To access our Free Library or Full Library, click on the corresponding link in the main navigation menu in the upper right-hand corner; you will enter our main user interface, shown in this annotated screenshot:

Quotations Library Default Setting

The Writing Aid Tab

The Writing Aid tab is selected by default. Use Writing Aid to receive impromptu suggestions, based on your writing, from the authors you love, in real-time, as you write.

Select the writers that are of interest to you in the Books tab, or use the default selection of Shakespeare (for details see Section The Books Tab), and start writing where it says [Simply start writing anywhere in this field…]. [Simply start writing…] is a brief version of these instructions; it will be replaced by [type here], if you clear any text in the field by pressing ‘clear text’.

Each word in your writing that can be found in the same form in the literature that you have selected will appear in a darker colour. A quotation for each of those words will appear on the right, in the Quotations Area. 

Double-click on any word in your writing that you wish to examine more closely. If the word is found in the selected literature, all the instances of usage for that word in your selected literature will appear on the right. Access the original text by clicking on any quotation. Double-click on the selected word again and you will return to the previous state.

If you double-click on any word in your writing that is shown in grey (‘grey’ means that this word is not found in the same form in the literature of your selection), you will be transferred to the ‘Words’ tab where you can check if the author of your selection spelt that word differently or used closely related words. (For details see Section The Words Tab.) If any of the close words in the word list are of interest to you, select them by clicking on them in the word list, and you will be shown quotations for them on the right. If you are unable to find suitable words in the word list, you can either change your literature selection in the Books tab or return to the Writing Aid tab, by clicking on either tab. 

The Quotations area

Once you selected words that are of interest to you in the Words tab or have written a text in the Writing Aid tab, quotations for each word in your writing or selection will appear on the right.

Use ‘Arrange’ to organise quotations in an order that is of interest to you. Note: when you arrange quotations in a new order, the previous order is retained if the new order makes no new distinction. 

Scroll through the quotations or click on any quotation and you will be taken to the location of that quotation in the original text in the source text below. Scroll through the source text to examine any part of the original text.

The Source Text area

Click on any book in the Books tab or on any quotation in the Quotations list, and the full text will appear in the source text area. Scroll through the text to access any part of the literary work.

Examine word usage in a context that is broader than the single sentence ordinarily provided by a dictionary as you move freely around the original text.

The statistics at the top of the Source Text area include the total number of words in the literary work and, if you access the text by clicking on a quotation in the Quotations area, the total number of occurrences, in that literary work, of all the words in your writing and/or of all the words selected by you.

The Books Tab

Select the writers that are of interest to you in the ‘Books’ tab. Tick the box next to the writer to select all of his or her works included in; if you wish to select only certain works, click on the writer’s name to open the list of the works included; clicking on the title of the work will allow you to access its full text in the lower part of the screen.  

Note: some literary works are grouped into categories: for instance, Literature of the Sacred. In such cases, ‘group names’ function as ‘authors’.

Note: if you are selecting an author with a large number of works, may take a few seconds to load.

The ‘Books’ tab auto-selection is pre-set to Shakespeare. You MUST de-select the author if you do NOT wish to include his works in your literature selection.

Your Literature Additions

If the writer that you are looking for is not yet included in, use ‘Your Literature Additions’ to upload a text (use txt file format), and then select the uploaded book – Folder: Your Literature Additions. 


Use ‘Time’ to set the library search to a specific period.

The Library

We are continuing to make additions to our library of source texts – we are expanding both our Free Library and Full Library. If you would like us to include a book or an author, please get in touch with us with the details of the literary work at

The Quality of the Texts

The literary works in our library come from several international projects, which compile and maintain electronic depositories of books. For this reason, a few of our texts contain errors, resulting from the process of digitisation. 

Indications of the Time of Composition and of the Time of the Author’ life

The dates next to the author’s name indicate the years of birth and death when they are known. The dates next to the literary works may indicate either the time of publication or the time of writing. (As the scholarship in this area continues to evolve, please advise us of any updating required at

The Words Tab

The ‘Words’ tab orders all the words in the selected literary work/s alphabetically or by frequency of occurrence. Note: Only the content words are shown. Additionally, in plays or longer literary works, character names, stage directions – enter, exit – or words like ‘Chapter’ may appear with considerable frequency and will be shown close to the top of the word list, if it is ordered by frequency.

If you wish to find a particular word in the ‘Words’ list, insert the word into the input bar at the top. The word list will shift to the location of that word or the nearest word to it in the word list. 

In addition to clicking on a word in the word list, you can select a word by pressing ‘enter’, if your cursor is in the input bar after you have inserted the word there. 

Quotations for each selected word will appear in the Quotations area on the right. Click on any quotation to access the original text in the Source Text area below.

The words for which quotations are shown appear next to the main word list. To de-select any of the selected words, click on the little cross next to the word to be de-selected or click on ‘clear’ to clear all the selected words. The quotations for that (those) word(s) will be removed.

When examining word usage, explore different word forms and word spellings. 

Sometimes, the literary work contains a plural form of a noun but not a singular one or only one of all the possible verb forms (an infinitive, a gerund (-ing), a past participle (-ed) or a third person form). Keep in mind that, in older works, some words would have been spelt differently, or a different kind of typography would have been used, and, throughout times, authors have experimented with spelling and abbreviations.

For example, note some of the differences between the editions of 1903 and 1596 of the Fairie Queene. The editors of 1903 modernised some words but not others.

An Excerpt, 1596

LOI the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,   
As time her taught in lowly Shepheards weeds, 
Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske, 
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
Whose prayses hauing slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds 
To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:   
Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song.

An Excerpt, 1903

Lo I the man,° whose Muse whilome did maske,
As time her taught, in lowly Shepheards weeds,
Am now enforst a far unfitter taske,
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
And sing of Knights and Ladies° gentle deeds;                      5
Whose prayses having slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
To blazon broade emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithfull loves shall moralize my song.

Writers sometimes shorten words. Shakespeare used ‘ravished’ on 6 occasions, but ‘ravish’d’ – on 9. An early 17th-century poem from the Third and Fourth Book of Airs by Thomas Campion starts as “OFt haue I sigh’d, oft haue I sigh’d” ( “Often have I sighed, often have I sighed”).


As discussed in the section The Quality of the Texts above, our texts are sourced from several international projects, which scan the original editions and create depositories of electronic copies of literary works. The depositories often place the scanned works into the public domain and the license terms imposed by the depository can be accessed either at the top, or the end, of the selected text, or through the link to the source depository.

However, copyright laws are country-specific. We would like to remind you that it is your responsibility to abide by the copyright laws of the country of your location when using any of the works available here. 

The copyright for any material available through outside the texts of the literary works, sourced from the depositories or added to by you, is reserved to


For any technical questions, contact us at