Subject Research Guides

Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Getting Started: Selected Reference Works

Begin your search with reference works to find background information, locate statistics and facts, and build a bibliography.

General Reference Works

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages
Ref D114.E53 2000
An excellent summary of recent scholarship in Medieval Studies;special emphasis placed on medieval Christendom, philosophy, theology, spirituality, and iconography.

Dictionary of the Middle Ages
Ref D114.D5 1982
Contrary to its name, this work is actually a 12 volume encyclopedia covering the Western and Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, and Muslim-Christian North Africa from 500-1500 C.E. Although somewhat dated, it can still be useful.

Encyclopedia of European Social History from 1350 to 2000
Ref HN373 .E63 2001
An outstanding six volume reference work on themes, topics, and methodologies in European social history.

Encyclopedia of the Renaissance
Ref CB361.E52 1999
Provides broad coverage of European history and culture from the mid 14th to the early 17th centuries.

Handbook of European History: 1400-1600, Late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation
Ref D203.H36 1994
A two volume work presenting the current state of research in a variety of fields.

Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World
Ref DE5 .L29 1999
An encyclopedia of the politics, warfare, religions, and social and intellectual life in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East from 250-800 CE; also includes eleven thought-provoking introductory thematic essays on Late Antiquity.

The New Cambridge Medieval History
Ref D117.N48 1995
Offers a narrative of political developments in distinct regions of medieval Europe, as well as discussions of common themes within these regions.

Regional Works

The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England
Ref DA152.B58 1999
Brief articles with bibliographic references give introductory information on the history of England, 450-1066.

Medieval France: An Encyclopedia
Ref DC33.2.M44 1995
Provides an introduction to the politics, economics, intellectual and religious life, literature, arts, and society of France (defined as a region extending from Brussels to the Mediterranean, from Switzerland to Brittany) from 400 - 1500 CE

Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia
Ref DD157.M43 2001
Covers the society and culture of German- and Dutch-speaking Europe from 500 - 1500 CE

Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia

The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium
Ref DF521.O92 1991
A three volume work devoted to Byzantine studies from the 4th to the 15th century.

Archaeology and Art

Medieval Archaeology: An Encyclopedia
Ref D125 .M42 2001
Covers 400 - 1500 CE; articles are indexed by both subject and site.

Medieval Art: A Topical Dictionary
Ref N7850.R67 1996
Renaissance Art: A Topical Dictionary
Ref N6370.E27 1987
Quick reference quick to assist in the identification of themes, symbols, and figures in artistic works of these periods.

Exploration and Travel

Trade, Travel and Exploration in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia
Ref HF1001.T7 2000
Contains nearly 500 concise summaries of recent scholarship on cartography, diplomacy, exploration, missionary work, and trade from 525-1495 CE

Literature and Folklore

The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature
Ref PR255.C35 1999
The thirty-one essays in this survey introduce major periods and themes in medieval English literature; an extensive primary and secondary source bibliography and timeline complement the essays.

German Writers and Works of the Early Middle Ages, 800-1170
PN451 .D4 v.148
German Writers and Works of the High Middle Ages, 1170-1280
PN451 .D4 v.138

Provides biographical information on medieval German authors and basic critical interpretations of major works.

Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide
Ref PA2802.M43 1996
This handbook gives an introduction to Latin language and literature from 200 to 1500 CE; its essays conclude with extensive bibliographies for further reading and research.

Literature of the French and Occitan Middle Ages: Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries
Ref PQ151.L57 1999
Provides biographical information on medieval French authors and basic critical interpretations of major works.

Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Myths, Legends, Tales, Customs and Beliefs
Ref GR35.M43 2000
Offers over 300 introductory articles on themes and traditions in European folklore, 500 - 1500 CE


Renaissance and Reformation, 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary Ref CT759.R46 2001
The Late Medieval Age of Crisis and Renewal, 1300-1500 : A Biographical Dictionary
Ref CB353 .L38 2001
Brief biographical sketches of significant individuals, many with suggestions for further reading.

An Annotated Index of Medieval Women
Ref CT3220.A56 1992
Most helpful for its bibliographies, this work is an excellent place to begin biographical research on medieval women.

Religion and Philosophy

The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy
Ref B775.C25 1988
Outlines the intellectual context and traditions in Renaissance philosophy in twenty-three essays; concludes with an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary works.

Medieval Philosophers
Ref Folio B721.M45 1992
Biographies, bibliographies, and cultural / historical background information on major European and Middle Eastern philosophers of the period.

Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia
Ref DS124 .M386 2003
This encyclopedia contains signed entries (many lengthy) on topics related to religious, cultural, and economic civilization history of Jewish civilization in the Middle Ages. Many entries include substantial bibliographies for further research.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
Ref BR95 .o8 1997
Classic reference source on the Christian Church.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation
Ref BR302.8.O93 1996
A four volume work on religious life and related social phenomena in 16th century Europe.


Medieval Studies: A Bibliographical Guide
Ref CB351.C76
A Guide to the Sources of Medieval History
Ref D117.C2213
Though somewhat dated, both of these works provide citations to primary and secondary sources in Medieval Studies. Many of the sources, however, are not in English.

Medieval SourcesOnline
Provides full text access to compilations of translated sources, including The Annals of Fulda,The Annals of St-Bertin, and a number of texts on the Black Death, Jews in Europe, women in medieval society, Christian dualism, English Catholicism, and more.

