chao chen, research librarianChao Chen, Research Librarian; Home
email:; phone: 617.627.2057.
Tisch Library, Tufts University

Modern Arabic Literature

Research Sources & Tips







Critical Literary Biographies and Overviews

Reserves and Books

Journal Articles and Popular Press

Writing and Citing Sources


I. Critical Literary Biographies and Overviews

Critical Literary Biographies



Dictionary of Literary Biography

Arab women writers: a critical reference guide, 1873-1999
edited by Radwa Ashour, Ferial J. Ghazoul, Hasna Reda-Mekdashi; translated by Mandy McClure.
Bookstacks: PJ7525.2 .D4313 2008


Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature
edited by Julie Scott Meisami and Paul Starkey.
(Ref. PJ7510 .E53 1998)

Modern Arabic literature / Paul Starkey.


II. Reserves and Books

A. Use Library Catalogs for Reserves and Books

B. Sample Searches:

(note the search pattern; modify to your own needs)


1. Course Reserves


2. Tufts Libraries Catalog

3. WorldCat (beyond Tufts)


Path of Discovery in the Catalog

1. Find a title/author (assigned readings/Course Reserves);

2. Note the descriptive language of the Catalog record.

3. Use that language in further searches


e.g. Click on subject/author in the record to see further results and related topics.


Author Mūsawī, Muḥsin Jāsim.
Title Islam on the Street: Religion in Modern Arabic Literature.
Publisher Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, c2009.
Subject Islam in literature.
Religion in literature.
Arabic literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.


Using the method as shown in the left column, we arrive at more subject browses below:


1. Specific Focus

Arabian nights


2. History and Criticism

Arabic Literature -- History And Criticism.


3. Genres

Arabic drama

Arabic fiction

Arabic poetry


Arabic literature


4. Literary Anthologies and Collections

arab* and antholog*


Introductory texts in anthologies provide overviews and surveys of the literary periods. The explanatory footnotes enhance an understanding of the works in terms of contemporary culture in which the authors live and write. Hence, the historical significance of the works.

For example:


Modern Arabic Fiction: an Anthology. / edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi. PJ7694.E8 M59 2005


Classical Arabic Stories: an Anthology / edited and with an introduction by Salma Khadra Jayyusi. PJ7694.E1 C56 2010  


New voices of Arabia. The poetry: an anthology from Saudi Arabia / Saad Al-Bazei, editor. PJ8005.65.E5 N49 2012  


5. Advance Keyword Search limiting to Arabic language texts:




III. Journal Articles and Popular Press

A. Subject Databases

B. Popular Press:

C. Finding Full Text

Use the subject databases to find journal articles.

1 & 2. JSTOR and Project Muse

JSTOR is a favorite with its full texts in core journals of all disciplines. Project Muse does not include exactly the same JSTOR journals, but it has more recent and current articles on many topics.


Expand your search into more databases and from various perspectives

3. Academic OneFile
All subjects; a convenient Quick Start. Here are some RSS feeds:



4. Literature (MLA) and Islamic Studies



5. When use GoogleScholar, set your Library Links to access Tufts full texts.

1. Current

Book, Movie, Music, Play, And Video Reviews (in LexisNexis)

Factiva (including Arabic Language sources)


World News Connection
provides online access to full-text English translations of current non-U.S. media sources from June 1994 to the present.


2. Historical

Times Digital Archive  (1785 - 1985)


New York Times Online Archive
(1851 - 3 years before current date)


Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982)

American Periodicals (1740 - 1940)

British Humanities Index (1962- )
British Periodicals (1680s - 1930s)



1. Click on the findIt@tufts button button in your search results screen to a window of three sequential options:

a. link to the digital full text when available;

b. link to a Library Catalog search for the print journal;

c. link to ILliad for requesting the article when the above two options are negative.

2. Search for a journal directly here:

a. Tufts Library Catalog (including e-journals)

b. Electronic journals list

c. Use ILliad to request your article, if Tufts does not have your journal.



3. A few Middle East Studies journals:

International Journal of Middle East Studies

Islamic Studies

Journal of Near Eastern Studies

Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

The Middle East Journal



Journal of Arabic literature (1970-2004)


IV. Writing and Citing

Writing Help

Citing Sources


A Short Guide to Writing about Literature by Sylvan Barnet. Oversize: PE1479.C7 B3 2009



Tufts Academic Resources Center -- Writing Tutors





Chicago Style Manual


MLA Style Manual