed from first editions or scholarly editions. This method of production helps ensure textual accuracy, so researchers can be confident that irrelevant matches are not included in results. Developed in collaboration with expert advisors and academic specialists, these individual literature collections are designed to align with the curriculum to support any literary studies program.

While students and researchers are increasingly interested in literary studies that go beyond the Western classics, access to the traditional canon is still essential for comparative research and learning. Libraries need to support students, faculty and researchers with access to digitized resources, despite demands to grow digital collections, budgets are ever-tightening in literature departments and libraries need affordable solutions to meet users’ complex needs.

At a glance

  • Thousands of classic literary works by the most influential and studied authors of the traditional canon
  • Affordable options for providing essential primary texts for any literary studies program
  • Support demand for online resources with digitized first- and- scholarly edition texts

Short Description

Literature Collections

American Drama, 1714-1915

Containing more than 1,500 dramatic works from the colonial period to the beginning of the twentieth century, American Drama 1714–1915 provides literary researchers and historians with a comprehensive survey of American dramaturgy from its origins up to the era of sensational melodrama and manners comedy exemplified by the work of such playwrights as David Belasco, Clyde Fitch and William Vaughn Moody. Early landmark texts represented in the collection include Robert Hunter's satire Androboros (1714), the earliest printed American play, and Thomas Godfrey's tragedy The Prince of Parthia (1765), the first American play professionally performed on an American stage.

View Title List

American Poetry

American Poetry contains over 40,000 poems by more than 200 poets, covering the Colonial period to the early twentieth century, and drawn from over 1,200 printed sources. The collection begins with early Colonial poems of John Wilson and William Morrell, offers the complete works of Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor, and continues through to early twentieth-century writers such as Adelaide Crapsey and Vachel Lindsay. For the first time, major canonical poets, such as Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman and Herman Melville, and important literary groups, such as the Transcendentalists and the Knickerbocker school, can be read alongside substantial bodies of work by less familiar names such as Elizabeth Akers Allen, Richard Emmons, Lemuel Hopkins and Emma Lazarus.

View Title List

Canadian Poetry

Created in partnership with the Electronic Text Centre at the University of New Brunswick Libraries, this unique collection contains the full text of more than 19,000 poems by 177 poets drawn from over 700 printed sources, many of them rare and inaccessible outside Canada. The collection comprises essentially the complete cannon of English-Language Canadian poetry from the seventeenth century up to the early twentieth, and includes Bliss Carman, Isabella Valancy Crawford, Archibald Lampman, Charles G. D. Roberts and Duncan Campbell Scott.

View Title List

Early American Fiction, 1789-1875

The years 1789–1875 saw the publication of many masterpieces of American fiction, and the Early American Fiction 1789–1875 collection restores the original literary context of these enduring classics, situating the work of canonical writers alongside numerous novels and short stories popular in their own time but now forgotten and largely inaccessible in print form. The collection includes first editions of works by James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Other highlights include William Hill Brown's The Power of Sympathy, which has been recognized as the first American novel.

View Title List

Early English Prose Fiction

Early English Prose Fiction is a balanced and representative survey of fictional prose in English from the period 1500-1700, comprising more than 200 works. The collection explores the rich diversity of prose fiction preceding the emergence of the realist novel as its dominant form. The database includes numerous rare texts inaccessible in print form together with early editions of all the best-known works of the period, such as John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress and Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia.

View Title List

Eighteenth-Century Fiction

Eighteenth-Century Fiction brings together 96 complete works of English prose from the period 1700–1780 by writers from the British Isles. It is among the largest collections of literature from the period available in electronic form. The eighteenth century saw an enormous increase in the production and publication of prose narratives. This collection not only represents all the major writers associated with the 'rise of the novel' - Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Tobias Smollett, and Laurence Sterne - but also many less well-known, but equally vital and significant figures, such as Penelope Aubin, Richard Graves, Charles Johnstone, Mary de la Rivière Manley and Sarah Scott.

View Title List

English Drama

English Drama contains more than 3,900 plays in verse and prose from the late thirteenth century - the likely date of the Shrewsbury Fragments - to the early twentieth. It offers exhaustive coverage of the prodigious dramatic literature of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, as well as Restoration plays, medieval morality plays and mystery cycles, and nineteenth-century closet dramas. The works were acted on or intended for the stage, and includes masques, interludes, short dramatic pieces, translations, and adaptations. In addition to works by major dramatists such as Ben Jonson, Aphra Behn, and William Wycherley, English Drama includes the dramatic writings of many more neglected writers long inaccessible in print form.

