18th Century Drama and other resources for trial


The Library has organised a free trial, until 29th Nov 2016, of several literature-related databases of digitised archives and manuscripts:

Eighteenth Century Drama A unique archive of almost every play submitted for licence between 1737 and 1824, and hundreds of documents that provide social context for the plays.

London Low Life is a full-text searchable resource, containing colour digital images of rare books, ephemera, maps and other materials relating to 18th, 19th and early 20th century London. It is designed for both teaching and study, from undergraduate to research students and beyond. In addition to the digital documents, London Low Life contains a wealth of secondary resources, including a chronology, interactive maps, essays, online galleries and links to other useful websites.

Medieval Travel Writing provides direct access to a widely scattered collection of original medieval manuscripts that describe travel – real and imaginary – in the Middle Ages. The project combines:

  • Multiple manuscript sources, detailing the journeys of famous travellers from Marco Polo to John Capgrave, and the stories of legendary figures such as Prester John and Sir John Mandeville.
  • Translations and supporting materials (all of which are fully searchable).
  •  Maps showing the routes of the travellers.
  •  Introductory essays by leading scholars.

Popular Culture in Britain and America (Module I & II) explores the dynamic period of social, political and cultural change between 1950 and 1975. The resource offers thousands of colour images of manuscript and rare printed material as well as photographs, ephemera and memorabilia from this exciting period in our recent history.

Shakespeare in Performance showcases rare and unique prompt books from the world-famous Folger Shakespeare Library. These prompt books tell the story of Shakespeare’s plays as they were performed in theatres throughout Great Britain, the United States and internationally, between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. *Please note that PDF download options are not available during trials.

The trials are also accessible from the Library’s E-Resources Trials website.


Mango Languages – online language courses for trial

The University Library has arranged a free trial of an online language learning resource called “Mango Languages”. The service offers online interactive courses for learning over 70 languages, including almost all those that are taught at our University:

Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Danish, Finnish, French, Gaelic (Scottish), German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Swahili, Turkish, as well as Shakespeare English!

Mango Languages

It consists of two types of resources: Mango Conversations teaches through native-speaker dialogue, cultural insights, and critical thinking exercises, while Mango Premiere teaches foreign languages through the dialogue and culture found in full-length international films. Proprietary technology includes interactive subtitles and colour coding which allow learners t easily understand meaning, word order, and grammatical structures. Applications for mobile devices are also available through Google Play and App Store.

The trial is from now until 31 October 2016.

For access, please go to the Library’s e-resources trial website at http://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/library-museum-gallery/finding-resources/library-databases/e-resources-trials , or go to trial link directly, EASE login is required:


Happy learning!

Cambridge Shakespeare: free book chapters and articles

As we mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press is offering free chapters from their prestigious books and articles from Shakespeare Survey every month to celebrate the reach of Shakespeare’s global reputation. The selected publications all focus on Shakespeare’s fellow playwrights and writers. All of this content can be accessed freely on  the publisher’s Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary homepage, or click the link straight to either the free book chapters or Shakespeare Survey articles.

Cambridge ShakespeareIf you wish to read the whole books, our University’s Main Library has the printed version of most of these books. Please search in Discovered. We also have a full run of the journal Shakespeare Survey from 1948 onwards, though we haven’t subscribed to the online version yet.

Literary Encyclopedia

Literary Encyclopedia

The Literary Encyclopedia publishes biographies of major and minor writers; scholarly descriptions of all interesting texts written by these authors, including those often neglected; and a variety of descriptive and critical essays on literary, cultural and historical matters, which provide a finer understanding of the social contexts in which this writing was produced.  Includes coverage of English, American, German, Russian, Italian, French and Classical literatures, as well as substantial and increasing coverage of Hispanic, Japanese, Canadian, East European and various postcolonial literatures. (Other major literatures to be added as resources permit.)  Currently has about 7557 completed articles, with a total of about 15.77 million words with around 20-40 articles added to the Encyclopedia every month.

The Library has arranged a free trial of the LE, until 31/05/2016. The trial can be accessed via the E-Resources Trials website which also links to other database trials that can be of interest. There is maintenance work going on with the trial Feedback Form on the E-Resources Trials website at the moment. Please leave a comment in this blog or email your Academic Support Librarian for giving your feedback.