Patrologia Latina Database
An electronic version of Jacques-Paul Migne's Patrologia Latina, originally published in the 19th century; consists of the works of the Church Fathers from Tertullian in 200 AD to the death of Pope Innocent III in 1216; note that the texts are in Latin.

Preliminary Bibliography of English Translations of Medieval Sources, 1968-1991
Hosted by Stanford University, this Web-based bibliogaphy updates the classic two volume work Bibiography of English Translations from Medieval Sources (Ref PN671 .F3, Ref PN671 .F47); note that the bibliography provides citations only (no full text).

Thesaurus Linguae Graecae
A digital library of Greek literature from Homer to the fall of Byzantium; note that the texts are not translated; individual user accounts are no longer required.

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Finding Books

Two kinds of books, monographs and essay collections, compose the majority of Gould library's collection. Monographs, extended analyses of a topic by one author, are abundant in the field of history. Essay collections bring together articles, often by different authors, on a given topic.

In BRIDGE, the shared library catalog for the libraries of Carleton and St. Olaf Libraries:

  • Begin with a keyword search .
    • Enter words that describe your topic (names, places, events, etc.).
    • When you find a book on your topic, examine its subject headings for relevance to your topic.
    • Click on a hyperlinked subject heading to perform subject heading search and retrieve related books.
  • Perform a subject heading search in MUSE only if you know a valid Library of Congress subject heading.
  • Search for "Middle Ages" and "Renaissance" to browse a list of relevant subject headings, such as:

Middle Ages, 500-1500 -- Women -- History
Middle Ages, 600-1500 -- Conversion -- History of Doctrines
Renaissance, 1450-1600 -- European Poetry -- History And Criticism

  • Note that many Library of Congress subject headings relevant to European History do not begin with "Middle Ages" or "Renaissance":

Literature, Medieval -- History and criticism
Monastic and Religious Life of Women -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500
England -- Social life and customs -- 1066-1485

Search WorldCat, an online catalog for libraries throughout the world, to take your search beyond Northfield.

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Finding Journal Articles

Periodical literature in Medieval and Renaissance studies presents cutting-edge research, provides reviews of recent scholarship, and creates a forum for intellectual exchange among professional scholars.

Once you have located an article citation in a database, index, or bibliography, perform a title search in BRIDGE using the exact title of the periodical. If Carleton and St. Olaf do not hold the journal, you may request the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Periodical Databases & Indexes

IMB: International Medieval Bibliography (1967-2000)
Provides access to over 270,000 citations to articles from periodicals, books, and conference proceedings dealing with the history and culture of the European Middle Ages (450-1500 CE).

Iter (1853-present)
Indexes articles dealing with the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700).

L'Année philologique: Bibliographie critique et analytique de l'antiquité gréco-latine (1924-present)
Ref PA29 .M35
Covers Greco-Roman archaeology, history, literature, philosophy, and science and technology from 2000 BCE to 800 CE; although written in French, it indexes articles written in various Western languages.

ATLAS Religion Database (1950-present)
Indexes articles on all aspects of religion and theology, including church and religious history. Contains some full text articles.

BHA: Bibliography of the History of Art (1973-present)
Indexes scholarly articles on Western art and architecture from the 4th century CE to the modern period.

Historical Abstracts (1954-present)
Provides citations and abstracts for scholarly articles, books, and dissertations in the field of world history from 1450 to the present.

MLA International Bibliography (1963-present)
Provides citations to articles dealing with literature, folklore, and popular culture.

Philosopher's Index (1940-present)
Indexes articles and some books in the field of philosophy.

Web of Science
Search the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (1975-present) to locate journal articles that cite specific works.

Academic Journals to Browse

The Art Bulletin
In Print and Online

Art History
In Print and Online

The Burlington Magazine
In Print and Online (1948-present)

Central European History
In Print and Online

Church History
In Print and Online

Dumbarton Oaks Papers
In Print and Online

Early Music
In Print and Online

English Historical Review
In Print and Online

L'Esprit Createur
In Print (1961-present)

French Forum
In Print and Online

French Historical Studies
In Print and Online

The French Review
In Print and Online

In Print and Online

In Print and Online

History of Religions
In Print and Online

Journal of Ecclesiastical History
In Print and Online

Journal of Hellenic Studies
In Print and Online

Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
In Print and Online

Journal of Medieval History
In Print and Online

Journal of Musicology
In Print and Online

Journal of the American Musicological Society
In Print and Online

Journal of the History of Ideas
In Print and Online

Journal of Roman Studies
In Print and Online

Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
In Print and Online

Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes
Online (1939-2000)

Journal of Theological Studies
In Print (at St. Olaf) and Online

Lute Society of America Quarterly
In Print (1989-present)

Mediaeval Studies
In Print and Online

Medium Aevum
In Print and Online

Modern Language News/MLN
In Print and Online

Modern Language Studies
In Print and Online

Music and Letters
In Print and Online

Past & Present
In Print and Online

Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Reforme
In Print

Renaissance Quarterly
In Print and Online

In Print and Online

The Sixteenth Century Journal
In Print and Online

In Print and Online

Zeitschrift fur Kunstgeschichte
In Print and Online

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Web Sites

Be wary of medieval and renaissance primary sources on the Web. Some translations are posted on the Web because they are very old (written before 1923), and therefore in the public domain. If you find an old translation on the Web, you should look for a newer, copyrighted translation in print.

The Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies
A medieval studies megasite that offers primary and scholarly secondary resources; hosted by Georgetown University.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook
An extensive compilation of medieval and Renaissance texts translated into English.

OBR: The Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies
Includes an online encyclopedia and a selection of new translations of medieval texts.

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