French Literature

Welcome to the library resource guide for French Literature at Carleton University. This guide is intended to assist you in finding books, journal articles, as well as other resources to support your research and study. All comments and questions are welcome! 


General Search tips:

1. Finding French language material: Even if a book or journal article is written in French, the keywords/subjects and abstracts that describe them will often be in English (note: diacritics or accents are usually ignored in searches). For best results, try searching in both French and English. You can combine this into all one search, or do separate searches using English keywords and then another using the equivalent French keywords.
Example: écri* migrante* OR immigrants writing*  [ the * is used as a wildcard: this search will find all of the following forms écriture, écritures, écrivain, écrivains... as well as migrante, migrantes] 

2. Below are specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias and textbooks. Use them to get familiar with the jargon in a discipline, get quick overviews of a topic and pick up keywords to use in your searches. 

General French Literature

de Beaumarchais, J. P. (2001). Dictionnaire des écrivains de langue française
Call Number: PQ41.B42 2001 see availability

Dictionary of Literary Biography Online

Flower, J. (2013). Historical dictionary of French literature

France, P. (1995). New Oxford Companion to Literature in French.

Kay, S. (2006). A short history of French literature. 

Québec/Canadian Literature

Benson, E. & Toye, W. (1997). Oxford compation to Canadian literature, 2nd ed

Lemire, M. (2009). Dictionnaire des oeuvres littéraires du Quebec, 2nd ed.
vol. I-VI online, vol VII in print only, Call Number: PS8016.D5 see availability

Literary Terminology

Bergez, D. (1994). Vocabulaire de l'analyse littéraire
Call Number: PN41.B48 1994 see availability

Cuddon, J. A. (2013). A dictionary of literary terms and literary theory, 5th ed. 
Call Number: PN41.C83 2013 see availability

van Gorp, H. et al. (2001). Dictionnaire des termes littéraires
Call Number: PN41.L39214 2001 see availability

Literary Theory/Studies

Aron, P., Saint-Jacques, D. & Viala, A. (2004). Le dictionnaire du littéraire
Call Number: PN41.D486 2004 see availability

Barsky, R. F. (1997). Introduction a la théorie littéraire. 
Call Number: PN81. B37 see availability

Eliot, S. & Owens, W. R. (1998). A handbook to literary research.
Newer edition (2010) only in print, Call Number: PN73.H36 2010 see availability

Klarer, M. (2013). An introduction to literary studies, 3rd ed.

  • OMNI: the one-search box on the Library's home page. Look for a specific title, or use keywords to find books on a topic. Use the filters on the results page to refine your search results. For example you can limit to books (content filter) that are written in French (language filter) Guide on finding books in OMNI.
  • University of Ottawa library: as a larger and bilingual university the U of O collection in French is much bigger than ours. You can borrow books from them using your Carleton Campus Card. Their E-books can be accessed on site at U of O only. 
  • WorldCat is a database that lets you search the collections of thousands of libraries around the world: if a book exists, it's likely you can find it at Carleton.

Full-Text E-book Collections:

  • Érudit: Click on "livres et actes".  Currently a small collection, but growing
  • CAIRN : Click on "Ouvrages collectifs" and "ouvrages de référence" (this includes many titles from the  "Que sais-je?" series )​

Start with the Omni search box to search across most of the library's databases. Use the main keywords from your research topic. As you retrieve results, use the filters on the left of the screen to narrow or broaden your search. Guide on finding articles in OMNI.

Key databases for French Literature:

MLA International Bibliography: primary index to literature secondary sources.

Gale Literature: Includes biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of authors from every age and literary discipline. Covers more than 125,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, and other writers. Full-text resources include: Dictionary of Literary Biography + Literature Criticism Online Contemporary Authors series, Encyclopedia of Literature and many more.

Cairn, Érudit, Persée, & Repère contain material written in French and cover all subject areas, not just literature.

Francis is a free database that covers the humanities and social sciences. About 30% of the resources are in French and 40% are from European sources. NOTE: only covers up to 2015

The following is a selection of some of the major journals in French literature/French studies the Library subscribes to.  Search OMNI by journal title to locate them.

  • Annuaire théâtral
  • Australian Journal of French Studies
  • Canadian Literature
  • Contemporary French and francophone studies
  • Dalhousie French Studies
  • Dix-huitième siècle
  • Ecrits
  • Esprit
  • Études françaises
  • Études francophones
  • Études littéraires
  • Francophonies d'Amerique
  • French Studies
  • Globe: revue internationale d'études québécoise
  • International Journal of Francophone Studies
  • Jeu
  • Lettres québécoises
  • Littérature
  • Nouvelles études francophones : NEF
  • Oeuvres et critiques
  • Pleine Marge
  • Poétique
  • Quebec Studies
  • Revue d'histoire du théâtre
  • Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France
  • Revue de littérature comparée
  • Revue des deux mondes
  • Studies in Canadian Literature
  • Tangence
  • Théâtre/public
  • Theatre Research in Canada= Recherches théâtrales au Canada
  • Urgences
  • Voix et images
  • Yale French Studies

MLA Style 

The most common citation style used in literature is the MLA (Modern Language Association) style.  If you're not sure what style to use, check with your professor or T.A.

Note about citation management tools

If you want to know more about citation management tools such as Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote come to one of our workshops during the fall and winter terms. These tools can help you gather, organize, and automatically format your references/citations in MLA format


General Writing Help:

Want some one-on-one help with your writing?
Need some help with your draft? Make an appointment with
Writing Services, located on Floor 4 of the MacOdrum Library


Soutien écrit: provided by the French department @ Carleton University

Ballenger, B. P. (2012). The curious researcher: a guide to writing research papers, 7th ed. 
Call Number: LB2369.B246 2012 see availability

Besnard, C. (2010). Apprivoiser l'écrit: techniques de l'écrit et stratégies d'auto-perfectionnement.
Call Number: PC2420.B48 see availability

Bishop, G. & Haezewindt, B. (2005). Developing writing skills in French

Graff, G. & Birkensteain, C. (2014). "They say / I say": the moves that matter in academic writing
Call Number PE1431.G73 2014 see availability

Moras, Nadine de (2010). Guide d'écriture : la composition de A à Z
Call Number: PC2420.S54 2005 see availability

Pilote, C. (2012). Guide littéraire: analyse, plan, rédaction, procédeés, genres, courants.
Call Number: PC2420.P57 2012 see availability

Simard, Jean-Paul. (2005). Guide du savoir-écrire
Call Number: PC2420.S54 2005 see availability


Content last reviewed: January 28, 2020