London Theatre Reviews – West End and Off West End

The following information might be useful for anyone researching theatre in London, or for anyone interested in theatre and theatre studies :

https://www.londontheatre1.com/reviews offers reviews of London West End and Off West End productions from 2011 onwards. There are probably 500 reviews between 2011 and 2014. Last year, however, was a growth year in terms of the productions being reviewed. They have now 50 reviewers and there were over 850 productions reviewed in 2015 alone, in and around London – in the West End and Off West End.

The year 2015 reviews are now also available for free in PDF at https://www.londontheatre1.com/2015-Reviews-londontheatre1.pdf

Continue reading

American National Biography Online (for trial)

We have been offered a free trial of American National Biography Online until 11th Feb 2016. To access the trial, please go to the Library’s E-resources Trials webpage and select this resource from the list, or go directly to American National Biography Online, or simply search for American National Biography in DiscoverEd and follow the link http://discovered.ed.ac.uk/44UOE_VU1:default_scope:44UOE_ALMA51149999870002466 for the e-book entry. You can use Trial Feedback Form to send your comments.

ANB Online_1American National Biography offers portraits of more than 19,000 men and women — from all eras and walks of life — whose lives have shaped American history and culture. From astronauts to missionaries, chemists to musicians, and cowboys to Vikings, the portraits combine to reflect the rich diversity of American life, from pre-colonial times onward.  More than a decade in preparation, the American National Biography is the first biographical resource of this scope to be published in more than sixty years.

The Main Library has a full 24-volume set of the printed version of American National Biography which can be found in DiscoverEd. Two supplements are also on order.

Theatre in Video

In 2013 we acquired Theatre in Video which contains more than 250 definitive performances of the world’s leading plays, together with more than 100 film documentaries, online in streaming video – more than 500 hours in all, representing hundreds of leading playwrights, actors and directors. This video resource can be accessed from the Database A-Z list or Databases by subject for English Literature.

Now, we have been offered a free trial of Volume II of Theatre in Video which includes new, international, and contemporary performances; ground-breaking documentaries; and critical instructional series. The trial will last until 30th Nov 2015. To access the trial, please go to the Library’s e-resources trial site. Feedback welcome. Theatre in Video

The publisher Alexander Street Press has given the following information about the content of Theatre in Video: Volume II:

PERFORMANCES: This release of Theatre in Video: Volume II includes almost forty hours of either live performance or cinematic productions of plays from classical playwrights such as William Shakespeare, Molière, Voltaire, and Anton Chekhov but also incorporates new, contemporary writers such as Philip Kan Gotanda, Alexander Buzo, and William Yang. Examples include:

  • Sadness from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (1999): Award-winning photographer William Yang explores issues of grief, family and identity in this adaptation of his acclaimed stage performance. Through this poetic montage of storytelling, photography and stylized reenactment, Yang brings to life the stories of his family and friends.
  • Sweeney Todd from Image Entertainment (2001): The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s 2001 concert production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical is superb and (even without scenery) theatrically effective. The performers are in costume and use a few essential props such as Todd’s razor, but more than these details the quality of their singing and acting makes this production stand out. Features Tony Award-winners Patti LuPone and Neil Patrick Harris.
  • Candide from Image Entertainment (2004): Leonard Bernstein’s comic operetta comes to new life under the guidance of director Lonny Price (A Class Act). Based on the classic Voltaire tale of an innocent young man’s journey through a life filled with colorful characters and unexpected life lessons, this production features Tony Award-winners Patti LuPone and Kristin Chenoweth.
  • Modern Moliere: Tartuffe from TMW Media Group (2007): This contemporary version of Moliere’s classical comedy, Tartuffe, is the timeless story of a religious impostor who tries to steal his wealthy benefactor’s wife, daughter and fortune. Set in modern-day Los Angeles and told all in rhyme, Tartuffe comes brilliantly alive on screen.
  • Shakespeare: Twelfth Night (Globe)** from Opus Arte (2013): One of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, Twelfth Night was ‘blissfully reborn’ (Telegraph) for the 2012/13 season at London’s Globe Theatre, under the direction of Tim Carroll. The tale of misdirection and deception is performed here by an all-male cast, among whom we find Mark Rylance as Olivia and Roger Lloyd-Pack as Sir Anthony Aguecheek. The production also marks Stephen Fry‘s return to the stage as the pompous Malvolio, ridiculous in his yellow stockings.
  • Sado Tempest  from John Williams (2012): Arashi mixes Japanese rock, Noh Masks, and the weird volcanic landscapes of Sado Island in a radical reworking of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In this Tempest the storm has gone badly wrong and ruined the island, Caliban is now in charge, Miranda has gone crazy, and Prospero is missing – presumed dead.

