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English Subject Guide: ENG 12: Modernism



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Fall 2021

LIBRARY HOURS: Mon., Tues. & Thurs:  7:30am-4:30pm;
Wed: 7:30am-1:45pm (afternoon faculty meeting); Fri: 7:30am-4pm; CLOSED during lunch, and on non-class days.

Books on Reserve for Modernism

  English 12: Modernism & the City

(Image of Oscar Wilde from the History Channel :

Brainstorm a list of keywords and phrases relevant to your topic, and include synonyms.  This is an essential step you should never skip.  Think about synonyms for your keywords and phrases.

Use quotation marks for exact phrases:

  • ex:  "voyage in the dark"
  • "dorian gray"
  • ex:   "art for art's sake"

Wild cards find all versions of a word when added after the word's root:

  • ex:  colonial* finds colonial, colonize, colony, colonials, colonialism, etc.
  • paint* finds paint, paints, painting, painter, painterly, etc.
  • ex:  psychoanaly* finds psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic, psychoanalyst, psychoanalytically, etc.

Start with a general search, and narrow it down as you look through your results.

Read abstracts when they are available. 
These brief summaries of articles will save you time.  Note:  JSTOR does not provide abstracts for most of its articles.  Here is an example of a rare abstract from JSTOR (albeit on a different literary topic).  What can you do with an abstract?  Mine it for keywords and ideas!  It also helps you determine whether the article will yield helpful information on your topic.

Books on Reserve

These books are on reserve for your class in the Manuscript Room in the US Library. 
Please follow the rules so everyone has access:

  • always check out books using the reserve slip
  • borrow only by the block, or at the end of the school day for overnight loans
  • return promptly by 8am the next school day

eBooks Available Through MultCoLib

Click the icon above for a bunch of ebooks you can access with a Multnomah County Library card.


For your purposes, JSTOR is likely to prove the most useful option.  I am adding several other databases that might also prove useful.
IMPORTANT:  Most of the databases require a login and password.  Click the Database Passwords link at the left for a full list.  Ask Sue or Derek for the master password.


Anatomy of a JSTOR Search
Be sure to choose "Advanced Search," and consider narrowing your results to articles in English, and content you can access.  While the example below is on a different topic, you can see how to build a more complex search.

Evaluating Sources:  How Can You Tell Whether Your Source is Credible?


  • What are the author's credentials--institutional affiliation (where he or she works), educational background, past writings, or experience? Is the book or article written on a topic in the author's area of expertise? You can use the various Who's Who publications for the U.S. and other countries and for specific subjects and the biographical information located in the publication itself to help determine the author's affiliation and credentials.
  • Has your instructor mentioned this author? Have you seen the author's name cited in other sources or bibliographies? Respected authors are cited frequently by other scholars. For this reason, always note those names that appear in many different sources.
  • Is the author associated with a reputable institution or organization?  What are the basic values or goals of these organizations or institutions?

Publication Date

  • When was the source published? This date is often located on the face of the title page below the name of the publisher. If it is not there, look for the copyright date on the reverse of the title page. On Web pages, the date of the last revision is usually at the bottom of the home page, sometimes every page.
  • Is the source current or out-of-date for your topic? Topic areas of continuing and rapid development, such as the sciences, demand more current information. On the other hand, topics in the humanities often require material that was written many years ago. At the other extreme, some news sources on the Web now note the hour and minute that articles are posted on their site.

Edition or Revision

  • Is this a first edition of this publication or not? Further editions indicate a source has been revised and updated to reflect changes in knowledge, include omissions, and harmonize with its intended reader's needs. Also, many printings or editions may indicate that the work has become a standard source in the area and is reliable. If you are using a Web source, do the pages indicate revision dates?


  • Note the publisher's name. If the source is published by a university press, it is likely to be scholarly. Although the fact that the publisher is reputable does not necessarily guarantee quality, it does show that the publisher may have high regard for the author and the material.

Journal Title

  • Is this a scholarly or a popular journal? This distinction is important because it indicates different levels of complexity in conveying ideas. Ex:  Time magazine is a popular magazine of current events, and Foreign Affairs is a scholarly journal of current events and politics.  They look very different in terms of advertising, density of the text, vocabulary, and authorship.

Intended Audience

  • What type of audience is the author addressing? Is the publication aimed at a specialized academic audience, or a group of general readers without much background or expertise in a subject? Is this source too elementary, too technical, too advanced, or just right for your needs?

Adapted and used with the permission of: Research & Learning Services, Olin Library, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA

Your US Librarian

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Sue Phillips
Upper School Library
503.297.1894 x4550 (circulation desk); (503)297-1894 x4100 (voicemail)