English Literature

Libraries and collections

Discover a range of libraries, collections and other facilities to support your study of literature.

University of Edinburgh libraries and collections

All students of English and Scottish Literature have full access and borrowing rights to the University of Edinburgh’s Main Library. Situated just across George Square from us, the Library holds the University’s primary collections in arts, humanities and social sciences, its special collections of rare books and manuscripts, and its archives - collectively, some two million printed volumes and unparalleled electronic resources.

Situated on the sixth floor of the Main Library, with priority access given to students, the Centre for Research Collections’ many literary treasures include the libraries of William Drummond, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Hugh MacDiarmid and Norman MacCaig, plus the W.H. Auden collection, the Corson Collection of works by and about Sir Walter Scott and the Ramage collection of poetry pamphlets. The Centre also holds a truly exceptional collection of early Shakespeare quartos and other early modern printed plays put together by the 19th century Shakespearean James Halliwell-Phillipps, the correspondence of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle (the focus of one of the major editorial projects in Victorian studies of the last half-century), and the extensive Laing collection of medieval and early modern manuscripts, as well as letters and papers by - and relating to - authors including Christopher Isherwood, Rudyard Kipling, John Middleton Murry, Walter de la Mare, Edwin Muir, George Mackay Brown and Compton Mackenzie.

Take me to the University of Edinburgh's libraries and collections website

National libraries and collections in Edinburgh

All students can apply for reading rights at the National Library of Scotland (NLS), one of five UK copyright libraries. Among its world-class collection of rare books and manuscripts are the Bute Collection of early modern English drama, and the recently acquired John Murray Archive, a treasure trove of over 200 years of the firm's publishing history crucial for studies in Romanticism, Book History, Bibliography and Archives. Located close to LLC, the Library also has unique holdings in the areas of Scottish writing, book trade history and transatlantic studies.

The Scottish Poetry Library contains archival and printed collections especially relevant to the writing, publication and reading of modern and contemporary poetry in Scotland. You might also be interested in the collections and facilities of the National Archives of Scotland, National Museums of Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Writers’ Museum and Scottish Storytelling Centre, all of which are situated close to the University in Edinburgh's historic city centre.

Take me to the National Library of Scotland's website