Literary Criticism

How do I Find Literary Criticism?

Literary Criticism for almost any author can be found both online through article databases as well as in print through reference resources, those same article databases and the catalog. Let's start by focusing on the print resources available for literary criticism.

Reference Resources
Click the series name to see a complete list of titles and call numbers.

Series Title
What You Can Expect to Find:
Gale Literary Criticism Series The books in the Gale series are organized mostly by time period (contemporary, nineteenth-century, etc.) and type of writing (poetry, drama, fiction, etc.). The entries within each book are organized by author and contain multiple critical essays reprinted from other sources like journals or books. Use the index at the back of any of the books to find out which books contain entries on your author.
Scribner Writers Series The books in the Scribner series are organized mostly by the genre of writing (science fiction, mystery and suspense, etc.) or by author's background (African American, Latin American, etc.). The entries contain a single critical essay on the author's work and a bibliography of other biographical and critical works about the author. Use the separate master index to see which books contain entries on your author.
Contemporary Writers of English Language The books in this series give short biographical information as well as a lengthy bibliography of biographical and critical works. Authors are listed in alphabetical order.

Circulation Resources (aka Books you can check-out)

There are three ways to look for books containing literary criticism that you can check out.

  1. Do a Subject Search in the catalog for author (last name, first name).
    This search will find any materials about the author, which includes biographies as well as critical essays. Notice that the call numbers for these materials are very similar because all the books about a particular author will be together on the shelf. Once you have the general call number area, check the indexes and table of contents of many books for the particular story or poem or theme you are interested in.

  2. Do a Keyword Search for the title of the work you are looking for.
    This search should pick up any chapters within books that have the title of your essay, story or poem in the title of the chapter.

  3. Do a Keyword Search for literature and a special descriptive term about your author or their work.
    This search will pick up any books that deal with a particular kind of writer (women, african americans, children's books) or a particular genre of writing (Victorian, horror, haiku) that your author may belong to.

Now, let's check out the electronic resources that can help us find literary criticism.