German Language and Literature – in the Library and on the Web



English/ German

Lexibase Intranet (Collins Dictionaries)

Langenscheidts Grosswörterbuch der englischen und deutschen Sprache. 1993.

This half of a two-volume work (known as “der kleine Muret-Sanders”) is based on the Langenscheidts enzyklopädisches Wörterbuch der Englischen und Deutschen Sprache; it translates from German to English. The second volume covers translations from English to German (Mugar Reference X PF3640 L25733). This edition has been revised to include new vocabulary; it is also more concise (130,000 main-entry words), and has been modified to emphasize quick look-up over more detailed study. In addition, it provides information about grammar and indices to irregular verbs, common abbreviations, and proper nouns. (storage)   (Mugar PF3640 L25732 1993)

Collins German-English, English-German Dictionary. 2004.

Written for an English-speaking audience, this is a basic dictionary that focuses on everyday communication and vocabulary. The editors have attempted to provide clear and easily understood descriptions.   (Mugar Reference Desk X PF3640 C64 2004)

The Oxford-Duden Pictorial German-English Dictionary. 1980.

To find vocabulary terms without knowing the word in either language (e.g., the parts of a motor), this dictionary is useful. The images used to illustrate the words are organized by subject,  in the way that a thesaurus works. Two indices, one in German and the other in English, refer either to the section in which the term is to be found or to the actual picture.  (Mugar Reference X PF3629 O9)

German Only

Duden, Deutsches Universalworterbuch. 1996.

The one-volume Duden contains over 120,000 “Stichworter” (headwords), as well as a very helpful short German grammar. Syllabification is given; however, pronunciation is not. Many examples of correct usage are given. Abbreviations are interfiled with the words.    (Mugar Reference X PF3625 D83 1996)

Langenscheidts Grossworterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache. 1998.

This is a very useful dictionary designed for students learning German as a foreign language. In addition to definitions in basic German, it offers verb forms and indicates parts of speech. Several useful tables (such as irregular verbs) are included, as well as a section detailing the recent changes in correct German writing.   (Mugar PF3625 L36 1998)


Deutsches Worterbuch. 1854-1960.

The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (of fairy-tale fame) began working on this dictionary in the 1800s. The long entries track the changing uses of a word since its earliest appearance in German writing. It has been published over a period of more than a hundred years, so volumes vary in format or dates of publication. Because Mugar receives the revision volume by volume, the library may not yet have a particular part. Mugar does have the entire first version   (Mugar PF3625 G7 1854a) ;   (Mugar PF3625 F65)  ;  (Mugar PF3625 .P4 1992)

Mittelhochdeutsches Taschenworterbuch. 1966.

The thirty-second edition of Lexer’s dictionary offers brief definitions and parts of speech for the literary language of the German Middle Ages (ca. 1150 AD). Occasionally it will offer a cross-reference or an indication that the word comes from a different root (i.e., Latin). The supplement found in the back of the volume contains more entries.  (Mugar Reference X PF4327 F66)


English-German Dictionary of Idioms. 1997.

To discover the German equivalent of English idiomatic expressions, look up a keyword in the phrase. The dictionary gives the German for that word, and the common expressions in which it is used.   (Mugar Reference X PF3460 S343 1997)

Duden, Redewendungen und Sprichwortliche Redensarten: Worterbuch der deutschen Idiomatik. 1992.

This is the eleventh volume in the Duden series; it covers idioms. For each of the 10,000 entries, definitions and usage are given. Cross-references are available when appropriate. (storage)   (Mugar PF3460 D74 1992)

Pons Worterbuch der deutschen Umgangssprache. 1987.

This dictionary of colloquial German provides detailed information. For each term, in addition to a definition, the dates and locations where it was first used are provided. (Mugar Reference X PF5991 K85 1987)

Manuals of Grammar/Stylistics/Pronunciation

Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage. 1997.

The third edition of this standard work endeavors to provide information about modern German grammar to modern English speakers. There are emphases on non-technical vocabulary and on explaining general grammatical concepts. Several helpful tables are given, and there is a useful chapter on spelling and punctuation.    (Mugar PF3112 D77 1997)

A Practical Dictionary of German Usage. 1996. Beaton’s dictionary seeks to assist English speakers “who have progressed beyond the initial stages of learning the language” in clarifying cases when an English word means more than any one German equivalent (vii). It is organized alphabetically and each English word is given a long entry, which explicates thoroughly the meaning and context of German equivalents. There are two useful indices, one of English and the other of German terms.   (Mugar Reference X PF3640 B35 1996)

Duden Stilworterbuch der deutschen Sprache. 1988.

