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Finding literary criticism : What is literary criticism?

How to search and find literary criticism in books and journals

What's in this guide?

Literary criticism on a chalkboardIn this guide, you will be able to search and find literary criticism in books and journals, including:

  • articles in your library's literature databases
  • biographical info about authors

If you need help, ask a librarian! 

Image source:  Adapted from "Apple Chalkboard" by jarmoluk, Pixabay, CC0 (public domain)

What is literary criticism?

Nora Zeale Hurston

What is literary criticism?

Literary criticism is usually an essay or book chapter about the significance of themes, characters, imagery, style, or other elements found in a writer's work.

Who uses literary criticism?

Scholars, such as yourself, often cite other scholars' criticism when producing their own, in order to engage multiple voices in a conversation.

Where do you find literary criticism?

Multiple places! Some sources of criticism include:

  • Literature databases, including Bloom's Literature and the Literary Reference Center databases (see the "Literary criticism articles" and "Biographical info" tabs above for details)
  • Books about your author (see the "Biographical" tab for details on how to search the library catalog)
  • General library databases, such as Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, and ProQuest (see the "Literary criticism articles" tab above)
  • Literary criticism reference book series, including the NCLC (19th Century Literary Criticism), CLC (Contemporary Literary Criticism), and TCLC (20th Century Literary Criticism) series of books found in the library's reference collection (ask a librarian to help you find these).
  • Google Scholar (see the "Literary criticism articles" tab above)

Image source:  "Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston" by Carl Van VechtenCarl Van Vechten CollectionLibrary of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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