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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Comparative Literature


Finding Books

The UMass Amherst  Library Catalog lists books in the circulating collection, electronic books, reference books, videos, journals in both print and online form, government documents, microforms, and all other material owned by the Libraries. Circulating books are arranged by call number in the stacks. Search for known items using "Title begins with..." or "Author" (last name, first name). Search for books on a topic using "Subject begins with..."  or "Subject keyword."

Subject Searches

Like most U.S. academic libraries, the UMass Amherst Libraries use the Library of Congress (LC) classification system of subject headings, each of which has a unique call number range.
Here is an outline of LC subject headings and call number ranges for literature. For more specific subject searches within the library catalog, try "Subject begins with..." or "Subject keyword" searches based on the following examples.

For books about literatures, use the nationality or region in combination with the genre. For more specificity, use subheadings for type of author, time period, etc. Some examples:

Chinese Poetry
Motion Pictures India
American Literature African American Authors
French Fiction 17th century History and Criticism

For books about authors and their works, use the author's name, which can be followed the phrase "criticism and interpretation" or the title of a specific work. Examples:

Lorde, Audre 
Dickinson Emily 1830 1886 Criticism and Interpretation
Rushdie, Salman Midnight's Children

You can also search for books about literary theory or periods. Examples:

Modernism Literature
Marxist Criticism

Other Library Catalogs

UMass Amherst students, staff and faculty can expand their research by searching other library catalogs and requesting material not available here.

Five College Catalog
The combined library catalogs of UMass, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, and Amherst Colleges. To order books not available here, click the Request Item button in the book record, and enter your library barcode number.

Most large U.S. libraries and many libraries in Canada, Japan and Europe. Create an Interlibrary Loan (ILLIAD) account to order books not held here. 

Public and academic libraries in Central and Western Massachusetts, searchable together or individually, plus the catalog of the State Library of Massachusetts. Create an Interlibrary Loan (ILLIAD) account to order books and videos not held here.