This second volume of the Duden series is a guide to correct usage and a good general-purpose aid for German composition. It demonstrates the proper use of words in sentences and provides synonyms.   (Mugar Reference X PF3628 D835 1988)

Duden, Richtiges und gutes Deutsch: Worterbuch der sprachlichen Zweifelsf¤lle. 1997. The ninth Duden includes the recent changes to German writing. The resource is organized in dictionary form, and is intended to provide answers to questions about usuage difficulties involving specific words or terms. (storage)   (Mugar PF3460 D77 1997)

Guides to literary terms/theories/characters/plots

Literary Theory: An Introduction. 1996.

Terry Eagleton gives an excellent summary and explanation of the wealth of literary theories which have appeared in the last century. He provides some background and intellectual history, showing inter-relationships between theoretical camps. There is also a good bibliography.   (Mugar PN94 E2 1996)

Themes & Motifs in Western Literature: A Handbook. 1987.

This is a guide to important elements commonly appearing in literature. It includes character traits, myths, themes, motifs and images. Several textual examples and references to scholarly studies are given for each theme/motif.   (Mugar PN43 D34 1987)

Histories of the language/linguistics

German, a linguistic history to 1945. 1981.

This is a good one-volume treatment of German linguistics. In addition to a general bibliography at the end of the book, each chapter concludes with a bibliography.   (Mugar PF3075 W43 1985)

The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 2006 .

These ten volumes contain articles on central linguistic themes, their related concepts and relationships with other disciplines. They intend to be authoritative, comprehensive and international in scope. There is an alphabetic list of the articles; the longer entries are signed and followed by bibliographies.   (Mugar Reference X P29 E48 2006)

International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. 2003.

The goal of this source is to present articles on the full range of linguistic disciplines (applied, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, etc.), their inter-relationships, and intersections with other disciplines. It provides a detailed index and a language list. The signed essays are followed by bibliographies.   (Mugar Reference X P29 I58 2003)

Guides to authors/histories of literature


The Oxford Companion to German Literature. 1997.

The third edition of this reference source is a handbook which attempts to be representative and includes “every period of the literature of each German speaking country” (ix). The Companion is not intended to be used as a full-scale, comprehensive encyclopedia; however, longer articles have a small bibliography. The focus of the book is on individual authors and works, rather than on terms.   (Mugar PT41 G3 1997)

A Companion to German Literature. 1997.

Unlike the previous source, Sagarra and Skrine’s Companion consists of long thematic essays (organized chronologically), followed by a selection of short biographical entries and concluding with a general index. “Literary Germany” includes German-language writings from all territories contained in the Holy Roman Empire, German Confederation, Austrian Empire, and Second Empire (maps are provided).   (Mugar Reference X PT236 S55 1997)

Geschichte der deutschen Literatur: Kontinuit¤t und Ver¤nderung vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. 1987-.

Each chronological period is covered by a series of essays on important topics; each chronological section has its own table of contents and bibliography. The end of each of the three volumes contains name and title indices.  (Mugar PT85 G458 1987)

Metzler Autorenlexikon: Deutschsprachige Dichter und Schriftsteller vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. 2006.

Long signed essays make up this one-volume bio-bibliography. Each essay commences with a picture of the author and his or her dates, and concludes with a very brief bibliography of works about the author. An author index is included at the end of the volume.   (Mugar Reference X PT155 M48 2006)

Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon: biographisches und bibliographisches Handbuch. 1968-present.

The newest edition Kosch’s multi-volume set contains only entries for authors. Nineteen volumes (A through Sternaux) have been published to date. A modicum of bibliographical material is included at the end of the entries. The set is enhanced by a supplement, which contains articles not included in the original volumes. (storage)  (Mugar Z2230 F68)

Lexikon deutschsprachiger Schriftsteller von den Anf¤ngen bis zur Gegenwart. 1987.

These two volumes of author biography contain unsigned entries followed by bibliographical information on the author’s works. The first volume covers …von den Anf¤ngen bis zum Ausgang des 19. Jahrhunderts and the second 20. Jahrhundert. (storage)   (Mugar PT155 L44 1987)

By Century

Deutsche Dichter des 17. Jahrhunderts: Ihr Leben und Werk. 1984.

