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A Spanish and Portuguese Language & Literature: Reference Works

Reference Books on Iberian & Latin American Lit.


There is no single national biography for Spain as there is for some other countries. One may use any of the three general encyclopedias or many of the literary dictionaries and handbooks listed below to find biographical information. Many Latin American countries do have a national biography and these can be located in EUCLID by doing a "browse" search in Subject on the country name followed by the words "biography dictionaries." For example, MEXICO BIOGRAPHY DICTIONARIES.

Index to Spanish American Collective Biography 4 volumes (1981-1985)
Stacks Z1609 .B6 M86

Identifies which of over 1000 biographical dictionaries contains information on a particular person. It covers people from Andean countries, Caribbean and Central American countries, River Plate countries and Mexico.

Indice biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica 4 volumes (1990)
Storage CT1345 .I53 1990

Like the above title, this lets one find out which biographical dictionaries contain information on a person.


Diccionario de la lengua castellana, en que se explica el verdadero sentido de las voces, su naturaleza y calidad, con las phrases o modos de hablar, los proverbios o refranes, y otras cosas convenientes al uso de la lengua... 6 volumes (1726-1739)
Reference PC4625 .A3

The first dictionary of the Real Academia Española, this is known as the "diccionario de autoridades" because of the important authors cited.

Diccionario de la lengua española 22 ed. (2001)
Reference  PC4625 .A34 2001

A standard work which includes etymologies. The library also has editions for 1899, 1925, 1939, 1956, 1970, 1984 and 1992.



There are a number of general dictionaries of americanismos as well as dictionaries for individual countries in the area Reference PC4822 - PC4912. See also corresponding numbers in the stacks. The subject heading for these are: SPANISH LANGUAGE PROVINCIALISMS (iinsert name of country here) or LATIN AMERICA DICTIONARIES SPANISH LANGUAGE PROVINCIALISMS.


Diccionario histórico de la lengua española (1960- ) In progess
Reference PC4625 .A35 1960

Definitions, often with etymology, are accompanied with dated examples of use. The earlier edition of 1933 was never completed.

Enciclopedia del idioma: diccionario histórico y moderno de la lengua española (siglos XII al XX), etimológico, tecnológico, regional e hispanoamericano 3 volumes (1958)
Reference PC4667 .A4

This dictionary gives etymology, morphlogy and definitions with citations of use and dates of appearance in earlier dictionaries.

Diccionario medieval español. 2 volumes (1986)
Reference PC4715 .Z5 A465 1986

Covers the tenth to the fifteenth centuries.

Diccionario del español medieval (1987- ) In progress
Reference PC4715 .Z5 M8 1987

An etymological and historical dictionary, this defines terms with examples from writers of the period.


Diccionario crítico etimológico castellano e hispánico 6 volumes (1980-1991)
Reference PC4580 .C6 1980

By Juan Corominas, this comprehensive dictionary includes the modern languages and dialects of Spain and Spanish America as well as pre-Roman Iberian and vulgar Arabic.

Diccionario etimológico español e hispánico. 3. ed. (1989)
Ref PC4580 .G33 1989

In two parts: in the first part, words are listed in alphabetical order and reference is made to the principal root of each and its particular number in the second part, where full information is given


Diccionario ideológico de la lengua española 2. ed. (1963)
Stacks PC4591 .C3

In three parts: Sinóptica is a general scheme of ideas and themes; Analógica is a listing of words grouped by association, much like Roget's thesaurus; Alphabética contains definitions of words listed in the Analógica.

Diccionario de uso de español 2. ed. 2 volumes (1998)
Reference PC4625 .M6 1998

By Maria Moliner. Provides guidance for difficult constructions and troublesome expressions, instructs on proper usage and lists synonyms.

Gran diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos 4. ed. (1991)
Reference PC4591 .G67 1991



Enciclopedia universal ilustrada europeo-americana 70 volumes (1907-1930) Suplementos anuales (1945/48 to present)
Reference AE61 .E6

This is one of the world's great encyclopedias. The basic set is accompanied by a 10 volume appendix (1930-1933) and annual supplements. Often referred to as "Espasa-Calpe."

Enciclopedia hispánica 18 volumes (1992-1993)
Stacks AE61 .E52 1992

This is a good medium-level enyclopedia.

Gran enciclopedia Rialp 25 volumes (1989)
Storage Library AE61 .G721

A fine general encyclopedia.

Guides to Reference Sources

Reference guides list the bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes and other works that have been created to assisted researchers working in a subject area. Often these guides will list important journals and primary and secondary works in the field.


Guide to Reference Works for the Study of Spanish Language and Literature and Spanish American Literature 2nd. ed. (1997)
Reference Z2695 .A2W66 1997

By Hensley C. Woodbridge. An easy to use, annotated list of reference sources. Works dealing with peninsular Spanish are arranged by period, those dealing with Spanish America are arranged by country.

A Sourcebook for Hispanic Literature and Language 3rd. ed. (1995)
Stacks Z2695 .A2 B55 1995

By Donald W. Bleznick. It covers "Spanish, Spanish-American, and United States Hispanic bibliography, literature, linguistics, journals , and other source materials."

Spanish and Spanish American Literature: An Annotated Guide to Selected Bibliographies (1983)
Storage Z2691 .A1 W66

This lists bibliographies, both separately published and as parts of articles, that deal with Spanish literature (by period) and Spanish American literature (by country). Includes bibliographies of dissertations, periodicals, translations and other related materials.


