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Theatre Arts: Playwrights

An online resource guide for Theatre Arts students at LaGrange College

Recommended Books

Library Resources for Playwrights


For information on playwrights, we have reference literature resources, both print and online.

(1)   Go to GALILEO.

(2)   Click on “Databases A-Z

(3)   Click on “D" or “All databases”; go to “Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online.”

(4)   Do a “Named Author” search for your playwright (e.g., “Philip Barry”).

  • We have multi-volume sets on:
    • American Writers (REF PS 129 .A55)
    • British Writers (REF PR 85 .B688)

          Consult the index in the back of the last volume to locate your playwright.

  • Other reference books may be useful, depending on your playwright’s nationality, period, ethnicity, gender, etc.  For example:
    •  Contemporary Dramatists (REF PR 737 .C577 1999)
    • American National Biography (REF E 176 .D58) (covers only Americans deceased before 1999)
    • African American Writers (REF PS 153 .N500 A344 2001; includes August Wilson, etc.)
    • Ancient Writers:  Greek and Rome (REF PA 3002 .A5 1982)
    • Women in World History (REF HQ 1115 .W600 1999); also available online in the Gale Virtual Reference Library.

           If you don’t find what you want, just ask the Reference Librarian.

Finding Books: Biographical & Crtitical

To find books (both biographical and critical) about playwrights or other authors, you can do a “Subject” search on the ONLINE LIBRARY CATALOG:

Other resources that may be useful:

·       Current Biography Yearbook (REF CT 100 .C8) for playwrights active since 1940

·       American National Biography (REF E 176 .D58) for American playwrights who died before 2000

·       Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (REF DA 28 .D577 2004) for British playwrights

·       Reference databases such as CREDO Reference and Oxford Reference Online.

·       Biography & Genealogy Master Index (GALILEO)

Note that you’ll often find interviews with playwrights cited in bibliographies in reference books such as the Dictionary of Literary Biography (see example below).   Use the Journal Locator to track down interviews in magazines or newspapers, or ask a librarian.


Cambridge Companions

We have Cambridge Companions on the following playwrights; you’ll find other books on the same authors nearby on the shelf.

  • Edward Albee (PS 3551 .L25 Z596 2005)
  • Samuel Beckett (PR6003 .E282 Z781726 2015)
  • Anton Chekhov (PG 3458 .Z8 C36 2000)
  • Brian Friel (PR 6056 .R5 Z558 2006)
  • Henrik Ibsen (PT 8895 .C27 1994)
  • Arthur Miller  (PS 3525 .I5156 Z548 1997)
  • Moliere (PQ 1860 .C36 2006)
  • Euegen O’Neill (PS 3529 .N5 Z575 1998)
  • William Shakespeare (PR 2894 .C333 2001)
  • George Bernard Shaw (PR 5367 .C27 1998)
  • Sam Shepard (PS 3569 .H394 Z65 2002)
  • Tom Stoppard (PR 6069 .T6 Z615 2001)
  • August Strindberg (PT 9816 .C36 2009)
  • Oscar Wilde (PR 5824 .C36 1997).
  • Tennessee Williams (PS 3545 .I5365 Z614 2006)


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