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French literature

These pages list basic reference works in the field of French studies held in the British Library in London. Shelfmarks are included.

Guides to research
Current bibliographies
Retrospective bibliographies and theses
General histories
Manuscripts and Societies


1. Guides to research

Bassan, Fernande, Spinelli, Donald C. and Sullivan, Howard A. French language and literature: an annotated bibliography.
2nd edition. New York, Garland, 1989.
HLR 840.9
Beugnot, Bernard and Moureaux, José-Michel.
Manuel bibliographique des études littéraires.
Paris, Nathan, 1982.
Osburn, Charles B. Research and reference guide to French studies.
2nd edition, Metuchen, N. J., Scarecrow, 1981.
HLR 840.9

2. Current bibliographies

The Klapp and Rancoeur bibliographies are the most comprehensive as they cover literature in French only. The Year's work in modern language studies offers a discursive and more selective approach.
Klapp, Otto. Bibliographie der französischen Literaturwissenschaft = Bibliographie d'histoire littéraire française.
Frankfurt-am-Main, Klostermann, 1960-
HUR 840.9
MLA international bibliography of books and articles on the modern languages and literatures.
New York, Modern Language Association of America, 1922-
HUR 809
For period 1963- onwards: also available online, onsite only
Rancoeur, René. Bibliographie de la littérature française moderne: (XVIe - XXe siècles).
Paris, Armand Colin, 1963-
For period 1962-1980: HUR 840.9
For period 1981-1985 published as part of each issue of the Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France.
For period 1986 onwards constitutes issue no.3 of the of the Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France.
The Year's work in modern language studies.
London, Modern Humanities Research Association, 1931-
HUR 809
Bibliographie internationale de l'Humanisme et de la Renaissance.
Genève, Droz, 1966-
French XX Bibliography. Critical and biographical references for the study of French literature since 1885.
New York, French Institute, 1949-
HLR 840.9
N.B.: wanting vols -

3. Retrospective bibliographies and theses

The works listed here cover original works by authors and critical works about them. Note, however, that A critical bibliography of French literature edited by Cabeen covers critical works only. Note too that the Bibliographie des auteurs modernes de langue française is still in progress: each volume comprises material published from 1801 up to the year of its publication.
Bossuat, Robert. Manuel bibliographique de la littérature française au Moyen Age.
Melun, Editions d'Argences, 1951.
-Supplément. (1949-1953). Paris, 1955.
-Second Supplément. (1954-1960). Paris, 1961.
-Troisième Supplément. (1960-1980). 2 vols. Paris, CNRS, 1986-1991.
HLR 840.16
A critical bibliography of French literature. Edited by D.C. Cabeeen.
Syracuse, N. Y., Syracuse University Press, 1947-
vol. 1. The mediaeval period. Edited by U.T. Holmes. 1947.
vol. 2. The sixteenth century. Edited by Alexander H. Schutz. Revised ed. by R. La Charité. 1985.
vol. 3. The seventeenth century. Edited by Nathan Edelman. 1961.
-Supplement. Edited by H.G. Hall. 1983.
vol. 4. The eighteenth century. Edited by George R. Havens and Donald F. Bond. 1951
-Supplement. Edited by R.A.Brooks. 1968.
vol. 5. The nineteenth century. Edited by David Baguley. 2 parts. 1994.
vol. 6. The twentieth century. Edited by D.W. Alden and R. Brooks. 3 parts. 1980.
HLR 840.9
Cioranescu, Alexandre. Bibliographie de la littérature française du seizième siècle.
Genève, Slatkine Reprints, 1975.
-Bibliographie de la littérature française du dix-septième siècle. 3 vols. Paris, CNRS, 1969.
-Bibliographie de la littérature française du dix-huitième siècle. 3 vols. Paris, CNRS, 1969-1970.
HLR 840.9
Talvart, Hector and Place, Joseph. Bibliographie des auteurs modernes de langue française. 1801-
Paris, Chronique des lettres françaises, 1928-
HLR 850.16
Thieme, Hugo-Paul. Bibliographie de la littérature française de 1800 à 1930.
4 vols. Paris, Droz, 1933.
HLR 840.16
Dreher, Silpellitt and Rolli, Madeleine. Bibliographie de la littérature française (1930-1939).
Genève, Droz, 1948.
HLR 840.16
Drevet, Marguerite. Bibliographie de la littérature française (1940-1949).
Genève, Droz, 1954.
HLR 840.16
Gabel, Gernot U. Répertoire bibliographique des thèses françaises (1885-1975) concernant la littérature française des origines à nos jours.
Köln, Editions Gemini, 1984.
X.0950/283 (3)
Barnwell, H.T. and Barnwell, Joan. Bibliography of theses on French language and literature deposited in university libraries of the United Kingdom, (1905-1975).
[s.l.], Society for French studies, 1983.
4034.600000 no 7 DSC
Please note that the above work is held by the British Library Document Supply service [DSC]. This item needs to be ordered online if you wish to consult it in one of the London Reading Rooms. The delivery takes 48 hours.

