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* English Research: Literary Criticism

Use this guide as a starting point for researching literary topics.

What is literary criticism?

What is literary criticism?

Literary criticism is the evaluation, analysis, description, or interpretation of literary works. It is usually in the form of a critical essay, but in-depth book reviews can sometimes be considered literary criticism. Criticism may examine a particular literary work, or may look at an author's writings as a whole.

Adapted from the Internet Public Library-Literary Criticism

Finding books that include literary criticism

 How do I find books on literary criticism?

When searching for books in the library catalog, you can do a keyword search, but you may aso do a subject search. Subject searches look for the Library of Congress Subject Headings assigned to a particular book. These headings help you find books which are specifically about your topic.

In the catalog, you can simply do a subject search for your author's name, and then browse a list of headings which begin with that name. Good subject headings for literary criticism often include the words "criticism and interpretation." Some examples of useful subject headings for literary criticism might be:

  • Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400—Criticism and interpretation.
  • Walker, Alice, 1944—Color Purple.
  • American fiction—Indian authors—History and criticism.

Or, try a keyword search for the author's name and the word "criticism" ---Toni Morrison AND criticism

If you are looking for books by an author, try an author search and type in the name of the author, last name, first name--Morrison, Toni

   Adapted from the Internet Public Library-Literary Criticism

AU Library Catalog:

Critical Insights


Critical Insights is a series of single volumes each focusing on a particular author or a literary work.  Keyword search the AU library catalog using the phrase Critical Insights and the name of the author or title of the work.  (Critical Insights AND Streetcar Named Desire) The series is accessed electronically through the database, Literary Reference Center (EBSCO).

Current volumes (more wil be added):

Nathaniel Hawthorne                                                      A Streetcar Named Desire  
Robert Frost   The Great Gatsby
T S Eliot   The Handmaids Tale  
Toni Morrison   The Joy Luck Club  
Barbara Kingsolver   The Tales Of Edgar Allan Poe  
Benjamin Franklin   To Kill A Mockingbird  
Ernest Hemingway   Death Of A Salesman  
Gabriel Garcia Marquez   Dracula  
 Gwendolyn Brooks   Great Expectations  
Jane Austen   I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings  




Recommended Journals

These journals typically include criticism.