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Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature Research Guide  

An introductory guide to doing research in Spanish and Portuguese language, literature, and cultural studies.
Last Updated: Jan 29, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Finding Books

Begin with ROGER - UCSD Libraries online Catalog.

To find books beyond UCSD (in other UC Libraries and throughout the world) - use MELVYL

Books about the literature of Spanish-Speaking countries are normally listed by subject under the country (as an adjective), then subdivided by period.  

Often the subheading "History and Criticism" is added for books that are primarily literary criticsm. 

Example:  Peruvian Literature 20th Century History And Criticism

Literary criticism of a specific author is usually listed under the author's name as a subject, followed by the subheading "Criticism and interpretation"

Example:  Borges Jorge Luis 1899 1986 Criticism And Interpretation

Books about specific genres are usually listed by subject under genre, then country, and often subdivided chronologically.

Example: Drama Spain Social Conditions 1939 1975

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Beginning your research...

Research on Spanish or Portuguese language and literature will require you to use both books and journal articles and perhaps venture into electronic texts.  Depending on the level of research, you may need to use a variety of databases that cover language, linguistics, literature, and cultural studies. 

Books are the essential texts in both language and literature, but current criticism and interpretation of literature is usually in journal articles.  The articles in these journals may be in Spanish or Portuguese (or other languages) but databases offer the ability to limit your searches by language.

It is often helpful to begin research with an encylopedia or handbook of the literature you are researching.   This can help you identify topics, themes, and important authors in national literatures.  Some examples include:

Dictionary of the literature of the Iberian Peninsula. Germán Bleiberg, Maureen Ihrie and Janet Pérez. Westport: Greenwood, 1993.

A companion to Portuguese literature . Edited by Stephen Parkinson, Cláudia Pazos Alonso, T.F. Earle. Woodbridge ; Rochester, NY : Tamesis, 2009.

Handbook of Latin American literature. 2nd edition. Edited by David William Foster. New York: Garland Pub. 1992.

Enciclopedia de Literatura Brasileira. 2nd ed. São Paulo: Global Editora; [Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]: Fundação Biblioteca Nacional/DNL: Academia Brasileira de Letras, 2001.

Finding Journal Articles


  • MLA International Bibliography  Icon
    the primary database of citations to journal articles, monographs, book chapters, and dissertations in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American literature and folklore. Important source for linguistics and non-technical aspects of theater & film as well. 1890-present
  • Academic Search Complete
    Multidisciplinary database that indexes and abstracts articles in more than 10,900 journals and other publications in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese; full-text is available for over 5300 journals
  • Literature Resource Center  Icon
    Provides access to biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of the most well known authors from every age and literary discipline. Includes the major Peninsular and Latin American writers. Information is entirely in English.
  • Arts and Humanities Citation Index (Web of Knowledge)  Icon
    Provides author, keyword, and cited reference searching from more than 1100 leading arts and humanities journals. In many cases includes searchable abstracts plus links to e-journal images. 1975-
  • Handbook of Latin American Studies  Icon
    A bibliography of books, journal articles, proceedings in social sciences and humanities, edited by scholars selected by the Library of Congress, 1935-present.
  • Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI)  Icon
    1970-present. Lists journal articles on Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, the U.S.-Mexico border region, and Hispanics in the U.S.
    indexes articles published in over 1200 Latin American journals in the social sciences and humanities.


  • Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts: LLBA
    the principal index to scholarly publications in the field of linguistics, including journal articles, monographs, conference papers, dissertations, book reviews, etc. Particularly useful for studies of morphology

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