Handbooks, Companions, Histories, and Guides
Handbooks, companions, histories, and guides ideally seek to provide an intellectual structure that orients a researcher to the most important sources for a given subject.
These resources are single volume quick references and often deal with individual persons and their intellectual/creative output. They may be organized around periods of history, events, intellectual movements, and specific topics within a discipline.
Companions, histories, and guides published by Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press are very appropriate starting points.
The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams