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Literature: Finding Literary Criticism

library and online resources to find literature, research an author and their work, or find literary criticism

Literary Criticism

Literary criticism is an analysis of a literary work. This is different from an overview, which describes aspects of a work (such as plot, characters, and theme) instead of analyzing the item. Literary criticism might include the following:

  • A defense of the work
  • An analysis of its structure or style
  • An interpretation of its meaning
  • A prediction of its effects on readers

Literary criticism is found in books and journal articles.

  • Books provide a broad coverage of a subject at a moderate to deep level. You will use chapters or just pages, not the whole book. The book may be on the author with an overview of their work in the introduction. The book may be based on themes, genres, or a collection of literary criticisms.
  • Scholarly journals publish articles that examine a particular literary work or theme or character type. These articles are  written by experts in academic or professional fields.

Literary Criticism: Books

Searching for criticism and the name of the author is an effective and quick way to find relevant books either on the shelf or online in our ebook collections.

Use Pioneer Search - In The Library to find print books and search eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) to find and use eBooks online 24/7

The literary databases are also good sources of books with literary criticisms. Since these databases have both books and articles they are included with the recommended databases for articles.

Literary Criticism: Journal Articles

Many library databases have scholarly journals, but our literary databases and JSTOR are your best resources.

When searching for journal articles you can be more specific and search for the title of the work. For example, if you are analyzing Eudora Welty's short story Petrified Man search for

Welty AND "petrified man"

For most article searches in the recommended databases you do not need to include the word criticism.