View Title List

English Poetry, 2nd Edition

English Poetry, Second Edition redefines the English poetic canon for the 21st century, building on the achievement of the original English Poetry collection with the addition of more than 20,000 poems from several new categories. The Second Edition essentially comprises the complete canon of English poetry of the British Isles and the British Empire from the 8th century to the early 20th, drawing from nearly 4,900 printed sources and representing more than 2,700 poets. The newly-added works illuminate both the literary heritages of Commonwealth and ex-colonial countries and the poetic legacies of English writers only recently brought back to scholarly attention.

View Title List

Historic Literary Criticism

Historic Literary Criticism is a collection of over 20,000 historical contemporary reviews, essays and commentary related to more than 500 influential authors from the 17th to early 20th century. The content comes from a range of sources such as contemporary periodicals as well as published and unpublished letters. The cornerstone of the collections comes from the renowned Critical Heritage series from Routledge. These historical documents and essays help researchers and students place authors and texts into a full historical context, offering insight into views on authors and works from when they were first published, an important use-case for literary studies.

View Title List

Nineteenth-Century Fiction

Nineteenth-Century Fiction collects 250 British and Irish novels from the period 1782 to 1903, stretching from the golden age of Gothic fiction to the Decadent and New Woman novels of the 1890s. Major novelists of the period such as Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy and the Brontës feature alongside popular romances, sensation fiction, colonial adventure novels and children's literature. Nineteenth-Century Fiction represents the great achievements of the Victorian canon and reflects the landmarks of the period, portraying the genre in all its energy and variety, from horror to social satire, from moral earnestness to aestheticism, from masculine adventure to feminist polemic.

View Title List

Twentieth-Century American Poetry

Twentieth-Century American Poetry, Second Edition is an essential collection of poetry which allows readers an unparalleled survey of the movements, schools and distinctive voices of modern and contemporary American poetry. The collection contains over 100,000 poems representing the full range of American poetry of the last century, from the major Modernist works of Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and Djuna Barnes to the contemporary works of Robinson Jeffers, Billy Collins, Elinor Wylie and Peter Gizzi. This collection combines the works from Twentieth-Century American Poetry and Twentieth-Century African American Poetry.

View Title List

Twentieth Century American Poetry, 2nd Edition

Twentieth-Century American Poetry, Second Edition is an essential collection of poetry which allows readers an unparalleled survey of the movements, schools and distinctive voices of modern and contemporary American poetry. It combines two existing Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections, Twentieth-Century American Poetry and Twentieth-Century African American Poetry, with over 500 volumes of material from established and emergent poets. The collection contains over 100,000 poems representing the full range of American poetry of the last century, from the major Modernist works of Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and Djuna Barnes to the contemporary works of Robinson Jeffers, Billy Collins, Elinor Wylie and Peter Gizzi. This collection combines the works from Twentieth-Century American Poetry and Twentieth-Century African American Poetry.

View Title List

Twentieth-Century Drama

Twentieth-Century Drama contains the essential collection of published plays from throughout the English-speaking world, covering the history of modern drama from the 1890s to the present day. This is an extensive collection of play texts by over 300 principal authors from North America and Canada, Britain and Ireland, India, Africa, Australia and the Caribbean. The collection's breadth of content and powerful search options allow users to open up connections between classic plays such as George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan (1923) and August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1984) and less well-known texts drawn from the full range of modern theatrical traditions. Areas such as postcolonial writing, women's theatre, and community theatre are given full representation, and Naturalist, Expressionist and absurdist works appear alongside popular comedies, melodramas, farces and thrillers.

View Title List

Related Products

ProQuest One Literature

ProQuest One Literature

ProQuest One Literature is the destination for all aspects of literature research, teaching and learning—providing the best tools and content available in the market to support today’s study of literature.

ProQuest One Literature
Literature Online®

Literature Online®

Literature Online is an essential resource for the study and teaching of literature in English, combining the texts of over 350,000 literary works with a vast library of key criticism and reference resources.

Literature Online
Literature and Area Studies

Literature and Area Studies

Literature and Area Studies collections fuel exploration beyond the boundaries of the traditional Western literary canon to reveal traditions, influences and compelling voices in poetry, stories, essays, plays and criticism from around the world.

Literature and Area Studies