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In literature, a “primary source” or, more specifically a “primary text,” generally means the literary work that is being read/studied/analyzed. Whenever possible, primary sources other than the author's works of literature should be consulted. An author's thoughts about his or her own work, or the thoughts of the author's contemporaries, can provide invaluable insight about the works of literature you are studying.
Examples of primary sources are:
Detailed information about how to locate primary sources can be found on our Finding Primary Sources page.
Examples of primary source databases that are useful for literary studies are listed below.