4. Dictionaries

The works listed here typically consist of articles arranged A-Z mostly by author/anonymous title which provide information about an author's life and major works and bibliographies of editions and critical studies. The Dictionnaire des lettres françaises, originally edited by Grente, is currently being revised.

The new Oxford companion to literature in French. Edited by Peter France.
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1995.
HLR 840.9
Levi, A.H.T. Guide to French literature.
2 vols. Chicago, St. James Press, 1992-1994.
HLR 840.9
Dictionnaire des littératures de langue française. Sous la direction de Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais, Daniel Couty and Alain Rey.
4 vols. Paris, Bordas, 1994.
HLR 840.9
Dictionnaire des oeuvres littéraires de langue française. Sous la direction de Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais, Daniel Couty.
4 vols. Paris, Bordas, 1994.
HLR 840.9
Dictionnaire des lettres françaises. Sous la direction du cardinal Georges Grente.
7 vols. Paris, Fayard, 1951-1972.
HLR 840.9
Dictionnaire des lettres françaises. Edition revue.
Le Moyen Age. Sous la direction de Geneviève Hasenohr et Michel Zink.
Paris, Librairie générale française, 1992.
Le XVIe siècle. Sous la direction de Michel Simonin.
Paris, Fayard, 2001.
Le XVIIe siècle. Sous la direction de Patrick Dandry.
Paris, Fayard, 1996.
Le XVIIIe siècle. Sous la direction de Francois Moureau.
Paris, Fayard, 1995.
Le XXe siècle. Sous la direction de Martine Bercot et André Guyaux.
Paris, Librarie générale française, 1998.
HLR 840.9
Dictionnaire de la littérature française. XXe siècle.
Paris, Encyclopaedia Universalis, 2000.
HLR 840.9
Dictionary of literary biography.
Detroit, Gale, 1978-
Vol. 65. French novelists. 1900-1930.
Vol. 72. French novelists. 1930-1960.
Vol. 83. French novelists since 1960.
Vol.119. Nineteenth-century French fiction writers.1800-1860.
Vol.123. Nineteenth-century French fiction writers.1860-1900.
Vol.192. French dramatists, 1789-1914.
Vol. 217.Nineteenth-century French poets.
HLR 809
Also available online via Literature resource center, onsite only.
French women writers: a bio-bibliographical source book. Edited by Eva Martin Sartori and Dorothy Wynne Zimmerman.
New York, Greenwood Press, 1991.
Makward, Christiane P. and Cottenet-Hage, Madeleine. Dictionnaire littéraire des femmes de langue française de Marie de France à Marie Ndiaye.
Paris, Karthala, 1996.

5. General histories

Littérature française. Sous la direction de Claude Pichois.
16 vols. Paris, Arthaud, 1970-1978.
HLR 840.9
Manuel d'histoire littéraire de la France. Sous la direction de Pierre Abraham, Roland Desne.
6 vols. Paris, Editions sociales, 1965-1982.
Coward, David. A history of French literature from Chanson de geste to cinema.
London, Blackwell, 2002.
HLR 840.9
A literary history of France. General Editor: P.E. Charvet.
6 vols. London, Benn, 1967-1974.

6. Manuscripts and Societies

The Répertoire national des manuscrits littéraires français is a union catalogue of manuscripts (works, correspondence, private papers) of twentieth-century French authors in French repositories. Access is by the catalogue collectif de France on the website of the BNF. This catalogue is in progress and the collections held by IMEC are not yet included. The Guide Nicaise compiled by Jean-Etienne Huret, owner of the Librarie Nicaise in Paris, is now available online on the website of Editions Gallimard. Entries (A-Z by author) include addresses of the societies, websites, details of periodicals and other publications and of collections.
Herschberg-Pierrot, Anne. Répertoire des manuscrits littéraires français XIXe-XXe siècles.
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Département des Manuscrits, 1985.
Manuscrits littéraires français du 20e siècle (included in online catalogue collectif de France)
Institut Mémoires de l'édition contemporaine. Répertoire des collections.
Paris, Institut Mémoires de l'édition contemporaine, 2000.
Also available online on the IMEC website