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One way to find subject headings leading to material related to your topic in a catalog or database is to start with a keyword search and then follow the linked subject headings in the records that come up.
Handbooks and Companions
One way to get started in researching a playwright, staging, social and historical context, etc., is to find relevant handbooks and companion volumes, such as the Cambridge Companions, the Oxford Handbooks, and the Blackwell Companion series.
Essays in these volumes provide overviews of topics within the larger subject area, and are by authoratative scholars. In addition to providing you with background and vocabulary for further inquiry, the bibliographies included are rich resources for further reading.
These databases use the same set of subject headings we use in our online catalog. See the box on the left for suggested subject headings for your topics. If you don't know what subject heading to use, try a keyword search first and follow subject headings for relevant books to find others on the same topic.
To get books you find in WorldCat that are not at Vassar or in ConnectNY, use ILLiad.