A Bibliographical Guide to Spanish American Literature: 20th Century Sources (1988)
Storage Z1609 L7R438 1988

By Walter Rela. See also his earlier Guía bibliográfia de la literatura hispanoamericana desde el siglo XIX hasta 1970 (1971) at Reference Z1609 .L7R4. Both are useful and complement each other.

Latin America and the Caribbean: A Critical Guide to Research Sources (1992)
Reference Z1601. L3225 1992

This work lists resources for research in history, the arts, the various social sciences and, of course, literature.

Latin American Studies: A Basic Guide to Sources 2nd ed. (1990)
Reference Z1610 .L324 1990

A practical guide for the scholar working in the humanities or social sciences. It is especially helpful for identifying major archival and book collections in Latin America.

Subject Dictionaries and Handbooks


Diccionario de literatura española e hispanoamericana 2 volumes (1993)

Reference PQ6006 .D54 1993

A comprehensive guide covering Spanish literature from the eighth to the twentieth centuries. Latin American, Sephardic, Filipino and Chicano authors and works are discussed. Articles also deal with concepts, movements and genres.

Diccionario de los símbolos (1988)
Stacks GR931 .C34 1988

Discusses symbols found in literature, art, myth, religion and other areas.

Diccionario enciclopédico de las letras de América Latina 3 volumes (1995)
Reference PQ7081 .D515 1995

Contains articles on authors, works and movements.

Diccionario literario de obras y personajes de todos los tiempos y de todos los paises 2. ed. 12 volumes and supplements. (1957-1958).
Reference PN41 .D5

Provides plot summaries of works of literature from all over the world along with brief critical remarks. The supplements bring it up to date somewhat.

Dictionary of the Literature of the Iberian Peninsula 2 volumes (1993)
Reference PN849 .S6D54 1993 Contains articles on persons, literary works, movements, schools and genres. Covers the tenth century to the mid-1980's.

Handbook of Latin American Literature 2. ed. (1992)
Reference PQ7081 .A1H36 1992

This work consists of essays on each of the Latin American national literatures, providing, within a historical framework, a chronicle of important authors, works, movements and influences.

Latin American Writers 3 volumes (1989)
Reference PQ 7081 .A1L37 1989

Provides bibliographical and critical information on 176 authors from Bartolomé de las Casas to Renaldo Arenas. Its arrangement is chronological.

The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1993)
Reference   PN1021 .N39 1993

A standard reference work that covers the history, theory, technique and criticism of poetry.

Oxford Companion to Spanish Literature (1978)
Stacks PQ6006 .O93

Covers Spanish literature from "Roman Spain to 1977," from the penisula to the Americas. Articles discuss authors, critics, philosophers and individual literary works

Spanish American Authors: The Twentieth Century (1992)
Reference PQ7081.3 .S68 1992

Contains biographical and critical essays on some 330 authors. Each essay is accompanied by an extensive bibliography of critical studies.


A-Z Guide to Modern Literary and Cultural Theorists (1995)
Reference PN74 .A2 (1995)

A Concise Glossary of Feminist Theory (1997)
Reference HQ1115 .A53 1997

A Companion to Continental Philosophy (1998)
STACKS B803 .C66 1998

Arrangement is roughly chronological.

Dictionary of Critical Theory (1991)
Reference PN98 .S6 O77 1991

Definitions with bibliographical references.

Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory (2010)
Stacks HM621 .D53 2010

Discusses persons, theories, schools.

Dictionary of Cultural Theorists (1999)
Reference PN74 .D53 1999

Edinburgh Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy (1999)
Stacks B803 .E45 1999

Articles on movements, schools, theories and persons.

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory: Approaches, Scholars, Terms (1993)
Reference PN81 .E43 1993

In two parts: (1) theories, schools, etc; (2) persons.

Encyclopedia of Feminist Literary Theory
Reference PN98 .W64E53 1997


Encyclopedia of Literature and Criticism (1991)
Reference PN81 .E63 1990

Contains essays on national literatures, genres, and schools of criticism.

A Glossary of Contemporary Literary Theory 3rd ed. (1998)
Reference PN44.5 .H37 1998

Handbook to Literature(2012)
Stacks  PN41 .H355 2012

Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism
Reference PN81 .J554 2005

Available in both online and paper versions.

Twentieth-Century Literary Movements Dictionary (2000)
Reference PN597 .T94 2000

Subject Bibliography


Spanish Literature, 1500-1700: A Bibliography of Golden Age Studies in Spanish and English, 1925-1980 (1984)
Stacks Z2692 .M67 1984

Manual de bibliografia de la literatura española 3. ed. (1980)
Stacks Z2691 .S54 By José Simón Díaz. Covers literature in Castilian produced in Spain alone from the earliest times up to 1976 and in the Empire until emancipation. Currency is maintained by supplements published in Revista de literatura (PN6 .R48) under the title "Información bibliográfica."



The titles below are bibliographies of translations. To find other translations do a browse search in Euclid with a literary subject heading (examples, Spanish literature, Mexican poetry, Chilean drama, etc.) with the subdivision "translations into English (or other language)".

English Translations from the Spanish and Portuguese to the Year 1700: An Annotated Catalogue of the Extant Printed Versions, Excluding Dramatic Versions (1974)
Stacks Z2694 .T7 A38

Spanish Language & Literature Research Guide

Phil MacLeod's picture
Phil MacLeod
Philip S. MacLeod

Bibliographer for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Luso-Hispanic Studies, African Studies and Comparative Literature

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