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SFU Library English collections policy

The English Department provides a broad range of English Studies from the earliest beginnings to contemporary postmodern and post-colonial literature and theory. The Department is one of the largest in the Faculty of Arts with over 600 undergraduate majors annually. The Graduate Program is also one of the largest in the faculty with over 50 students enrolled in M. A. and PH.D programs. While the broad spectrum of English course work is offered, considerable emphasis is placed on modern and contemporary literature and theory. Areas of particular departmental strength are Medieval literature, 18th and 19th century literature, and 20th century literatures in English (i.e. British and American, and Canadian literature).

The Department's course and research areas are:

Secondary texts: literary history, literary theory, comparative literature, general literary criticism, literary criticism by movement, literary criticism by form, literary criticism by method, general surveys of literature, surveys of English, American and Canadian literature. NB: the following categories of literary criticism are excluded: Anonymous literary classics, Ancient literature, American Indian literature, Classical literature, Literary biography and Juvenile non-fiction

Writing and Rhetoric: academic analysis of writing and reading in the scholarly disciplines as well as practical professional writing program at Harbour Centre.

English literary texts: the following genres from Anglo-Saxon to present:
Literary texts, Early English Texts, Essays, Sagas and legends, Literary autobiographies, Correspondence, Novels, Poems, Plays, Satires, Short stories, Folk tales, Fairy tales, Fantasy narratives, Children's literature, Ethnic literary texts, Wit and humor texts, Oral literary texts. N.B: Literary texts are collected in original editions, reprints and modern editions as requested by faculty and as available.

The Department has chosen NOT to collect the following genres:

Detective fiction (except Canadian), Song lyrics, Nursery rhymes, Film and TV plays, Radio plays, One act plays, Skits, burlesque, etc, Epigrams and anecdotes, Erotic literary works, Juveniles, Children's writings, College readers, Inspirational literary texts


English literature

Old English: Beowulf
Medieval and Renaissance literature: Chaucer, Gawain Poet, Langland, Gower and Malory and minor figures as identified by faculty; Shakespeare, More, Spenser, Bacon, Beaumont and Fletcher, Sidney, Chapman, Jonson, Webster, Vaughan, etc
17th and 18th Centuries: Fielding, Pope, Defoe, Congreve, Milton, Dryden, Johnson, Behn etc. and representative works of minor writers as identified by faculty
19th Century: Wordsworth and all major (and many minor) Romanticist and Victorian writers e.g Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Thackeray, Swinburne, Carlyle, Tennyson etc.
20th Century: major figures: Conrad, Lawrence, Auden, Eliot, Yeats, Joyce, Shaw, Woolf, Lewis, Thomas et al; post 1960- authors are collected as specified in the Blackwell's Oxford authors list.
Modern and Contemporary literature: All genres for the British, American and Canadian authors specified in the Library's approval plan collection profile lists. (See appendix)


Canadian literature: literary writing in English and translation into English in all genres from the earliest exploration to the present: All major and many minor retrospective writers as available; 20th century contemporary literature: all available editions, secondary materials, manuscripts of Nichol, Davey, Bissett, Bowering, etc.
American literature: literary works in all genres except detective fiction from the colonial period to the present; 19th century major and secondary figures e.g. Hawthorne, Twain, Whitman, Melville, Longfellow, Poe, Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin etc.; 20th Century: Crane, Dreiser, Morris, Faulkner, Hemingway, Frost, Wolfe, Steinbeck, Warren etc.; Post 1960- authors are collected as specified in the BNA authors list; Contemporary Literature Collection: avantgarde and experimental poetry: Pound, Williams, Olson, Creeley, Duncan, McClure, Snyder etc
Post-colonial literature in English: literary writing that is significant in the national mainstream of a specific country's literature or that has international significance; emphasis is on Australian, New Zealand, Caribbean and South African literatures
Special collections: Editions and criticisms of influence on avant-garde, experimental poetry, especially American and Canadian, tangentially concerned with the influence of Black Mountain and other American schools in England and throughout the world. Comprehensive collecting of American and Canadian little magazines and private presses. (See Contemporary literature collection list for details).

Areas of faculty specialization are:

Academic writing
African fiction (English)
American drama--20th Century
American Literature
American Literature--19th Century
American Literature--20th Century
American Poetry 20th century
Art and literature
Art and literature--History
Avant garde (Aesthetics)
Bible as literature
Bible stories, Hebrew
Book design
Business writing
Canadian fiction--19th Century
Canadian fiction--20th century
Canadian literature--19th century
Canadian Literature--20th Century
Canadian literature (English) --Asian Canadian authors
Canadian literature--History and criticism
Canadian literature--Minority authors
Canadian poetry-19th Century
Canadian poetry--20th Century
Children's Literature
Commonwealth literature
Communication and culture
Comparative Literature--English and European
Contrastive linguistics
Critical theory
Criticism, Textual
Culture theory
Decolonization in literature
Discourse Analysis, Literature
Domestic fiction English--History and criticism-- 19th century
Drama, Medieval
Drama-- 20th Century
Economics in literature
Eighteenth Century Folk music and Print culture
English drama--Early modern and Elizabethan, 1500-1600
English fiction--18th Century
English fiction--19th Century
English fiction--20th Century
English language--Gender
English language --History
English language-Jargon
English language-- Middle English, 1100-1500
English language--Old English ca450-1100
English language--Rhetoric-Study and teaching
English language-- Sex differences
English language--Style
English language--Usage
English literature--Early English, 500-1100
English literature--Early modern--1500-1700
English literature--15th Century
English literature-16th Century
English literature--17th Century
English literature--18th Century
English literature--19th Century
English literature--20th Century
English poetry--Old English, ca 450-1100
English poetry--Early modern-1500-1700
English poetry--15th Century
English poetry--16th Century
English poetry--17th Century
English poetry--18th Century
English poetry--19th Century
English poetry--20th Century
Epic literature
Epic poetry
Epistolary fiction--20th Century
European drama--Renaissance--1500-1600
Fantasy Fiction
Feminism and literature Great Britain 19th Century
Feminist Literary Criticism
Feminist Theory
Folk music18th Century
French Canadian literature--Translation--English
Gender in art
Graphic arts
Great Britain-Social life and customs-16th Century
Greek language, Biblical
Greek literature, Hellenistic Translations to English
Hebrew literature, Medieval
Heroic verse, English
Humanities--Data processing
Immigrants in literature
Immigrants' writing, American, Canadian, etc
Irish literature
Language and culture
Literary Criticism
Literary form
Literary history
Literary Theory
Literature, Experimental
Literature, Medieval
Literature, Medieval--Arab influences
Literature, Medieval--Classical influences
Literature, Modern--History and criticism--Theory etc
Literature and Psychology
Literature and psychoanalysis
Literature and society
Marxist Criticism
Middle Eastern literature--Relation to Old Testament
Modernism (Literature)
Modernism (Poetry and Fiction)
John Milton
Nationalism in literature
Nonsexist language
Novelists, English--19th Century
Old Norse
Poetry--15th Century
Poetry--19th Century
Politics and literature
Popular Culture
Postmodernism (Literature)
Postmodernism (Literature)--Canada
Printing--Social aspects
Race in literature
Renaissance Literature
Rhetoric--Study and teaching
Romantic literature--Criticism
Science fiction
Scottish literature
Sex role in literature
Technical writing
Tragedy--Greek influences
Travel narrative
Tudor, House of
Victorian literature--Criticism
Visual perception in literature
Welsh Literature
Women authors, English --18th Century
Women in Victorian Literature
Women and Literature
Women-History--Middle Ages. 500-1500
Women Poets, 19th Century
World literature
Writing in British Columbia

SFU Resources

The WAC Bennett Library is the major location for the University's English literature collection. Its Special Collections Division houses nationally recognised Wordsworth and Contemporary Literature Collections. The Wordsworth collection focuses on first editions as well as the Moxon editions corrected by the poet during his lifetime. The core of the Contemporary Literature Collection is a collection of post-war experimental and avant-garde poetry. The collection also features some fine facsimiles such as the Trianon Press edition of William Blake's drawings, illuminations and engravings.

Regional Resources

The University of British Columbia has a large English literature collection comprehending all branches of the discipline.

Consortia and Document Delivery

SFU belongs to three consortia (Electronic Library Network; Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries; and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries). Document delivery agreements exist with all three of these consortia allowing delivery of journal articles and books from various Canadian libraries in a timely manner. Holdings and direct requesting from over 40 libraries are accessible through the Interlibrary Loan webpage and from many databases.

General Collection Guidelines

Languages: the emphasis is on acquisition of materials in English and French. Materials of major importance in other Western European languages will also be collected.
Chronological guidelines: See PERIODS section of this document.
Geographical guidelines: See AREAS section of this document.
Treatment of subject: selection will be primarily from bibliographies, reference works, biographies, etc.
Types of materials: collecting is split between books and journals. There will also be a future emphasis on e-journals and web resources.
Date of publication: emphasis is on current publications. Retrospective acquisitions are normally only for the replacement of important titles that have deteriorated or disappeared.
Coordination and cooperation with other campus resources: None at this time.
Other factors for consideration: None at this time.

Levels of Collecting

Definitions of collection levels are derived from the American Library Association's Guide for Developing Collection Policy Statements, 1989.

1. Minimal level: American and British detective fiction, nursery rhymes; film and television plays; Song lyrics; radio plays, one act plays; skits, burlesque etc.; Epigrams and anecdotes; erotic literary work; Juveniles; Children's wrings; college readers; inspirational literary texts

2. Basic level: Anonymous literary classics; Ancient literature; American Indian literature; Classical literature and Juvenile non-fiction.

3. Intermediate level: Post-colonial literature in English: literary writing that is significant in the specific country's literature or that has international significance; emphasis is on Australian, New Zealand, Caribbean and South African literature

4. Advanced level: Old English; Middle English; Commonwealth literature

5. Research level: General works of literary history and theory, criticism and comparative literature; Chaucer; English Renaissance; Shakespeare; 17th and 18th Centuries; Wordsworth; 19th Century; 20th Century; Canadian literature; American literature; American, Canadian and British avant-garde works and criticism, experimental poets identified in the Contemporary Literature Collection authors profile; comprehensive collecting of American and Canadian little magazines and private presses.

Created by HAT. Last updated by KM 07/07/03.