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English Comprehensive Exam Guide

Existentialist Literature

Using the databases tab on the left, you'll find library reference resources that are available electronically. For example,  Literary Criticism Online, Oxford Reference and Credo Reference would be helpful if you were looking for information on existentialist literature. Below you'll find a sample search in Literary Criticism Online.

HINT: When searching, try different terms: existentialism, existentialist literature, "existentialist literature," existentialist period, existentialist movement, etc.

Literature Criticism Online

Step One: Type in a key word, term or phrase.

Step Two: If you're looking for an overview on the topic, click on the limiter.

Step Three: Browse titles. Note the summaries, which include the source, year and word count of the article. Select by clicking on title.

Step Four: Once you get to the source, note other helpful tools: print size, full screen option, forward arrow, clickable relevant page numbers, related subjects. Note also that there is often more material on your subject after the introduction, so don't stop reading until you're sure you've got all that's offered.

There may be a number of sources in the print reference collection that address existentialist literature and, more generally, existentialism - the late 19th / early 20th century philosophy with which is it connected.

For example, it might be useful to look at:  

       This last resource has a listing for "existentialism," which directs you to entries about Fowles, Kelman and Murdoch.

This page provides some search tips when using the big search box on the library home page.

Search for: existentialist literature

This search generates results that are quite specific, possibly too much so for an overview.

Search for: existentialism literature
Sometimes the terms we think will work (like "existentialist literature" above) need tweaking.
But is this search any more helpful?

Search for: existential literature
Does this work better?


Search for: companion existential literature
These results look more promising. Although they might not bring up "literature" specifically,
they quite possibly refer to it in the Table of Contents or index.