Extensive articles on selected writers from the 17th century are included in this volume. For each article, a bibliography of primary and secondary works is included. The volume concludes with a detailed timeline and an index.   (Mugar PT273 D48 1984)

Deutsche Dichter des 18. Jahrhunderts: Ihr Leben und Werk. 1977.

The foreword to this volume of extensive articles on selected 18th century authors serves as an overview of the period; an additional panorama is given by the detailed timeline in the back of the volume. Each article concludes with a bibliography of primary and secondary works. An index is at the end of the volume.  (Mugar PT287 D4)

Deutsche Dichter des 19. Jahrhunderts: Ihr Leben und Werk. 1969.

Selected authors of the 19th century are covered in the long essays in this volume. Each essay concludes with a bibliography of primary and secondary works.  (Mugar PT343 F69)

A Companion to Twentieth-Century German Literature. 1997.

The second edition of Furness and Humble’s source gives brief bio-bibliographical entries for the authors it includes. Since it was published post-reunification, it makes an effort to include writers from the former East Germany. Unfortunately there is no index.  (Mugar PT401 F87 1997)

Autorenlexikon deutschsprachiger Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts. 1988.

Branneck’s one-volume work contains a short article on each author. It also includes bibliographical references to the author’s work, and a concluding bibliography of general criticism arranged by subject. (storage)  (Mugar PT401 A98 1988)


Women Writers of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland: An Annotated Bio-Bibliographical Guide. 1989.

185 authors are included in this volume. Each writer gets a short biographical note, followed by a listing of her works. Several of the listed works are annotated with information about the plot. At the end of the book are lists of the authors, first chronologically and then by country. There is also a brief bibliography of secondary literature and translated titles. An index to titles of the works appearing in the volume is also included. (storage)  (Mugar Z2233.5 W6 W66 1989)

Women Writers in German-Speaking Countries: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. 1998.

The editors of this volume used Women Writers of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland: An Annotated Bio-Bibliographical Guide as the base for selecting authors to be included. This source contains long signed chapters on fifty-four women authors (arranged alphabetically) from the tenth century to the present. Each article includes a section on textual analysis. There is a selected bibliography, as well as name, subject and title indices.  (Mugar PT167 W65 1998)

Deutsche Literatur von Frauen. 1988.

Volume one covers “Vom Mittelalter bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts” and volume two “19. und 20. Jahrhundert.” They consist of a series of long signed essays on various aspects of German women’s writing. Each volume concludes with a bibliography, name index, and information about the essayists.   (Mugar PT167 D48 1988)

Facing fascism and confronting the past: German women writers from Weimar to the present.

Historical criticism of German women authors, as well as fascism in literature.   (Mugar PT405 F295 2000)

Selected bibliographies

Bibliographie linguistique de l’anne… Linguistic Bibliography for the Year…. 1948 – 2000.

Although slow to arrive (it can take up to three years to compile), the bilingual bibliography can be quite useful. It organizes records as “general,” related to linguistics, or by language. There is an index of authors, reviewers, editors, and people who are the subject of articles. (storage)   (Mugar Z7001 B53)

Germanistik (online). 2008-present.

This German studies source provides coverage of recently published literary and philological material. Selected items are reviewed. International in scope, since it is organized by subject and then chronologically, the table of contents and annual index of names and authors are very helpful.

Internationale Bibliographie der Rezensionen wissenschaftlicher Literatur.-International Bibliography of Book Reviews of Scholarly Literature.-Bibliographie internationale des recensions de la litt©rature savante. 1971-present.

This useful index to book reviews is organized by author of the work being reviewed. There is also an index to the titles of the works reviewed, the reviewers, subjects, and periodicals. 2007/2008.   (Mugar Reference X Z5051 I64)

Ich hatte einst ein schnes Vaterland: Deutsche Literatur im Exil, 1933-1945: Eine Auswahlbibliographie. 1984.

This bibliography, organized alphabetically by author, lists authors (not all literary), their date of birth and date of emigration from Germany, and their writings between 1933 and 1945. Re-editions and translations of their works into German are also given. The editor provides a long introduction to the topic. In conclusion, he offers an essay on the reintegration of these authors into post-war Germany. There is also a small bibliography of secondary literature, and an index.   (Mugar PT3808 W35 1985)

Internet Sources