Background information can be found in reference books like those provided in links on this page. It's always a good idea to learn about your topic before you proceed to narrowing it. Doing background research seems like more work, but it actually provides you with important information that makes the rest of your research project more efficient. When you do background research in reference books you can find the following kinds of information:
If you "front-load" your research, you'll actually save yourself time by orienting yourself to your subject and discovering possible paper topics in the reference works you consult.
Oxford University Press offers many of its fine reference works online.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica provides information to support your understanding and interpretation of literary texts. Look up allusions to historical and social events or other literary texts in this reference work.
You can find reference books on your subject by doing a subject search and limiting the collection to Reference.