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Books on Theatre and Drama


Understanding the Library's call number system can save you time in locating information. Because call numbers are assigned to the first subject heading listed for a book in the HSU Library Catalog, and most library catalogs, knowing something about call numbers will also help you to evaluate the results of searches you perform in the Library Catalog. Our Library uses the same call numbers for our Reference Collection, our print periodicals, and our main book stacks. Once you have identified the call number or numbers relevant to your subject, you can use this information to browse in the various parts of the Library.

Our Library, like most academic libraries in North America, uses the Library of Congress Classification System to assign call numbers. In this system, the first two or three lines of a call number identify the subject of a book or other item. Books on drama or theatre are classed with books on language and literature. Each group of languages has its own range of numbers. Within each range, there is a section on general literary history and criticism that includes a general section on dramatic literature. Following that, there are numbers for individual authors arranged chronologically and then alphabetically.

Here are call number ranges for subjects of interest to the study of theatre and drama:

PN includes literature in general, without regard to specific languages

PN 1530 the monologue
PN 1551 the dialogue
PN 1560-1590 the performing arts; show business
PN 1600-1988 drama history in general; composition of plays
PN 2000-3307 dramatic presentation; acting, stagecraft, etc.
PN 6110.5-6120 general collections of plays

Individual languages have their own sections of the classification. NOTE: authors are classed by the language in which they write. For example, African authors writing in French are in PQ; those writing in English are in PR; those writing in an African language are in PL.

PA Classical literature; Ancient Greek and Latin
PG Russian literature
PJ Middle Eastern literature; Hebrew, Arabic, Ethiopian
PK Iranian, Indian
PL East Asian, African, Native American
PQ Romance literature; French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
PR English literature
PS American literature
PT German, Dutch, Scandinavian

To find books, use library catalogs, such as the HSU Library Catalog, Melvyl, or WorldCat. The search terms recommended for the Library Catalog searches also work in most other library catalogs though search techniques may be somewhat different. If you need help in searching a particular library catalog, please contact a librarian.

The HSU Library Catalog uses the author's name, often with birth and death dates, as the subject for books about the author's work. If a book is entirely about one of the author's works, the title of the work is part of the subject, too. You may find discussions of several of the author's works in books with Criticism and interpretation after the author's name as a subject. Try the author's name, the title of the play, and/or the word criticism as a keyword search in the Library Catalog.

If our Library doesn't own a book that you want, please request it from our Interlibrary Loan service. Note that WorldCat has an interlibrary loan request form built into the database. For books from other sources, use the form on our interlibrary loan page. Please note that our interlibrary loan service is available to currently enrolled HSU students, faculty, and staff only.

Send comments and suggestions about this page to: Martha Johansen
Last Updated: June 2, 2009

The Library, Humboldt State University, One Harpst St., Arcata, California  95521-8299
Telephone:  707-826-3441    Fax: 707-826-3440