DOCUMENTARIES: With almost six hours of key documentary in this release, Theatre in Video: Volume II explores independent theatre scenes, the internationality of theatre, and the lives of acting giants. Examples include:

  • Black Theater: The Making of a Movement from California Newsreel (1978): Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement documents the birth of a new theatre out of the Civil Rights activism of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
  • Amazing Scenes from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (1980): Spike Milligan takes a look at the Australian fringe theatre scene and finds a colourful, somewhat offbeat array of talent, including David Argue, Cappriccios, Circus Oz, Clowneroonies (featuring Geoffrey Rush), and many more.
  • Pram Factory from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (1994): In the early 1970s Melbourne was home to the Australian Performing Group, a theatre collective that quickly became a focal point for the intellectual, artistic and political life of those turbulent times.
  • Shakespeare, India and Me** from electric sky (2012): In Shakespeare, India & Me, Felicity Kendal, one of Britain’s best loved actors, tells the story of India’s long love affair with Shakespeare, from the first days of Empire to Bollywood and beyond.
  • Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me** from Smart Broad Films (2013): In her final years, Broadway legend Elaine Stritch remained as ferociously funny as ever, moving from project to project with unparalleled zest and zeal. This bold, hilarious, and poignant documentary reveals the uncompromising Tony and Emmy Award-winner both on and off the stage.

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIAL: Instructional material is key in any drama department. This release of Theatre in Video: Volume II brings customers 65 hours of content across a wide range of topics: from how to run the front of house to the difference between acting for the stage versus acting for a TV series. Examples include:

  1. Audition Series with Michael Shurtleff from First Light Video Publishing: Michael Shurtleff teaches an approach to acting that helps students learn to locate their own inner strengths and bring these strengths to bear with maximum energy and force in each role and each moment on the stage.
  2. Actor’s Notes** from Sound Venture:  Following in the footsteps of our very successful series on ballet and classical music, this series examines the art of acting from the actor’s point-of-view. Hosted by veteran actor, Jennifer Dale, the series features interviews and performances by some of Canada’s greatest stars, working in a particular genre of acting: Feature Films, TV Series, Shakespeare, Musical Theatre, from Stage to Screen, and Comedy.
  3. Producing for the Theatre Series from TMW Media: This actually includes three sub-series, separated into different categories, covering all aspects of the business of theatre. The following playlists are available for each of these sub-series:
  • Dreamers and the Builders: This sub-series examines the jobs of the creative people behind theater productions and considers their processes. It explores the various aspects of the work of actors, directors, playwrights, designers, and technicians and discusses the ways in which they work individually and collaborate.
  • Forces Who Run the Theatre: This sub-series examines the roles and responsibilities of the people who control the venues, content, and talent in theatre and provide a wide panorama of what theatre is and who ‘makes it happen.’
  • Business of the Theatre: This sub-series describes the business aspect of producing the play, how you raise the money to capitalize a play or musical, structuring budgets to account for pre-production and ‘running’ costs, and developing a marketing/publicity and advertising plan.

National Poetry Day : video clips / audio recordings of poets reading their own works from Literature Online!

Today, Thursday 8 October 2015, marks the 21st  anniversary of National Poetry Day. Why not watch some video clips or listen to some audio recordings of modern and contemporary poets reading their own works as well as works of others through Literature Online that the University Library subscribes to. 

Literature Online contains the following vast amount of poetry material, national and international, in text and multi-media formats:

  • Poets On Screen [880 clips] — 880 video clips of poets reading their own and other poets’ works.
  • Poetry Archive Audio [921 poems] — 921 links to poetry readings at The Poetry Archive, containing high quality historic audio recordings of poets reading their own works.

Literature Online also provides access to the full-text of 10,161 volumes of poetry by 2,820 authors:

Also reference works: