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Romance Languages & Literatures Subject Guide

A guide to scholarly resources in the field of Romance Languages & Literatures (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese)

Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis

Collection Development Policy

Library: Olin

Subject: Romance Languages & Literatures

Collection: General

Date Revised: Not available.

Subject Librarian: Daria Carson-Dussán


1. General purpose:

  • The library develops and maintains collections for French, Spanish, and Italian languages, literatures, and literary theory and criticism. Literary works are collected chiefly in the vernacular, although English translations are occasionally purchased. The collection offers access to monographs, hundreds of print and electronic journals, specialized literature databases, reference sources, and foreign language films.
  • Comprehensive collection of books in French or about French language or literature or Francophonie in general, published in France, the French Caribbean, Francophone Africa & East Asia, Canada, Belgium, and Switzerland.  Contemporary belles lettres including literary fiction, poetry, and drama (to a lesser extent) and significant prize-winning authors.
  • Comprehensive collection of books in Spanish or about the Spanish language or Iberian and/or Latin American literature published in Spain, Latin American or Caribbean countries. Contemporary fiction, poetry, and drama (to a lesser extent) and significant prize-winning authors.
  • Selective collection of Italian materials for supporting the undergraduate concentration major and Portuguese materials as requested.


2. Subjects excluded:

  • Biographies and dictionaries.
  • Canadian French related materials, Louisiana Bayou (Cajun) French related materials.
  • United States Hispanic Authors publishing primarily in English.
  • Catalan literature and literary theory, unless ordered by faculty.
  • Portuguese literature and literary theory, unless ordered by faculty.
  • Overlap with other collections or subject:
  • Many RLL Faculty share joint appointments with the following departments/programs and place orders in the following areas: Comparative Literature, Film and Media studies, Latin American Studies, International and Area Studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
  • There is also keen collection interest in the History of the Book and Special Collections from RLL medievalists.



3. Languages included and excluded:

  • Included:
    • English
    • French
    • Italian
    • Portuguese
    • Spanish
  • Excluded:
    • Generally, English translations of RLL authors are purchased selectively and come via Neureuther Popular Literature.



4. Geographical limitations:

The emphasis is on titles published in Western Europe, North America and Latin America and Caribbean. Materials from Africa are acquired on a selective basis.



5. Chronological limits:

Titles from the medieval period to the present are collected, with an emphasis in contemporary prize-winning authors. Titles published before 1900 are selected by Special Collections.



6. Retrospective Acquisition:

  • In the last two years, retrospective acquisitions were made to fill gaps in French, Spanish, and Italian literary works and anthologies. 
  • There has been a request for Editions Presence Africaine titles (estimate $2000 and share with African Studies).
  • A new Spanish Literature tenure track professor, who focuses on Peruvian Literature, has expressed interest in strengthening the collection of Andean authors.



7. Types of material collected and excluded:

  • Literary works, critical literature, encyclopedia are all actively acquired.  These include journals, monographs, and series, either in print or online as well as specialized literature databases and foreign language films.
  • Microfiche and film are only considered when no other alternatives are possible. We rely on the Center for Research Libraries for some newspapers, foreign dissertations, and some large microform sets.
  • Portuguese literature and literary criticism has not been actively collected but has been acquired via gifts or specific requests. 
  • Other factors to consider
  • When professors leave and new hires begin, the focus of the collection often changes as well.



8. Subjects and Collecting Levels:

Basic, Instructional Support, Research, Comprehensive


PC 1-986

Romance Philogy & Languages: Includes language and literature.


PC 1001-4977

Romance Languages- covers aspects of language (political, social, economic), as well as language acquisition, translation, etymology and lexicography. Bilingual dictionaries are not acquired (unless there is no equivalent available)


PQ 1-297

French Literature- History & Criticism- Anthologies


PQ 1300-1595

French Literature- Old French. Covers literature in French until c1500


PQ 1600-2726

French Literature- Modern. Covers literature in French from France from the 16th century to present.


PQ 3800-3999

French Literature- Francophone. Includes literary history, biography, criticism, and collections of the literatures of provinces, regions, islands, and places belonging to France, including countries with French Literature outside of France  as well as former French colonies.


PQ 4001-4556

Italian Literature- History & Criticism. Covers literature in Italian until c1400.


PQ 4561-4926

Italian Literature- Covers literature in Italian from 1400 to present.


PQ 5901-5999

Italian Literature- Regional, provincial, local, outside of Italy


PQ 6001-6056

Spanish Literature- Covers literature, criticism in Spanish from provinces, regions, islands, and places belonging to Spain.


PQ 6058-8929

Spanish Literature- History & Criticism to present


PQ 7081-8560

Spanish Americas- Literature


PQ 9000-9999

Portuguese Literature