The Library has a vast collection of Australian and international literature and literary criticism. We collect Australian fiction, poetry and drama widely, and aim to collect everything written by Victorians or set in Victoria.
The collection of international literature includes notable works from all countries and all periods. Particular strengths are British and western European literature from the 19th to early 20th century, and 19th-century collections of Latin and Greek literature. Translations of non-English material are also collected.
International prize-winning works are a feature of the collection, as are collected works of major authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and TS Eliot.
Reviews of Australian books are indexed in the database AustLit. Criticism of Australian and international literature can be found in our literature and review eresources, including commentary on classical texts and contemporary literature through full text databases like Literature criticism online. We have books by, biographies of, and literary criticism about significant authors such as Peter Carey, Jane Austen and Franz Kafka.
The Journals collection is particularly notable as it contains many 19th-century novels that were initially serialised, such as His natural life by Marcus Clarke in the Australian Journal, and Oliver Twist in Bentley's miscellany, by Boz (Charles Dickens' pseudonym).
For research purposes, the Library holds an outstanding collection of children’s literature, with many rare editions, and the personal papers and unpublished material of some Australian authors in Australian Manuscripts.