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French Language and Literature: General Info

Search MLA International Bibliography

Databases for Finding Articles and Books

MLA International Bibliography
Covers journal articles in the fields of literature and folklore more comprehensively than any other source.  Also includes some linguistics. Also includes references to individual book chapters, which is an important way of publishing in this field. You might want to limit your search to English and French. Go to the Advanced Search screen, and hold down the Ctrl (or Cmd) key while you select those two options.

Literature Resource Center
Has some literature criticism, but its best feature is the overviews of works.

ZSR Homepage Search & Primo
Good place to start when your topic is cross-disciplinary. Try using French-language keywords to retrieve French-language results.

Databases from Related Fields

International Medieval Bibliography (IMB)
Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Two databases that cover all aspects of the medieval period.  Many of the citations you'll find will overlap with MLA, but there is unique content as well.  Go to the Advanced Search screen to limit by language (but these databases only let you limit by one language at a time).

Film and Television Literature Index
If your topic is film adaptations.

French Encyclopedia and Dictionaries

Encyclopédie Larousse
Also includes a monolingual and bilingual dictionary.

The most recent general French-English dictionary is behind the Reference Desk (4th floor Wilson Wing, "Ask" sign).

Other French dictionaries are shelved in PCsome in the Reference stacks; others in the Main Stacks. Besides basic dictionaries, specialty dictionaries cover topics like:

  • Regional varieties (e.g. Louisiana, Quebeçois)
  • Old French
  • Historical and etymological dictionaries
  • Monolingual French dictionaries
  • Slang dictionaries/argot

Grammars and older dictionaries are in the Main Stacks in PC (Reynolds 5).

A few special-topic dictionaries are shelved in other places, e.g. scientific terms in the Science section. To browse the entire collection, search the catalog for

Source Texts

ARTFL - American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language
The main ARTFL database includes over 3000 French texts. The full text may be searched and results will be displayed in context. However the complete text cannot be displayed. Other databases available through ARTFL include sources like Textes de Français Ancien and Provençal Poetry.

Search Tips

Watch out for variant spellings of names of works, characters, etc.

Example: An article about The Stranger may use the title L’Étranger even if the article is in English.

Use a * to cut off a word at its stem, e.g. Haiti* retrieves Haiti, Haitian, haïtien, etc.

Type the word AND (or use the second row) if you want to enter more than one word that is not an exact phrase.

If you can't use a star to search for spelling variants, use OR
france or french

Special MLA Style Rules for French

Some special MLA Style rules that are particularly relevant to French:

[Page numbers refer to the MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition.]

Capitalize French according to normal French rules in your Works Cited (72). 
Example: Le petit prince​ but The Little Prince

See p. 64 of the Handbook for special rules regarding French surnames containing "de" forms in your Works Cited.

See p. 90-1 for advice on translating quotations. If someone else translated the quote, give them credit using parenthetical documentation. Use "my trans." if you translated the quote yourself. 

Subject Guide

Carol Cramer's picture
Carol Cramer
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