I Would Prefer Not To

Bartleby is a suprisingly useful collection of resources. Named after the scrivener (or copyist) in Melville’s story, the site publishes classic books online as well as preeminent contemporary reference works.

The collection includes several encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, and fact books. It also has collections of quotations (including Bartlett’s). The 1914 Oxford Shakespeare and the King James Bible round out the reference works.

The verse section includes several classic anthologies of English and American poetry as well as some modern verse. The fiction section rivals the collection of Project Gutenberg, and the nonfiction section includes a wealth of resources.

The section on English Usage includes the American Heritage and Columbia guides to English usage, as well as classics like Strunk & White’s Elements of Style and Fowler’s The King’s English.

There are many sites online that provide some of these resources. The key with Bartleby is that you can search individual resources (such as the Word Fact Book) or all of them at once. This allows researchers to tailor their searches to their specific needs. For example, if I search the entire collection for "Michelangelo", I get 147 results. If I search the "verse" section, I just get Prufrock.

Best of all, the resource is free.

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”   
Let us go and make our visit.

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Author: John Schinker

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