Quick Facts

  • 16,000+ entries
  • Covers 12,000 authors, works and topics
  • International in scope
  • Photos, letters, book jackets, and more 
  • Cross-searchable with Literature Criticism Online and Something About the Author Online
  • Choice Outstanding Academic Book
  • ALA Outstanding Reference Source
  • Covers all time periods


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An essential resource for literature students and scholars, Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online provides authoritative information while placing writers in the larger perspective of literary history. Signed essays written by scholars provide essential context for understanding the careers and writings of more than 12,000 authors from all time periods and from all parts of the world. This one-stop resource provides access to all volumes of the Dictionary of Literary Biography series (more than 360 vols.), the Dictionary of Literary Biography Documentary Series (19 vols.) and the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook (23 vols.) — a total of more than 400 volumes and 185,000 pages. Multiple search and browse options are combined with an easy format that matches the look and feel of the print originals, including the complete text of all biographical essays and more than 98% of the images from the print sets.

Summary: This unparalleled resource for biographical and critical information on authors in all genres, from all time periods and from around the world provides electronic access to all volumes of the acclaimed Dictionary of Literary Biography series as well as the DLB Documentary series and the DLB Yearbook series.

Significance: The purpose of the series is to make literature and its creators better understood and more accessible to students and the reading public, while satisfying the needs of teachers and researchers. As the most important thing about a writer is his writing, the entries are career biographies, tracing the development of the author’s canon and the evolution of his or her reputation while placing the author in the wider perspective of literary history. Students, scholars and teachers alike can make good use of these comprehensive overviews, which also include extensive lists of the authors’ works and bibliographies of recommended biographical and critical resources.

Source: Each DLB volume has an expert volume editor responsible for planning the volume, selecting figures for inclusion, and assigning the entries. Volume editors are also responsible for preparing, where appropriate, appendices surveying the major periodicals and literary and intellectual movements for their volumes, as well as lists of further readings. Work on the series as a whole is coordinated at the Bruccoli Clark Layman editorial center in Columbia, South Carolina, where the editorial staff is responsible for accuracy and utility of the published volumes.

Structure: This complete archive preserves the “book” feel of the original series and provides a backfile of searchable pages digitized directly from the print volumes. Search or browse to find the writer’s biographical profile in the familiar Dictionary of Literary Biography print format, which includes:

  • A list of major works and editions
  • A biographical essay, generally averaging 3,000 to 5,000 words
  • A list of biographical and critical sources
  • Extensive illustrations, including author portraits, book jackets, and pages from manuscripts and drafts

While the separate Documentary series was discontinued after 19 volumes, documentary volumes continue to be published as part of the regular series. Each of the more than 50 documentary volumes provides an in-depth analysis of the subject — be it an author, topic, or publishing house — through a rich collection of primary documents, including items such as photographs, playbills, letters, diary entries, and manuscript pages.

For more information, download a Product Fact Sheet [pdf, 604 KB]

Scholar-written biographies span centuries and continents, connecting literary researchers to valuable information.

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